Category Archives: microbiome

Low carb diet. NAFLD.

An integrated understanding of the rapid metabolic benefits of a carbohydrate-restricted diet on hepatic steatosis in humans (Mardinoglu et al., 2018)

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Critique and analysis.

They did two very small (n=10 & n=7) 2-week long studies of low carb, high protein. Carb/fat/protein was 4/72/24 compared to 20/42/18 at baseline. There was no control group, so the results were compared to baseline.

 

 

Lots of pro’s and con’s on this one… but for that, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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Project FermenTRP

People have been fermenting food for a long time, all over the world. Different cultures have different traditional fermenting techniques for various foods and beverages (eg, Bell et al., 2017). Many things, ranging from grapes, milk, and cabbages, even meat and fish. For all intents and purposes, it’s practically universally viewed as a beneficial and healthful practice …

for the ‘biome and beyond

#psychobiotics

 

Maybe it’s just because a robust ‘biome lowers the sugar content of your diet! LOL jk I’m sure it’s far more complex than that.

 

Also, the shelf-life of most ferments is forever, so when the zombie apocalypse happens, it’s a good skill to have.

 

Part 2. Project FermenTRP

I started down this rabbit hole because the TRP theory of muscle cramps is interesting. And, well, I got carried away LOL .

 

The idea of a “superfood” is kinda silly, but virtually all TRP agonists are found in so-called superfoods. Fermenting is cool, too, so I decided to combine the two because why not

 

[I know, I know, photography isn’t my specialty]

 

#torched

 

 

Torching habanero peppers does not lessen the burn. To be honest, I’d go with a WAY less hot pepper. And combine with other TRP activators. For synergy. Or something.

 

 

The TRP-theory, in brief:

An interesting theory on the treatment of muscle cramps

Herbs, spices, TRP receptors, and pain

TRP channels in the treatment of muscle pain & cramps

 

Here are some of the more common sources of TRP agonists in the literature:

Hot Peppers (capsaicin) (doesn’t have to be habanero) (DO NOT USE HABANERO)

Involvement of thermosensitive TRP channels in energy metabolism (Uchida et al., 2017)

Targeting nociceptive TRP channels to treat chronic pain: current state of the field (Moran and Szallasi, 2017)

 

Peppercorns (piperine)

Activation of TRPV1 and TRPA1 by black pepper components (Okumura et al., 2010)

 

Ginger (gingerols)

Effects of ginger and its pungent constituents on transient receptor potential channels (Kim et al., 2016)

 

Garlic (allicins & sulfides)

The pungency of garlic: activation of TRPA1 and TRPV1 in response to allicin (Macpherson et al., 2005)

Diallyl sulfides in garlic activate both TRPA1 and TRPV1 (Koizumi et al., 2009)

Intragastric administration of allyl isothiocyanaate increases carbohydrate oxidation via TRPV1 but not TRPA1 in mice (Mori et al., 2011)

 

Cinnamon (cinnamonaldehyde)

Effects of TRP channel agonist ingestion on metabolism and autonomic nervous system in a randomized clinical trial of healthy subjects (Michlig et al., 2016)

 

Mustard & Wasabi (isothiocyanates, I think)

The capsaicin receptor TRPV1 is a crucial mediator of the noxious effects of mustard oil (Everaerts et al., 2011)

Thermosensitive TRP channels and brain function (Tominaga, 2016)

 

Cloves (eugenol)

Oregano, thyme, and clove-derived flavors and skin sensitizers activate specific TRP channels (Xu et al., 2006)

 

There are many more, but those are just some of the ones that made it to part 3.

 

In brassica, speramus.

 

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The alkaline diet is bullshit. Proof: vinegar is the bomb

1. Whether it’s Balsamic, sherry, red wine, apple cider, or even plain distilled white, vinegar is a great condiment (P<0.05). Try cutting your favorite with a more concentrated one for more fun (be careful, it can burn you; I’d start with 1:20 or 5%).

2. It reduces the glucose and insulin response to a meal.

World’s coolest fatty acid?

 

 

Exhibit A: 20 g apple cider vinegar, 40 g water, and 1 tsp saccharine two minutes prior to “a white bagel, butter, and orange juice (87 g total carbohydrates)” (Johnston et al., 2004)

 

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VEG*N

I’m not vegan but the “Anti-Vegan Because B12” argument is lame.  B12 insufficiency is largely due to malabsorption, not steak deficiency.

