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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Sep 3, 2017

This complex is so rich in biochemical concepts and relevance to health and disease. Having done the dirty work of looking at its organic chemistry mechanisms in the last lesson, here we explore broadly applicable biochemistry principles like energetic coupling and substrate channeling. We look at how thiamin deficiency, oxidative stress, arsenic, and heavy metal poisoning can affect metabolism, and how to recognize markers of these processes in blood or urine. We make the subtle yet critical distinction between oxidative stress and oxidative damage. We look at the role of this complex in Alzheimer’s disease. We then turn to the product of this complex, succinyl CoA, to examine how it provides an entry into the cycle for odd-chain fatty acids and certain amino acids and an exit out of the cycle for the synthesis of heme. In doing so, we look at the roles of vitamins B12 and B6 in these processes, the use of methylmalonic acid to diagnose B12 deficiency, and the ability of B6 deficiency to cause sideroblastic anemia.

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Aug 31, 2017

This lesson looks at the third step of the citric acid cycle in much more detail, digging into the organic chemistry concepts involved in the conversion of isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate. We dive deep into this because it’s the only way to explain why this step parts ways with most other decarboxylation reactions in that it does not require thiamin (vitamin B1).

This, in turn, provides a basis for understanding why burning carbohydrate for fuel requires twice as much thiamin than burning fat, and why high-fat, low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets can be used to overcome problems with thiamin deficiency or defects in thiamin-dependent enzymes. We conclude by looking at how this step allows the interconversion of amino acids and citric acid cycle intermediates, the role of vitamin B6 in this process, and the use of enzymes known as transaminases to diagnose B6 deficiency and liver dysfunction.

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May 7, 2017

In episode 40, I explain why glutathione survives digestion and can be absorbed intact, and why supplementing with it or eating it in foods helps support your health.


My recommended supplements: Jarrow Reduced Glutathione and Core Med Science Optimized Liposomal Glutathione. In most cases, save money by trying Jarrow first.

Use the discount code from this episode to sign up for Masterclass With Masterjohn Pro with a $20/year lifetime discount, offer ending May 13.

This episode is a companion to Consuming Glutathione in Foods and Supplements, which has a searchable database of glutathione in 285 foods.

This episode is brought to you by US Wellness Meats. I use their liverwurst as a convenient way to make a sustainable habit of eating a diversity of organ meats. They also have a milder braunschweiger and an even milder head cheese that gives you similar benefits, as well as a wide array of other meat products, all from animals raised on pasture. Head to and enter promo code “Chris” at checkout to get a 15% discount on any order that is at least 7 pounds and is at least $75 after applying the discount but under 40 pounds (it can be 39.99 lbs, but not 40). You can use this discount code not once, but twice!

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

0:00:38  Cliff Notes

0:08:22  What is glutathione and why is it important?

0:13:33 Special Masterclass With Masterjohn Pro discount for Mastering Nutrition listeners

0:20:10  Why does glutathione survive digestion?

0:20:50  How is glutathione absorbed intact?

0:35:48  Evidence for intact absorption of glutathione

0:36:00  Oral glutathione increases tissue glutathione in animals when glutathione synthesis is blocked with BSO.

0:38:12  Glutathione crosses CACO-2 monolayers, a model of human intestinal absorption, even when glutathione breakdown is inhibited with acivicin and glutathione synthesis is inhibited with BSO.

0:39:25  Isotopically labeled glutathione fed to mice enriches labeled glutathione in liver and red blood cell with no signs of the label in glutathione digestion products.

0:40:30 Glutathione supplements increase glutathione status in humans.

0:41:10  Caveats and contrary evidence.

0:48:15  What form of supplement (sublingual, liposomal, regular) is best?

0:56:10  What are the best specific supplements?

0:58:10  What dose should you use, and how should you know if you should use it?

0:58:43 Anecdote: 1 gram of glutathione relieves laughing-induced wheezing. 

1:02:50  Glutathione in foods: reduced glutathione, total glutathione, glutathione-reactive substances, net glutathione

1:08:25  Glutathione content foods is not the be-all end-all of whether a food boosts glutathione status or whether it's healthy, but it's notable and important.

Feb 16, 2017

This is a quick note to let you know that I changed the name of the show from "The Daily Lipid" to "Mastering Nutrition" and to explain why I did it.

Dec 10, 2016

In this episode, I've extracted from The Ultimate Vitamin K2 Resource the latest developments and elaborated on them for a more in-depth discussion. I begin by telling the story of my 2007 article about Weston Price's activator X, "On the Trail of the Elusive X Factor: Vitamin K2 Revealed." What do I still stand by? What do I see differently? And then I carry us right up through some of the most recent developments as things continue to evolve now.

