Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Dietary fats - Part two (Triglycerides digestion)

Many foods contains substantial amounts of dietary fats. Cooking oils (Sunflower, peanut, olive) got 100% fats as triglycerides. Butter and mayo - got more than 80% fat, bacon and sausages - around 40% fats, as opposed to fruits and veg - little to no fat.

We can have cholesterol only in foods of animal origin (highest amount in egg yolk and shrimps). Saturated fatty acids can be found in lard, butter, coconut oil, and unsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils. Soy bean oil - has linolenic acids (C18:3), coconut oil - has medium chain fatty acids (8-12 chains, fish oil - has fatty acids with 20-22 chain length. Flax-seed oil is a good source of essential fatty acids (50% linolenic acids).

Fat digestion - we would talk especially about triglycerides digestion. The breakdown of a triglycerides molecule is done under the influence of an enzyme called lipase. It is broken in 2 fatty acids and one monoglyceride attached to a fatty acids. We got lingual lipase, in the mouth, with a role in fat taste detection more than digestion. The process starts in the stomach under the gastric lipase, and it is continued in the intestines, with the pancreatic lipase doing most of the job. When dietary fat enters in the intestines, a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) is released, to activate the gall bladder contractions, and the secretion of bile acids. Bile acids are made from cholesterol and are stored in the gall bladder with cholesterol and phospholipids, and has the role of an emulsifier, changing fat in little droplets, for pancreatic lipase easy access. The main bile acid is the cholic acid, can be attached easily to amino-acids like taurine and glycine (making taurocholate and glycocholate - conjugated acids). The broken down fatty acids and the monoglycerides resulted from the digestion of triglycerides form a special structure called mycelle and the bile acids play an important role in it. Then they are taken up by the enterocyte (intestinal cell) and reconverted into triglycerides via a process called re-esterification. Then they are packaged into special particles called chylomicrons - which carry the dietary fats through the body, using the lymphatic circulation (small vessels called lacteals) to reach the subclavian vein.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Fats - intro

The fats, also known by the scientific (fancy) name of lipids, are digested and released in the blood stream, as lipoproteins (ULDL, HDL, LDL), and then stored as fat tissue. An important role is played by the essential fatty acids (linoleic acid and linolenic acid), but about this we will write a bit later.

There are different tipes of fat, and the first classification is by saturation grade (saturated (triglycerides, phospholipids, sterols) and unsaturated. Out of dietary lipids, the triglycerides make 95% of our daily fat. A triglyceride is made from 3 fatty acids linked via a glycerol molecule.
Another classification is made according to the state of the lipids at room temperature - if solid  is called fat, if liquid is called oil.

Fatty acids - are made from a chain of hydrogenated carbon atoms connected to a carboxil group. The chain length could be anywhere between 3 to 24 carbon atoms. The degree of saturation is related to the number of double bonds - unsaturated fatty acids got at least on double bond (mono-unsaturated f.a. has one, poli-unsaturated f.a. at least two double bonds). Point of unsaturation - where the double bonds are located in the fatty acid molecule - n (omega) and delta designation (shows all double bonds. The most abundant fatty acids in our food are oleic and palmitic acids (2/3 of our daily intake).

According to the point of unsaturation, the most common acids in our diet are C16:0 - palmitic acid, C18:0 stearic acid, C18:2 linoleic acid, C18:3 linolenic acic and C18:1 oleic acid.
The lenght of the chain is related to the melting point, shorther the chain, lower the melting point. The more unsaturated, the lower the melting point also. Liquids such as vegetable oils (made from sunflower, corn, olive, peanut, canola or soy) are mostly unsaturated, while solid fats like butter are mostly saturated fatty acids.

Triglycerides are mostly saturated, more stable and less prone to oxidation (one of the important oxidation reaction is the hydrogenation - unsaturated fatty acids become saturated). Hydrogenation is a common process in food manufacturing (or used to be) but it is also transforming the Cis fatty acids in Trans fatty acids, with negative influence on health. The Trans fatty acids are made during industrial processing and in the stomach of ruminants such as cows.

Phospholipids contains a diglyceride, a phosphate and a simple organic molecule such as choline. The got a polar and an apolar side (amphipathic properties). Are major components of cell membranes (you can find them in plant and animal food). They are added during food preparation as emulsifiers, to help the oil and the water to create a stable emulsion (prevents oil and water to separate). They line up tail-to-tail in the membrane of the cell to form a bylayer, as a barrier for entry of many molecules into the cell.

Sterols are the third lipid component in the diet. The main one is known as cholesterol, found in foods of animal origin. The plants have sterols and stanols, most of them being eliminated via stools. Added to the food to reduce the absorption of cholesterol, they can potentially lead to a 10% reduction of the cholesterol in the blood stream .

Monday, 2 April 2018

Supplement trends - Uridine monophosphate

Uridine monophosphate

Uridine monophosphate (UMP), also known as 5′-uridylic acid (conjugate base uridylate), is a nucleotide that is used as a monomer in RNA. It is an ester of phosphoric acid with the nucleoside uridine. UMP consists of the phosphate group, the pentose sugar ribose, and the nucleobase uracil; hence, it is a ribonucleotide monophosphate. As a substituent or radical its name takes the form of the prefix uridylyl-. The deoxy form is abbreviated dUMP.

