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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

 By Steve Blechman


Ketogenic diets have become a popular method for promoting weight loss, but are not useful for building muscle! Ketogenic diets lower the anabolic pathways: insulin, IGF-1, mTOR because of low protein intake. Ketogenic diets are great for weight loss/fat loss but can inhibit protein synthesis, muscle growth and lean body mass. AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN is designed for people on low-carb, ketogenic diets. Research has shown that 6.25 grams of whey protein combined with 5 grams of pure leucine is four times more effective in increasing protein synthesis (equivalent to 25 grams of protein), which is ideal for people on ketogenic diets! Research has shown that pure leucine is more anabolic than leucine in food.

Leucine is the key amino acid for enhancing the mTOR pathway that regulates cell growth and protein synthesis. Leucine is an essential amino acid that serves as a building block for muscle protein synthesis. Leucine is a powerful anabolic trigger— it’s the most potent branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) and a key activator of the mTOR pathway that is critical for muscle protein synthesis that promotes muscle growth. Testosterone acts through the mTOR pathway to promote muscle protein synthesis. Leucine has many benefits: powering muscle growth, preventing muscle loss, increasing insulin sensitivity, enhancing fat metabolism and enhancing recovery.

AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN also contains vitamin D-3, which enhances the anabolic effects of leucine. Research has shown that leucine and vitamin D-3 can preserve muscle mass during dieting. A randomized controlled study showed that leucine and vitamin D combined with medium-chain-triglycerides (MCT) can increase muscle strength and function (J Nutr, 2016 May).

AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN also contains 5 grams of citrulline. Citrulline can enhance muscle growth by stimulating the expression of IGF-1 and skeletal muscle peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma co-activator (PGC-1alpha), which increases mitochondrial biogenesis and lean muscle mass! PGC-1 alpha can also enhance fat burning, thermogenesis, brown fat activation and mitochondria uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Plus, prolong exercise time to exhaustion and improve exercise performance (Molecular Nutrition Food Research, June 2018).

A healthy weight loss is one that enhances the reduction of body fat and preserves lean body mass while dieting. Low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets provide about at least 70% of calories from fat, 20% from protein and 10% or less from carbohydrates. Ketogenic diets are more effective than low-calorie, mixed or high-carbohydrate diets for fast, short-term weight loss. The body produces ketones such as acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate during a ketogenic diet. The brain and nervous system use mainly glucose (blood sugar) as fuel and can also use ketone when carbs are unavailable.

Diets stimulating ketones are high in fat, low in protein and carbohydrates. Ketogenic diets are low in protein and suppress protein synthesis by interfering with the mTOR pathway that regulates cell growth and protein synthesis. Ketogenic diets also have been shown to inhibit insulin-like-growth factor 1 (IGF-1). AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN can increase protein synthesis, enhance muscle growth and lean body mass when following a ketogenic diet.

AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN is very low in carbohydrates, protein and calories! It contains small amounts of high-quality whey protein isolate (supplying all the essential amino acids) of the highest biological value (no lower-quality hydrolyzed collagen protein is present), enriched with the amino acid L-leucine. Research has shown that vitamin D-3 is the most active form of vitamin D and can potentiate protein synthesis and the muscle-enhancing effects of leucine; and is added to help boost the anabolic and lean body mass effect of leucine. Also, recent research has shown that vitamin D supplements may enhance fat loss and improve waist-hip ratio and fasting blood glucose in vitamin D-deficient individuals. Leucine-enriched amino acid supplements can help preserve lean muscle mass during dieting. Like I said earlier, research has shown that taking 6.25g of whey protein with a high dose of leucine (5g) can enhance protein synthesis at the same rate as four times as much whey protein (25g)! Leucine is the key anabolic trigger of muscle protein synthesis. Increases in muscle protein synthesis are dependent on leucine concentration. 5 grams of leucine can increase the anabolic effects of protein synthesis by eating less protein, which is ideal on a ketogenic diet. Older adults (people over 40) show a blunted muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and anabolic resistance compared to younger adults. Recent research has suggested that the anabolic resistance can be overcome by consuming greater quantities of leucine. In a recent study, published in the Journal of Nutrition on July 1, 2018, it is confirmed that leucine and not total protein content of a “… supplement is the primary determinant of muscle protein anabolic responses in healthy older women.” Lower-protein supplements with added leucine may represent an advantageous approach in older adults to maintain skeletal muscle anabolic sensitivity and attenuate muscle loss. Research has shown that leucine can enhance fat loss and promote weight loss during energy restriction. Leucine improves mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty acid oxidation and fat burning through SIRT-1 and AMPK-dependent pathways. AMPK (5 adenosine-monophosphate-activated protein kinase) regulates energy expenditure by modulating NAD metabolism and SIRT-1 activity. Leucine also increases glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), often referred to as the “satiety hormone.”

A most recent study has found that taking pure leucine supplements alone (or with very small amounts of whey protein) may be better for muscle protein synthesis and more anabolic than food! In a randomized crossover study (Nutrients, October 18, 2018) 10 healthy, young Japanese men underwent tests under different conditions: consuming 2 grams of leucine alone; a mixed meal with 2.15 grams of leucine without any additional leucine supplementation; 2 grams of leucine right after a meal; and the final serving consisted of 2 grams of leucine, 180 minutes after a meal.

The study’s conclusion was, “based on the aforementioned discussions, the intake of free leucine alone markedly increased the plasma leucine concentration. However, the increase in leucine concentration after the intake of a mixed meal containing the same amount of leucine was significantly less than that of free leucine intake alone. Moreover, when free leucine was ingested after a mixed meal with the purpose of increasing the plasma leucine concentration, the maximum plasma concentration was attenuated when it was ingested immediately after the mixed meal, despite the fact that the total leucine content was doubled. These results suggest that when free amino acids are ingested with the purpose of increasing plasma amino acid concentrations, the timing in relation to the mixed meal intake needs to be considered.”

