Supplements that sound good, what's the catch?

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Rush
9/22/08 10:39:45AM
ok, we all hear how supplements have different effects on different people and how some supplement companies claim that research proves their product works.

Here is an example of a study, just published in Nature Chemical Biology (a very reputable and high profile journal for all you non-scientists). It is about the effects of small molecules Aicar and GW1516. I have never heard of or seen the products myself, but to be honest, I don't look.

Without further ado, I present the results of the published work.



Skeletal muscle is a highly adaptable tissue that responds to repeated exercise by altering its contractile properties and its metabolism. For example, endurance training results in an increased capacity to generate energy (in the form of ATP) from aerobic pathways. An intriguing possibility is that small molecules that activate the pathways triggering these adaptations might mimic the effects of training without the accompanying sweat and effort. A step toward achieving this goal is reported in a recent paper by Narkar et al.1.

Wang et al.2 had previously shown that muscles of transgenic mice expressing an activated form of PPAR- contain a greater proportion of type 1 fibers (characterized by a more efficient form of myosin and a higher oxidative capacity) and display increased endurance. PPAR- is a transcription factor of the nuclear receptor family; its natural activating ligand remains unknown, although one idea is that it is a fatty acid metabolite generated during muscle metabolism. However, small molecules that activate this receptor (for example, GW1516) have been developed. Narkar et al.1 now report that although prolonged treatment of mice with GW1516 induced a subset of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation, it did not increase endurance on its own. However, when the drug was combined with treadmill training, gene expression, mitochondrial mass and endurance all improved more than with training alone (Fig. 1).




See below for Fig. 1

Now, all this sounds great right? Basically these drugs switch on genes that increase the oxidative breakdown of fats, which give you literally unlimited energy for endurance exercises. This is exactly what these drug companies claim as "scientifically proven" or in many cases, even less data than this.

Now, read the part below. This is why a lot of supplements don't seem to work for many people.


Before aspiring athletes start taking GW1516 or AICAR as training substitutes or additives, it should be pointed out that in human athletes undergoing high-level endurance training (as opposed to sedentary mice maintained in a cage), both of these pathways will already be regularly activated and the drugs may yield no additional benefit. It is also worth pointing out that the increases in endurance seen in these studies were in exercise of moderate intensity, where there is a greater reliance on fat as a fuel. These conditions may magnify any effects of GW1516, whereas in a human athletic event of an hour or less (when carbohydrates would be the primary fuel), any performance benefits of GW1516 would be minimized. The real benefit of drugs that activate PPAR- and AMPK may lie in treating people who would receive health benefits from regular exercise, but who are unable to tolerate it. Indeed, the current front-line treatment for type 2 diabetes (a condition associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle) is the drug metformin, whose therapeutic target now seems to be AMPK in the liver9.
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Evilwig
9/22/08 12:14:39PM
I just learn yesterday, that supplements and such are not control by the FDA, isn't something you find scray?

Well, in canada they are regulated but still...
Rush
9/22/08 1:17:36PM

Posted by Evilwig

I just learn yesterday, that supplements and such are not control by the FDA, isn't something you find scray?

Well, in canada they are regulated but still...



If aspirin was a new drug it would not be approved by the FDA today either, yet people still take it.
Evilwig
9/22/08 1:25:48PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by Evilwig

I just learn yesterday, that supplements and such are not control by the FDA, isn't something you find scray?

Well, in canada they are regulated but still...



If aspirin was a new drug it would not be approved by the FDA today either, yet people still take it.



I was sure that prescription drug needed to be tested, approved and all that before being sold...
Rush
9/22/08 3:10:06PM
What I am saying is that Aspirin would not be approved by the FDA if it were brought into circulation today. However, because of its historical significance and/or prominence the FDA has not removed it from the shelves of drug stores. That being said, people have not stopped taking aspirin despite the fact that it has a lot of flaws, so why would they even think of looking for FDA approval when buying supplements? Also, there are differences in FDA approval when comparing drugs (OTC vs. prescription), supplements, cosmetics, etc.

