Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New from Japan: Five Tips to Surviving Foundation Japanese

From Grace Under Pressure

"Five Tips to Surviving Foundation Japanese"

My daughter got a job writing for the school website. This is her first post.

Read the whole thing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Thoughts on "Cardiolipin Synthesis in Brown and Beige Fat Mitochondria Is Essential for Systemic Energy Homeostasis"

Interesting confirmation of a core mitochondrial functional role for cardiolipin, and some interesting observations about cold-adaptation.

Get used to shivering! 
"However, the ability of adipose tissue to expend energy is a dynamic process that continues to increase with prolonged cold exposure, only reaching maximal capacity after several weeks (Cannon and Nedergaard, 2004)."
And clearly staying warm is overwhelmingly dependent on fat metabolism.
"However, the enrichment of lipid metabolism proteins far eclipsed that of proteins involved in all other metabolite pathways from 3 days to 3 weeks of cold exposure (Figure 1B)."
This likely explains why overweight people or inactive people have such a problem staying warm. Fat-burning capacity is dependent on stimulus, and while this doesn't show it, it likely atrophies like every other function of the body. Use it or lose it.

One of the key questions around cardiolipin and omega-6 fat intake is: what is a cardiolipin supposed to look like? This is more evidence that they're not supposed to be saturated with linoleic acid, leaving them uniquely susceptible to oxidizing and producing toxins like HNE as they damage mitocondrial function.
"Newly synthesized CL is characterized by shorter, more saturated acyl chains, which can be remodeled by phospholipases, and acyltransferases through monolysocardiolipin (monolysoCL) intermediates to generate a diverse pool of CLs."
It shouldn't surprise that CL is produced in an ideal state. Why it so readily takes up linoleic acid is an interesting question...

The paper also claims that energy production in brown-fat adipocytes (fat cells) controls systemic glucose homeostasis and therefore type 2 diabetes.

I'm a little more skeptical of that claim, as I looked into the connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and diabetes, and it's not as clear as I would like it to be. If this was a clear mechanism, then it would suggest that people living in warm climates that never experience a need for cold thermogenesis would be more susceptible to diabetes, and we really don't see that.

They get it when the industrial diet is introduced, same as everyone else on the planet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

New from Japan: ‘Kao’ versus ‘Cow’ and Other Misunderstandings

From Grace Under Pressure

"‘Kao’ versus ‘Cow’ and Other Misunderstandings"

Read the whole thing!

Friday, April 27, 2018

LDL Cholesterol: You Aren't Always What You Eat, or Roundabout Ways to Improve Your Diet

Sometimes you read these papers and shake your head.

"Lowering Dietary Saturated Fat and Total Fat Reduces the Oxidative Susceptibility of LDL in Healthy Men and Women"

The troll who pointed me to this was trying to argue that this invalidated the claim that omega-6 polyunsaturated (n-6) fats are important in cardiovascular disease (I gather), since lowering saturated fat (see the title) lowered oxidation.

Oddly enough, he was almost right, but not quite.

Fat components
The intervention was to have fixed protein (15%), but a variable rate of saturated fat (SFA), to be replaced by carbohydrate (CHO), and fixed rates of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (MUFA and PUFA, respectively). And they did a good job of detailing what the diet included, right down to the individual fats.

However you have to go to a different study to find all the details ("Effects of Reducing Dietary Saturated Fatty Acids on Plasma Lipids and Lipoproteins in Healthy Subjects")

To sum the variation, SFAs were 16%, 9%, and 5%; and CHO was therefore 48%, 55%, and 59%. MUFA was 14%, and PUFA was 7%.

