Mastering Nutrition

Hi, I'm Chris Masterjohn and I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. I am an entrepreneur in all things fitness, health, and nutrition. In this show I combine my scientific expertise with my out-of-the-box thinking to translate complex science into new, practical ideas that you can use to help yourself on your journey to vibrant health. This show will allow you to master the science of nutrition and apply it to your own life like a pro.
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Mastering Nutrition




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Now displaying: July, 2016
Jul 28, 2016

Did you know that adding MCT oil to your pasta is more ketogenic than restricting your carbohydrates to ten percent of calories?

Many people think of carbohydrate and insulin as central to ketogenesis, but the direct biochemical event that initiate ketone formation is actually the oversupply of acetyl groups to the TCA cycle during conditions of oxaloacetate depletion.

While largely a biochemistry lesson, in this episode I also teach you the practical implications of this. There is more than one route to ketogenesis, and while they all produce ketones, they are fundamentally different in important ways.

Adding coconut, MCT oil, or exogenous ketones allows you to reap benefits of ketones without necessarily restricting carbohydrates and insulin, and that may be useful if you are also trying to reap some of the benefits of carbohydrate and insulin.

On the other hand, certain conditions that respond to ketogenic diets, for example refractory childhood epilepsy, need stronger degrees of ketogenesis than you can achieve simply by adding MCT oil to pasta.

Understanding the difference allows you to better make practical decisions about your diet that are most consistent with your priorities.

In this episode, you will find all of the following, and more:

An overview of the TCA cycle and burning carbohydrate for energy; the critical importance of oxaloacetate (OAA) to allow acetyl groups to enter the TCA cycle; how we burn fat on a mixed diet; the meaning of the phrase, "fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate" or “fat burns in a carbohydrate flame"; loss of lean muscle mass can occur if dietary carbohydrate and protein are too low to maintain OAA levels, and fat cannot spare this loss; under carbohydrate restriction, OAA is not repleted by carbohydrate and is used for gluconeogenesis, while more fatty acids reach the liver to make acteyl CoA;  the oversupply of acetyl groups in excess of OAA initiates ketogenesis; insulin shifts fat to adipose tissue, but this doesn't cause obesity; MCTs go straight to the liver via the portal vein rather than going to the blood via the lymph in chylomicrons, and they thereby avoid that effect of insulin; insulin suppresses the carnitine shuttle; MCTs do not require the carnitine shuttle and are therefore immune to this effect of insulin; MCTs at breakfast suppress food intake at lunch; MCTs added to pasta increase beta-hydroxybutyrate; two ways of getting ketones: selective deprivation vs. abundance; if you are trying to get ketones but having negative effects of carbohydrate restriction (e.g. declining exercise performance in sports requiring anaerobic glycolysis, declining thyroid hormone and sex hormones, elevated cortisol and LDL-C) you can add MCTs to get the ketones; comparison of beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations from MCT vs. 10% carb vs. classical ketogenic diet.

Jul 25, 2016

In this episode, I give my take on a recent masters thesis paper by Rachel Gregory from James Madison University, which reports a study where just under 30 members of Rocktown CrossFit and Sports Performance were randomized to do CrossFit for six weeks with a normal diet or a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet led to weight loss and loss of bodyfat without hurting the performance on a 6-7-minute for-time workout-of-the-day (WOD)-style test involving a 500-meter row, 40 bodyweight squats, 30 ab mat situps, 20 hand-release pushups, and 10 pullups.

Herein, I explain why I think this study does show that the average person can lose weight and get fit with this method, but why it doesn't really get to the heart of the questions I would be interested in, which are these: how would a ketogenic diet impact maximal performance on weight-lifting sets of 5-12 reps, or in sports involving short bursts of energy such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis, and do the hormonal adaptations to the diet ultimately have  the potential for negative impacts on thyroid hormone, cortisol, LDL-cholesterol, and sex hormones?

In this episode you will find all of the following and more:

The protocol of the study; changes in caloric intake, body weight and body composition; why the ketogenic diet's spontaneous decrease in calories can easily be explained by the effect of variety restriction on food reward, as Stephan Guyenet has explained well over at Whole Health Source; the changes in performance that occurred; how carbs, fat, and creatine impact the three energy systems of phosphagen or creatine phosphate, anaerobic glycolysis, and oxidative phosphorylation; why carbohydrate intake would primarily impact maximal performance at tasks requiring 15-90 seconds of intense work rather than a 6-7 minute WOD; why the ability to raise a 5RM to a new PR in trained subjects would have been a better question to address these concerns; why most team sports would also fall into this category; why free T3 (fT3), cortisol, LDL-C, and sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc) should be examined; and why how full your "stress bucket" (allostatic load) is will most likely be the ultimate determinant of whether these hormonal systems are negatively affected.

