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Danactive and Protein Requirements

May 27, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Here’s an age old question: “Do you need to see something in order to believe it?”. The answer for some is “yes” and many require visual proof before they can accept something as legitimate or real. But there’s a whole other camp of thought. Some ascribe to the notion that you must first believe something is possible before you’re capable of seeing it. There isn’t a chance in the world that I can negotiate an agreement between these two schools of thought. However, a recent post on Twitter adds an interesting twist to this debate.

Dr. Mehmet Oz recently posted a message about a new study from the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. In it, a psychologist from Harvard, Dr. Ellen Langer, authored research which clearly demonstrates that believing you can see better can positively affect visual clarity. Three tests were used to establish whether “manipulating mind-sets” of study volunteers could enhance visual performance. The first involved the use of a “realistic flight simulator”. The second examined the effects of physical activity on vision. The third employed a traditional eye chart. In each instance, the researchers primed certain participants by increasing their expectation of good performance in the respective challenges. The results indicate that those who were encouraged to feel confident about their ocular skills outperformed the control group – which did not benefit from any such support. The net result was visual improvement during the flight simulation, physical activity (jumping jacks) and the traditional eye exam. These findings strengthen the case for utilizing mind/body approaches to enhance virtually any function of the body via the mind. (1,2)

Dr. Kim Newell is a pediatrician practicing in San Francisco, California. She has a very interesting background which includes an undergraduate degree in religion from Princeton University and a formal medical education from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, San Francisco. In addition, “Dr. Kim” has spent time working in hospitals in Guatemala, Uganda and the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. I was gratified to see that she’s also open to the idea of alternative and complementary medicine. One of her current posts on Twitter cites a study on a probiotic drink commonly known as Danactive. The trial in question was conducted at Georgetown University and involved 638 children attending daycare or school. Half of the young participants was given a yogurt drink without any added probiotics and the remainder received an identical beverage with the addition of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001. Over the course of 90 days, the researchers examined the incidence of “common infectious diseases” (CIDs) and any “change of behavior because of illness”. The kids receiving the probiotic-enhanced dairy drink exhibited 19% fewer CIDs. This lead the authors of the study to conclude that, “Daily intake of a fermented dairy drink containing the probiotic strain L. casei DN-114 001 showed some promise in reducing overall incidence of illness”. The one quibble I have with the study design is that both test beverages contained an unacceptably high sugar content – 19 grams of added sugar per serving. In my opinion, that alone can have a compromising effect on immune function. (3,4)

Source: Brain 2008 131(11):2812-2823 (link)

Fred Hahn, the author of the best selling books The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution and Strong Kids Healthy Kids wonders whether you’re eating enough protein. His concern is that many people are lacking in this vital macro-nutrient which may contribute to hastened aging. According to Hahn, “A good general guide for protein intake is to get about 1 gram of quality protein per pound of your target body weight. So if you currently weigh 200 pounds but should really weigh 140, you’d want to shoot for 140 grams of quality protein per day”. He goes on to describe his idea of quality protein sources. They include beef, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts and pork. I agree with Fred about the importance of adequate protein in the average diet. We’re also in the same boat when generally recommending the replacement of high-glycemic carbohydrates with healthy sources of fat and protein. Please keep in mind that these suggestions aren’t only directed at those who are interested in building muscle. Optimal protein consumption is necessary for so much more than maintenance of bone density, cell signaling, healthy blood sugar control and weight maintenance. (5,6,7)

What’s the common link between one of the most famous doctors in the world, a lesser known pediatrician from Northern California and an exercise specialist who believes that slow motion strength training is the healthiest way to build muscle? All of these individuals care enough to share their resources with anyone who chooses to follow them on Twitter. I consider these disparate health professionals to be my brothers and sisters in the fight to reclaim true wellness worldwide. We’re each trying to do our small part to make that hope a reality. I truly believe it can happen and is already taking place. I believe it and I see it.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutrition

4 Comments & Updates to “Danactive and Protein Requirements”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Good Morning, JP 🙂

    very very good that you mentioned the high sugar content of the probiotic youghurt drinks. Thats in general a problem of the most dairy products. Milk alone has a high carb content. As mentioned in older posts: i really recommend to make a selfmade fresh yoghurt, best controll over the ingredients, and it tastes so much better, the best: if its fermented for 24 hours, theres no longer any sugar in it because the bacteria eatm up 🙂

    Nina K.

