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CakeNutrition’s Feature Article

November 18, 2011

The Magic Pill – More of a Reality than We Ever Thought Possible

A timeless legend percolates throughout the health and fitness community of the “magic pill.” It’s a single substance that you can ingest which enables you to effortlessly maintain good health and fitness. If this legend were true today, people using it would speak of not only promoting the best physical fitness (less body fat; more muscle), but also tout preventing risk factors for diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) – which, by the way, is the LEADING cause of death worldwide (CDC.gov). Some “lesser” benefits would include enhancing joint health, reducing painful inflammation, conserving cognitive function during aging, and improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. This mysterious substance is said to be universal – almost everyone can use it. The fitness enthusiasts see benefits in their workouts and physical appearance, the health nuts yield better test results at their doctor visits and those who want both, well … get both. Now since I promised you all that this site would be based on scientific evidence …

Recent research suggests there may be more truth to this legend then we once thought!

Some of the first major evidence actually surfaced back in the 1990’s. Two studies came out that showed how consuming this potentially novel substance increased muscle insulin receptors and their binding capacity (Liu 1994) and also increased insulin sensitivity (Delarue 2004). Basically what those results mean is that this substance allows your body to respond to increases in blood sugar better. This alone has many potential health benefits:

For the gym rats, this means you will have lower insulin levels throughout the day. Lower insulin levels allow your body to use your own fat as fuel, over time helping with weight maintenance.

For the health nuts, this enhances your body’s ability to prevent high blood sugar levels – not only directly reducing risk for T2DM, but also indirectly reducing risk for hypertension. This is because high blood sugar makes the blood rather viscous (or “sticky” like syrup compared to water) which makes the heart work harder to move it throughout the body.

You muscle lovers will want to read this too…

Gringas and his team of researchers did a study with this substance in steers. They showed that after consumption, the ingredient actually merged itself into their muscle cells. When incorporated into the muscle it allowed signals to be received more efficiently. Specifically, it was shown that the steer muscle tissue received mTORC1s signals (a major muscle growth signal) more efficiently when animals were given this up-and-coming supplement. What’s promising is that the incorporation into muscles has been mirrored in a human study by Delarue and colleagues in 2004. This showed how humans too, may receive the same benefits. However, mTORC1 signaling was not measured in that study, and we cannot yet correlate this to benefiting muscle growth.

Sounds great, right?

But is it safe and has it been tested in humans long-term? – YES IT HAS!!!

 

In fact, multiple human studies within the past 10 years have shown substantial evidence of its benefits:

2001 – Aquilera et al

*Reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol

2007 – Kidd et al

* Shown to alleviate symptoms of depression

2009 – Hall et al

*“reduce blood pressure, improve [cardio vascular complications] in type 2 diabetics and dyslipidaemics”

2011 – Mozaffarian et al

*Reduce risk of congestive heart failure (CHF) in older adults

2011 – Zhang et al

*Have beneficial effects on cognitive function during aging

2011 – Newens et al

*Mitigate negative effects of high saturated fat meals

**Please do not read this last one and think you can just take this every time you eat badly and remain perfectly healthy. Eating foods high in saturated fat will have a negative impact on your health regardless, but this is able to reduce that effect.

 

 

Caaaaaaaaaaaaake, whaaaaaaat is it already ?!?

 

OK, OK, Ready for this one? All the studies I referenced were referring to the benefits of …

 

 

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

 

Yes, I’m serious. I understand that by now everyone has heard that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are “good” for you. But, the evidence is really starting to pile up in terms of the dose needed and the irrefutable health effects. There are two different sources of omega 3s, fish and plant, each with their own benefits. If possible, both should be incorporated into your daily diet. I would recommend an intake around:

 

 1g omega-3’s from fish from any combination of the following:

– 3 generic fish oil pills

– 1 “Triple Strength Fish Oil” from GNC (burp/odor free)

– 10 oz of salmon or other fatty fish

– 3 cans of tuna (mercury intake is not a concern unless you are pregnant)

 

10-15g omega-3’s from plant sources from any combination of the following:

-1 tbsp. flaxseeds or oil

– 4 oz. walnuts

– 1 tbsp. canola oil

 

Piece of Cake . . . Nutrition

        –Omega 3 fatty acids offer a wide variety of health benefits for people of all lifestyles.