In brain research studies, uridine monophosphate is used as a convenient delivery compound for uridine. Uridine is the active component of this compound. Uridine is present in many foods, mainly in the form of RNA. Non-phosphorylated uridine is not bioavailable beyond first-pass metabolism, as it is almost entirely catabolised in the liver and gastrointestinal tract.

Uridine Monophosphate, also known as UMP, is one of four major components of ribonucleic acid (RNA); the other three are adenosine, guanine and cytidine. Below are products containing uridine in the form of RNA. However, uridine in this form is bioavailable. It is destroyed by the liver and gastrointestinal tract, and the food intake does not increase the level of uridine in the blood. In infant’s consuming breast milk or commercial infant formula, uridine monophosphate present as, and this is indeed a source of uridine bioavailability and enters the blood. Consumption of food rich RNA may lead to increased levels of purines (adenosine and guanosine) in the blood. High levels cause an increase in purines uric acid levels and can impair or lead to the development of diseases such as gout. Moderate consumption of yeast, about 5 grams per day will provide adequate levels of uridine, for health improvement with minimal side effects. It has been suggested that RNA from yeast products must be chemically reduced, if these products are consumed in large amounts (50 g or more per day) as a source of protein. However, such processing is expensive and is rarely used. Harvard researchers have reported that the addition of uridine and EPA / DHA omega-3 fatty acids in rats act as antidepressants. Uridine plays an important role in glycolysis pathway galactose. There is no catabolic process for the metabolism of galactose. Thus, the galactose into glucose and glucose metabolized in the general way. After converting incoming galactose-1-phosphate (Gal-1-P), it participates in the reaction with UDP-glucose, a glucose molecule attached to a molecule of UDP (uridine di-phosphate). This process is catalyzed by the enzyme galactose-1-phosphate uridiltransferazy and transmits the UDP galactose molecule. The result is a molecule UDP-galactose and glucose molecule-1-phosphate. This process continues for the galactose molecule glycolysis.

Often uridine is used in conjunction with cytidine. Nucleotide such as uridine triphosphate and cytidine monophosphate is used to treat diseases of the central nervous system. Cytidine active substance participates in the synthesis of complex lipids forming the neuronal membrane, preferably sphingomyelin – a chief component of myelin membrane. Furthermore, cytidine is a precursor of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), is a serious component of cell metabolism. Uridine active substance acts as a coenzyme participating in the synthesis of neuronal structures of glycolipids and myelin sheath, thereby complementing the action of cytidine. Uridine is a source of energy in the process of muscle contraction. The combined effects of cytidine and uridine contribute to the regeneration of the myelin sheath, as well as the proper conduction of nerve impulses and restore muscle trophism.

Indicated for the treatment:

– Neuropathies osteoarticular etiology (lumbago, sciatica);
– Neuropathies metabolic etiology (diabetic, alcoholic polyneuropathy);
– Neuropathies infectious etiology (shingles);
– Inflammation of the facial nerve;
– Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve;
– Intercostal neuralgia;
– Lumbodynia.

Perform classical pharmacokinetic studies practically impracticable, because the medicament contains physiological products and cannot determine with accuracy the amount of endogenous and exogenous components. Due to the heavy load radiological also impossible to carry out analysis using labeled (radioactively) product. Given the low toxicity of the drug, overdose is unlikely even if unintentional excess of therapeutic doses. It does not affect driving and work that requires high concentration and speed of psychomotor reactions. In patients with hypersensitivity may develop allergic reactions.

Uridine can be found in many foods such as tomatoes, beer, and breast milk. Uridine can bypass the blood-brain barrier effectively by one of two neuro transporters known as equilibrate and concentrative. Uridine also when administered orally causes a production of CDP-choline.

Uridine is a Ribonucleoside, which are the building blocks for both RNA and DNA. Uridine is one of the four essential components of RNA (ribonucleic acid), and is absorbed within the intestinal tract. Studies have shown that supplementation of Uridine along with Choline and fish oil increases synaptic formation and function, showing improvement in persons suffering from mild Alzheimer’s Disease. This nootropic may increase or raise dopamine levels within the brain.
(Now these are two side effects that i will be happy to trigger, dopamine being the cause of most of our addictions - hint - decrease or stop smoking, caffeine or alcohol consumption, and synaptic formation and function means that the brain can regenerate and perform better.)

Other key element is that it is working better in combination with fish oil (Omega 3) supplements. I was already talking about the benefits of having a daily supplementation of Omega 3 fatty acids, and seems that a minimal dose of uridine will greatly increase the benefits of the aforementioned fatty acids.

You can find good sources of Uridine online.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Carbohidrates II (About fiber and lactose-intolerance)

Let's continue to explore the carbs story.

As i said in a previous post, there are some carbs that cannot be digested. They are named fibers, and they can be water soluble and insoluble.
-Soluble fibers are known to lower blood cholesterol  (reducing the risk of heart disease), slow glucose absorption (protecting against type 2 diabetes) and hold moisture in stools (preventing constipation).
-The insoluble fibers are known to increase fecal weight, speed fecal passage and provide bulk and fullness feelings when eaten.