However, this is digressing far beyond the point of my original post, which was to make people aware of the "half-truth" marketing strategies used by most supplement compnaies, as well as some scientific explanation as to why supplements don't always appear to work. Save your money people!!!
Evilwig
9/22/08 3:17:19PM

Posted by Rush

What I am saying is that Aspirin would not be approved by the FDA if it were brought into circulation today. However, because of its historical significance and/or prominence the FDA has not removed it from the shelves of drug stores. That being said, people have not stopped taking aspirin despite the fact that it has a lot of flaws, so why would they even think of looking for FDA approval when buying supplements?



I would look for FDA approval because I want to be sure a certain amount of test have been conduct on the product on that it's not a total scam. In the US, you could this afternoon create and sell you own supplement and this without opposition from any regulation body. And if your supplement were to be harmful, the FDA would have to prove it harmful or else you would still be allow to sell. I mean, it you watch Bigger, Stronger and Faster, you'll see what I mean...

As a person who never used supplement, does these thing really work? Because I'm under the impression that they do more harm than good?
Rush
9/22/08 3:19:14PM

Posted by Evilwig

As a person who never used supplement, does these thing really work? Because I'm under the impression that they do more harm than good?




The answer is in the original post. I went back and bolded the key point. Either you didn't read my original post carefully and misunderstood it or you didn't read it at all.


I also edited my response while you were posting yours.


And one more thing abou tFDA approval. Just because the FDA approves it doesn't mean it works.
Evilwig
9/22/08 3:39:01PM
I read you're answer and I saw the part in bold.

I was mostly asking the question to those who use supplements.
Are they really seeing any benefit? And knowing that they are not really regulated and anybody could make, are those benefits outweigh the risk of taking that could be harmful in long or short term...
Rush
9/22/08 3:55:50PM

Posted by Evilwig

I read you're answer and I saw the part in bold.

I was mostly asking the question to those who use supplements.
Are they really seeing any benefit? And knowing that they are not really regulated and anybody could make, are those benefits outweigh the risk of taking that could be harmful in long or short term...



ok, I see what you are asking.

I can't help you there. The closest thing I take to supplements is a multi-vitamin.
The-Don
9/22/08 8:38:54PM

Posted by Rush


Posted by Evilwig

I read you're answer and I saw the part in bold.

I was mostly asking the question to those who use supplements.
Are they really seeing any benefit? And knowing that they are not really regulated and anybody could make, are those benefits outweigh the risk of taking that could be harmful in long or short term...



ok, I see what you are asking.

I can't help you there. The closest thing I take to supplements is a multi-vitamin.



I was taking stuff for my knees pardon the spellings.. Glucosimione and chondrotin and my knees were feeling great.. I will admit.. I have not taken them in abit over a month and my knee pain is back... neither is FDA approved.. but they seem to work..
Poohbah
9/22/08 11:06:54PM

I was taking stuff for my knees pardon the spellings.. Glucosimione and chondrotin and my knees were feeling great.. I will admit.. I have not taken them in abit over a month and my knee pain is back... neither is FDA approved.. but they seem to work..


I'll second that. Taking the same stuff (Move Free brand-but whatever) upon advice from my brother. I have two bad shoulders and it was preventing me from weightlifting. Improvement has been significant. I've been mostly pain free and have worked up to a bench press of 230x5 (5 sets) last Sunday. This is not what it used to be, but at one point I couldn't even do the bar w/o pain.

I don't think it is a placebo effect. That would suck if the pain came back if I stop taking the stuff.
The-Don
9/24/08 2:30:18PM

Posted by Poohbah


I was taking stuff for my knees pardon the spellings.. Glucosimione and chondrotin and my knees were feeling great.. I will admit.. I have not taken them in abit over a month and my knee pain is back... neither is FDA approved.. but they seem to work..



I'll second that. Taking the same stuff (Move Free brand-but whatever) upon advice from my brother. I have two bad shoulders and it was preventing me from weightlifting. Improvement has been significant. I've been mostly pain free and have worked up to a bench press of 230x5 (5 sets) last Sunday. This is not what it used to be, but at one point I couldn't even do the bar w/o pain.

I don't think it is a placebo effect. That would suck if the pain came back if I stop taking the stuff.


yea man it does.. but from what I understand the longer your taking it the less you need... I am back on it as of yesterday.. so I am hopeing my knee pain eases off soon...
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