Could A Fecal Transplant Cure Depression? How Gut Bacteria Impacts Your Mood

Emerging research has found that gut bacteria can affect your mood. Learn more about ways to boost your gut flora.

Source: Could A Fecal Transplant Cure Depression? How Gut Bacteria Impacts Your Mood

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Vitamin D deficiency linked to greater risk of diabetes

An epidemiological study suggests that persons deficient in vitamin D may be at much greater risk of developing diabetes.

Source: Vitamin D deficiency linked to greater risk of diabetes — ScienceDaily

Supplement Focus: Multivitamin

Multivitamins are, for some reason, a bit controversial. Some people say you need them, others insist they do more harm than good. So, what are multivitamins, really? Do you need them? Should everyone be taking one? What constitutes a “good” multivitamin? Are they really dangerous?

What Is A Multivitamin

Most multivitamins are in either capsule or pill form, though some are sold as powders. A multi– vitamin will contain multiple vitamins, minerals, and other elements. Some vitamins for example, only have different B vitamins, alleging stress relief as a benefit. This would not be considered a multivitamin. The majority of multivitamins will contain:

  • Vitamin C
  • Several B vitamins (1,2,3,5,6,9,12)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

And depending on the vitamin, more. The dosages will vary product to product as well.

 

Why Multivitamins Are “Bad For You”

The idea that multivitamins are bad for you, can lead to disease, and should be avoided is brought up frequently. Using weak science, incomplete data, and false assumptions people or organizations will try to scare people away from taking multivitamins. Some reasons commonly given for why multivitamins are terrible for your health are:

  • “Abundance” of research associating multivitamin use with increased rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • No evidence that they increase lifespan
  • Little to no government regulation as a supplement
  • Vitamins/minerals less bioavailable than in food (somewhat true, as most vitamins and minerals require fat to be absorbed)

 

Why Multivitamins Are Good For You

There are plenty of things wrong with the reasons listed above as well as how those conclusions were arrived to. First, some simple and clean facts:

  • Studies show no increased rates of CVD in men or women
  • Decades of data regarding multivitamin use shows a decrease in all-cause mortality
  • Yes, it is preferable to get all the vitamins/minerals/elements from diet. It’s just not feasible. For financial, time, and practical reasons, diet alone is not enough

Now let’s look the vitamin deficiencies in American adults not using multivitamins:

  • Vitamin D: 96%
  • Vitamin C: 48%
  • Vitamin E: 96
  • Vitamin A: 58%

Those are large numbers.

Vitamin deficiencies in American adults using multivitamins:

  • Vitamin D: 25%
  • Vitamin C: 3%
  • Vitamin E: 5%
  • Vitamin A: 2%

Significantly less.

 

Methodological Problems

The science used to conclude multivitamins are bad for you is executed poorly, along with the omission of data in most published reports. Many of the claims against multivitamins are based off of research with no biochemical analysis done. In other words, no blood work is done in these studies; the research is relying on participants’ memory of what multivitamin(s) they took, how often, for how long, etc.

In the majority of this research the participants end up deficient in one or more vitamins/minerals/elements. This is true. What’s not published is that these participants began the study already deficient in those vitamins/minerals/elements. A similar problem occurs with disease states. Many of the participants begin the study in diseased states, so to say that multivitamin supplementation caused the diseased states observed at the conclusion of the study is disingenuous, at best.

The most egregious aspect of this is when these stories get sensationalized, the data supporting the use of multivitamins is omitted. When reading the actual research data, it’s obvious that overall, multivitamin use is beneficial to health in many aspects, but this is left out, seemingly, for the appeal of a shocking headline.

 

 

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Low magnesium levels make vitamin D ineffective: Up to 50 percent of US population is magnesium deficient

Vitamin D can’t be metabolized without sufficient magnesium levels, meaning Vitamin D remains stored and inactive for as many as 50 percent of Americans. In addition, Vitamin D supplements can increase a person’s calcium and phosphate levels even while they remain Vitamin D deficient. People may suffer from vascular calcification if their magnesium levels aren’t high enough to prevent the complication.

Source: Low magnesium levels make vitamin D ineffective: Up to 50 percent of US population is magnesium deficient — ScienceDaily

Exogenous Ketones

Ketones, for those unfamiliar, are a fuel source of the body and brain, alternative to glucose. The brain is more efficient utilizing ketones compared to glucose and certain bodily functions are also better off when ketone bodies are used compared to glucose. Ketone bodies can be produced within the body (endogenous ketones), which I mention here. It is also possible to supplement with exogenous ketones, ketone bodies originating outside of the body.

 

Ketones

There are 3 different ketone bodies:

  1. Acetone
  2. Acetoacetic Acid
  3. Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (BHB) Technically, BHB is not a true ketone body, but it functions the same as acetone and acetoacetic acid.

