Thursday, November 30, 2017

AMPK - An Ideal Target For Weight Loss & Anti-Aging

The evolution of medical science has revealed that many of the common symptoms of aging may be caused by a reversible failure of cellular mechanics. One such mechanic that has been the target of anti-aging research is a cellular enzyme known as adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

AMPK is activated in the presence of rising levels of Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP). AMPK activation increases fatty acid oxidation and glucose transport, releasing additional energy from stored fats and sugars. In essence, activated AMPK promotes energy-releasing processes while suppressing energy-storing processes. As a result, organisms with high AMPK activity tend to be more lean, with relatively low blood sugar and fat levels, and a very low risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.

Activated AMPK promotes all the processes needed to maintain a youthful profile. However, AMPK activity fades with age. As previously mentioned, AMPK is activated in the presence of increased AMP. Therefore, to test the anti-aging properties of AMPK, researchers used fruit flies that were genetically engineered to synthesize higher levels of AMP. The research found that the modified flies lived up to one-third longer as a result of increased AMPK activity. "The life span benefit of these mutations depends upon increased AMP:ATP and ADP:ATP ratios and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Transgenic expression of AMPK in adult fat body or adult muscle, key metabolic tissues, extended life span" (Stenesen, 2013).

Luckily, AMPK can be activated without genetic manipulation. Researchers have now confirmed that consistent dosages of oral AMP results in increased AMPK activity. In a study using lab rats fed supplemental AMP, "AMP effectively improved hypertension, plasma triglyceride, and HDL-cholesterol, glucose, kidney function parameters, hepatic lipid, enhances plasma nitric oxide, and plasma adiponectin..." (Ardiansyah, 2011). The researchers found that AMP up-regulated mRNA expression levels, affecting genes involved in B-oxidation, fatty acid synthesis, and AMPK. 


It is clear that AMPK activity is desirable for reducing the unwanted effects of aging. AMPK activity can be increased through exercise and proper nutrition however as we age, AMPK activity declines. This decline can be reduced and possibly even reversed through pharmacologic AMPK activation such as that achieved through supplemental oral AMP.


Stenesen, D., Suh, JM., Seo, J., Yu, K., Lee, K.S., Min, K.J., & Graff, J.M. (2013). Adenosine nucleotide biosynthesis and AMPK regulate adult life span and mediate the longevity benefit of caloric restriction in flies. Cellular Metabolism. Retrieved from:

Ardiansyah, Shirakawa, D., Koseki, H., Saori, T., Yoshinobu, A., & Michio, K. (2011). Novel Effect of Adenosine 5′-Monophosphate on Ameliorating Hypertension and the Metabolism of Lipids and Glucose in Stroke-Prone Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Linton, R. (2015). AMPK and Aging. Life Extension.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Neurohormone signaling and obesity.

When food enters the stomach, your body responds by sending signals via hormones to the brain. The intricate circuitry between the gut and brain controls appetite and satiety. After a meal, levels of hormones such as CCK rise leading to feelings of satiety. Compared with lean subjects, overweight patients have lower post-meal levels of CCK: a possible explanation for overeating and reduced satisfaction after a meal.

Studies have shown that levels of the appetite regulating hormone CCK remain suppressed even after weight loss. Reductions of this hormone can persist up to one year after weight loss, promoting increased appetite and decreased satiety; potentially leading to overeating and weight regain.

L-phenylalanine is a naturally occurring amino acid which has been shown to increase CCK. A double-blind study found that L-phenylalanine led to an increase of CCK levels by more than 5X base levels. There were no negative side effects. Furthermore, the L-phenylalanine group saw a significant reduction in caloric intake, giving evidence to the use of L-phenylalanine to control appetite, especially in cases where CCK production is otherwise suppressed.

Smith, A. (2017). Neurohormonal effects on obesity. Bariatric Times. Retreived from:

Ballinger, AB., Clark, ML. (1994). L-phenylalanine releases cholecystokinin (CCK) and is associated with reduced food intake in humans. Metabolism. Retrieved from:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fish Oils: Why Omega 3 should be a staple of your weight loss program.

Omega 3 fatty acids have long been known for their benefits relating to heart disease, but they are important for so much more! Optimizing your omega-3 is a truly foundational component of good health.

Fish Oil Supplements Decrease Your Appetite.
If you want to stay full longer between meals, popping a couple of fish oil capsules after you eat may help. A 2008 study found that obese people receiving supplements of omega-3 fatty acids while following a weight loss program experienced a feeling of fullness for longer.


Fish Oil Makes Your Diet and Workout Program More Effective.
The results of one study demonstrated that fish oil supplementation significantly increased resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure during exercise, and the rate of fat oxidation during rest and during exercise. In addition, fish oil consumption lowered triglyceride levels and increased lean mass, while no changes occurred in the placebo group.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Vitamin C and Weight Loss: The Stress Connection

Being under stress causes a release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol's functions include blood pressure regulation, glucose metabolism, blood sugar maintenance, and immune system support. During a stressful event this has positive effects including a higher pain threshold and a rush of energy. However, when your body is constantly producing an abnormally high amount of cortisol, it can disrupt your normal cortisol production and have a negative impact on your health.
Excess cortisol stimulates glucose production leading to a release of insulin. These internal activites result in an increase in appetite. Additionally, the excess glucose is converted to and stored as fat. Some studies have shown that excess cortisol not only increases fat storage, it can also effect where the fat is stored. Researchers believe that cortisol specifically leads to an increase of abdominal fat.

It is possible to keep excess cortisol in check with the proper nutrients, such as vitamin C. Studies have shown that supplementing with between 500mg and 1000mg of vitamin C daily can help reduce cortisol levels post-exercise compared with placebo. Additionally, as an anti-oxidant, vitamin C may be effective for reducing oxidative damage from free radicals produced when cortisol levels are high.