At first, in the past decades, researchers believed in a relation between fibers and colon cancer, but recent cohort studies proved that untrue. However, an increase in fibers can improve health, only because we are not having the right amount every day.


Lactose intolerance

What is lactose? Lactose is the sugar from milk, yogurt and dairy. Lactose intolerance is manifested through abdominal pain, bloating, gas development and diarrhea. Is is the result of a deficiency of an enzyme present in the gastro-intestinal tract, called lactase. Lactase can break the lactose in its primary components - glucose and galactose. Anyway, as you age, your body gradually lose the ability to produce lactase. Most of the people around the world will become eventually lactose-intolerant. Globally,most of the Northern and Western Europe is lactose-tolerant, while most of the Asia is lactose intolerant.

Does this means complete elimination of milk and dairy? Not always, sometimes yogurt is better tolerated than milk, but if this is not the case, you can always use lacto-free milk (made from soy or almonds, for example).

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sweeteners 101

There are two kinds of sweeteners: non-nutritive and nutritive. Non-nutritive sweeteners are also called high intensity sweeteners as they are used in small amounts instead of sugar. Let's see them!

Non-nutritive sweetener / Relative sweetness
Stevia                                  250
Aspartame                      150-200
Acesulfame Potassium      200
Sodium Ciclamate              30
Neotame(Nutrasweet)       800
Saccharin                          300
Sucralose                          600

Only Stevia is a non-artificial sweetener, being extracted from a plant, all the others are artificial made. They are also heat stable, except the Aspartame, which is not, and for this reason is used mainly for diet beverages. The others can be used in baked good without problem. First artificial sweetener discovered before WW1 was saccharin. Next one, discovered in USA in 1965 was aspartame, which was used largely, even as table top sweetener. But lately in the 90's we witnessed the anti-aspartame craze, and some companies like PepsiCo for example, went with the trend and used sucralose, marketing their drinks as aspartame free. Of course, the taste changed, so three months later they started to use aspartame again.  Some interesting facts, there is a direct link between using sweeteners and gaining weight, but no causality established. According to the research, replacing added sugar with sweeteners may result in lower energy and reduced body weight, there were few small studies, but no clear conclusion was drawn. The idea is that you should not have extra drinks or food just because is diet, because this is how you gain weight.

The second category is called nutritive sweeteners, also known as sugar alcohols. Their energy value is between 1.6-3kcal/gram (sugar -4kcal/gram) and their sweetness is slightly lower than sugar.

Nutritive sweetener / Relative sweetness
Sorbitol                       0.6
Maltitol                       0.9
Xylitol                         1
Lactitol                       0.4
Manitol                       0.5

They are used in sugar free gum (preventing tooth decay) and as sugar alternative in sweets for diabetics (smaller increase in blood sugar response, but also a laxative effect in high doses).

Monday, 12 March 2018

Luck and Success

Seems that the role of luck in achieving tremendous success is much more important that we are believing to be. Check this article to find more.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Writing, second language and Nicaraguan signs

* I was listening again the podcast with the guy who is writing a book every 21 days. Few years ago he would get just enough to stop working for a living, but now, two years later, he is averaging 40-50k per months with more than 100 books.

I was not so efficient like him, with two books published in March last year and another two this year in February, reaching the total count of 12.

** When it is about children, a negative habit such as whining or hysteric episodes, the way to deal with them is by using the psychological idea of extinction. But our rate of success needs to be as close to 100% as possible. If we decide to not give in when the child is whining, consistence is the key. If we stop after a while, we will reinforce the idea that we will eventually give up when the child is persistent. So giving in later is a No-No.

***Learning a new language as a child can have its own benefits. The second language will be native if it is learned before age of three, decreasing in quality with each age group (4-15, 15-18, 19-39) After age of 39, you will never speak perfectly, in theory. One good resource to check your child language is wordbank.stanford.edu. The ideal age of acquisition for a second language is before age of 10. A peer group talking in the studied language is ideal. If this is done early, the child will gradually lose the ability to speak first language, even if he/she will understand it. Even if parents are using the language. But not if he/she will have a second peer group where to use the language. An interesting observation was done in Nicaragua, where the deaf children were not supported until 1980s. Because of that, being deaf in there meant that you will have only rudiments of language, but something strange happen. After 1980, they start to create schools for deaf children, and their sign language started to get structure and subtlety with each new generation. The result was called Nicaraguan Sign Language. Main benefits in learning the second language are believed to be a result of switching from one language to another, creating a series of cognitive advantages called executive functions (EF). The main influence of the executive functions are observed in planning, flexibility and stopping/inhibition. They will relate later in life with retirement habits, diet, stopping bad habits such as smoking. Let's talk about diet as an example. Everybody knows the theory, but we do not do the right things, even if we know them. When you are on diet, and see food, the initial response (prepotent tendency) is to eat, but then we switch and stop. Same as when we are French speaking - English, but we are asked in French. The first impulse is to answer in English, but we switch and answer in French.