Increase in muscle protein synthesis is dependent on leucine concentration. Research has shown that leucine stimulates the anabolic effect of muscle protein synthesis on its own (Wilkinson et al., J Physiol 2013). When leucine is taken on an empty stomach (or with low amounts of whey protein), it has a powerful anabolic switch that turns on protein synthesis.

By taking pure leucine on an empty stomach (or with small amounts whey protein), you will get a better spike in blood levels than if you take leucine with food, because food can slow leucine’s absorption. The addition of isoleucine and valine may hinder the benefits of leucine due to competition for transport into muscle cells. Leucine supplements increase mTOR activity for several hours after ingestion. Leucine is a solely ketogenic amino acid; it is not glucogenic! Isoleucine is ketogenic and glucogenic and valine is 100% glucogenic! Whey protein also contains other glucogenic amino acids that may not be desirable in those people following the ketogenic diet. By keeping the whey protein in the AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN low, and boosting the leucine, this will keep isoleucine and valine low – which are both glucogenic amino acids, especially valine. This makes AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN more ketogenic than 100% whey protein! When 5 grams of leucine is taken with small amounts of whey protein (6.25 grams), it can spike blood levels of leucine mTOR activation. The combination will also provide all the essential amino acids for protein synthesis.

AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN, as I said earlier, contains 5 grams of citrulline per serving. Citrulline is a more effective supplement for increasing blood arginine levels and promoting intracellular nitric oxide. Citrulline supplementation may also facilitate the detoxification of ammonia via the urea cycle in the liver. As your body breaks down protein for energy during dieting, it produces ammonia, which can cause fatigue. Research has shown that reduced calorie and carbohydrate diets can increase blood ammonia levels especially when combined with high-intensity exercise. A most recent study in BMC Research Notes showed that 12 weeks of supplementation with 2 grams per day of citrulline lowered inflammation and inflammatory markers (c-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor.) Increases in inflammation have been shown to be linked to obesity. Increased inflammation could also enhance muscle catabolism and muscle wasting. Citrulline, like I said earlier, can also enhance skeletal muscle peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC-1 alpha). PGC-1 alpha increases mitochondrial biogenesis, enhancing muscle growth. PGC-1 alpha can also increase insulin-like-growth factor-1 (IGF-1) upregulation. It also increases exercise adaption and enhancement of exercise capacity! PGC-1 alpha also increases fat oxidation, fat burning and thermogenesis. Citrulline also increases insulin sensitivity. Citrulline does not increase blood glucose, which is desirable for people on ketogenic diets. Research has shown that glucose production is suppressed in those who have greater increase in plasma citrulline concentration (Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental, November 2003).

Potassium and magnesium citrate are added as important electrolytes and acid buffers (alkalinizers) when following low-carb and ketogenic diets. Low-grade chronic acidosis (which can increase muscle protein breakdown and bone loss), dehydration, electrolyte (mineral) loss and kidney stones are more prevalent in those people following a low-carb or ketogenic diets. Potassium citrate may help preserve lean body mass by reducing blood acidity in those following a low-carb, ketogenic diet. Also, recent research has shown that potassium citrate can help prevent kidney stones in those people following a low-carb or ketogenic diet! Also, a recent study presented March 16th and March 17, 2019 in New Orleans at the Annual American College of Cardiology 68th Annual Scientific Sessions showed that low-carb diets can raise the risk of heart rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation, in susceptible individuals. The loss of potassium and depletion of other electrolytes such as magnesium has an enormous effect on the functioning of the heart. Low serum potassium and magnesium is associated with higher risk of atrial fibrillation.

AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN does not contain pure ketone supplements such as beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Ketone supplements in the form of BHB salts and ketone esters only provide a temporary increase in blood ketone levels. Ingesting exogenous ketones may briefly interrupt your body’s natural production of ketones. BHB salts do not stimulate ketogenesis. Ketone supplementation reduces lipolysis and free fatty acids availability and may inhibit the body’s natural ability to burn its own body fat for fuel. A most recent study has shown that feeding ketone BHB supplements in healthy humans may have an undesirable effect by activating the innate immune response and increasing inflammation. If you want to get the anti-catabolic and fat-loss effects of a ketogenic diet, ketone supplements are not desirable. Also, ketone supplements such as calcium BHB are high in calcium; people on ketogenic diets are at higher risk of kidney stones. High serum calcium levels can increase the risk of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. High calcium supplementation has also been linked to an increase risk of cardiovascular disease. Ketone supplements do not build muscle, lean body mass, or enhance weight loss, fat burning or cognitive function, according to the recent research (Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 2018; Frontiers in Physiology, 2017). Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) naturally increase production of ketones in the liver and stimulate ketogenesis in humans. Research has shown that MCTs do not cause feedback inhibition or reduced ketone production. MCT stimulate the body’s natural ketone generation.

AML™ THERMO HEAT® FAT BURNING PROTEIN is an advanced scientifically designed protein and amino acid drink based on the latest cutting-edge scientific research. As part of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet and exercise program (aerobic and resistance training), it can help enhance protein synthesis and muscle growth and preserve lean body mass when following a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. Remember, a healthy weight loss is one that enhances reduction of body fat, enhances muscle growth and preserves lean body mass while dieting. Losing muscle mass during dieting can decrease one’s metabolic rate and result in burning fewer calories over a 24-hour period.

Bottom line: ketogenic diets are great for weight loss but bad and not useful for increasing muscle!



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