The diet part of it seems to have been very well done, indeed. If you want some idea from where the food may have come, may I introduce you to their sponsors?
"The DELTA Investigators express thanks to the following contributors: AARHUS, Bertolli, USA., Best Foods, Campbell Soup Company, Del Monte Foods, General Mills, Hershey Foods Corp., Institute of Edible Oils and Shortenings, Kraft General Foods, Land O'Lakes, McCormick Incorporated, Nabisco Foods Group, Neomonde Baking Company, Palm Oil Research Institute, Park Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Quaker Oats, Ross Products Division/Abbott Laboratories, Swift-Armour and Eckrick, Van Den Bergh Foods, Cholestech, Lifelines Technology Incorporated."

The troll was almost right because LDL oxidation did indeed go down in this study. But it went down for a reason that I wouldn't have expected, and which leaves me somewhat perplexed to explain mechanistically. 

The paper goes on ad nauseum along these lines:
"Convincing evidence suggests that oxidative modification of LDL plays an important role in the pathophysiology of atherogenesis (Steinberg 1997). In recent years, numerous molecular mechanisms have been proposed to explain the different oxidation pathways that lead to modification of LDL (Steinberg 1997). 
"One of the earliest steps in the generation of oxidatively modified LDL is the peroxidation of its polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).3 The oxidative breakdown products of these fatty acids, such as malondialdehyde [MDA] and 4-hydroxynonenal [HNE], form covalent bonds with apolipoprotein B (apo B)..."
Yeah, yeah. Old news (the paper is from 2000), but here's where it gets odd:
"The results of the present study also show that LDL composition (LDL quality) affects susceptibility to oxidation. [It] was inversely correlated with the quantity of LDL oleic acid (r = −0.29, P < 0.01), and positively correlated with the quantity of LDL linoleic acid (r = 0.23, P = 0.04) and the 18:2-to-18:1 ratio (r = 0.52, P < 0.001). The oxidation rate was positively correlated with the 18:2-to-18:1 ratio (r = 0.24, P = 0.03)."
To lower n-6, cut SFA?


So lowering SFA indeed made the LDL more resistant to oxidation. But it did so by lowering n-6 and raising MUFA in the LDL! SFA was basically unchanged.

A little Lipidology 101, MDA and HNE, mentioned above, aren't made from SFA, they're made from PUFA, and HNE is made exclusively from n-6. MDA and HNE pretty much are oxidized LDL. So you're not getting oxidized LDL from SFA in the body. It just won't happen.

Of course the authors don't mention that little fact. More below.

For some reason I am unable to explain, lowering SFA (16:0, palmitate in the chart) in the diet lowered n-6 (18:2, linoleate) in the LDL, and increased MUFA (18:2, oleate), protecting LDL from oxidation. SFA stayed  the same, basically.

My best guess is that it was the increased CHO in the diet (is this what's behind the Japanese diet, which is low in SFA and high in CHO?) but it is just a guess.
"In the present study, the ratios of 18:2 to 18:1 and PUFA to MUFA in the LDL from subjects when they consumed the Step-1 and Low-Sat diets were significantly lower than they were in the LDL from subjects when they consumed the AAD. Linoleic acid (n-6) in LDL from subjects when they consumed the Low-Sat diet also was significantly lower compared with those from subjects when they consumed the AAD. "
The first citation for this paper is:

"Oxidation of low-density lipoproteins: intraindividual variability and the effect of dietary linoleate supplementation"
"LDL oxidized faster after the linoleate diet than after the oleate diet... and produced more conjugated diene [that's bad] in proportion to the increase in LDL linoleate."
Here's where we get to the shaking my head part.

Why in blazes wouldn't you reduce the thing that is actually capable of causing the harm, as your first cite shows, and as your own study shows, is the source of the problem? Why keep n-6 flat and reduce something else, which through some round-about effect, lowers what you need to lower, the n-6?

Just lower the n-6 and you reduce the susceptibility for oxidation! They cite other papers that have done exactly that!

This study was done in 2000, did I mention that?