Jul 22, 2016

In this episode, I tell the story of my own battle with eczema. I begin by describing my extraordinary recovery from extreme eczema using the right probiotic. I then describe how a more recent relapse led me to discover the incredible importance of mitigating soap exposure when gut-related approaches don't seem to work.

In this episode, you'll find the following, and more:

Chris Kresser’s interview with Glenn Taylor on fecal microbiota transplants inspired this episode.

My own story with eczema.

Recovery with Garden of Life's Primal Defense (now Primal Defense Ultra).

Mild re-occurrence tied to poor gut, poor sleep, high work stress.

Key feature of an effective probiotic for me is S. boullardii plus bacteria.

Prostaglandin E2, derived from arachidonic acid, plays a central role in preventing eczema by water-proofing the skin.

Humidity can "hide" eczema by preventing water loss through a dysfunctional skin barrier.

Minimizing exposure to soap with kitchen gloves and by avoiding unnecessary hand washing are central to preventing topical aggravation of eczema.

Topical application of a fat -- such as shea butter -- after soap exposure can mitigate the damage caused by the soap.

It's important to pay attention to both the internal, systemic causes of eczema and the external, topical factors that will aggravate eczema once it has started.

Jul 18, 2016

This episode is a recording of the Facebook Live event, "Ask Chris Masterjohn, PhD, Anything About Health, Fitness, and Nutrition" that originally aired on Tuesday, July 12, at 5:00 PM eastern time.

In this episode you will find all of the following and more:

  • For a woman with bruising, spider veins, and cellulite, should we be thinking of collagen, clotting, or calcification? Should we be thinking of vitamin C, copper, glycine, and vitamin K2?
  • Are there nutritional cures for autoimmune diseases?
  • Does eating fruit with protein hurt the digestion and absorption of the protein?
  • Is the Randle cycle a reason to eat a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, especially during a caloric deficit?
  • What should we do about elevated Lp(a), and does it make a difference if it's caused by diet, genes, or health status (for example, LDL oxidation)?
  • Why vitamin A and organ meats may be the underappreciated fix for oral allergy syndrome.
  • What do we do for wound healing after surgery?
  • Do we nourish the microbiome by nourishing yeast, bacteria, or both?
  • Why we should be conservative but not paranoid about antibiotics, and why we should be even more conservative about antifungals, even when they're natural.
  • Should we deep fry foods in coconut oil?
  • Is vitamin C an antioxidant or a pro-oxidant? Should this keep us awake at night?
  • Ideas for healthy (and low-PUFA, low-phytate) snack foods to replace granola.
  • General lab tests for vitamin and mineral status without any leads on specific nutrients to investigate.
  • How do we determine the right amount of high-intensity exercise during pregnancy? How do we determine if the "stress bucket" is too full?
Jul 2, 2016

This episode is a recording of the Facebook Live event, "Ask Chris Masterjohn, PhD, Anything About Fat-Soluble Vitamins" that originally aired on Wednesday, June 29, at 5:00 PM eastern time.

In this episode you will find all of the following and more:

Fat-soluble vitamin nutrition during warfarin therapy, and the critical importance of working with the supervising cardiologist or whoever prescribed the warfarin.

Overuse of vitamin D supplements, and the use of parathyroid hormone (PTH), diet, and lifestyle analysis for a more prudent approach.

My opinion on Life Extension's vitamin K supplement.

Too many fat-soluble vitamins versus nutrient imbalances.

Accidental poisoning of pets with warfarin analogues designed to kill rodents, and treating the pet.

Does it matter what time of day you take vitamin D?

Are nutritional databases reliable?

I predict technology that could help nutritional databases become more reliable and usable.

Is Bulletproof coffee sufficient to help fat-soluble vitamins get absorbed?

How I manage my own vitamin D intake and sun exposure to balance the priorities of getting sufficient vitamin D and circadian rhythm stimulation while avoiding sun-induced skin damage.  

Resveratrol: even the hormetic dose requires many nutrients found in foods to have its effect.

Balancing vitamins A and D in pregnancy.

Use of low-dose aspirin in pregnancy.

How to get a day’s intake of calcium.

Fermented cod liver oil: amines and self-experimentation.

Is it ok to take vitamin D in large doses once per week instead of small doses daily?

Do babies need to take vitamin D supplements?

What can be done to help fat-soluble vitamin absorption?