Written by Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD, FACN
05 October 2006

Future Pharmacy

By Douglas S. Kalman MS, RD, FACN


On the Cutting Edge of Fat Loss


I don't believe a day goes by that we in the bodybuilding community are not thinking about our next workout, our next meal, or whether ESPN or FitTV will ever show the Arnold in full. Seriously, as someone who is fascinated with building mass and strength, as well as staying ripped, working out, supplementation and stealth technologies are ideas that flood my mind daily. If you frequent musclemayhem.com you'll soon realize there are literally thousands, if not many more, people around the world who are into the same exact things we are. Knowledge with respect to how to train, what foods to eat and when to eat, along with supplementing smartly is more important now than ever. This column mirrors the same enthusiasm regarding advancing the science of nutrition support for the athlete.


            Sugar for Fat Loss?

D-psicose is a naturally occurring analog of fructose (fruit sugar). We all know fruit sugar and most of us eat some fruit every day. Psicose is found in processed cane and beet molasses, as well as in wheat. Technically, psicose is a C-3 epimer of D-fructose. For the past two decades alternatives to sucrose has been studied for its potential as a low-energy-yielding carbohydrate sweetener. Animal studies have revealed that when D-psicose is injected into fasting rats, it has low available energy. The idea that D-psicose is a naturally occurring sugar that has low energy yield has led to interest in the diabetic community.

            Two published studies over the past few years have piqued interest in the potential of D-psicose as a fat loss aid. Adult male Wistar rats were fed D-psicose (as compared to other sugars) daily for 28 days. Abdominal adipose tissue weight was examined before the supplementation period and after it. The results indicated a significant reduction in abdominal fat weight. In addition, the researchers examined the effects of D-psicose versus D-fructose and D-glucose on fatty acid synthase (FAS) and glucose 6-dehydrogenase (G6D) activity in the liver. The results showed that only the rats receiving the D-psicose experienced reduced FAS and G6D rates, which means new stores of fat were not made. With the finding of reduced abdominal fat stores and reduced FAS and G6D (hepatic lipogenic enzymes) activity, a potential weight loss use is indicated.

            In a follow-up study, researchers examined the energy yield of D-psicose (versus glucose and fructose) in growing rats. Male Wistar rats received seven grams daily of a fixed diet plus a fixed amount of D-psicose (0.5 to 2.0 grams per day) was added for 20 days. Bodyweight gain only occurred in the rats fed D-fructose or D-glucose, but not D-psicose. One gram of sucrose, D-fructose or D-psicose produced a new energy gain of 2.29, 1.76 and 0.007 calories, respectively. This indicates that the energy yield from D-psicose is near 0 and its use can limit weight gain. The take-home message is that this naturally occurring sugar has great potential to be used as a weight and fat loss aid. It must be said that more research is needed, but the preliminary work is very exciting. Psicose is available from Japan and the UK.


            Fighting the Flu?

            The gym is not a clean place. Think about it; people work out, they sweat, and not everyone is so nice as to wipe down the bench or StairMaster® when they are finished using it. Sweat dries and germs breed. If you also consider the proximity of people to one another in the gym, it's a surprise that more people do not "catch a cold" from working out. Recently, I was introduced to a true "flu fighter" product that has real science and real patents behind it. The product, Thio Boost Immune Tabs, is made by Thione (see http://www.thione.com/) and is based more on fact than hype. As an aside- and I'm not totally sure why this is- I have also found that daily use of this product decreases the typical muscle soreness I experience after days of hard training. Let me know if you also experience this. Trust me, the science is so tight on this product that GlaxoSmithKline and other companies have started to license it for their own products. Expect to see and hear more about this company.


Do You Want to Train Harder and Recover Quicker?

            A nutrition start-up has recently introduced a product that is so obvious, we must ask, what took so long? Scivation has just started retailing Xtend®. Xtend® is a protein-based product that contains scientifically validated ratios of the branched chain amino acids coupled with buffers and citrulline. Without doubt, this product can speed your recovery (use it before and after training), enhance cellular energy production (allowing you to train with more energy), aid in preventing muscle breakdown, while also mildly stimulating a bump in post-ingestion growth hormone levels. I have found that both my weightlifting clients and the runners I work with like the product, especially for enhancing recovery.


            Heart Healthy Beer?

            Believe it or not, there are some within the bodybuilding community who used to drink beer as a method to carb up. Seriously, back in Arnold's day, many people wrongly thought that since beer is from malt and malt is a carbohydrate, drinking beer is carbo-loading! Imagine that. Train chest and biceps, hitting it hard, followed by 20 minutes on the StairMaster®, all to be chased with a Budweiser in the name of health!

            Beverage Marketing USA has announced the launch of "Aventure Functional Beer." This beer is specially processed from oats and contains beta-glucans. Research has found that the ingredients in this beer lower cholesterol and thus, reduce your risk of heart disease. This beer contains 63 calories per 12-ounce serving and will shortly be available throughout the country.


            Jojoba Extract for Fat Loss

Jojoba is known to contain Simmondsin. This extract has been found to reduce voluntary food intake in animals (jojoba meal is used in animal feed). Recent studies have also determined that when given in concentrated forms and at specific doses, the result is weight loss (animal studies). With this in mind, a major raw material supplier sponsored a dose-finding clinical trial in humans to see if the animal data could be replicated. As safety is always a concern for any product to be ingested, the study examined both safety and effectiveness. Thirty healthy, but obese, volunteers participated in this study. Safety measurements included testing vitals, heart function, blood work and other typical markers of safety. The effectiveness endpoint of interest was weight loss. However, since this product is also known to reduce voluntary food intake, appetite levels were also examined. The study results indicated that within the parameters tested, the product was safe. Also noted (and probably of more interest to those who are always looking for the next fat loss aid) is that the weight loss observed was significant, while having only a mild effect on food intake. In other words, the study subjects only ate a tad less then what they normally did (about 500 calories less daily) and lost significant weight regardless of the dose they took (40 or 120 milligrams). Look for more research on this ingredient and plan to see this ingredient popping up in more weight loss products.


            Growth Hormone in Colorado

            The pharmaceutical company Bolder Biotechnology has just announced it has received funding from the NIH to continue development of its proprietary long-acting growth hormone product. For those of you who live in or near Wheat Ridge, Colo., keep your eyes and ears on alert since this company will need research volunteers to test whether its product works as well as it's thought to work. Besides helping scientists, this is a way of getting free growth hormone (good for fat loss and muscle gain).


            Until next month, keep up the great training and support those who support you. Be sure to check in on http://www.sportsnutritionsociety.org/.