Think of the progress we would have made if they'd actually done what any engineer reading this paper would have told them to do. 
"N-6 converts to these toxins? You're proved that? Why not reduce the n-6?"
Let's not get too into conspiracies here, but on the face of it this study is clearly little more than a misleading advertisement for the sponsors listed above, who are forced to follow the United States Dietary Guidelines and replace saturated fats with the n-6 fat that their own research claims is harmful.

This post started with a twitter troll who cited the first-mentioned study:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Breakfast with Low-Carb Dr. Tro Kalayjian

I'm the one with the bunny ears.

I had breakfast with Dr. Tro this morning in poverty-stricken Greenwich, Connecticut this morning, where I believe he treats gunshot wounds or stabbing victims, or something. Or maybe broken fingernails from Ferraris. Not too clear on that, actually...

He's a fascinating guy, he was morbidly obese (see pic below) until he decided to commit to a low-carb and then zero-carb (carnivore) diet. After initially thinking the whole notion of "fat adaption" was nonsense, he became a convert after discovering how it worked himself, with guidance from a bunch of folks, including (I hope) yours truly.

You'd never guess he was ever anything but lean and healthy. It's really quite remarkable.

He seems like he's got all the motivations to make an excellent, scientific doctor (which is not an easy thing!), and I hope he goes ahead and opens the practice we were discussing. He wants to help people with obesity, and show them how to "get off all their pills", so two thumbs up for that!

We also discussed training; if people can rebuild tendons and ligaments in the middle of life, which is a project we're both working on; and dreadful doctor-run blogs.

And a bunch of other stuff. See his post below and the replies, including my attempt to follow-up on some of our discussion points.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How Much Carbohydrates Should Humans Eat?

"Abstract: In the past, attempts have been made to estimate the carbohydrate contents of preagricultural human diets. Those estimations have primarily been based on interpretations of ethnographic data of modern hunter-gatherers. In this study, it was hypothesized that diets of modern hunter-gatherers vary in their carbohydrate content depending on ecoenvironments.

"Thus, using data of plant-to-animal subsistence ratios, we calculated the carbohydrate intake (percentage of the total energy) in 229 hunter-gatherer diets throughout the world and determined how differences in ecological environments altered carbohydrate intake. We found a wide range of carbohydrate intake (≈3%-50% of the total energy intake; median and mode, 16%-22% of the total energy). Hunter-gatherer diets were characterized by an identical carbohydrate intake (30%-35% of the total energy) over a wide range of latitude intervals (11°-40° north or south of the equator).

"However, with increasing latitude intervals from 41° to greater than 60°, carbohydrate intake decreased markedly from approximately equal to 20% to 9% or less of the total energy. Hunter-gatherers living in desert and tropical grasslands consumed the most carbohydrates (≈29%-34% of the total energy). Diets of hunter-gatherers living in northern areas (tundra and northern coniferous forest) contained a very low carbohydrate content (≤15% of the total energy).

"In conclusion, diets of hunter-gatherers showed substantial variation in their carbohydrate content. Independent of the local environment, however, the range of energy intake from carbohydrates in the diets of most hunter-gatherer societies was markedly different (lower) from the amounts currently recommended for healthy humans."
"Diets of modern hunter-gatherers vary substantially in their carbohydrate content depending on ecoenvironments: results from an ethnographic analysis"

Monday, April 16, 2018

"How fast can we run?"

"Marathon-ready Daniel Lieberman offers evolutionary perspective on Bannister 4-minute mile, human speed limits, and ‘Man Against Horse’".

"...He did talk about the kinds of shoes that he wore back in the day, and was fascinated by — and not particularly approving of — how running shoes had gotten so built up. He, like any fast miler, was a forefoot striker. We published a few years later the paper in which we made the argument that, essentially, prior to shoes pretty much everybody ran the way Bannister ran. He felt that was clearly the best way to run.

"I remember him describing how he had his shoes made by a cobbler in London. You couldn’t go to a shoe store back then and buy a pair of running shoes. He basically had to have his shoes custom made. I remember he discussed how hard it was to get the right kind of material — light but durable enough not to fall apart...."

