Tag Archives: protein

Activate #Nrf2, then optimize: Brussels sprouts

Hahaha What can’t you do, Nrf2?

Remember The Day Almonds Became Interesting? Namely, “the long series of  unlikely events that must occur in order for the bifidogenic effects of almonds to manifest.” Well, it happened again. Or the opposite.

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I’m not a huge fan of antioxidant supps for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to ATBC and CARET. There are certainly some exceptions to this, although your body can handle itself quite well under most circumstances.

I am, however, a pretty big fan of periodically doing things like activating #Nrf2, because anti-cancer. Advantage is that if there’s nothing going on, Nrf2 is degraded pretty quickly (can’t really say the same about antiox supps). If there is something going one, Nrf2 rallies the troops to swiftly restore balance: pathways pathways pathways -> DEAD CANCER CELLS.

 

IT DOESN’T GET ANY EASIER THAN THIS, FAM

 

One of the major ways Nrf2 gets it done is by inducing the synthesis of endogenous protective compounds like glutathione. Glutathione synthesis requires sulfury stuff, particularly (if it’s available), cysteine. Guess what?

 

 

Sulforaphane activates Nrf2 and breaks down to provide cysteine for glutathione synthesis. WEIRD COINCIDENCE, I KNOW RIGHT?

WHAT CAN ANY REMOTELY REASONABLE PERSON CONCLUDE FROM THIS?

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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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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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Funded by Big ‘Shrooma

Reishi, the mushroom of longevity.

“The goal is to maintain or improve brain function and physical performance. And not get cancer.”

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‘Shrooms-every-day is part of my long-term anti-cancer plan. It’s not always a lot per serving, but I try to do the whole variety thing as much as possible, whatever’s available.

Maybe it’s one of those ice-age fairy tales fallacies, but cultures around the world have attributed a large number of health benefits to ‘shrooms for literally, thousands of years:

Ganoderma [reishi] has a very long history in East Asia as a medicinal mushroom dating back to the Chinese materia medica ‘Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing,’ written between 206 BC and 8 AD. It was considered a superior tonic for prolonging life, preventing aging, and boosting qi.”

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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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Pregnancy dieting and #moderation: just don’t be extreme

“If you can’t absorb B12, no amount of steak will help you” (more on this below)

Just like practically everyone in the field, I’m uncomfortable with the word moderation, in part because one person’s moderation can be wildly different from another’s.

Remember the Motherwell studies? In brief, they asked a group of expecting women to ditch carbs and eat a ton of meat instead (about a pound per day), and compared them with a group not given diet advice. It was designed to compare an extreme diet to an average diet (note: they didn’t assess the opposite extreme, ie, high carb vegan).

Tl;dr: babies were healthy at birth but developed a variety of health problems later in life. Perfect study design? No. Better than ALSPAC? Kinda, yeah.

 

 

In the context of today’s topic, I’ll define moderation as “not extreme” (bear with me here) (unless ALSPAC is retracted or something… which is possible given the study design.)

 

Meat consumption during pregnancy and substance misuse among adolescent offspring (Hibbeln et al., 2017) (aka ALSPAC)

 

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Ketosis in an evolutionary context

Humans are unique in their remarkable ability to enter ketosis.  They’re also situated near the top of the food chain.  Coincidence?

During starvation, humans rapidly enter ketosis; they do this better than king penguins, and bears don’t do it at all.

Starvation ketosis

 

Starvation ketosis

Humans maintain a high level of functionality during starvation.  We can still hunt & plan; some would even argue it’s a more finely tuned state, cognitively.  And that’s important, because if we became progressively weaker and slower, chances of acquiring food would rapidly decline.

Perhaps this is why fasting bears just sleep most of the time: no ketones = no bueno..?

Observation: chronic ketosis is relatively rare in nature. This doen’t mean animals evolved a protective  mechanism against ketosis.

