Research Roundup

Posted: December 18, 2010 in Misc., Nutrition, Training

Lots of interesting new research published in the past few days, I’m just going to bundle it all up here and encourage discussion in the comments section instead of dissecting it all myself. Read it, and tell me what you think. Now.

Resveratrol for fat loss

Chem Biodivers. 2010 Dec;7(12):2931-40.

Two New Resveratrol Tetramers Isolated from Cayratia japonica (Thunb.) Gagn. with Strong Inhibitory Activity on Fatty Acid Synthase and Antioxidant Activity.

Two new resveratrol tetramers, cajyphenol A (1) and cajyphenol B (2), together with two known resveratrol dimers, quadrangularin A (3) and pallidol (4), and resveratrol (5) were isolated from the stems of Cayratia japonica (Thunb.) Gagn. Their structures were established by means of NMR ((1)H,(1)H-COSY, (1)H,(13)C-HSQC, HMBC, and NOESY) and ESI-MS analyses. Compounds 1-5 showed fast-binding inhibitory activities on fatty acid synthase with the IC(50) values of 1.63±0.02, 1.49±0.03, 7.50±0.01, 11.1±0.01, and 10.2±0.01 μM, respectively. Compounds 1-5 also exhibited antioxidant activities in the ORAC assay.

PMID: 21162006


DHA dilates coronary arteries

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010 Dec 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Docosahexanoic acid-induced Coronary Arterial Dilation: Actions of 17S-hydroxy docosahexanoic acid on K + Channel Activity.

Despite extensive studies, the mechanisms mediating the cardiovascular actions of omega (ω)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids has not yet been fully understood. The present study determined the possible actions of an endothelium-derived lipoxygenase product of docosahexanoic acid (DHA), 17S-hydroxy DHA (17S-HDHA) in bovine coronary arteries. HPLC analysis demonstrated that bovine coronary arterial endothelial cells can metabolize DHA via lipoxygenases, and one of the major products was confirmed to be 17S-HDHA by LC/MS/MS. In isolated perfused small bovine coronary arteries, 17S-HDHA (10(-9)-10(-5) M) caused a concentration-dependent dilation with a maximum dilator response of 87.8 ± 2.5%, which is much more potent than the dilator response of its precursor, DHA. Moreover, 17S-HDHA-induced vasodilatations was significantly blocked by iberiotoxin, a large conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+)(BK(Ca)) channel blocker, but not altered by an ATP-sensitive K(+) channel blocker, glibenclamide. In patch clamp whole-cell recording, 17S-HDHA markedly increased K(+) currents in coronary arterial smooth muscle cells. In the inside-out mode, but not in the cell-attached mode, 17S-HDHA dramatically increased the BK(Ca) channel activity which was substantially blocked by iberiotoxin. Collectively, our findings indicate that 17S-HDHA, an endothelium-derived DHA product via lipoxygenase, activates BK(Ca) channels in coronary arterial smooth muscle cells leading to coronary vasodilation, which may represent an important mechanism mediating the beneficial actions of DHA in coronary circulation.

PMID: 21156816


“CRAM” Supplement for cognitive function

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Dec 15;7(1):39. [Epub ahead of print]

The effects of acute and prolonged CRAM supplementation on reaction time and subjective measures of focus and alertness in healthy college students.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of acute and prolonged (4-weeks) ingestion of a supplement designed to improve reaction time and subjective measures of alertness, energy, fatigue, and focus compared to placebo.

METHODS: Nineteen physically-active subjects (17 men and 2 women) were randomly assigned to a group that either consumed a supplement (21.1 +/- 0.6 years; body mass: 80.6 +/- 9.4 kg) or placebo (21.3 +/- 0.8 years; body mass: 83.4 +/- 18.5 kg). During the initial testing session (T1), subjects were provided 1.5 g of the supplement (CRAM; alpha-glycerophosphocholine, choline bitartrate, phosphatidylserine, vitamins B3, B6, and B12, folic acid, L-tyrosine, anhydrous caffeine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and naringin) or a placebo (PL), and rested quietly for 10-minutes before completing a questionnaire on subjective feelings of energy, fatigue, alertness and focus (PRE). Subjects then performed a 4-minute quickness and reaction test followed by a 10-min bout of exhaustive exercise. The questionnaire and reaction testing sequence was then repeated (POST). Subjects reported back to the lab (T2) following 4-weeks of supplementation and repeated the testing sequence.