Read the whole thing!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

"A Bunch of Running Nerds on Their Favorite Shoes"

Interesting list, with people like Magness, Dicharry, and Lieberman:

“I wear a variety of different shoes to mix it up, but all are zero drop, because I’m a forefoot striker and don’t need or want any cushioning on the heel, otherwise I end up running like a ballerina”...

Friday, March 30, 2018

"The Western Diet and Lifestyle and Diseases of Civilization"

Apparently a must-read paper, according to the interviewer of one of the authors:

"Do Traditional People Hold the Key to a Healthy Life? 15 Questions with Researcher Pedro Carrera Bastos"

Don't know how I missed this. The other authors: Maelan Fontes-Villalba, James H O’Keefe, Staffan Lindeberg, Loren Cordain.

"Regarding dietary changes, it should be mentioned
that, in the US, dairy products, cereal grains (especially the
refined form), refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, and
alcohol make up to 70% of the total daily energy consumed."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"My first podcast interview, over at Break Nutrition"

Great interview, of one of the smarter guys out there, with an amazing story.

Link via The High-fat Hep C Diet

Iron Overload: A Myth in Healthy People?

tl;dr: Oft-mentioned iron overload does not appear to be a problem in healthy humans, only in those with genetic defects. Iron is steadily lost through normal mechanisms and regained through dietary intake. Deficiency is the problem in healthy people.

So sometimes I get curious.

Now many people in the health communities I participate in get very concerned about iron overload—more below—but the basic concern has been that people keep eating iron in red meat, say; and there's no way to get rid of it, so at some point it will hit toxic levels and start to do damage. There are a number of genetic conditions where high iron levels do appear to cause damage, so this could be a reasonable concern. People even proactively give blood to lower their iron stores. But that all depends on the notion that you have no way of getting rid of excess iron.

I poked around half-heartedly, but didn't find anything.

Iron retention per year
Dumping iron

Today I got a little more curious about it, and found "Body iron excretion by healthy men and women" (Hunt 2009), which is an update of the last study done on the topic, in 1968 (Green 1968).
"On the basis of turnover rates, these subjects needed to replace as little as 2% and as much as 95% of their body iron annually!"
They used radioactive iron to measure iron turnover, which was the same method used as Green. Seems a reasonable way to do it.

Oddly, the primary mechanism for the body to shed iron is through shedding skin cells (!), exfoliation in the scientific jargon. There are also losses through bile (feces), urine, and shedding cells in the gut. Iron must be pretty hard to come by, as the body is mainly concerned with keeping it, and getting rid of it seems to be incidental to other body functions.

Hunt notes that shedding iron seems to be a somewhat random process, it's not homeostatically regulated like uptake is. (Although they saw a 40-fold variation in loss, so there may be some regulation process going on, it seems unlikely to me that such an important nutrient would be dumped randomly. But Hunt does not report a mechanism.)

One of the reasons Hunt did his study was because Green hadn't looked at women, so Hunt did. Obviously women (who menstruate) lose more iron than men do, and are more at risk from anemia (iron deficiency), consequently. I should mention that most of the iron in the body is contained in hemoglobin in the red blood cells, and the next biggest functional use of iron is in the mitochondria, in the cytochrome C molecule, which I have discussed before. There are also iron stores in the body.

Based on Hunt and Green, I think it's safe to say that the body is perfectly capable of getting rid of iron.

95% loss per annum would get the job done. 

Iron uptake

The known regulator of iron stores in the body is through uptake during digestion. That's sort of outside the scope of this, basically, but there's also a wide variation in iron uptake, depending on iron need and digestive capability.

The US RDA for iron was based on Green, which was a male-only study:
"Current US dietary recommendations for iron use the body weights and the daily iron losses of the subjects of Green et al (2) to derive an average estimated iron loss of 14 ยตg/kg...."
"This reduction, together with the tendency in the present study for the men to (nonsignificantly) increase their body iron in 3 y may mean that dietary recommendations for men in Western countries may best focus on preventing body iron accumulation rather than iron deficiency."
So that's where what I think the myth comes in. Are men in Western countries really at risk of iron overload?

