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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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Now displaying: 2021
Jul 21, 2021

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Question: Why is methylfolate the off-switch for the glycine buffer system?

The reason is that generally in the fed state, you have lots of incoming methionine. And so you have an excess of SAMe in the fed state. In the fasting state, you have no incoming methyl groups from diet, and therefore the fasted state is the low-methylation state. So fed state, high methylation state, fasted state, low methylation state. You basically shut off MTHFR in the fed state, because in the fed state, which is a high methylation state, the incoming methionine makes you not need any MTHFR activity.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 20, 2021

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Question: Potassium supplements for salt-sensitive high blood pressure?

So it's best to get potassium from food, if you can. And you want to go through all the medical and health contraindications for potassium supplementation. If you take potassium supplements in doses higher than 100 milligrams, especially if you're going to take high-dose potassium, that is not well-mixed into a meal. Those include diabetes and NSAIDs, especially including potassium-sparing diuretics, but there's a big list of contraindicated medications.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 19, 2021

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Question: Can a high-protein diet hurt nitric oxide and raise blood pressure?

The people with OTC gene do have higher blood pressure because of lower nitric oxide. And they have a problem eating too much protein, but the protein is a problem, because they can exceed the capacity of the urea cycle and generate more ammonia. Whereas the OTC gene being low is what's driving the low nitric oxide to lower arginine production. So you are seeing the combination of this person should not eat too much protein. This person has low nitric oxide, high blood pressure, but I don't think it's the protein that's causing that. I think it's just low arginine synthesis due to low citrulline synthesis. And so they should supplement citrulline to improve their blood pressure. And they probably shouldn't eat too much protein, but I don't think that too much protein is going to be the thing that drives the high blood pressure.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 16, 2021

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Question: General supplement recommendations for a physically active male in his 30s

I don't make general supplement recommendations. My recommendation for anyone would be do a dietary analysis. See what you're not getting from your diet. Either make up for that with foods or with supplements. If the foods are impractical, do nutritional status testing where it makes sense. Comprehensively, if you have enough financial resources or just where it makes sense based on signs and symptoms, fill in more gaps with supplements on an as needed basis.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 15, 2021

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Question: For how long does methionine from a meal support methylation?

What I can say much more easily is that methionine is going to effectively run out as the fasting state emerges. Methionine has many fates, right? And so if it all goes into the methylation pool, it's going to be quickly either used for methylation or broken down in the CBS pathway. You are not going to save methionine for the fasting state.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 14, 2021

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Question: Could collagen hurt absorption of iron from iron bisglycinate?

Yes, because the iron bisglycinate is probably going to be absorbed through glycine transporters rather than iron transporters.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 13, 2021

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Question: Combining carbs and fat, LDL-C, calcification, and atherosclerosis

Generally speaking, if someone is overweight and hyperglycemic, then they're probably going to get a lot of benefit from trying to separate their carbs and fat, whereas if someone has amazing body composition and a totally healthy blood glucose level while they're eating a mixed diet, then I think it's kind of pointless. I would say that for blood lipids, generally, if macronutrients are going to affect your blood lipids, that's probably involving your fasting blood lipids, which is what's usually measured. If changing your macronutrients around is going to affect those, I think it's probably going to be in the context of some level of insulin resistance or overweightness, really insulin resistance or it would just be one of several ways to get there with carbohydrates generally pumping the sort of VLDL production and triglyceride content.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 12, 2021

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Question: Could low-normal phosphorus be from my calcium intake?

Given that your calcium is coming from milk and yogurt and Traditional Foods Market brand whole bone meal to get your calcium, you're definitely consuming plenty of phosphorus, and so I don't think your dietary phosphorus is off. I wouldn't really worry about the phosphorus being low in that range. It's not low, it's on the low end of the range. I think the PTH being suppressed to 18 is great. I think the calcium doing that is great. I think that the calcium did that, even when all your calcium sources were balanced by phosphorus, sounds really good because phosphorus would do the opposite. 

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 9, 2021

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Question: Exercising in the fasted state

The answer is necessarily subjective because the cut-off between a fasted state and a fed state is arbitrary. It's not like there's an on switch or an off switch for the fasting-feeding cycle. There's just tens of thousands of things happening that cluster together in different ratios and proportions that proportionally shift in one or another direction, depending on how much food you've eaten and how recently.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 8, 2021

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Question: What does an upregulated GGT gene do to glutathione status?

