Alex's Amusement 4/15/14

Critical Thinking Corner

If it helps or has a neutral effect, try it. That is the simple maxim that Jose Antonio, CEO and Co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and the Editor-in-Chief of the JISSN, teaches his students. I am a huge proponent of self-experimentation, and this statement really hit home with me. This week’s critical thinking will be more based around a personal experiment I am currently performing.

Many of you may have read the article on Niacin for glucose management at SuppVersity (if not then read it now) that was posted nearly three weeks ago. Within this article, Adel contemplates about how to (ab-)use niacin in healthy individuals, and I decided to do a little more digging and try it myself. I’m healthy, I’m lean, and I’m currently eating in a caloric surplus, so why shouldn’t I attempt to optimize my feeding environment?

So here is the rundown. Basically niacin enhances glucose oxidation during first 1.5 hours, and floods body with free fatty acids at the 2-3 hour mark which will stimulate major fat oxidation. So theoretically, you would take it immediately before your last carbohydrate heavy meal of the day which would also preferably be low in fat. The reason for this is two-fold. You want the meal to be carbohydrate-heavy and low in fat because the niacin will force your body to store all fat and burn glucose. The reason you want it to be the last carbohydrate-heavy meal of the day is because about 2-3 hours after the meal, the body will flood the bloodstream with all the fatty acids that got stored and more in a rebound effect. The body responds accordingly, ramping up fatty acid oxidation. The last thing you want to do is eat carbohydrates when your blood is full of fat and you are literally a fat-burning machine.

I train fasted in the mornings and eat three meals daily with my first being post-workout. In general, on training days I backload my fats so that my carbohydrates come around training, while on recovery days I backload my carbohydrates. I don’t like to mix. Using the above information on niacin’s mode of action,

  • Training days – Niacin was taken before lunch because that is my last carbohydrate heavy meal for the day. My post-workout meal is covered in terms of insulin sensitivity because of the fasted training, but this should enhance glycogen storage and carbohydrate usage for lunch and set me up to be a fat burning machine during my protein and fat dinner and through the night.
  • Non-training days – Niacin was taken before dinner because it was my last carbohydrate-heavy meal for the day and sets me up to be a fat-burning machine through the night.

As for the amount, I started with 1g for the first half of the week and increased to 1.5g during the second half. I really didn’t notice any differences between the doses.

The results were surprisingly amazing. I woke up every morning leaner and more “solid” in terms of muscle. I admit it could easily be placebo, but who cares if I am getting results. Nothing about my diet or training changed except for the addition of the niacin. The side-effects (flushing, et al.) disappeared by the third day as well and didn’t come back even when the dosage was increased. Interestingly, the flushing is caused in part by local prostaglandins that require omega-6s to be produced. So the rapid disappearance of the flushing could be a sign that I don’t have a ton of omega-6 in my skin to “fuel” the flushing.

Anyways, that was my experiment for the last week. I probably won’t continue the high-dose niacin because of potential liver damage concerns. However, Adel and I are not really sure if the “liver damage” is actually “liver damage”. ALT and AST can become elevated when the liver is required to oxidize protein, and most this “damage” was observed in sick people who took niacin to lower their hyperlipidemia. Oh, and before I forget, thanks for the idea and tips on how to implement it Adel. This counts as the credit you wanted *lol*.

Around the Web

This is old but worth sharing if you haven’t seen it yet.

This is a great article on proper training for the shoulders written by Eric Cressey.

Fat kids have poor decision-making skills. I can’t help but think this came from their parents, since someone has to feed them during this time.

Greg Nuckols really nails the importance of sleep with this one simple study.

This is a pretty cool video about resistant starch. Definitely a good primer for educating a “newbie”.

SuppVersity Post of the Week

Alternate Day Fasting: Well-Researched, Proven to Be Effective. So Why Don't You Use It? Plus: Simple Alternate Day Fasting Blueprints to Get You Beach Ready in 2014

I love it. The article is an excellent read and there is a great discussion going on in the comments section. I don’t have much to say about it beyond that because I have been very active in the comments answering reader questions. I encourage you to read the article and ask there, as I can guarantee you will get a response.

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