Iron overload

Hunt noted that Green had measured a pretty wide variation of losses in his study—Green was in South Africa:
"Green et al... measured basal iron losses of 0.95 ± 0.30 mg/d for white men in the United States, 0.90 ± 0.31 mg/d for Mestizo men in Venezuela. and 1.02 ± 0.22 mg/d for Indian men in South Africa. Higher and more variable losses of 2.42 ± 1.09 and 2.01 ± 0.94 mg/d for Bantu men in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa, respectively, were attributed to greater than normal body iron stores in the Bantu population."
From "Body iron excretion in man" (Green 1968), a rather important paper, as noted above.

So, if you're looking for evidence of iron overload, that seems to be the place to look for it. From Walker, 1953:
"Among the South African Bantu, the intake of iron is often very high—as much as 200 mg. per diem. This high intake is due mainly to the uptake of the element from iron utensils occuring during the preparation of their usual foods (particularly fermented cereal products)."
Dang, that's 100-fold what Green reported them losing per day! They must be like Tetsuo, The Iron Man!

[Don't watch that, it's really weird. Included for referential comprehensiveness.]

However, their high intake and status appears to have little effect:
"...there appears to be no evidence that iron overload per se is detrimental to well-being."
If the Bantu are eating that much iron and seeing no ill effects, then I think we in the West can worry less about it.

Genetic iron management diseases

The Bantu (and other Africans) do get a disease of iron overload, known as siderosis. However that appears to be genetic, and not from diet:
"Researchers originally believed that the popular, iron-rich beer caused cases of African iron overload. However, many individuals that drank the beer did not develop the disorder and some individuals that did not drink the beer did develop it. This led researchers to speculate that a mutation of a gene or genes involved in the transport or breakdown (metabolism) of iron must play a role in the development of African iron overload. Such a gene has not yet been identified."
That's from the Rare Diseases site, 2013. So it's similar to the iron overload disease that most are familiar with, hemochromatosis.

So just to wrap this up, I'm including two more links, from the CDC and from Merck.

CDC: Recommendations to Prevent and Control Iron Deficiency in the United States

Merck Manual: Secondary Iron Overload (Secondary Hemochromatosis)

As noted in those two links, virtually all instances of iron overload appear to be genetically caused. It's even possible to have iron overload (in storage) and be anemic (not enough iron in the blood) at the same time, interestingly as noted in the second link, but again from a genetic problem.


Hunt, again:
"Despite this substantial range in iron excretion, homeostatic control mechanisms were effective at maintaining body iron homeostasis for most subjects, with substantially impaired iron-status indexes in only one menstruating woman... These considerable differences in iron excretion and resulting requirements can generally be appropriately met by physiologic control of iron absorption, provided that dietary iron is accessible and reasonably bioavailahle."
Iron, like most important things, is tightly, homeostatically regulated by the body. As a creature that appears to have evolved on a diet of large amounts of heme-rich ruminant meat, we are unlikely to be susceptible to iron poisoning via that route, that is, via a diet far higher in heme iron than what most humans alive today eat. So unless you have an actual genetic problem, it's not necessary to manually regulate things like air, water, or your body's iron stores.

All that said, as I discuss in the cytochrome C link far above, iron is related to the diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome. But that's because it's a catalyst for the oxidation of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. But the evidence for that beyond what I've already posted will have to be dealt with in another post.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Meta-analysis of Oxidative Stress and Alzheimer's

No clear effect, little research. Did not look at focal analysis of specific regions or organelles.