Well, if you assume that whatever the genetic test told you is actually happening as increased GGT activity, then what it should do is break down blood glutathione and help the breakdown products get into the cell to increase intracellular glutathione. I think as to what it does to glutathione status measured in the blood, I don't know. Because on the one hand, it's probably going to break down glutathione in the blood. But in general, if you're improving glutathione status inside the cell in the liver, you're going to increase the export of glutathione.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 7, 2021

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Question: A question on urinary lactate, pyruvate, and Krebs Cycle metabolites

When the NAD+ sensitive steps of the citric acid cycle are being inhibited,  that could be hypoxia, it could be high-intensity exercise, it could be taking metformin or berberine, it could be having a complex 1 disorder, and of course, I would sort of measure this against symptoms. So if you feel great, I wouldn't overinterpret this. But if you have something that feels like messed up energy metabolism, then I think it's best correlated with a deficiency in the respiratory chain, whether that's driven by oxygen, by increased demand, through high-intensity exercise, through taking complex 1 inhibitors like metformin or berberine, or through having a genetic complex 1 disorder. Thiamine is possible but if it's thiamine deficiency, then you should also see elevations in alanine as well. So I would get a plasma amino acids test, and then you could also look at the thiamine level in the blood and you could look at... HDRI has an erythrocyte transketolase activity test, and it's listed as ETKA on their requisition form.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 6, 2021

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Question: High-dose EPA, triglycerides, and general health

It's definitely the case that high dose EPA lowers triglyceride levels in people with high triglycerides. And it does that by interfering with carbohydrate signaling. So carbohydrate signaling, part through glucose itself, and part through insulin, increases triglyceride synthesis and in insulin resistant people, generally the average person with insulin resistance has an amplification of that pathway and is actually hypersensitive to it while being resistant to glucose handling part of the pathway. So blood glucose and blood triglycerides increase. And if you take high-dose EPA, you will interfere with the signaling and you will lower the triglycerides.

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Jul 5, 2021

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Question: Are there any downsides to eating lots of nuts and seeds?

I would mainly be looking at phytate and PUFA, and on the PUFA front, that's polyunsaturated fatty acids, on the PUFA front, I'm not in the extreme minimize it at all costs camp, but I am in the camp of, don't really overdo it beyond what you need to get your nutrients in. So I would look at the contribution of nuts and seeds to your micronutrient intake, and if you're flying real high on the pattern of nutrients that are in the nuts and seeds way more than you need of those types of nutrients, and I think I would cut back on that. And I would be a little bit concerned about the PUFA intake, whereas if you're not hitting your magnesium target, unless you eat the nuts and seeds, then I have a very different view of that.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 2, 2021

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Question: Low cystine & sulfate, mid-range methionine, high homocysteine: what to do?

My default position on this would be, you probably don't have a problem recycling homocysteine to methionine. And that might explain why, I'm assuming this is in the fasting state, your homocysteine is only slightly elevated. Now, if you mean by slightly elevated, if you mean slightly elevated outside of the lab's reference range, then that's very elevated. And so I would look at that a little bit differently, but especially when paired with the low cystine and sulfate levels, it sounds like you have a low rate of the transsulfuration pathway or the CBS enzyme, which is the first step in that pathway, which takes homocysteine down to cysteine, which then can be metabolized to sulfate.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jul 1, 2021

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Question: Is TMG a good source of glycine?

And so glycine is a methyl buffer. So it's not the default that one extra methyl group from TMG is going to make one molecule of glycine get lost, but generally if you put TMG into the system, you're going to lose methyl groups and you're going to wind up with probably the dimethylglycine going into the mitochondrion. Maybe that improves your glycine status, but I'm not so sure about that and I wouldn't rely on it. So I would just treat them completely differently.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jun 30, 2021

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Question: Zonulin: what nutrients to look at if it's high?

I think of that from my perspective, which is much more focused on nutrients and biochemistry, I'm thinking especially if you have the ION panel, which kind of takes apart my end of the spectrum, actually I would look at arachidonic acid levels because arachidonic acid in the gut is associated with lymphoid tissue, is metabolized to prostaglandin E2, which promotes immune tolerance.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jun 29, 2021

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Question: My iron won't go up even though I'm supplementing

The top things that I would think of would be riboflavin and copper, plus inhibitors of iron absorption. So generally speaking, plant foods are strong iron absorption inhibitors. Generally, you're going to have organic acids that promote iron absorption in proportion to the amount of potassium in the vegetables that you eat, although it's also the case that polyphenols will tend to correlate. And polyphenols inhibit iron absorption, so I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't eat plant foods at the meal that you're trying to get your iron in if you have trouble getting your iron up.

