Olestra, Frankenstein fat substitute

Who knew that when Procter and Gamble accidentally created Olestra by attaching up to eight fatty acids to regular table sugar, they had also created a monster? While the molecule tastes and looks like fat to the human eye, in the body its freakishly spiderlike structure can’t be broken down at all, thus, the intestineContinue reading “Olestra, Frankenstein fat substitute”

Give Thanks to Your Mitochondria This Holiday Season

Once you’ve finished gorging yourself on turkey and pie and have decided to burn off that extra “fuel” by shopping non-stop (as an aerobic workout) on Black Friday morning, remember that you have your cells’ mitochondria to thank [1]. The mitochondria house the enzymes and conditions necessary for aerobic respiration via the citric acid cycleContinue reading “Give Thanks to Your Mitochondria This Holiday Season”

I’ll have a tall glass of fresh-squeezed fructose

Orange juice delivers a potent dose of what is roughly half glucose and half fructose [1]. Glucose, we know, is the simple sugar that serves as the primary source of fuel to the blood, brain and muscle [2p735]. Its intake stimulates the release of insulin, goes through glycolysis to create energy, and is used toContinue reading “I’ll have a tall glass of fresh-squeezed fructose”

When you can’t degrade glycogen

Your brain, blood and muscles depend almost entirely on dietary glucose as a fuel source so your body must store the sugar for continual supply [1p733]. If you go without eating for a while or jog a mile or two you’ll find yourself relying on glycogen for energy [1p733]. The long-branched glucose polymer acts asContinue reading “When you can’t degrade glycogen”

Why Vitamin B is My Co-pilot

B vitamins play a major role in producing energy in the cells, but they certainly aren’t top gun. They are converted in the body to act as coenzymes. As coenzymes they have almost no independent catalytic power because they must rely on being temporarily bound as organic prosthetic groups to an apoenzyme, then called aContinue reading “Why Vitamin B is My Co-pilot”

Power-Saving Tips From Biochemistry

Need to lower the electric bill? You could learn a thing or two about conservation from your body’s own cells. Each one possesses a highly evolved system of energy efficiency that consists of regulatory enzymes (1). These catalysts can be activated and deactivated depending on conditions in the cell (1p649-651). When strategically located as aContinue reading “Power-Saving Tips From Biochemistry”

A Tale of Two Bacterial Strains

It was the hottest of times, it was the coldest of times, and it was billions of years before the French revolution when one bacterial strain became two and possibly a few more.1p630 One of these strains would thrive in what we now know to be the Arctic Cold.1p627 Another would survive in the ventsContinue reading “A Tale of Two Bacterial Strains”

Lecithin – good for your brain and liver

Lecithin provides choline, which is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain.(1) Choline is also necessary to remove fat from the liver.(2) Thus, supplementation could be extremely beneficial for alcoholics to prevent against cirrhosis.(2) References 1. http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/11/5/4732. http://www.medschool.northwestern.edu/newsworthy/past-years/2002/2002H-May/choline.htm

Ampipathic lecithin

Lecithin’s talent comes from its amphipathic nature.(1) The compound’s hydrophilic polar head dissolves in water while its hydrophobic polar tail dissolves in the triglycerides, thus, acting in a way of suspending triglycerides in water.(1p568) As an emulsifier in ice cream, lecithin keeps ice cream smooth with fat globules evenly distributed throughout the solution.(2) It servesContinue reading “Ampipathic lecithin”

Why does low cholesterol cause aggression?

There might be a Darwinian explanation. According to Meninger clinic researchers, lower blood LDL cholesterol may be a signal for famine, which led to an adaptation of a response of more aggressive behavior.(1) Of course I think this is a pretty far-reaching hypothesis, but it’s interesting. Reference Erickson, MT. Lowered serum cholesterol, famine and aggressionContinue reading “Why does low cholesterol cause aggression?”