B-vitamin discovery – Book Excerpt of the Week

Vitamin B (singular) was discovered in 1897 as THE THING that prevented the disease Beriberi. It wasn’t until 1911 that someone discovered THE THING was not ONE vitamin, but a CLUSTER (or a “complex”) of vitamins.

The Book Excerpt of the Week comes from the “B-vitamins” chapter of Part Three: How Do They Work.

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The B-vitamins are similar in how they work: almost all off them help enzymes in our body, and those enzymes are like little machines that get important stuff done (like metabolizing things, building DNA, and much more).

In the coming weeks we’ll talk about what each of the B-vitamins do, and how much you should consume (versus how much is in sports supplements and energy drinks).

Stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we move page by page through my book on the science of energy drinks.

Get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks- How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” from Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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The Wand Chooses the Wizard: Energy Synergy versus Ingredient Quality and Composition – Book Excerpt of the Week

The interaction between two ingredients reminds me of the relationship or “synergy” between a wizard and his wand in the world of Harry Potter. Synergy is when two things are stronger together than they are on their own. In other words, the same wizard might feel less powerful using a different wand: the combination of the two makes the difference.

I’ve been seeing a lot about ingredient interaction in the news lately, but this is only half the story. Behold, our Book Excerpt of the Week:

energy-synergy-vs-quality-and-composition

In the world of Harry Potter, a cracked or damaged wand will not be as powerful, even if used by its rightful owner. The quality overrides the synergy or interaction.

In nature, a plant might have a high concentration of caffeine or some other nutrient, but how much of that nutrient survived when that plant was turned into a powder? Some ingredients are commonly adulterated (like ginseng and gingko), and some ingredients are hard to absorb (like quercetin and polyphenol antioxidants).

If someone is telling you two ingredients are powerful or dangerous when combined, they should also address ingredient quality and composition. Poor quality ingredients, poorly absorbed ingredients, or ingredients that have been adulterated will not have the same synergistic/combined effects on your body as they do in a test tube.

Related Reading:

 

Learn More: Get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” from Amazon, here. (Kindle, paperback, hardcover available).

Energy Drink of the Month – December 2016: Core Organic

How do you describe a beverage that is a hybrid of juice, water, and tea? This month we’ll review a beverage that aims to give you the health benefits of tea, the hydration of water, and the flavor of fruit juice. While the caffeine content is negligible, there is tea in it, and Fatigue Level 1 is dehydration! We’ll review WHO IT’S FOR (per diet/lifestyle and ingredient preferences), WHAT’S IN IT (key ingredients), and WHEN TO CONSUME IT (per caffeine content and the 5 Levels of Fatigue).

*Spoiler Alert* I’ve got three minor Food Scientist pet peeves with this beverage, and I would love to hear your thoughts on these observations.

The Energy Drink (alternative) of the Month is Core Organic Pomegranate Blue Acai.

Other flavors available include Peach Mango, Watermelon Lemonade, Orange Clementine, Coconut Colada, and Orchard Pear. If you’re familiar with my Energy Drink of the Month series, you know I almost always pick the pomegranate blueberry flavors.

WHO IT’S FOR

This Core Organic “fruit infused beverage” is certified Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, low glycemic, and Vegan.

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  • PET PEEVE #1: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
    • Why would any of those be in a fruit-infused beverage? Does anyone else feel like Core Organic is trying to win consumers by tapping into that fad?

This beverage could appeal to you if:

  1. You are limiting your sugar intake and your “liquid calories” – This drink has less than 1 gram of sugar per serving and only 5 Calories per serving (10 Calories per bottle)
  2. You are avoiding artificial sweeteners – This drink is sweetened with Stevia and Organic erythritol (we’ll review this below)
  3. You are avoiding artificial colors and/or flavors – The color comes from Organic vegetable juice and fruit juice, and the flavor comes from a combination of natural flavors
  4. You are not really a tea drinker but still want the benefits of drinking tea – This drink has 75 milligrams of polyphenol antioxidants, which is “the antioxidants of half a cup of blueberries or cherries” according to the press release in BevNET

core-organic-pomegranate-blue-acai-ingredients

WHAT’S IN IT

Fruit Juice

  • PET PEEVE #2: This is a “fruit infused” beverage but the fruit juice doesn’t play a very big role. 

There’s only 4% juice per serving. The FDA does consider coconut water a juice, but since it’s behind erythritol in the ingredient’s list, we know there’s more erythritol than coconut water in this drink.

The Organic lemon juice is behind the Stevia extract, which is very telling! Since Stevia is something you can’t use in large amounts, there can’t be more than one lemon’s worth of lemon juice in here. Since the lemon juice comes before citric acid, it seems both the lemon juice and the citric acid are in this drink to control acidity. If you want to keep mold out of your fruit juices, you have to either control the acidity or use preservatives.

The last two fruit juices are the last two ingredients in the list, meaning they’re the smallest portions of the recipe. There’s fruit juice used for color, and Maqui berry juice powder used to deliver antioxidants.

5-in-1 weight loss supplement combo IS effective, but thanks to WHICH combo?