RESULTS: Reaction time significantly declined (p = 0.050) between PRE and POST at T1 in subjects consuming PL, while subjects under CRAM supplementation were able to maintain (p = 0.114) their performance. Significant performance declines were seen in both groups from PRE to POST at T2. Elevations in fatigue were seen for CRAM at both T1 and T2 (p = 0.001 and p = 0.000, respectively), but only at T2 for PL (p = 0.029). Subjects in CRAM maintained focus between PRE and POST during both T1 and T2 trials (p = 0.152 and p = 0.082, respectively), whereas significant declines in focus were observed between PRE and POST in PL at both trials (p = 0.037 and p = 0.014, respectively). No difference in alertness was seen at T1 between PRE and POST for CRAM (p = 0.083), but a significant decline was recorded at T2 (p = 0.005). Alertness was significantly lower at POST at both T1 and T2 for PL (p = 0.040 and p = 0.33, respectively). No differences in any of these subjective measures were seen between the groups at any time point.

CONCLUSION: Results indicate that acute ingestion of CRAM can maintain reaction time, and subjective feelings of focus and alertness to both visual and auditory stimuli in healthy college students following exhaustive exercise. However, some habituation may occur following 4-weeks of supplementation.

PMID: 21156078


Caffeine improves weight training performance

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Dec 14. [Epub ahead of print]

The Effect of Caffeine Ingestion on Mood State and Bench Press Performance to Failure.

Duncan, MJ and Oxford, SW. The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure. J Strength Cond Res 25(1): 178-185, 2011-Research has suggested that caffeine enhances aerobic performance. The evidence for high-intensity, short-term exercise, particularly resistance exercise is mixed and has not fully examined the psychological changes that occur after this mode of exercise with caffeine ingestion. This study examined the effect of caffeine (5 mg·kg) vs. placebo on bench press exercise to failure and the mood state response pre to postexercise. Thirteen moderately trained men (22.7 ± 6.0 years) completed 2 laboratory visits, after determination of 1 repetition maximum (1RM) on the bench press, where they performed bench press repetitions to failure at a load of 60% 1RM. Mood state was assessed 60 minutes pre and immediately post-substance ingestion. Borg’s rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and peak blood lactate (PBla) were assessed after each test, and peak heart rate (PHR) was determined using heart rate telemetry. Participants completed significantly more repetitions to failure (p = 0.031) and lifted significantly greater weight (p = 0.027) in the caffeine condition compared to the placebo condition. The PHR (p = 0.0001) and PBla (p = 0.002) were higher after caffeine ingestion. The RPE was not different across conditions (p = 0.082). Mood state scores for vigor were greater (p = 0.001) and fatigue scores lower (p = 0.04) in the presence of caffeine. Fatigue scores were greater postexercise (p = 0.001) compared to scores pre exercise across conditions. Caffeine ingestion enhances performance in short-term, resistance exercise to failure and may favorably change the mood state response to exercise compared to a placebo.

PMID: 21157384


Fish Oil builds muscle

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.

Washington University, School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, and the University of Nottingham, School of Graduate Entry BACKGROUND: Loss of muscle mass with aging is a major public health concern. Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids stimulate protein anabolism in animals and might therefore be useful for the treatment of sarcopenia. However, the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on human protein metabolism is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults.

DESIGN: Sixteen healthy, older adults were randomly assigned to receive either omega-3 fatty acids or corn oil for 8 wk. The rate of muscle protein synthesis and the phosphorylation of key elements of the anabolic signaling pathway were evaluated before and after supplementation during basal, postabsorptive conditions and during a hyperaminoacidemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp.

RESULTS: Corn oil supplementation had no effect on the muscle protein synthesis rate and the extent of anabolic signaling element phosphorylation in muscle. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation had no effect on the basal rate of muscle protein synthesis (mean ± SEM: 0.051 ± 0.005 compared with 0.053 ± 0.008%/h before and after supplementation, respectively; P = 0.80) but augmented the hyperaminoacidemia-hyperinsulinemia-induced increase in the rate of muscle protein synthesis (from 0.009 ± 0.005%/h above basal values to 0.031 ± 0.003%/h above basal values; P < 0.01), which was accompanied by greater increases in muscle mTOR(Ser2448) (P = 0.08) and p70s6k(Thr389) (P < 0.01) phosphorylation.

CONCLUSION: Omega-3 fatty acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis in older adults and may be useful for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. This trial was registered at clinical as NCT00794079.

PMID: 21159787


New form of Vitamin E to keep an eye on for anti-inflammatory effects

Chembiochem. 2010 Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Asymmetric Synthesis and Biological Activity of nor-α-Tocopherol, a New Vitamin E Analogue.

The vitamin E analogues (2R,4’R,8’R)-nor-α-tocopherol (94 % de) and (2RS,4’R,8’R)-nor-α-tocopherol have been synthesized from (all R)-hexahydrofarnesol and phytol, respectively. According to in vitro experiments with murine macrophages nor-α-tocopherol is an anti-inflammatory compound more potent than α-tocopherol.

PMID: 21161968


Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen anabolic?

