- Fun Fact Friday -
I hope you've had a great week and are glad that it's Friday.
Here's your Fun Fact Friday to end the week with some extra pizazz. Enjoy!
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Fun fact 1
Insomnia, restless leg syndrome, erectile dysfunction and low dopamine are all shown to be linked with low folate (R).
Fun fact 2
Cistanche has been shown to improve digestion, nutrient absorption and the utilization and growth in sheep (R).
"C. deserticola addition improved energy utilization efficiency, while addition levels of 2% and 4% increased nitrogen intake and deposited nitrogen. Overall, C. deserticola has the potential to improve growth performance, digestion of sheep, so it has suitability to be used as a feed additive."
Fun fact 3
Pyruvate (end breakdown product of glucose) and thiamine pyrophosphate (the active form of thiamine) exhibited a strong potentiation of steroidogenesis in the presence of cyclic AMP (R). Combining pyruvate (or ethyl pyruvate), with thiamine HCL (or allithiamine) and coffee/caffeine, should help to boost testosterone production. This is because this combo boosts glucose oxidation, which is essential for steroidogenesis (A; article from Haidut).
Fun fact 4
Vasculogenic ED patients have higher MPV (mean platelet volume) and homocysteine (R). T4 lowers MPV and improves ED in those individuals (R). Folate helps to lower homocysteine and can also help to improve ED.
Fun fact 5
Acute release of cortisol promotes aggression whereas prolonged cortisol release promotes subordination (R). 5-HT1A autoreceptor activation, which lowers serotonin synthesis and release, inhibits fear acquisition and aggression. Chronic stress and elevated serotonin will lower 5-HT1A sensitivity and potentiate fear acquisition and aggression (passive aggressiveness/bitchiness/snappiness, etc.) (R).
New addition to my diet
Kiwi fruit, specifically the green kiwi (as that's all I can find).
I made a fun fact about kiwi a few newsletters ago, but I want to bring it up again as I find it really interesting.
2 kiwis eaten 1 hour before bed has been shown to improve sleep onset, sleep quality, sleep duration, etc. Common (but incorrect) thinking is that it's due to the serotonin content of kiwi.
But here is where it gets interesting. Kiwi has also been shown to help with constipation by lowering intestinal inflammation and increasing Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.
"In the FC [functional constipation] group, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii abundance significantly increased (P = 0·024) from 3·4 to 7·0 % following Livaux™ supplementation, with eight of the nine participants showing a net increase. Lower proportions of F. prausnitzii are often associated with gastrointestinal disorders. The discovery that Livaux™ supplementation increased F. prausnitzii abundance offers a potential strategy for improving gut microbiota composition, as F. prausnitzii is a butyrate producer and has also been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in many studies." (R)
"The primary outcome measure was differences in the number of complete spontaneous bowel movements (CSBM). Secondary outcome measures were bowel movement frequency and stool form as well as digestive symptoms and comfort. The number of CSBM per week was significantly greater during daily consumption of three kiwifruit compared with the baseline (6·3 v. 3·3; P < 0·05) and the Metamucil® treatment (6·3 v. 4·5; P < 0·05). Stool consistency was also improved, with kiwifruit producing softer stools and less straining (P < 0·05). Gastrointestinal discomfort was also improved compared with baseline for abdominal pain, constipation and indigestion (P < 0·05) during the kiwifruit intervention and constipation during the Metamucil® intervention (P < 0·05). This randomised controlled trial demonstrates that daily consumption of three gold-fleshed kiwifruit is associated with a significant increase of two CSBM per week and reduction in gastrointestinal discomfort in mildly constipated adults." (R)
The most interesting results to me was this:
"The most notable were the significant increases in L-DOPA ('Zesy002' > 'Hayward') and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) ('Hayward' > 'Zesy002'). Kiwifruit increased Bifidobacterium spp. and Veillonellaceae (correlating with L-DOPA increase), and Lachnospira spp. (correlating with GABA). The digesta and fermenta were incubated with Caco-2 cells for 3 h followed by gene expression analysis. Effects were seen on genes related to serotonin synthesis/re-uptake/conversion to melatonin, gut tight junction, inflammation and circadian rhythm with different digesta and fermenta from the four treatments." (R)
So kiwi doesn't boost sleep because of a rise in serotonin, but rather an increase in dopamine, GABA and melatonin synthesis as well as a drop in gut inflammation, and an improvement in gut integrity.
Serotonin isn't good for sleep, contrary to what most people think, because it actually prevents deep sleep. Serotonin antagonists actually improve deep sleep and sleep quality.
So far I'm definitely feeling its benefits for gut health, but no effect on sleep so far. Probably need more time.
Gut side effects from aspirin?
Most people are scared of using aspirin, because it can be harsh on the gut and has been said to cause intestinal bleeding with chronic use.
However, this effect seems to be specific to aspirin and not sodium salicylate.
"Aspirin, acetyl salicylic acid, damages gastric mucosal cells. This effect is considered related to its inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. On the other hand, sodium salicylate has been reported to be cytoprotective against drug damage to gastric mucosa in vivo. One reason for this difference is that salicylic acid, unlike acetyl salicylic acid does not inhibit prostaglandin synthesis by gastric mucosa in vivo" (R).
So for those of you who have sensitive intestines, give sodium salicylate a try.
Key to youthfulness
Keep inflammation low. This is basically what it all comes down to. Stress is another big one, but if you have stress mastered, chronic low grade inflammation can still be an issue. Gut issues (and nutrient deficiencies) are by far the biggest reasons for chronic low grade inflammation. And that's why I'm hammering so hard on it in my newsletters and articles and why I've dedicated a major portion of the Alpha Energy Nutrition Course to resolving it.
Sets for muscle growth
Research over the years have shown that 15 sets per muscle group is better than 10 sets per muscle group per week. As far as I know, the upper limit for sets per week hasn't been "concluded". However, this is obviously very person specific.
Furthermore, research has shown that 4-6 sets stimulates muscle protein synthesis optimally per session. More sets might just further increase muscle protein breakdown, and is totally unnecessary IMO.
Vince Gironda, a professional bodybuilder and legendary trainer said that: "If you can do more than 9 sets per workout, you're not training hard enough."
9 sets is a lot IMO and is only needed for the advanced to highly advanced trainers. But this falls well in line with my belief. Make each rep a set. Do each set so good/hard that you can only do 6-9 sets per workout. If you can do more, you're not training hard enough. You can even train so hard that 3 sets per muscle group twice a week will give you great hypertrophy gains.
And how do you do this? It's a combination of the right weight, the right tempo and a good mind to muscle connection. You should be so in the zone during each rep that nothing can distract you.
And yes, this takes a while (perhaps a few years) to fully master (hat tip to Markus Mattiasson for pointing this out), but once you start implementing it it will change your style of training as well as your results.
Last week Dylan told me: "Hans your emails are too good not to be stored somewhere on your website. Maybe a section for old emails?"
So I've created a catalogue of all my earlier newsletters which you can find here.
New article & video released this week
If you enjoy reading my articles and find them informative, please don't forget to share this content with others so that they can benefit from the information as well.
Quote of the week
"Quitting, as good as it feels, and as little effort as it requires, never works."
That's all for today. Hope you all have a great weekend!
P.S. If you would like to give me some feedback e.g. what did you found interesting, or give any suggestions, maybe of things that you think I might find interesting; let me know by replying to this email.