 

 

Animals with a low brain/carcass weight ratio (ie, small brain) don’t need it. Babies and children have a higher brain/carcass weight ratio, so they develop ketosis more rapidly than adults. Is this a harmful process? No, more likely an evolutionary adaptation which supports the brain.

ketones age

The brain of newborn babies consumes a huge amount of total daily energy, and nearly half comes from ketones.  A week or so later, even after the carbohydrate content of breast milk increases, they still don’t get “kicked out of ketosis” (Bourneres et al., 1986).  If this were a harmful state, why would Nature have done this?  …and all those anecdotes, like babies learn at incredibly rapid rates… coincidence?  Maybe they’re myths.  Maybe not.




 

Ketosis in the animal kingdom

Imagine a hibernating bear: huge adipose tissue but small brain fuel requirement relative to body size and total energy expenditure.  No ketosis, because brain accounts for less than 5% of total metabolism.  In adult humans, this is around 19-23%, and babies are much higher (eg, Cahill and Veech, 2003Hayes et al., 2012).

 

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On the impact of diet on circadian phase setting

We’ve seen that meal size and frequency can influence circadian rhythms, but here are some examples of how nutrients can, too.

Circadian phase advance: going to bed earlier, waking up earlier.  Blue blockers at sunset, bright light at sunrise.  Flying east.  Autumn.

Circadian phase delay: staying up late, sleeping in.  Flying west.  Spring.  Using smart phones, tablets, and iPads in bed at night.  Light pollution.

Relative to adolescents, infants and children are circadian phase advanced.  This is part of what is fueling the movement to delay high school start times.  Kids are mentally better prepared to work later in the day.  With early school start times, performance is down in the morning, but they kill it on video games after school.  Delaying start time by an hour won’t totally fix this, but could help.

 

 

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Low carb, low glycemic index, or something else entirely

Why Low Carb?

OmniCarb (Sacks et al., 2014)

Study design & results in a nutshell:

5 weeks, low(ish) vs. high carb (40 vs. 58%) with the calorie difference split between protein (23 vs. 16%) and fat (37 vs. 27%).  In other words, the low(ish) carb diet was higher in protein and fat.  And there was 2 versions of each diet —  a high and low glycemic index.  Lots of crossing over; all in all, weak intervention but decent study design & execution.

Aaaand nothingsauce nothingburger.  Goal was insulin sensitivity, not weight loss.

 

glucose and insulin

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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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Allu-lujah: the new Quest Hero bars

On that sweetener in the new Quest Hero bars: allulose (formerly known as D-Psicose).

1. I’m sure they were quick to adopt the alternate nomenclature because it’s hard not so say Piss-cose lol

2. Nutrition-wise, Hero bars are basically Quest Lite. A bit less fibre. But I really think they’re getting much better at texture.

3. On to allulose. It’s not really like sugar – even though the FDA says it must be labeled as such – because it carries virtually no calories and actually blunts the blood glucose spike from a meal.

 

Exhibit A. n=20 healthy peole: 7.5 g D-psicose alone, 75 g maltodextrin alone, 75 g maltodextrin + 2.5, 5, or 7.5 g D-psicose (Iida et al., 2008)

amazeballs

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit B. n=26, zero or 5g psicose with a standardized meal (Hayashi et al., 2010). Note: there are ~12 grams of allulose in a Hero bar.

It works better in diabetics.

 

 

They did a 12-week study where psicose was dosed 3 times a day, 5 grams each time, and showed it was perfectly healthy. Some markers even improved.

 

Exhibit C. Psicose metabolism (Iida et al., 2010)

In doses ranging from 5 to 30 grams, up to 70% is excreted intact and the rest does not go to farts.

It’s virtually calorie-free:

 

 

and is barely fermentable (compared to FOS):

 

 

compare to other low carb protein bars here, get the new Quest bars here, or just buy some straight allulose and experiment with it!

Mechanisms? 1) it’s not sugar, but it still enhances glucose disposal; and 2) some animal studies show it enhances liver glucose uptake. Idk.

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Discounts: still looking for a pair of hot blue blockers? Carbonshade and Spectra479 are offering 15% off with the coupon code LAGAKOS. And for some delish broths/stocks, Kettle & Fire is 20% off HERE.

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