  2. JP Says:

    That’s a good point, Nina. Cultured dairy foods are much lower in natural sugar. There are many good reasons to eat cultured and fermented foods. That’s certainly one of them! 🙂

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 03/29/16:


    Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):738-46.

    Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial.

    BACKGROUND: A dietary protein intake higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance during an energy deficit helps to preserve lean body mass (LBM), particularly when combined with exercise.

    OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to conduct a proof-of-principle trial to test whether manipulation of dietary protein intake during a marked energy deficit in addition to intense exercise training would affect changes in body composition.

    DESIGN: We used a single-blind, randomized, parallel-group prospective trial. During a 4-wk period, we provided hypoenergetic (∼40% reduction compared with requirements) diets providing 33 ± 1 kcal/kg LBM to young men who were randomly assigned (n = 20/group) to consume either a lower-protein (1.2 g · kg(-1) · d(-1)) control diet (CON) or a higher-protein (2.4 g · kg(-1) · d(-1)) diet (PRO). All subjects performed resistance exercise training combined with high-intensity interval training for 6 d/wk. A 4-compartment model assessment of body composition was made pre- and postintervention.

    RESULTS: As a result of the intervention, LBM increased (P < 0.05) in the PRO group (1.2 ± 1.0 kg) and to a greater extent (P < 0.05) compared with the CON group (0.1 ± 1.0 kg). The PRO group had a greater loss of fat mass than did the CON group (PRO: -4.8 ± 1.6 kg; CON: -3.5 ± 1.4kg; P < 0.05). All measures of exercise performance improved similarly in the PRO and CON groups as a result of the intervention with no effect of protein supplementation. Changes in serum cortisol during the intervention were associated with changes in body fat (r = 0.39, P = 0.01) and LBM (r = -0.34, P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed that, during a marked energy deficit, consumption of a diet containing 2.4 g protein · kg(-1) · d(-1) was more effective than consumption of a diet containing 1.2 g protein · kg(-1) · d(-1) in promoting increases in LBM and losses of fat mass when combined with a high volume of resistance and anaerobic exercise. Changes in serum cortisol were associated with changes in body fat and LBM, but did not explain much variance in either measure. Be well! JP

  4. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/16:


    Clin Nutr. 2016 Apr 7.

    Per meal dose and frequency of protein consumption is associated with lean mass and muscle performance.

    BACKGROUND: It has been hypothesized that for older adults evenly distributing consumption of protein at 30-40 g per meal throughout the day may result in more favorable retention of lean mass and muscular strength. Such a thesis has not, to our knowledge, been tested outside of short-term studies or acute measures of muscle protein synthesis.

    AIMS: To examine whether the number of times an individual consumed a minimum of 30 g of protein at a meal is associated with leg lean mass and knee extensor strength.

    METHODS: Data from the 1999-2002 NHANES were used, with 1081 adults (50-85 y) constituting the analytic sample. A “multiple pass” 24-h dietary interview format was used to collect detailed information about the participants’ dietary intake. Knee extensor strength was assessed objectively using the Kin Com MP dynamometer. Leg lean mass was estimated from whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans.

    RESULTS: Participants with 1 vs. 0 (βadjusted = 23.6, p = 0.002) and 2 vs. 0 (βadjusted = 51.1, p = 0.001) meals of ≥30 g protein/meal had greater strength and leg lean mass (1 vs. 0, βadjusted = 1160, p < 0.05 and 2 vs. 0, βadjusted = 2389, p < 0.05). The association of protein frequency with leg lean mass and strength plateaued at ∼45 g protein/meal for those consuming 2 vs. 0 meals above the evaluated protein/meal threshold. However, for those with only 1 meal at or above the evaluated threshold, the response plateaued at 30 g/meal. Leg lean mass mediated the relationship between protein frequency and strength, with the proportion of the total effect mediated being 64%. CONCLUSIONS: We found that more frequent consumption of meals containing between 30 and 45 g protein/meal produced the greatest association with leg lean mass and strength. Thus, the consumption of 1-2 daily meals with protein content from 30 to 45 g may be an important strategy for increasing and/or maintaining lean body mass and muscle strength with aging. Be well! JP

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