"The field of oxidative stress as it relates to AD is large, with primary data coming from many different systems and supplemented by a large and rapidly growing narrative review literature. While this volume of data indicates intense interest in this topic, its utility is diminished by obfuscating or masking the complete picture of the oxidative changes in the AD brain. The purpose of this analysis was to quantitatively address this problem specifically for oxidative-stress related changes in the human AD brain. The pattern of oxidative changes identified in this analysis suggests that the antioxidant enzyme system in the brain is largely intact in AD and the global accumulation of oxidative damage is less substantial than has generally been reported."

And this:

"While this [brain malondialdehyde (MDA) level] is not the most specific or robust marker of lipid peroxidation, it is the most commonly studied marker of lipid peroxidation in AD brain..."


An excellent, comprehensive meta-analysis, well worth reading just to admire the work.

"Markers of oxidative damage to lipids, nucleic acids and proteins and antioxidant enzymes activities in Alzheimer's disease brain: A meta-analysis in human pathological specimens"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Hello, Can We Have Your Liver?": Understanding a High-PUFA Diet.

tl;dr: A diet high in omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids has some positive effects on the body: lower weight gain, better preservation of lean mass, improved blood lipids, and increased brown adipose tissue; but also results in increased oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and beginning of progressive liver failure.

This paper's a classic
"Fat Quality Influences the Obesogenic Effect of High Fat Diets [HFD]"
Sounds benign enough, right?  We all like quality fats...
"To investigate whether polyunsaturated fats could attenuate the above deleterious effects of high fat diets, energy balance and body composition were assessed after two weeks in rats fed isocaloric amounts of a high-fat diet (58.2% by energy) rich either in lard or safflower/linseed oil. Hepatic functionality, plasma parameters, and oxidative status were also measured. The results show that feeding on safflower/linseed oil diet attenuates the obesogenic effect of high fat diets and ameliorates the blood lipid profile...."
That's terrific!  So we just need to eat more omega-6 and omega-3 fats, and we'll be thinner with better blood cholesterol!

A nice example of a rat diet study

So these two sets of rats got two remarkably well-constructed diets, with 58.2% of fat from either lard (L) or safflower and linseed oil (S).  Lard is the classic bogeyman of rat diets. "Eat your carbohydrates, children, or Lard will get you!" Nice to see them adding in the omega-3 (n-3) fats from linseed oil—gold star. This accomplishes two things: First, it's well known that sufficient n-3 ameliorates the obesity often induced by high n-6 diets, so they're assuring the outcome. I don't know if they knew this, but I did and noticed it immediately. Second, they get around the n-3/n-6 ratio question, as the S diet actually has a better ratio than the lard diet does: the L diet has an omega-6 (n-6) to n-3 ratio of 12:1, which is pretty bad, and the S diet has a ratio of 4:1, which is pretty good, by lab-rat standards.

Fat 58.20% 58.20%
LA 13.93% 59.13%
% E 8.11% 34.41%
ALA 1.12% 14.47%
% E 0.65% 8.42%

So the L rats got 8.11% of their daily bread (% E) from linoleic acid (LA), and just a smidge from the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  The lucky S rats, fed the healthy, anti-obesigenic, cholesterol-lowering high-PUFA diet got 34% (!) of their calories from LA, and a whopping 8.42% from ALA.

The full diet is in the following two images. By lab-diet standards, this is incredibly well done, as they even give the exact breakdown of the individual fatty acids (FA). They get a bit of a demerit for including "chow" as a line-item, and not breaking that out, but at least both arms are getting the same amount of chow, and both are getting the same 20.7%E from carbohydrates. We can infer this is not a high-sugar diet.

I'll say it again.  This is a lovely diet, they're really doing a neat job of controlling their variables here. Lots of heart-healthy PUFAs, and a big dose of plant-based n-3 fats to balance the somewhat troublesome omega-6 fats.

How to make lab rats fat

Now we know that 8% E of LA is plenty to induce obesity in rodents.  See here:

"Dietary linoleic acid elevates endogenous 2-AG and anandamide and induces obesity."