Many people take supps, but somehow anti-vegans think B12 invalidates veganism.  It doesn’t.  Also, 1) tons of B12 in oysters; 2) nori B12 works in humans and rats; and 3) mushrooms still haven’t been ruled out as a legit source.  Whether you consider these foods vegan or not is a different story.  Many non-vegans are B12-deficient, too -> all the steak in the world won’t help if you can’t absorb it.

I’m not undermining the severity of B12 deficiency, just noting some basic facts.

My bias: things like T2DM, obesity, and even some cancers and mood disorders are due primarily to circadian arrhythmia, sleep, & LIGHT… and secondarily to diet.

When it comes to diet, mostly plants plus some animal is optimal for humans in our modern #context, regardless of which Ice-Age Paleo-Fairy Tale™ you subscribe to.  Things like sleep, LIGHT, and activity, among others, seem way more important than debating historical [theoretical] dietary minutiae.

Lastly, this particular debate isn’t “vegan vs. keto.”  THEY’RE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.  “Eco-Atkins” is a thing.  Animals provide a convenient source of LC protein, but it can be done without them.

 

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Hey CICO, I’m playing by your rules.

Brief background: the notorious Ebbeling study of 2012 showed an apparent metabolic advantage of a ketogenic diet.  After losing some weight, participants were assigned to low fat (LF), low GI, or ketogenic diets.  As expected, energy expenditure (EE) declined in all groups after weight loss.

 

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AMYLIN

Brief background reading: amylin (according to Wikipedia)

 

In a study by Hollander on type II diabetics, the synthetic amylin analog pramlintide was tested (Hollander et al., 2003).  In this year-long RCT, over 600 patients were treated with placebo or up to 120 ug pramlintide BID (twice per day).  On average, these subjects were obese (BMI 34), diabetic for ~12 years, and had an HbA1c of 9.1%.  After one year, HbA1c declined 0.62% and they lost about 1.4 kg… not very impressive.

 

But it’s not all bad news; after viewing those relatively negative results (3 lb weight loss over the course of 1 year), another group of researchers led by Louis Aronne and Christian Weyer believed amylin had yet to be tested proper.  So they designed a better study; it was shorter, used higher doses of pramlintide, and they enrolled obese yet non-diabetic patients (Aronne et al., 2007).  They opted for higher doses of pramlintide (240 ug TID [three times per day]) because in dose-escalation studies, the incidence and severity of adverse drug reactions was consistently low at all doses tested.

 

They chose to study obese-er subjects (BMI 38, compared to 34 in the Hollander study) because obese subjects lose fat more readily than lean people, so if the study is designed to measure fat loss, then it is better to select a population of subjects where more fat loss is predicted.  They selected non-diabetic subjects for a similar reason; diabetics must regularly inject insulin which promotes the accumulation of fat mass — this could counteract any fat reducing effects of pramlintide.
In other words, it was a more powerful and better designed study.

 

After 16 weeks, pramlintide-treated subjects lost an average of 3.6 kg (~8 lbs), or about half a pound per week.  30% of patients lost over 15 pounds (1 lb/wk)!  Importantly, the weight loss didn’t appear to have reached a plateau by week 16, so it would have most likely continued along a similar trajectory had the study been longer.  There were no side effects, and a battery of psychological evaluations showed that the patients receiving pramlintide felt it was easier to control their appetite and BW, they didn’t mind the daily injections, and overall well-being increased.  At the very least, these evaluations meant the subjects weren’t losing weight because of nausea or malaise.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.

 

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Random thoughts on the ‘biome

If you’re healthy, no major complaints, then you probably won’t benefit from tweaking your ‘biome.  Ymmv.  But if you’re gonna do it anyway, here are some tips (mostly my opinions).

 

microbiome

 

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New low carb protein bars

Warning: this post isn’t #Paleo Certified.   It’s more about convenience, choosing the lesser evil.

Quest Nutrition led the charge in low carb, high protein, fibre-rich bars.  “Fibre-rich” is really the key in allowing a bona fide “low carb” bar with shelf-stability and decent texture.  Sugar alcohols have also been used in some, but due to the high incidence of maltitol-induced GI discomfort, ymmv.  But in general, you need one or the other to provide bulk and keep it together (except Epic Bars, which use black magic).

For the most part, the new bars have basically copied Quest’s formula with some new flavors.