-Get about 1 gram of omega-3’s from a fish source daily (either through food or supplements)

-Eat about 10-15 grams of omega-3’s from a plant source daily (flax, walnut, and canola are the best sources)

-If weight loss/maintenance is your goal, be sure to SUBSTITUTE unhealthy fats with these. Just adding them to your current diet will slightly increase your calorie intake.

 

References

Aguilera, C M et al. “[Protective effect of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids on the qdevelopment of cardiovascular disease].” Nutrición Hospitalaria: Organo Oficial De La Sociedad Española De Nutrición Parenteral Y Enteral 16.3 (2001): 78-91. Print.

 

Delarue J, Lefoll C, Corporeau C, Lucas D. “N-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: a nutritional tool to prevent insuliln resistance assocaited to type 2 diabetes and obesity.” Reprod Nutr . Dec 2004 PubMed. Web. Fall 2010

Gingras, Andrée-Anne, Phillip James White, P. Yvan Chouinard, Pierre Julien, Teresa A. Davis, Luce  Dombrowski, Yvon Couture, Pascal Dubreuil, Alexandre Myre, Karen Bergeron, André Marette, and M. Carole Thivierge. “Long-chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids Regulate Bovine Whole-body Protein Metabolism by Promoting Muscle Insulin Signalling to the Akt?mTOR?S6K1 Pathway and Insulin Sensitivity.” The Journal of Physiology 579.1 (2007): 269-84. Ovid. Web. Fall 2010.

Hall, Wendy L. “Dietary saturated and unsaturated fats as determinants of blood pressure and vascular function.” Nutrition Research Reviews 22.1 (2009): 18-38. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.

 

Kidd, Paris. Altern Med Rev 2007;12(3):207-227. PubMedCentral. Web. Fall 2010

Liu, V E Baracos, H A Quinney, and M T Clandinin. “Dietary Omega-3 and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Modify Fatty Acyl Composition and Insulin Binding in Skeletal-muscle Sarcolemma.” Biochem J 299 (1994): 831-37. PubMed. Web. Fall 2010. <www.ncbi.gov>.

 

Mozaffarian, Dariush et al. “Circulating long-chain ω-3 fatty acids and incidence of congestive heart failure in older adults: the cardiovascular health study: a cohort study.” Annals of Internal Medicine 155.3 (2011): 160-170. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.

 

Newens, Katie J et al. “DHA-rich fish oil reverses the detrimental effects of saturated fatty acids on postprandial vascular reactivity.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 94.3 (2011): 742-748. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.

 

Liu, V E Baracos, H A Quinney, and M T Clandinin. “Dietary Omega-3 and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Modify Fatty Acyl Composition and Insulin Binding in Skeletal-muscle Sarcolemma.” Biochem J 299 (1994): 831-37. PubMed. Web. Fall 2010. <www.ncbi.gov>.

 

Zhang, Wenting et al. “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain: metabolism and neuroprotection.” Frontiers in Bioscience: A Journal and Virtual Library 17 (2011): 2653-2670. Print.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Adamson permalink
    November 20, 2011 11:19 AM

    Excellent read.
    Ann Just took one of the Triple Strength from GNC she recently bought.
    I’ve been taking only 2 generic brand, I’ll be switching to the GNC.
    GNC has a 3 to 1 ratio of the EPA vs DHA ingredient. The generic brand I have does not.
    I don’t know exactly why but I’ve recently read there should be about a 3 to 1 ratio of these.
    We’ll try to get grandma started too.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  2. November 21, 2011 6:00 PM

    Thanks for reading! I haven’t read much about the EPA:DHA ratio, its definitely interesting though .. that would add another whole level to supplementation.

    No problem, my mom always taught me to share!

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