Sunday, March 1, 2015

Carbohydrates, Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Fat), and Disease

From some comments on another forum:
I agree that obesity alone ought to be considered a symptom of a disease. Wrt [Metabolic Syndrome], I don’t know that the problem is so much the wearing out of the pancreas as it is increasing cellular resistance to insulin, but that’s probably nitpicking. As you say, it’s insidious.
There appear to be two basic causes of diabetes.  Auto-immune (type I) and rejection of glucose as a fuel source (type II).  Some people have a spectrum of both, which gives rise to the appearance of the pancreas “getting tired”.

John’s explanation is the standard Dr. explanation for type II, but I think it’s wrong.

What appears to happen is that constantly running your body on glucose causes damage to the mitochondria, and if they don’t get a break, they get more and more damaged via oxidation, which leads to many of the other symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome, like Alzheimer's’ (aka Type III diabetes), heart disease (fibrosis, specifically), and cancers.  Eventually cells become insulin resistant because they’re attempting to stop the damage that comes from continually running on glucose: they’re rejecting the fuel.  One of the characteristics of type II diabetes is high, not low, insulin levels.  The body is desperately trying to rid itself of excess glucose, and the cells are refusing to use it. (Metformin, one of the most effective treatments for type II diabetes, alters mitochondrial function, forcing the cells to burn glucose.)

The other required ingredient is a diet high in omega-6 fats.  These alter the function of many parts of the body, but specifically they make the mitochondria produce more oxidative damage when running on glucose, and they themselves get oxidized, damaging the rest of the body, as they’re toxic when oxidized.

Avoiding the metabolic syndrome seems to be as simple as not running your body on glucose 24/7.  In mice, simply forcing them to fast 16 hours a day prevents the syndrome, even if you’re feeding them exactly the same type and quantity of food.
…If I were a Progressive who has adopted a paleo viewpoint on diet, I think I’d challenge your assumption that all this comes from Progressives, though.
No, it doesn’t all come from the Progressives.  Using government to improve agriculture does, though, and advocating a specific, harmful dietary pattern does.  Those two factors are what has lead to a 70% overweight rate in the US.

They deserved to be blamed for it.  They deserve a lot worse…

“What we discovered is that all of these different pathogenic mechanisms do reflect a single hyperglycemia-induced process and that this single unifying process is the overproduction of superoxide by the mitochondrial electron transport chain.”

The Pathobiology of Diabetic Complications

Fascinating paper.

Ending hyperglycemia is, of course, the easiest thing in the world: stop eating carbohydrates in excess of your body’s capacity to process them.  If you do so, virtually all the symptoms of the metabolic syndrome are reversible.

And for the omega-6 part:
“Alterations in cardiolipin structure, content and acyl chains composition have been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in multiple tissues in several physiopathological conditions, including ischemia/reperfusion, different thyroid states, diabetes, aging and heart failure. Cardiolipin is particularly susceptible to ROS attack due to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids. Oxidative damage to cardiolipin would negatively impact the biochemical function of the mitochondrial membranes altering membrane fluidity, ion permeability, structure and function of components of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, resulting in reduced mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation efficiency and apoptosis. Diseases in which mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to cardiolipin peroxidation are described.”

Role of cardiolipin peroxidation and Ca2+ in mitochondrial dysfunction and disease

Omega-6 consumption drives cardiolipin polyunsaturate concentrate:

The level of linoleic acid in neural cardiolipin is linearly correlated to the amount of essential fatty acids in the diet of the weanling rat

The same thing's been shown for multiple human tissues.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Food Type, and Time of Day.