This episode is brought to you by Kettle and Fire Bone Broth. Use the link to get $10 off your first order.

This episode is also brought to you by US Wellness Meats. Head to and enter "Chris" at checkout to get 15% off your order as long as the final price is over $75 and you order fewer than 40 pounds of meat. You can use "Chris" to get the same discount twice.

In this episode, you'll find all the following and more: 0:09:20 Introducing the Ultimate Vitamin K2 Resource; 0:17:50 The story leading up to the 2007 activator X article; 0:25:10 The division between vitamins K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone) is misleadingly simplistic, from both a chemistry perspective and a health perspective. The discovery of menaquinone-4 (MK-4) as a product of animal synthesis hinted at this a half century ago; the more recent discovery of tetrahydromenaquinones, which chemically fit halfway into each category, makes this clear now; that MK-4 has unique effects on gene expression and that short-chain and long-chain MKs have very different tissue distributions make it clear that different forms of "K2" are at least as different from one another as they are from K1; 0:44:50 The content of vitamin K in some foods may be grossly underestimated because tetrahydro-MKs have been ignored; 0:49:50 MK-10 and MK-11 in pork products. Are they from poop? How bioavailable are they? Do they have specific roles in the mitochondria? 1:14:53 I finally weigh in on MK-4 vs. MK-7 with the long-winded rant it has for so long deserved; 1:26:50 The conversion of other K vitamins to MK-4: we now know that it is not only genetically variable, but it is also epigenetically variable, dependent on zinc and magnesium, and inhibited by lipophilic statins used to treat high cholesterol and nitrogenous bisphosphonates used to treat osteoporosis; 1:33:30 MK-4, gene expression, sex hormones and cancer; 1:41:20    Undercarboxylated osteocalcin: more controversial than it needs to be, but a bone-derived hormone that not only promotes leanness, a high metabolic rate, blood sugar stability, insulin sensitivity, and fertility, but we also now know to be necessary for energy utilization during exercise; 1:55:10 What's the optimal dose of vitamin K2 1:59:28 Uncommon side effects of supplementation and a physiological rationale to explain them. 2:06:40 The minimal effective dose to receive the maximum desired effect.

Jun 28, 2016

This episode is a recording of the 06/25/2016 Facebook Live event, "Ask Chris Masterjohn, PhD, Anything About Methylation."

Among the questions answered and topics discussed in this episode are the following:

An MTHFR mutation (e.g. C677T) even with normal homocysteine could mean that you are taxing your choline supply and wasting glycine into your urine. Boosting choline and glycine intake could help. What may surprise you is that so could supplementing with creatine!

How to implement the above strategies with natural foods?

Can targeted SAMe supplementation be useful for diagnosing methylation problems?

Choline and fatty liver disease.

Why is my serum B12 soaring through the roof when I haven't even been supplementing?

COMT mutations regulating the balance between mental stability and mental flexibility via dopamine, and whether supplementing with 5-methylfolate could worsen mental problems in people with high COMT activity. Potential relations to obssessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How should you get choline if you're allergic to eggs?

With an MTHFR mutation and high liver enzymes, choline would seem to be in order, but should you also rethink your high-fat diet?

All this and more!


Jun 2, 2016

In this episode, I discuss some important insights from my Paleo f(x) talk and audience responses to it, including the potential dangers of treating type 1 diabetes with a low-carb diet, the importance of carbs and bodyfat for fertility and sex hormones, and why some people might have a great sex hormone profile on a long-term ketogenic diet despite the importance of insulin's contribution to fertility. I also discuss Headspace meditation, contrast showers, Snapchat, U.S. Wellness Meats liverwurst, Kettle and Fire's upcoming chicken broth and chicken mushroom broth, and my interview with Ben Greenfield.

May 20, 2016

In this episode, I show you how you can determine whether your genetics are contributing to your sensitivity to blue light, poor sleep, and poor daytime alertness, and what you can do about it. Specifically, I look at the research showing that variations in the gene for the vitamin A-dependent protein melanopsin underlie sensitivity to blue light and teach you how to figure out your own genetics for this protein using a 23andMe account (they don't have a health report for it, but the hack around that is easy).

Apr 22, 2016

Is it really true that saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are the "bad fats" and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are the "good fats"? Christopher Ramsden uncovered previously unpublished data undermining the conventional wisdom that we should replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated vegetable oils to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. The public health establishment dismissed the findings. Here's my take.