 

Ketone Supplements

Exogenous ketones come in two basic forms: ketone salts and ketone esters. Ketone esters are synthetically created chemicals that bind alcohol to ketone bodies. Until fairly recently, ketone esters were not available for purchase, as they were used for research purposes. There are now at least a few different products on the market. Very expensive, but available. Ketone salts are the more common form of exogenous ketone supplementation. Most exogenous ketone products are ketone salts and work by binding BHB to sodium, potassium, or calcium, or a combination of these.

Ketone Salts
Ketone Salts

 

Effects of Exogenous Ketones

There is a growing body of research regarding the efficacy of ketone supplementation in regards to all kinds of aspects. Some positive effects that have been observed are:

  • Appetite Suppression: Levels of hormones associated with hunger (insulin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and peptide tyrosine tyrosine) are decreased
  • Excess ketones (up to a certain point) are not stored as adipose tissue: Meaning little risk of gaining fat with ketone supplementation
  • Gastrointestinally more gentle than MCT oil: In other words, less likelihood of disaster pants.
  • Enhanced performance: The research here tends to go both directions, but for the most part stamina, oxygen requirements, and VO2 seem to be enhanced with exogenous ketones.
  • Improved Cognition: The brain runs more efficiently on ketones, one observed benefit is enhanced myelination
  • Many benefits of BHB: neuroprotective, anti aging, anti inflammatory/reduces and protects against oxidative damage, inhibits HDAC

Some negative effects that commonly occur are: bad breath caused by acetone breakdown and electrolyte imbalance induced by fluid loss.

Cyclist fueled by ketone bodies
Cyclist

To Ketone or Not to Ketone

There are many possible benefits of ketone supplementation and thus far it is seen to be safe and effective. The take away, though, is that supplementation is not necessary. It is possible to almost constantly have a supply of endogenous ketones fueling your body and brain. By implementing a ketogenic diet and/or intermittent fasting your body will naturally produce and use ketone bodies. Supplementing has its uses and advantages in certain situations, but the many amazing benefits of BHB and other ketone bodies are available to you, and for free.

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Supplement Focus: Protein

As far as supplemented protein goes, there are lots of different kinds. The most common are whey, casein, and vegetable-based. Whey and casein are both animal-based, made from milk. Milk protein is made of about 80% casein and 20% whey. Whey and casein differ in their effects as well, more on that later. As far as vegetable-based protein there are several options, they key is to utilize complete proteins. A complete protein contains all of the essential amino acids (EAA).

Types of Protein

Whey Protein: The most used and easy to find protein supplement. Whey is found in two forms, isolate and concentrate.

  • Whey protein isolates (WPI) are the purest form of protein, with up to 90% concentration of protein. The process of making WPI removes almost all fat and lactose making it more or less ok for lactose intolerant people to consume. WPI are considered the best protein supplement because of the purity, the lack of fat and lactose, and the amino acid profile it provides.
  • Whey protein concentrates, while not as pure as WPI still provide amino acids and can enhance performance and recovery. The process of making whey concentrates is not as refined as with WPI, but water, lactose, ash, and some minerals are all removed.

Casein Protein: The major component of bovine (cow) milk. Casein protein exists in micelle form, which is a large colloidal particle. Casein differs from whey in that the micelle particle, when digested, expands to form a gel or “clot” in the stomach. This can be beneficial for slower, sustained protein/nutrient release opposed to the fast acting effects of whey.

Vegetable Protein: Vegetable proteins are a viable option for supplementing protein. As mentioned above, the key is to use a complete protein, which will have all of the EAA. Vegetable-based proteins will usually have lower amounts of EAA, though still beneficial for performance and general health. Soy-based protein is the most common vegetable protein, which is unfortunate because soy, it turns out, is not very good for muscle growth, hormone regulation, or stress.

Efficacy of Protein

  • Whey protein, both concentrates and WPI are best pre or post workout, as they are quick digesting. It would seem there are more benefits as far as muscle growth and recovery from training with post-workout protein supplementation. WPI and concentrates will enhance muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and increase insulin. This insulin increase will push glucose and amino acids into your (muscle) cells, and insulin also inhibits cortisol, the stress hormone, which if your worked out right, will be elevated.
  • Casein Protein is used in a different way than whey. Most commonly, casein is taken at night, around bed time or as a meal supplement during the day. Because of it’s slow digesting micelles, casein protein can be very filling and will provide a slow release of protein and EAA for up to 8 hours.

The amount you should be taking depends on you and your goals. The more lean mass you have the more protein is recommended. Also if your goal is to gain mass you will usually need to supplement more than someone whose goal is to reduce body fat or maintain weight.

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Choose Omega-3s from fish over flax for cancer prevention, study finds

Omega-3s from fish pack a stronger punch than flaxseed and other oils when it comes to cancer prevention, according to a new study.

Source: Choose Omega-3s from fish over flax for cancer prevention, study finds — ScienceDaily