Fascinating study from J. Stanton ("The Breakfast Myth, Part II"), hunt inspired by Bill Lagakos ("Meal timing and peripheral circadian clocks"):

"The implications of the present research are important for human dietary recommendations. Humans seldom eat a uniform diet throughout the day, thus requiring the ability to respond to alterations in diet quality. Currently, a typical human diet consists of a high carbohydrate morning meal followed by higher fat and/or more calorie-dense meals later in the day. Our studies provide evidence that the capacity to adjust to the dietary composition of a given meal or bout of feeding is an important component in energy balance and that such capacity appears to depend on the meal ingested upon waking. Consumption of a high fat waking meal is associated with increased ability to respond appropriately to carbohydrate meals ingested later in the waking period, while a high carbohydrate morning meal appears to “fix” metabolism toward carbohydrate utilization and impair the ability to adjust metabolism toward fat utilization later in the waking period. In addition, consumption of a calorically-dense high fat meal at the end of the active period promotes cardiometabolic syndrome development in mice. The findings of this study suggest that dietary recommendations for weight reduction and/or maintenance should include information about the timing of dietary intake, as well as the quality and quantity of intake."

So no carbs for breakfast, and avoid high-fat dinners if you're eating late.

What I'd like to see is if skipping breakfast and then eating lunch avoids the end-of-day-meal effect they found here.  It sounds like it, to me.

Not surprisingly, the Modern American Diet approach is the worst one, and does best at fattening you up.  At least in mice, anyway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Fruit Of The Progressive Intervention In Diet

For the tl;dr crowd, if you're not familiar with Nina Teicholz's The Big Fat Surprise before,
I just came across this review of her book in "The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal)" I thought you'd all find of interest:

"Are some diets “mass murder”?
"From low fat to Atkins and beyond, diets that are based on poor nutrition science are a type of global, uncontrolled experiment that may lead to bad outcomes, concludes Richard Smith"

Note that in the summary they include Atkins in the list of "diets that are based on poor nutrition science", despite the author of the review's conclusion to the contrary.

"By far the best of the books I’ve read to write this article is Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, whose subtitle is “Why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet.”3 The title, the subtitle, and the cover of the book are all demeaning, but the forensic demolition of the hypothesis that saturated fat is the cause of cardiovascular disease is impressive. Indeed, the book is deeply disturbing in showing how overenthusiastic scientists, poor science, massive conflicts of interest, and politically driven policy makers can make deeply damaging mistakes. Over 40 years I’ve come to recognise what I might have known from the beginning that science is a human activity with the error, self deception, grandiosity, bias, self interest, cruelty, fraud, and theft that is inherent in all human activities (together with some saintliness), but this book shook me...." 
"Reading these books and consulting some of the original studies has been a sobering experience. The successful attempt to reduce fat in the diet of Americans and others around the world has been a global, uncontrolled experiment, which like all experiments may well have led to bad outcomes. What’s more, it has initiated a further set of uncontrolled global experiments that are continuing. Teicholz has done a remarkable job in analysing how weak science, strong personalities, vested interests, and political expediency have initiated this series of experiments.... It’s surely time for better science and for humility among experts."

Do read the whole thing.  The author is a fairly influential figure in medicine.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Linoleic Acid, Asthma, and Metabolic Syndrome—a Follow-up.

Wow. Double-whammy:

In this study, to our best knowledge, we report for the first time that 13-S-HODE, a linoleic acid metabolite, causes mitochondrial dysfunction and bronchial epithelial injury. Although much is known about leukotrienes in asthma12, much less attention has been given to other lipid metabolites. We studied 13-S-HODE because of increasing evidence of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in asthma7, 8, 9 and high concentrations of 13-S-HODE are found in reticulocytes during degeneration of mitochondria of reticulocytes16. On the other hand, mitochondrial dysfunction seems to be crucial in the genesis of epithelial injury and asthma pathogenesis in mice7, 8, 9. Similarly dysfunctional mitochondria have been found in human asthmatic bronchial epithelia30. Transfer of mitochondria from stem cells to alveolar epithelial cells reversed acute lung injury in sepsis, indicating the crucial role that mitochondrial health in lung diseases17. In this context, understanding the effects of 13-S-HODE on airway epithelium is essential because we found its levels to be high in the airway secretions and extracellular fluids. Also it is practically difficult to reduce the levels of 13-S-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (13-S-HODE) as there are many sources for its synthesis13, 14, 15.