I would take the iron supplement with a carnivore meal. If you want to eat plant foods, eat them at some other point in the day.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Jun 28, 2021

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Question: Vitamin K and Clotting Risk When Not on Anticoagulants

There's essentially not a trade-off because if you're not on vitamin K antagonist anticoagulants; in theory, there shouldn't be any effect of vitamin K supplements on clotting at all. The one caveat to that is that you might be relatively vitamin K deficient now and not realize it. So it is within possibility that you're not meeting your own personal vitamin K requirement to maximize clotting, but that's very, very unlikely because in population studies, almost no one falls into this category. But if that were true, then essentially, vitamin K supplementation would bring you up to a normal level of clotting, which may or may not affect the cardiologist's assessment of whether you should be on anticoagulants. 

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Mar 17, 2021

Question: Do some people do well on ketosis because they have defective glucose metabolism?

I doubt that that's the majority of people that feel good in ketosis, but certainly people with GLUT1 defects need to be on a low-glycemic index diet at least, if not a keto diet in order to not have seizures, and that's the best example of what would fit with that. People who do poorly with glucose, maybe in more moderate ways are going to do better on fat.

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From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Mar 16, 2021

Question: What to do when different folate markers don’t line up

You know, if you have high figlu on the NutrEval, which is Formiminoglutamic acid, which rises when there is Tetrahydrofolate THF, unmethylated folate, to metabolize figlu, and in that case, I would be thinking about maybe you have a B12 deficiency that is leading to the trapping of folate as the methylfolate form, so that THF isn't regenerated for that reaction. So I would absolutely never use figlu as the only marker of folate. I would look at serum folate and red blood cell folate always as the first markers of folate. So in this case, I would look at your serum folate and your red blood cell folate.

So before I would get folate injections, I would be looking at all those markers to see whether there's a coherent story between all of them that are agreeing that your folate status is low despite supplements, versus a divergence story between them that is telling me that one form of folate is the one that's missing rather than a total folate.

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From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Mar 15, 2021

Question: Can sulforaphane hurt the thyroid?

What I can say is that sulforaphane does generate thiocyanate ions, which do inhibit uptake of iodine into the thyroid and mammary glands. Although that is a matter of the ratio between isothiocyanate, or between thiocyanate ions and iodine. And so in principle, most uses of sulforaphane, in the context of adequate iodine shouldn't be an issue. I believe at some dose you're going to run into a problem with balancing with iodine, especially in people who have marginal iodine status, but I don't have any studies to back up what point that is. But I have seen cases of people where they got brain fog when they were taking sulforaphane and it went away when they took iodine.

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, a private discussion group, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/masterpass/ and use the code QANDA to get 10% off the membership for life.

From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Mar 12, 2021

Question: Are the PUFAs in phosphatidylcholine supplements a concern?

I don't think so. I think that you're looking at fairly low levels of PUFAs in there, but the way that I see it is yes, we want to restrict PUFA beyond what's needed, but what's needed is defined by what do we need to get our essential nutrients in.

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, a private discussion group, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/masterpass/ and use the code QANDA to get 10% off the membership for life.

From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Mar 11, 2021

Question: Is dairy safe for overmethylators?

There's so little methylcobalamin in milk that I think that it is totally insignificant with regards to methyl groups, coming into the methylation cycle. Generally, if you're experiencing over-methylation symptoms from methylcobalamin or methylfolate, I think the big issue is partly that you don't have enough glycine in the system, very likely, and partly that your body is over-accustomed to low methyl supply and putting more suddenly into it leading into the system being adapted to a different state than the one you're putting into it. But if you find it is, you're reacting to dairy, I would be very surprised if it was the methylcobalamin, but if you're very convinced of that, then titrate up slowly with the dairy.

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, a private discussion group, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/masterpass/ and use the code QANDA to get 10% off the membership for life.

From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice

Mar 10, 2021

Question: Should different macronutrients be eaten at different times of day?

No, I don't agree with the principle. I think you want protein spaced out at every meal. And that's because your efficiency in extracting protein for muscle synthesis is limited in any given hour or any given unit time. And so you need a lot more protein if you're going to put all your protein in one meal, then you are not going to get optimal body composition results from that. Body composition plays into every other metabolic thing we care about. If I were to shift protein around in emphasis, I would put protein bias towards the morning and biased away from night. And that would be on the basis that protein is the basis for every single neurotransmitter involved in wakefulness.

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, a private discussion group, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/masterpass/ and use the code QANDA to get 10% off the membership for life.

From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

Mar 9, 2021

Question: Is it OK to take two milligrams a day of MK-4?

Two milligrams, I don't have major safety concerns over, but I would prefer for most people who aren't dealing with a clinical soft-tissue calcification issue take more like 200 micrograms.

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, a private discussion group, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/masterpass/ and use the code QANDA to get 10% off the membership for life.

From now through March, I will be working full-time on finishing my Vitamins and Minerals 101 book, while reserving a portion of my time for consulting clients. You can pre-order my book at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/book. You can sign up for a consultation at https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/consultations.

DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

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