 

Disclaimer #1: I’m a whole foods guy.  Not really #Paleo, but when it comes to people’s actual lifestyles, I recognize convenience is a huge factor… and selecting the lesser evil is frequently the best option — eg, you can store a couple LC protein bars in your office, car, etc.; not so much with hard-boiled eggs or other protein-rich foods… and these options are WAY better than many other snacks or “fast-foods” out there.

Disclaimer #2: yeah, I keep a few of these bars in my office, just in case…

Quest recently switched from isomaltosaccharides to soluble corn fibre (SCF), which will likely impact GI effects.  YMMV!  Isomaltosaccharides are cool, but I’m not prepared to say they’re superior to SCF for everyone, in every #context (personally, for the ‘biome, I prefer brassicas, alliums, the gristly bits, galactooligosaccharides, et al.).
[it’d awesome if Bi2Muno would collaborate with one of these companies]

 

In these n00bs to the protein bar market, some of the biggest differentiating factors are cost, net carbs, ratio of fibre to sugar alcohols, flavor profiles, etc.

 

With no further ado, here are the newcomers:

[or just skip to the chart at the bottom]

 

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Personalized Nutrition II

More on Zeevi et al. (2015) (this is a follow-up to part 1)

I like this study a lot, or at least the fundamentals… or new tools that it might bring to the table.  Like, we know sleep and physical activity are important, and we know all calories aren’t created equal.  This study is the next level, showing there are even big differences in specific carb-rich foods depending on who’s eating them.

And more interestingly, if I’m interpreting the results of the intervention study correctly (which may not be the case), gut microbial responses to specific foods were very individualized… and predictable!

But first, the main part of the study — standardized meals (after overnight fast): 50g carbs from glucose, white bread, bread and butter, bread and dark chocolate, and fructose.  All repeated at least once (except fructose).  Everyone responded pretty similarly to fructose (little to no blood glucose spike), but a wide range of responses to glucose.

PPGR = PostPrandial Glucose Response

 

glucose and fructose

 

Bread:

 

bread

 

The range of PPGR to bread was ~15 to 79!

Again, here are some of the findings I found most interesting (besides the huge range in glycemic response to bread):

 

 

banana and cookie

 

Participant #468 has a consistently higher response to glucose than to white bread.  Participant #663 is the opposite.  And participant #445 is still winning.

I truly wonder if there’s a gut microbe (or something) that’s involved here…

 

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Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses

“please stop asking gurus how many carbs you need to optimize health”

 

bananas cookies

An interesting paper came out recently by Zeevi et al. (2015), showing, in part, that we’re all unique snowflakes (in some contexts).

 

#context

#context

 

Mini-rant: this study is in line with a lot of my beliefs about individuality in human biology.  We don’t know all the mechanisms, but we do know that some people respond better to some interventions than others.  We learn a lot from studies on diet, light, sleep, physical activity, etc., but the findings rarely/never apply equally to everyone (and some people experience completely opposite effects; eg, see studies where individual data are reported).  LIGHT exposure can improve sleep quality in some but cause agitation in others.  Low carb diets can help weight loss in some people but low fat is better for others.  Dairy, wheat, protein, the ‘biome, and fibre/resistant starch all fall into this category.  Sleep ‘requirements’ vary by person, season, geography, etc., etc…  there’s no QED answers in many of these contexts.

anecdote: some people say they’ve never had better blood glucose than when they were having a few servings of beans/legumes per week; others just report bloating & farts (no bueno).

End rant.

Background reading:

  1. The Atlantic ran a decent piece on this study (certainly more colorful than my take)
  2. Reddit AMA with some of the people involved in the study

 

In this particular study (video summary below): they continuously monitored the blood glucose responses in 800 people to all of their meals for a week, including a variety of test meals.  Main result: many different responses, even to the same foods!  An oversimplified example: some people had smaller relative postprandial glucose excursions after 50g carbohydrate from rice compared to 50g carb from potatoes, and other people responded oppositely.  And friggin’ tomatoes?!

Translation: need to move beyond recommending #IIFYM.

Some foods were universally well-tolerated [in this population] in the context of mixed meals, like quinoa and salmon; other foods did the opposite, like chocolate chip cookies and sushi.  And lastly, some foods like cottage cheese and hummus were good for some people but others.

 

bananas cookies[participant 445 is winning]

 

*In general, I don’t believe in labeling foods as categorically good or bad, which is pretty much confirmed by this study, but some patterns emerged wrt postprandial glucose excursions in this population…

#context

 

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