So metabolite damages your mitochondria, causing asthma.  Among other things, I'd not be surprised.

From 1961:

"The fatty acid composition of erythrocyte and liver mitochondrial lipids was readily and drastically altered by varying the fatty acid content of the diet."

That's in rats, but the same thing has been found in humans, in all the tissues I've read reports about. To quote from the original post: "...the risk for uncontrolled asthma increased with a higher n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio."

So that suggests that a low-omega-6 diet would be useful in inhibiting or preventing asthma.

I'd always assumed it was wheat, as it's been shown to be involved with exercise-induced asthma, along with other varieties of asthma.  Perhaps they work in concert?

Original post.

The "other things" mentioned above are likely the Metabolic Syndrome.  Another paper from the same author:

"Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Metabolic Syndrome and Asthma"

Friday, October 24, 2014

Taking Electrolytes When Running In Death Valley


"I didn’t take any supplemental salt or electrolytes during the run. Further, the foods I consumed were generally low in sodium. None of my teammates took salt or electrolyte supplements.

While the sports-drink industry markets the importance of electrolytes, Tim Noakes has argued that the body contains enough salt and electrolytes to last for weeks. Further, he points out that in a hot environment, the salt content of sweat and urine drops by 90-plus percent. People see white, crusty sweat on their clothes after running because their bodies are ridding themselves of the excessive salt contained in the typical western diet (Noakes 2012). Ironically, people see the salt crusts and, worrying that they are running low on electrolytes, eat more salt—when they actually may have more than they need.

Talk about putting your money where you mouth is!

If you can run 292 miles through Death Valley without supplementary salt, I think we can put that myth to bed.

Full version (from the link above) here (PDF).

Monday, October 6, 2014

Iatrogenic Ebola?

"iatrogenic /iat·ro·gen·ic/ (i-ă´tro-jen´ik) resulting from the activity of physicians; said of any adverse condition in a patient resulting from treatment by a physician or surgeon."
I was surprised to read this:

"In the end, you discovered that the Belgian nuns had unwittingly spread the virus. How did that happen?

"In their hospital they regularly gave pregnant women vitamin injections using unsterilised needles. By doing so, they infected many young women in Yambuku with the virus. We told the nuns about the terrible mistake they had made, but looking back I would say that we were much too careful in our choice of words. Clinics that failed to observe this and other rules of hygiene functioned as catalysts in all additional Ebola outbreaks. They drastically sped up the spread of the virus or made the spread possible in the first place. Even in the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa, hospitals unfortunately played this ignominious role in the beginning."

From here, 'In 1976 I discovered Ebola - now I fear an unimaginable tragedy'


Thursday, September 11, 2014

News From The Cereal Industry

"For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining... And the drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options... "...Cereal sales have long been subject to dips brought on by food fads like the Atkins diet or bagel mania. And many cereals are neither gluten-free nor protein-rich, so they fail to resonate with the growing number of consumers who are gluten-intolerant or adherents of the so-called paleo diet.

"...“Additionally, there’s a small but very active and influential group of millennials who are focused on health and don’t like processed food. Guess what, cereal companies? They want to kill you.”"

Hey, it's nothing personal, I'm sure.

"...It also found a way to capitalize on Chex, which had produced consistent sales but little growth since General Mills acquired it in the 1990s. “We had tried everything to move the needle: new advertising, new flavors — and then we marketed it as gluten-free, and it took off,” Mr. Murphy said.

"...MOM, which is owned by the descendants of its founder, John Campbell, also has had success with a relatively new brand, Mom’s Best cereals, “because of an absence of negatives,” Mr. Reppenhagen said. “No hydrogenated oils, no preservatives, no artificial flavors and colors — we even use vegetable dyes in the packaging.”"

Adding protein is also big, apparently. Ick: I wonder what kind of protein they're adding?