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Influence of acetaminophen and ibuprofen on skeletal muscle adaptations to resistance exercise in older adults.

Evidence suggests that consumption of over-the-counter cyclooxygenase inhibitors may interfere with the positive effects that resistance exercise training has on reversing sarcopenia in older adults. This study examined the influence of acetaminophen or ibuprofen consumption on muscle mass and strength during 12 weeks of knee-extensor progressive resistance exercise training in older adults. Thirty-six individuals were randomly assigned to one of three groups and consumed the cyclooxygenase-inhibiting drugs in double-blind placebo-controlled fashion: Placebo (67±2y; N=12), Acetaminophen (64±1y; N=11; 4g/d), Ibuprofen (64±1y; N=13; 1.2g/d). Compliance with the resistance training program (100%) and drug consumption (via digital video observation, 94%), and resistance training intensity were similar (P>0.05) for all three groups. Drug consumption unexpectedly increased muscle volume (Acetaminophen: 109±14cm(3), 12.5%; Ibuprofen: 84±10cm(3), 10.9%) and muscle strength (Acetaminophen: 19±2kg; Ibuprofen: 19±2kg) to a greater extent (P<0.05) than Placebo (Muscle volume: 69±12cm(3), 8.6%; Muscle strength: 15±2kg), when controlling for initial muscle size and strength. Follow-up analysis of muscle biopsies taken from the vastus lateralis before and after training showed muscle protein content, muscle water content, and myosin heavy chain distribution were not influenced (P>0.05) by drug consumption. Similarly, muscle content of the two known enzymes potentially targeted by the drugs, cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, was not influenced (P>0.05) by drug consumption, although resistance training did result in a drug-independent increase in cyclooxygenase-1 (32±8%; P<0.05). Drug consumption did not influence the size of the non-resistance trained hamstring muscles (P>0.05). Over-the-counter doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, when consumed in combination with resistance training, do not inhibit and appear to enhance muscle hypertrophy and strength gains in older adults. The current findings coupled with previous short-term exercise studies provide convincing evidence that the cyclooxygenase pathway(s) are involved in the regulation of muscle protein turnover and muscle mass in humans.

PMID: 21160058


Low Dose Deca aids in knee rehab

Orthop Surg Res. 2010 Dec 15;5(1):93. [Epub ahead of print]

Anabolic steroids after total knee arthroplasty. A double blinded prospective pilot study.

BACKGROUND: Total knee arthroplasty is reported to improve the patient’s quality of life and mobility. However loss of mobility and pain prior to surgery often results in disuse atrophy of muscle. As a consequence the baseline functional state prior to surgery may result in poorer outcome “post surgery” and extended rehabilitation may be required. The use of anabolic steroids for performance enhancement and to influence muscle mass is well established. The positive effects of such treatment on bone and muscle could therefore be beneficial in the rehabilitation of elderly patients. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of small doses of Nandrolone decanoate on recovery and muscle strength after total knee replacement and to establish the safety of this drug in multimorbid patients.

METHODS: This study was designed as a prospective double blind randomized investigation. Five patients (treatment group) with a mean age of 66.2 (58-72), average BMI of 30.76 (24.3-35.3) received 50 mg nandrolone decanoate intramuscular bi-weekly for 6 months. The control group (five patients; mean age 65.2, range 59-72; average BMI 31.7, range 21.2-35.2) was injected with saline solution. “Pre-operatively” and “post-operatively” (6 weeks, 3,6,9 and 12 months) all patients were assessed using the knee society score (KSS), isokinetic strength testing and functional tests (a sit-to-stand and timed walking tests). In addition, a bone density scan was used preoperatively and 6 month postoperatively to assess bone mineral density.

RESULTS: Whilst the steroid group generally performed better than the placebo group for all of the functional tests, ANOVA failed to reveal any significant differences. The steroid group demonstrated higher levels of quadriceps muscle strength across the postoperative period which reached significance at 3 (p=0.02) ,6 (p=0.01), and 12 months (p=0.02). There was a significant difference for the KSS at 6 weeks (p=0.02), 6 (p=0.02) and 12 month (p=0.01). The steroid group demonstrated a reduction in the amount of bone mineral density at both the femur and lumbar spine from “pre-” to “post-surgery”, however, these results did not reach significance (p < 0.05) using one-way ANOVA.

CONCLUSIONS: This project strongly suggests that the use of anabolic steroids result in an improved outcome as assessed by the KSS and significantly increases extensor strength. No side effects were seen in either the study or control group. Trial Registration Number Regional Health District: Register No. 03.05 Human Research Ethics Committee University: Clearance Number: 04/03-19.

PMID: 21159157

  1. John Stone says:

    I was just thinking about the painkillers and anabolism this morning as I laid in bed. No kidding. Long story short: Older adults probably have higher inflammatory markers, and taking nsaids helps relieve some of that inflammation. But my guess is that would take quite some time to manifest results.