White Tea, Maqui Berry, and Polyphenol Antioxidants

The good news is consumption of polyphenol antioxidants is associated with improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of cancer. Consumption of green and white tea is associated with lower risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. The bad news is white tea is such a small portion of this recipe, and Maqui berry is literally the last/most sparse ingredient!

Maqui berry is a “Chilean blackberry”, according to a paper in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. It might have a lot of antioxidants in nature but one paper suggests the juice making process results in a “substantial loss” of the polyphenol antioxidants in Maqui. If you can figure out how to minimize these losses, there are some encouraging (but still uncertain) health benefits. A group of antioxidants called “anthocyanins” extracted from Maqui berry improved fasting blood sugar levels in (wait for it) obese diabetic mice.

“Animal research can be useful, and can predict effects also seen in humans. However, observed effects can also differ, so subsequent human trials are required before a particular effect can be said to be seen in humans. Tests on isolated cells can also produce different results to those in the body.” – see the Compound Interest infographic on Scientific Evidence

Erythritol

Erythritol is one of my favorite sweeteners, and we’ve talked about it before in other reviews. Erythritol makes Stevia better when they’re combined. Some people get a bitter-metallic sensation with Stevia extract, but erythritol masks the unfavorable attributes of Stevia. Erythritol is 60-70% as sweet as sucrose and has a very similar taste. It does not raise blood glucose levels and it delivers a cooling effect. While it’s non-caloric like Stevia, it has a molecular size that gives it more mouthfeel. Think fruit juice versus fruit smoothie: the fruit smoothie has a heavier “mouthfeel”.

Erythritol occurs naturally, like monk fruit and Stevia. It’s made through natural fermentation. It’s a sugar-alcohol, like the Xylitol often used in sugar-free gum. With xylitol, however, too much of it can really upset a person’s stomach. With erythritol, a person could consume twice as much – at least 0.66 grams per kilogram of body weight – before they started getting same stomach issues. Additionally, erythritol has been proven through clinical studies to reduce plaque build-up.

Core Organic beverage nutrition facts ingredients caffeine content
Caffeine content is “about the same as a cup of decaf coffee”, so does that mean 45mg? There is no standard for this!

WHEN TO CONSUME

  • PET PEEVE #3: There is no such thing as a standard cup of coffee or cup of tea.
    • It’s not clear how much caffeine is in this product, but we should assume the content is negligible. The white tea is the only source of caffeine, and white tea is not a very prominent ingredient.

Core Organic is not promoting itself as a drink that would give you energy, but since it includes white tea extract, I wish they could include some caffeine information on the label.

Dehydration is Fatigue Level 1, so picking a beverage with negligible caffeine content is a great way to ensure you don’t reach for the caffeine too soon. If you always reach for the same caffeinated beverage, and if caffeine is always your first solution when you’re tired, there will come a day when the caffeine no longer works for you. This is precisely why I developed the 5 Levels of Fatigue!

Bottom Line

This water/juice/tea hybrid is not marketed as an energy drink, but it’s a good solution (pun intended) for beating the fatigue that comes with dehydration. While you will not get the full benefits of drinking plain tea, you still get the benefits of the 75 milligrams of polyphenol antioxidants per serving.

Core Organic main site

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ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2…year 3 coming soon…)

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Ingredient Focus: Citrulline Part 3 – How Much?

In Part 1, we learned citrulline is watermelon extract. In Part 2, we learned citrulline’s value is what it does once the body converts it to arginine. In Part 3, we discuss the optimal dosage.

So how much citrulline do we need?

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You may wonder, “If citrulline is so great because of how it turns into arginine, can’t I just take arginine?”

Citrulline is better absorbed than arginine. It’s also better tolerated. Doses over 10 grams of arginine can result in diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress, but doses of citrulline up to 15 grams don’t cause these side effects according to this study.

Citrulline Malate versus L-citrulline

One gram of L-citrulline equates to 1.76 grams of citrulline malate. Citrulline malate is citrulline attached to the natural fruit acid, malic acid. Research studies on citrulline for sports performance typically use citrulline malate more than L-citrulline, so that is the preferred form.

For circulatory health (via arginine and subsequent nitric oxide production), citrulline doses are typically 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) three times with meals.

Although citrulline is not proven to improve muscle soreness, creatine production, or muscle protein synthesis, 6-8 grams as citrulline malate is commonly taken before, and less commonly after, a workout.

Supplements with Citrulline Malate

 

BOTTOM LINE

 

Citrulline is promoted with claims about improving muscle pump, and strength and power, but “this supplement has somewhat inconclusive findings,” according to Bodybuilding.com’s 2016 supplement guide. This sentiment is echoed by the in-depth assessment of citrulline research on Examine.com. The Bodybuilding.com guide’s rating continues, “…some studies report positive changes following use, while others report no change. The anecdotal evidence is favorable, and although more research is needed, it is still considered safe for use.”

References and Related Reading

Citrulline Part 1 (What It Is) and Part 2 (What It Does)

WTRMLN WTR – Energy Drink of the Month – June 2016

Citrulline on Examine.com (note – this site has HEAPS of information, but it may be a bit technical for some)

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