Category Archives: strength

I’m not anti-keto, but I’m not anti-science.

The ketogenic diet inhibits mTOR but spares muscle. Wait, wut?

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mTOR is a key mediator of skeletal muscle growth. Primarily via stimulating protein synthesis, although some researchers are even looking for ways to activate it to prevent atrophy (eg, Dyle et al., 2014) (eg, ursolic acid & tomatidine).

Role of skeletal muscle mTOR in mechanical load-induced growth (Goodman et al., 2011)

Signaling pathways mediating muscle mass in aging skeletal muscle: role of mTOR (Sandri et al., 2013)

Mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle growth and atrophy (Schiaffino et al., 2013)

mTOR is necessary for proper satelite cell activity and skeletal muscle regeneration (Zhang et al., 2015)

 

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Yet another study showing low carb doesn’t impair performance +

and by some metrics, at least in this study, might even improve it.

Ketoadaptation enhances exercise performance and body composition responses to training in endurance athletes (McSwiney et al., 2017)

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Advantage of this study over previous ones: 12 weeks. I believe the choice to opt for self-selection over randomization was to improve adherence (which was pretty good for this 12 week-long study). Downside is, well, it’s not randomized. Crossover RCT is best but it’s always a trade-off: sample size, duration, tools, etc., everything has a price. Literally.

Tl;dr: Ketoadaptation doesn’t diminish performance at high intensity even after “draining the tank.”

The study: we aren’t told much about the diets, just high carb vs. ketogenic. And keto group was advised to drink broths for salts, mins, electrolytes, etc.* Speaking of which 🙂 Kettle & Fire is offering 20% off their delish broths/stock HERE.

*I don’t think this qualifies as cheating in this #context.

Before and after the 12-week dietary intervention, a battery of tests were performed: a six second all-out bicycle sprint (SS), immediately followed by a 100 km time trial (TT), immediately followed by a 3-minute sprint (CPT).

These were well-trained, healthy individuals who continued their training throughout the study. This & duration are two important nuances of this study (more on this below).

The biggest finding …*drumroll* … significantly greater fat loss in the keto group and this wasn’t even a weight loss study. They also jacked up protein intake so they didn’t lose muscle mass. Protein declined in the high carb group, but they were able to maintain muscle because carbs increased.

 

WHERE HAVE WE SEEN THIS BEFORE

HINT: HERE

 

 

Whether they knew it or not, this study was designed to test peak power output before (SS) and after (CPT) exhaustively draining the tank (TT). The theory is that ketoadaptation: 1) spares glycogen so there’s some juice left in the tank for the second peak power test, although racing 100 km is pretty tough so there couldn’t have been much juice left in either group; and 2) ketoadaptation relies more on fatty acids at every level of output, as evidenced by the RER figure (below). Fuel usage comes close at high levels of output (both groups rely more heavily on glucose), but ketoadapted is always a little lower (eg, see the right-most point in the figure below). And fat stores are basically limitless whereas glycogen is not. This may or may not have been a factor here.

 

PEAK PERFORMANCE

I don’t know why the authors reported peak power relative to body weight. I could understand lean mass, maybe, but keto lost a lot of weight via body fat. If peak power remained the same (as has previously been shown), it would [falsely] appear to increase in this study.

For a more nuanced interpretation of this study (which is good, I promise!), 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 🙂

Also, I’m open to suggestions so feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERETrueDark is running a pretty big sale HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else.

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Circadian rhythms & the blues. AND THE GREENS

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Approximate wavelengths, in nanometers (nm):

680         red
595         amber
525        green
497         blue/green
470         blue

 

 

[Strongly] suggested pre-reading: Artificial light and circadian rhythms: blocking the blues and The Hot Blue-Blocker Experiment

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Study 1 tested the effects of different wavelengths of light exposure (compared to total darkness) from midnight til 2 AM on melatonin suppression on night 1 and melatonin onset on night 2 (Wright and Lack, 2001). Note: there was no light on night 2.

On night 1, they found that 470 (blue), 497 (blue/green), and even 525 (green) suppressed melatonin, ranging from 65 to 81%.

 

 

However, remarkably, on night 2 those same wavelengths had a carry-over effect, delaying melatonin onset by 27 to 36 minutes!

 

 

This is why lens color of your blue blockers matters. Orange lenses block blue, although blue/green and even green can still have a detrimental impact. Redder lenses more effectively block in the green range.

If you get up to pee or whatever in the middle of the night, it might be prudent to rock your blue-blockers and/or have a lamp with a red bulb.

