Posted by: SLS | November 14, 2010

Summary of Anthropological Evidence for Human Diet

When I set out to create this blog, I did not want the discussions to be about me or about my personal thoughts or about what I do in my free time. I think there is already enough of that sort of extraneous clutter circulating the internet, and far too few places where frank discussions about legitimately sourced information can disseminate without bias or speculation. However, since I did create this blog to talk about muscular physiology and how to optimally express inherent traits for athletic performance, diet is inevitably a major component in sustaining a healthy metabolism and is an important discussion topic, even in a muscle specific blog such as this. The topic of human diet is very dear to me because it was the theme for my masters thesis. Therefore, I have lots to say on the subject, am a bit opinionated (opinions formed after years of diligent literature surveys), and take this topic very seriously.

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Posted by: SLS | November 8, 2010

Elegance in electricity

I’ve been meaning to devote a post to some very serious thoughts about chemical signaling and nervous system development. I’ve come to think, rather dubiously at the moment, that our nervous systems are a microcosm of a larger network, bootstrapped from cellular organization and differentiation in an electrolytic environment. And this came to me in a lecture about siphonophores.

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Posted by: SLS | November 2, 2010

Thermodynamics in weight control

The most over utilized paradigm of weight loss is the concept of calories in – calories out, and that in order to lose weight, one must reduce the total amount of calories consumed (calorie restriction or CR) so that their energy output exceeds their energy input. This belief is further illustrated by the following equation:

ΔE = E(in) – E(out); the change in total energy equals the difference between energy in and energy out of a system, or:

Change in weight = Calories consumed – Calories expended

The above equation describes energy change in a closed system. The human body is not a closed system. We interact with varying temperature and are not in thermal equilibrium with our environment. We are capable of large mass flows such as in respiration, and we can sequester entropy through metabolic effects like protein synthesis whereas a closed system would evolve towards a state of maximum entropy. To truly account for the energy in a system as complex as a living organism, the equation would have to look something more like this (taken from here with credit for the idea to Michael Eades):

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Posted by: SLS | November 2, 2010

Amassing my response

I am currently working on a fairly intensive and in-depth response to the article series on insulin posted at Weightology by James Krieger. I hope to have at least part 1 up this week. While writing this response, I realized that there are a few concepts that will aid in my explanations, but that are too tangential and too long to cover in the Insulin Post itself. Because of this, I want to spend some time covering those topics here in a post or two so that I can reference them later while keeping my main response as concise an on topic as possible.

The most important concepts that come to mind so far are 1. thermodynamics of weight control, and 2. evolutionary genomics and nutrition. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to cover cephalic phase insulin response in a separate post or include it with my main response. It is most likely I will include it in the main. I’ll separate each concept into its own post for better organization and so that readers won’t have to clamber through paragraphs of disparate topics. Up first is the thermodynamics of weight control- a critique.

Posted by: SLS | October 20, 2010

The bee in the honey

It has been far too long since my last post on anything relevant, and as is wont to happen in the information age, the information continues to flow like scattered tributaries coursing towards a central current. My most recent muscle biochemistry read was a kind of ground-shaking article by T.D. Noakes (5) describing different accepted models of muscular fatigue… and how they are wrong.

The slightly disturbing notion that you have spent a great deal of time learning and imbibing information only to find out that your growing paradigm crumbles in light of some new, damnably objective, perspective can and does shake the toughest and most leathery researcher. It sends a great creeping dread down one’s spine that has an incapacitating power. However, it is very possible and quite necessary to shake out the cobwebs of long-standing self-affirmations, grown too accustomed to a welcoming environment, and plunge into the cold, crisp, and slightly biting waters of rational objective skepticism. This I have found from T.D. Noakes’ review article. I’ll summarize briefly below.

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Posted by: SLS | September 30, 2010


When I last spoke about muscle fatigue, I was following the course of ion transfer through anaerobic energy production in skeletal muscle. The result of this net free proton counting was that glycogen earned a net proton loss and glucose a net 0. However, given the current understanding that muscle fatigue is in part caused by a build up of positive ions (acidosis), there must be a sort of blockage somewhere within the glycolysis/fermentation system where alkalizing lactate production cannot parallel proton accumulation from glycolysis. The system is thus dependent on the efficacy of lactate production and ion recycling to delay fatigue, and when lactate production gets overrun by the proton accumulation in glycolysis, then we might say that an acidic environment develops within the muscle and decays the energy production system (exactly how acidosis contributes to muscle fatigue will have to be discussed later). So if we can preserve and heighten lactate production, we might stall muscular fatigue.

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Posted by: SLS | September 27, 2010

Quote of the year

“… metabolism recapitulates biogenesis, which is to say metabolism is the basis of living things. It is a self-organized process that bootstraps from amino acid feedback loops into a self-sustaining organism.”

Animation is in the chemistry of molecules, not the mechanics of movement.

Posted by: SLS | September 17, 2010

What contributes to muscle fatigue?

Here is a problem I’ve been wrestling with now for a few weeks. I’ve been spending most of my time learning biochemistry, reading older journals (to get a baseline of what is “known”) and finding newer material to get an idea of what is “up and coming” in an applied theory sense. Finding the solution is a lot like being lost in a rabbit hole where any one tunnel can lead to an answer or more tunnels to explore. Usually both, which is a problem since I’m the type of person to follow a tangent mid stride if I think it might lead somewhere important. Despite the setbacks, here’s the summary of my most recent research.

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Posted by: SLS | September 3, 2010

Lactic acid clarification

In my brief musing on AMPase motivated recovery, I alluded to lactic acid as the catalyst for muscle acidification and resultant fatigue. This, I am quickly learning, is a false construct. So before I say any more on the subject, I’d like to correct my previous inquiry (thought it was just an inquiry, not an assertion) and say that lactic acid does not cause acidosis, it is a  natural product of the acidic environment and lactate substrate. Lactic acid formation seems to be a benefit; certainly is the production of the substrate, lactate! Once I finish reading the literature I acquired today I want to flesh out this anaerobic process, as it is absolutely pivotal to concepts I wish to pursue. How can one even begin to discuss recovery methods if one does not even properly understand the reason behind the need for recovery? Exactly.

Posted by: SLS | September 2, 2010

Quick thought on recovery

The anaerobic system produces lactic acid for waste. AMPase enzyme mops up that acid when the muscle reaches a 6.6 ph threshold (going more acidic). AMPase attenuates on a log curve (from my best estimation). Lactic acid build up limits available ATP. AMPase activity cleans up that acid to help the muscle continue running. What then promotes AMPase sensitivity and abundance? Is this what “lactic tolerance” workouts facilitate- the release of AMPase? (1)

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