And sure enough, these rats got fat.  Interestingly, the L rats got fatter than the S rats, despite eating much less LA.
"After two weeks of isocaloric high fat feeding, obesity development was evident both in L and S rats, since their percentage of body lipids about doubled compared to initial value, although the final value was significantly lower in S rats than in L rats (Figure 1A)."
Rats don't do very well on HFDs with LA, as the above paper shows, so it's not surprising that these rats all got fat. It's also been shown that adding n-3 fats helps prevent obesity in rats, so that added linseed oil seems to benefit the rats, although it clearly didn't prevent obesity here.

Benefits of a high-PUFA diet, versus lard

What's worse, the L rats got worse fat than the S rats did; visceral (abdominal) and epididymal (the man parts) fat.
"In addition, the percent of epididymal and visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) increased during dietary treatment, reaching a final value that was significantly lower in S rats than in L rats (Figure 1C,D)."
Not only that, but the L rats lost more lean mass than the S rats did, so they're going to have to go to the gym more often.  
"Therefore, it appears clear that L rats exhibit an impaired metabolic flexibility that exacerbates obesity development."
So far, it appears that lard is an unhealthy fat, and that the safflower/linseed combination is far superior. The higher-PUFA diet is also in line with the dietary recommendations, so that's also a benefit.

Brown Adipose Tissue
There were a number of other benefits to the high-PUFA HFD, including better fuel burning, and increased brown adipose tissue (BAT), which is used to turn fuel into heat to keep the animal warm, and also helps with disposing of excess calories. Cholesterol also went down, and for those who like the current dietary guidelines, that's also a plus

Unfortunately those blood lipids went somewhere...

The Catch

Oh, wait a minute...
"Plasma metabolic characterization evidenced lower cholesterol but higher lipid peroxidation and ALT activity in S rats compared to L rats (Table 3). At variance with plasma lipid profile, livers from S rats had higher lipids, triglycerides, and cholesterol, as well as higher lipid peroxidation..."
"...Conversely, hepatic steatosis and mitochondrial oxidative stress appear to be negatively affected by a diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids."
Oh, darn.  "Negatively affected"? Here's where things go off the rails. One expects a lard-based diet to be bad for rats, who reliably get fat on such diets. But swapping out the MUFA and SFA for PUFA is supposed to make things better, and it has so far in this study.

Until we get to the mitochondria and the liver.

They've come for your liver
TBARS is a test looking for a marker of lipid peroxidation (LPO), which is the oxidation of PUFAs, essentially; see in table 3 in the image above. TBARS are notably higher in the S diet. It's not surprising, I suppose, that the oxidation of PUFAs should be much higher on a higher-PUFA diet. But LPO is not a good thing, as the products of LPO are toxic. TBARS is a marker of malondialdehyde (MDA) one of the worst such LPO products. They should have also tested for 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), in my opinion, but such is life.

LPO has very negative effects on mitochondria and the liver, and sure enough that's exactly what is seen in these rats. A paler liver indicates a fattier liver, and non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) is a major problem in both rats and humans fed a HFD. Here we see that NAFLD is far worse (the paler colors) in the bottom row of images, from rats fed the supposedly-healthy S diet. What's really notable, and a particularly brilliant part of this paper, is these are rats with a high n-6 diet, but a low n-6/n-3 ratio. Which doesn't seem to have helped their livers at all.