    If however you consider that a muscle in pain becomes inhibited and therefore isn’t going to work to its full capacity then it only makes sense that you relieve the pain of exercise and the subject will be able to crank out twice as much work. I’d like to see the strength differences and I’d love to see some electrical testing of the muscle contractions during the exercise to see if in fact they did increase.

    Nubain was a drug of choice for years because of its ability to deaden pain without inhibiting motor function. Some amazing strength gains were reported and if we continue to follow the logic that pain inhibits muscle firing and painkillers block that process then it only makes sense that a greater response to the exercise will follow.

  2. Kimbo says:

    It’s funny, because for a while now (because of old discussions on Avant), I was always of the mind that inflammation was good for hypertrophy, and reduction of inflammation was good for fat loss. In light of some of the studies above, though, I suppose a better way to look at it may be that there should be a balance. What do you guys think?

  3. Sam Roza says:

    I’m very tempted to add 2 advil to my morning PWO regimen. This isn’t the first research article showing similar results, right? I seem to remember an older thread on MnM challenging the notion that anti inflammatory drugs inhibited gains.

    So what say we, guys?

  4. Fitport says:

    It’s a tough topic to draw conclusive evidence from, and I have waivered on recommendations throughout the years. It does seem that chronic use of certain anti-inflammatories will produce a beneficial anabolic effect in those habitating inflammatory conditions.

    John, after our discussion at lunch a few weeks ago, I started incorporating 800mg Ibuprofen before my workouts, as in the past few years I’ve noticed some debilitating joint and soft tissue pain. I’ve found great success with this method. I take my advil, foam roll the implicated soft tissue pre-workout, do some dynamic mobility drills, then have better workouts then ever. I’m stronger, less pain, and I’m adding muscle.

    Previous studies have shown a decrease in muscle protein synthesis after a single bout of anti-inflammatories prior to resistance training, yet a net increase in MPS with chronic use of anti-inflammatories, and this makes sense.

    The jury is still out on the specificities of this, but I would draw three safe conclusions based on the available evidence at this point:

    1> If your body is in an elevated state of inflammation, you will benefit from pre/post workout acetominophen/ibuprofen (the latter being my preference)

    2> If you take these every once in a while, expect detrimental, not beneficial effects. It has to be consistent.

    3> Some anti-inflammatories may cause a detrimental effect on MPS taken around workouts, acutely and/or chronically. I would still avoid fish oil, and most COX-2 inhibitors directly before or after training. Particularly in those that are not in an inflamed state (check your CRP-hs bloodwork, and gauge how your joints/soft tissue feel).

    What I’d really love to see, is you readers trying this out for a month or even just two weeks and reporting back. John, I know you told me you’ve had much better workouts mentally and physically by taking some ibuprofen beforehand…this is the kind of stuff I want to hear, and I’m sure all the readers of this site do as well.

  5. John Stone says:

    I usually take no more than 2-400mg before a workout and that seems to be just enough to prevent the crappy post workout blues but not so much that I feel like I’m overdoing it, putting my gi tract at risk, or thinning my blood too much.

    What’s interesting to me, again, if I’m interpreting this study correctly, is that the acetaminophen group experienced even better muscle growth than the ibuprofen group. All the information I can find about acetaminophen says it’s either a weak anti-inflammatory or possesses almost no anti-inflammatory properties. Instead it works to block pain by inhibiting the re-uptake of anandamide, our own internal cannibinoid. So what that says to me, if it holds true that acetaminophen possesses very little anti-inflammatory effects (This topic seems to be up for debate so it may be pointless to mention this) then perhaps this muscle growth is happening not because of the reduced inflammation but because of the reduced sensation of pain – not only because being in pain sucks and we don’t work out as hard as we could if we hurt, but you lose sooo much strength when mechanoreceptors shut off due to pain. People who are blocking pain at the muscle are in effect recruiting more muscle fiber motor units. Far more than they would if the pain persisted.

    So again, I wonder how much all of this comes down to the pain relieving properties rather than the anti-inflammatory properties. Perhaps a little of both.

  6. Sam Roza says:

    Consider me in for the challenge of a month-long (or even longer) trial on ibuprofen. I will take 400mg of non-branded IB every morning upon rising. I work out 4 days per week at 5AM, so the schedule works out well.

    I choose IB over Acetaminophen because I see no reason to present my liver with any addditional load over this type of experimenting.

    • Fitport says:

      I’d love to see you do this, and detail your reports for us. I’ll even make a whole blog post about it if you’re willing to track workouts and subjective experiences. Give us something to work with…before and afters with body fat/lean body mass, strength gains, pain perception, improvement in workout volume and or density, etc.

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