The following graphs show you how much light is blocked by different lenses – remember, we want as little transmission up to around 525 nm (according to study 1 [above] and study 2 [below]).

However, for a quick and dirty test you can do at home, the people at Spectra479 put this together:

 

 

 

 

Carbonshade and Spectra479 are offering 15% off if you enter the coupon code LAGAKOS at checkout.

 

Normal gray-lensed Ray-Bans block about 85% of all light. Cool for blocking UV, but you’re still getting about ~15% of blue and green light. That’s too much.

 

 

 

 

 

Spectra479s block 99.8% of 450-510nm, which fully encompasses blue to blue-green.

 

 

 

 

 

Carbonshades block 99.8% of 400-570 nm, which fully encompasses blue to green, so the largest range of protection according to study 1 (above) and study 2 (below).

 

 

 

 

I haven’t seen the spectral transmission data on Carbonshades, although they performed the best on Spectra479’s at-home test.

 

The popular orange-lensed Skypers block 98% of blue light and probably not too much green (as per the transmission data below and Spectra479’s at-home test).

 

 

 

 

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade  is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS.

For more steps on how to strengthen your circadian rhythms, the potential importance (and relevance) of blocking BLUE/GREEN, and a discussion of the science… head over to Patreon!

Also many more interesting tidbits and some advice, like who might need to upgrade their blue-blockers.

Three bucks a month for access to all articles and there are many other options. And it’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks. Don’t hesitate, there are only a limited number of positions remaining at the $3 level.

Lastly, I’m open to suggestions; please feel free leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

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TRP channels in the Tx of muscle pain & cramps

NSAIDs are OK for muscle pain, but may hinder training progress in the long run (eg, Shoenfeld 2012 and Mackey 2013). The electrolyte theory of muscle cramps has been kinda debunked in some contexts (eg, Braulick et al., 2013, Miller 2014, and McKenney et al., 2015)… although I still recommend all the broths & stocks (homemade, store-bought, chicken, beef, seafood, etc.) for just about everything. 20% of Kettle & Fire broths through this link!

But even when pickle juice works (eg, Miller et al., 2010), it kicks in way sooner than if it worked via replenishing electrolytes – more likely works via the acidity activating specific ion channels.

What do we have left?

Google Image Search came through pretty epic for this…

 

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Herbs, spices, TRP receptors, and pain

The TRP ion channels TRPA1 and TRPV1 have a complicated & interesting relationship with neural activation and pain.

TRPV1 is partly responsible for the pain we feel from eating hot peppers. Capsaicin (or some capsaicinoids or even ginger) bind to this receptor, and we can FEEL IT. The nerves on which TRP ion channels reside become hyperexcited, which has the theoretical effect of feedback inhibition on other afferent nerves in the spinal cord. As far as the TRP-muscle cramp theory goes, this dampens hyperexcited muscle cramp-inducing nerves. So basically, instant resolution of painful muscle cramps.

 

 

Mustard, cinnamon, and garlic hit TRPA1 for a similar effect. Instant muscle cramp-relief… but depending on your taste preferences, could be unpleasant.

 

 

 

For the rest of this article, all previous & future articles, and more, head over to Patreon! Three bucks a month gets you all access!
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Effects on body recomposition, more on spices, and my personal experience!

 

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An interesting theory on the treatment of muscle cramps

Being the nerd I am, after experiencing a few days of painful muscle cramps (which I wrote about here), I went to Google like a madman.
Here’s what I learned from the experience and subsequent Googling.
Most things I wrote in the original post still stand. But there are a ton of completely different types of muscle cramps; those associated with cirrhosis, MS, pregnancy, dialysis, idiopathic nocturnal, etc.
Number 1 mandatory advice: do all the long-term stuff like broths, (20% off Kettle & Fire!) potassium, mag, etc (even though all of these things have mixed findings; they might work for your specific type of cramp and are unlikely to cause harm). But for immediate management of painful cramping, you may need to bite the bullet and take a muscle relaxer or benzo or something.
A lot of this post is inspired by a crazy theory touted by a new anti-cramp product (targeted at yet another type of cramp, “exercise-associated muscle cramp” [EAMC]), but the explanation of it’s mechanism is super-interesting.

I still stand by the previous interventions, except according to a few case studies and a lot of anecdotes, pickle juice can work within 1-2 minutes! That observation was part of the basis of developing this product. Some people think the acidity in pickle juice activates gastrointestinal TRP receptors (see below), and I’m totally cool with all kinds of vinegar
But I digress.

Affiliate discounts: if you’re still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers, Carbonshade  is offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HERE. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like the taste, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS.

There are a limited number of spots left at the $3 level, so join soon! You can cancel at any time.