Liver n-6 concentrations change:
"...there was a significant increase in the omega 6 fatty acids linoleic, gamma-linolenic, eicosadienoic, and dihomo-gamma linolenic and in the omega 3 fatty acid docosapentaenoic (Figure 5B), in S rats compared to L rats."
Except the liver mitochondria was altered:
"However, some differences were evident in the content of specific fatty acids, such as the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid and the omega 6 fatty acids gamma linolenic, arachidonic, and docosapentaenoic, that were found to be significantly decreased, while the omega 3 fatty acids alpha linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosapantaenoic were found to be significantly higher, in S rats compared to L rats (Figure 5A)."
This might confirm a post of mine:
How To Prevent Oxidative Damage In Your Mitochondria
"These reactive oxygen species readily attack the polyunsaturated fatty acids of the fatty acid membrane, initiating a self-propagating chain reaction."
In that post I discussed how a high n-6 diet affects tissue composition, and how the mitochondria could be damaged by such a concentration. In this study we get to see it in action. Increased TBARS suggests that the n-6 membranes are undergoing the reaction described in the post above, and the n-6 fats have been replaced by non-peroxidizable SFA and MUFA fats. It's the same process described in this study:
"...patients with ARDS decrease their percentage plasma concentrations of total plasma linoleic acid, but increase their percentage concentrations of oleic and palmitoleic acids. As plasma linoleic acid concentrations decreased, there was usually an increase in plasma 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal [HNE] values, one of its specific peroxidation products, suggestive of severe oxidative stress leading to molecular damage to lipids. 
"Plasma fatty acid changes and increased lipid peroxidation in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome."
I won't go into it here, but these seems to confound much research into negative effects of omega-6 fats: the simple n-6 fat level alone does not tell you about the pathological process, as less can mean it's further along.


This is one of the neater studies I've seen, and it seems to have been created as a refutation of the premise, stated in the paper:
"In fact, some authors have hypothesized that HFDs rich in unsaturated fatty acids are less deleterious for human health than those rich in saturated fat [12–15]...."
They successfully illustrate that higher PUFA in the diet do have the effect they surmise:
"...However, polyunsaturated fatty acids exhibit the highest sensitivity to reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced damage, their sensitivity to oxidation exponentially increasing as a function of the number of double bonds per fatty acid molecule [16]. As a consequence, if antioxidant defense systems are unchanged, a higher degree of fatty acid unsaturation in cellular membranes may increase their sensitivity to lipid peroxidation and would also expose other molecules to lipoxidation-derived damage."
The effect on the liver alone is enough to demonstrate that this higher PUFA diet is unhealthy. However they also manage to demonstrate, in the process, that some of the often-touted benefits of higher-PUFA diets are in fact parts of the pathological process.

(Title is from one of the more bizarre Monty Python skits.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

DNA Heritage Test Results Depend on The Company Used

"How DNA Testing Botched My Family's Heritage, and Probably Yours, Too"

Seems like it's more about entertainment that knowledge at this point...
"Four tests, four very different answers about where my DNA comes from—including some results that contradicted family history I felt confident was fact. What gives?

"There are a few different factors at play here.

"Genetics is inherently a comparative science: Data about your genes is determined by comparing them to the genes of other people..."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

"Penile Frostbite: an Unforeseen Hazard of Jogging"

I can't bring myself to quote the part of this that I want to, but this is just after...

"Spouse's observations of therapy produced rapid onset of numerous, varied and severe side effects (personal communication)."

Make sure you're not holding a beverage, but read the whole thing!

From Alex Hutchinson on Twitter.

You Can't Outrun a Bad Diet...

"Blood Glucose Levels of Subelite Athletes During 6 Days of Free Living"

"Ath03 consumed on average ~150 g of carbohydrate less than the lower recommended limit, 1770 kcal less than required (Table 2) and was the only participant to demonstrate a significant amount time below 4.0 mmol/L."

Duh. Even athletes can't cope with too much Modern American Diet .

Saturday, January 6, 2018

"How to Survive the Most Frigid Winter Runs"

Great article.

17 F, almost time for long pants.
Dressing to be comfortable when you've warmed up is the key. This is the art, and can be tricky at times!

I had a run recently where I managed to be cold for the first 30 minutes of a 2-hour run, but after that it was perfect. Literally felt like spring-time for the rest of the run, but was ~15F.

Adaptation is also key, it happens a lot more quickly to cold than to heat, in my experience, but can be a lot more unpleasant in the cold!