Also, I’m open to suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly at drlagakos@gmail.com.

 

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How to manage painful muscle cramps

(I think)

disclaimer: to the best of my knowledge, the causes and cures of painful muscle cramps are unknown. Researchers have studied nearly every electrolyte & metabolite in people who don’t get cramps, people who get cramps, people who get cramps while they’re actively experiencing a painful muscle cramp, and when they’re not.

Conclusion:

¯\_(?)_/¯

 

This is about idiopathic painful muscle cramps. Pregnancy, dialysis, and cirrhosis-related cramps may be completely different.

 

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Endurance Performance Doesn’t Decline on a Low Carb Diet

The new study by Zinn and colleagues doesn’t debunk ketoadaptation. And the authors agree!

In brief, it was 5 ~50-year old recreational endurance athletes. They’ve been training a lot for a very long time. In other words, one way to view this study is the opposite of n00b gainz. Experienced exercisers don’t typically make gains in 10 weeks without drastically changing their training program or increasing protein intake – neither of which occurred in this study.

 

 

For the rest of this article, and all past & future articles, head on over to Patreon! Five bucks a month gets you all access. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

Affiliate links: It’s 2018, join Binance and get some damn cryptoassets or download Honeyminer and get some Bitcoins for free!

Still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

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Long-term fat adaptation.

Ketoadaptation

More on physical performance and ketoadaptation

A timeline of ketoadaptation.

 

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FOOD PROFILE

Hey Fam, announcement: I’m moving to Patreon soon — will still post about 4-5 articles per month with at least 1 open to the public. The rest will be for Patrons. I’m still trying to figure it out and I’m open to suggestions!

 

I loved this – when describing the two study diets, which differed markedly in carb content (10% vs. 53%), the authors said they were similar in energy, protein, and “FOOD PROFILE,” meaning low-processed, lower-glycemic foods.

Non-industrial foods.

Hunger-free Diet(s).

BOOM!

Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low-fat isocaloric diets: a randomized controlled trial (Veum et al., 2016)

 

What happens when you give up industrial foods and start following a Hunger-free Diet (regardless of carbz)?

 

 

EVERYBODY LOSES WEIGHT

 

 

And le saturated fat? Industrial foods are the problem, not saturated fat. One group went from 48 to 31 grams per day (LFHC), the other group went from 42 to 81 (VLCHF): all metabolic parameters improved in both groups.

 




 

Even their livers shrank:

 

 

My only qualm: everyone lost a bit of muscle. NOT SURPRISING when you cut calories & protein and don’t exercise. Protein dropped by about ~25 grams in both groups. When you cut calories, you need to up protein or start lifting heavy shit otherwise you’ll lose muscle. The ketonez won’t help.

 

 

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Exercise & protein, man. Exercise & protein.

-Basically, any beginner can make decent gains upon starting a new exercise regimen… it’s actually hard not to. Noob gainz.

-What’s easier than doubling exercise volume? PROTEIN.

Protein Supplementation to Augment the Effects of High Intensity Resistance Training in Untrained Middle-Aged Males: The Randomized Controlled PUSH Trial (Wittke et al., 2017)

Four groups: 1) high intensity training (HIT); HIT + high protein diet (HIT+P) (1.6 g/kg/d); HIT + high volume (HVHIT); and control. Baseline protein intake was ~1.2 g/kg, so it was about a ~33% increase.

Duration: 22 weeks, which is long enough to actually make some measurable noob gainz.

Results:

 

 

Exercise alone (HIT) wasn’t particularly effective but doubling the volume worked.  What’s easier than doubling the volume?  PROTEIN.  Protein is better than doubling the volume for n00b gainz in LBM.

 

 

More gainz in leg & arm muscle mass and strength.  Doubling the volume was slightly better for fat loss. CICO? Energy intake declined slightly in HIT but remained stable in HIT+P & HVHIT.

My take? Protein is way easier than double-volume high intensity training.

 

 

Protein & exercise, man. Protein & exercise.

 

 

 

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Affiliate links: It’s 2018, join Binance and get some damn cryptoassets or download Honeyminer and get some Bitcoins for free!

Still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and TrueDark are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS and Spectra479 is offering 15% off HEREIf you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then this.

20% off some delish stocks and broths from Kettle and Fire HERE

If you want the benefits of  ‘shrooms but don’t like eating them, Real Mushrooms makes great extracts. 10% off with coupon code LAGAKOS. I recommend Lion’s Mane for the brain and Reishi for everything else

Start your OWN Patreon campaign!

Join Earn.com with this link and get paid to answer questions online.

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