Experimental Biology 2012

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Talbott Blog EB2012 Overview


This past week (April 18-24, 2012), I had the opportunity to participate in the Experimental Biology Annual Scientific Conference held in San Diego, California.


Experimental Biology – or “EB” as it is referred to – is the largest nutrition science conference in the world (organized by the American Society for Nutrition, of which I am a long-time member since my graduate-school days).


In a lot of ways, EB is like “Woodstock for nutrition nerds” because nutrition researchers from around the world congregate here every year to present their research on everything from obesity to metabolism to cancer to heart health and everything in between. If you study nutrition, you want to be at EB every year to find out what’s new.


This year, I was pleased to be able to present four different research studies in four different areas of nutrition research:


  • Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome – showing how a combination of brown seaweed extract (found in the RVL Dietary Supplement in Japan) plus a novel licorice root extract helps to balance blood sugar, control appetite, and encourage fat loss.


  • Biochemistry of Vitamins and Minerals – showing a significantly enhanced absorption and delivery of carotenoid antioxidants when they are provided in a unique formulation called a “nano-emulsion.” This is the very same form of carotenoid antioxidants that was developed by MonaVie and is found in MonaVie Mx Juice. This type of improved absorption means that essential phytonutrients are more effective in protecting our bodies – something that we refer to at MonaVie as “BioEssence.”


  • Energy and Nutrient Metabolism – showing that the MonaVie RVL Nutrition System not only reduces body weight, body fat percentage, and waist measurements, but also improves heart health by improving levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol. This study shows us that RVL and the RVLution Program aren’t “just” about weight loss, but also about improving long-term health.


  • Metabolic and Disease Processes – showing that MonaVie (M)mun not only helps to keep us “well” (with fewer symptoms of upper-respiratory complaints such as cough and sore throat), but also helps to improve how we feel on a daily basis (which we measure as “mood state”). This study shows us that the natural “priming” approach we take with both (M)mun and Mx to support immune system function, is an effective and holistic approach to maintaining health and well-being.


If you’re interested in the “details” of each study, the scientific abstracts are included below.  But even if you’re not interested in the scientific details, you should know that MonaVie products are supported by science – and we use that science to guide our product development process to bring you products that work, that you can feel, and that can help you live a “more meaningful life.”



Session: Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Study: Effects of brown seaweed and licorice on blood glucose and weight loss in moderately overweight subjects


?INTRODUCTION: Previous work in animals and humans has suggested that daily dietary supplementation with fucoxanthin, a carotenoid found in edible brown seaweed, may have beneficial effects on fat/weight loss through an enhancement of overall metabolic rate. Previous studies of glabridin, a flavonoid found in licorice root, have shown a reduction in both blood glucose and abdominal fat accumulation. PURPOSE: Although both fucoxanthin and glabridin are available as commercial over-the-counter dietary supplements, these weight loss and metabolic effects have yet to be fully-evaluated in a population of humans undergoing a weight loss regimen. This study was designed to evaluate those effects. METHODS: Using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design, we supplemented moderately overweight subjects (N=20 per group) for 6 weeks with a proprietary supplement blend (550mg/day) of brown seaweed extract (Undaria pinnatifida, standardized for fucoxanthin) and licorice root extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra, standardized for standardized for glabridin) or a look-alike placebo. Measurements (pre/ post-supplementation) included body weight, body fat percentage, resting metabolic rate, waist circumference, blood glucose and cholesterol. RESULTS: No significant differences were found for resting metabolic rate or cholesterol measures. Significant differences were found between the Supplement (S) and Placebo (P) groups for measures of body weight (-5lbs in S v. +3lbs in P), body fat (-4.2lbs. in S v. n/c in P), waist circumference (-1.2in in S v. n/c in P), and blood glucose (-9% in S v. n/c in P). More subjects in the Supplement group reported “reduced appetite” compared to the Placebo group (78% in S v. 50% in P) and “would recommend” the supplement to others to help with appetite and weight loss (78% in S v. 44% in P). CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the Supplement combination is effective in improving blood glucose control, which improves appetite regulation, and reduces body weight and body fat levels in moderately overweight subjects. More research is warranted to determine the biochemical mechanisms underlying these effects.


Session: Biochemistry of Vitamins and Minerals

Study: Improvement in skin carotenoid levels assessed by reflectance spectroscopy


BACKGROUND: Carotenoids have been directly associated with health benefits, including lutein (eye health), lycopene (cardiovascular and prostate health), and beta-carotene (ultraviolet skin protection). Various biophotonic spectroscopy techniques are accurate and noninvasive methods of detecting skin carotenoid levels and assessing change in antioxidant levels over time. OBJECTIVE: We used Reflectance Spectroscopy to measure skin carotenoid levels following two supplementation regimens. METHODS: Sixty-six healthy volunteers were supplemented with: Group A = 15mg/day of mixed carotenoids (9mg beta-carotene, 4mg lycopene, and 2mg lutein in a proprietary nano-emulsion); Group B = 18mg/day of natural beta-carotene; or Group C = placebo containing no carotenoids. Skin carotenoid levels were measured at Baseline and Weeks 8 & 16. RESULTS: Skin carotenoid levels were increased 59% and 57% in Group A, and 37% and 36% in Group B at weeks 8 and 16, respectively, compared to Control. CONCLUSION: These results show, via Reflectance Spectroscopy, that skin carotenoid levels are significantly increased by supplementation with natural beta- carotene (18mg/d) or a proprietary nano-emulsion (15mg/d). The magnitude of skin carotenoid increase was greater with the nano- emulsion, suggesting a possible enhancement of absorption, delivery, deposition, or retention in the body.


Session: Energy and Nutrient Metabolism

Study: Effects of MonaVie RVL weight loss program on body composition and blood lipids


BACKGROUND: Numerous studies show that even modest weight loss improves cardiovascular risk factors, including dyslipidemia. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of the MonaVie RVL Weight Loss Program on body weight and metabolic parameters in moderately overweight volunteers. METHODS: Men and women between the ages of 18-65 and with a BMI of 27-37 were enrolled in two groups; 36 subjects over 28 days, and 64 subjects over 11 weeks. We assessed body weight (BW), waist circumference (WC), body fat percentage (BF%), and blood lipids (total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol). The RVL program consisted of four components: (1) A meal replacement shake at breakfast and lunch; (2) A dietary supplement based on green tea and African mango consumed 2x/day; (3) A snack bar consumed 2x/day; and (4) A balanced 600-calorie dinner. RESULTS: The 28- day trial showed significant changes from baseline for BMI (-0.8 ± 0.6), BW (-4.7 ± 3.3 lbs), WC (-1.8 ± 1.3 in), and leptin (-6.8 ± 9.7 ng/mL), all p<0.01. In the 11-week trial, significant improvements were observed for BMI (-2.1 ± 1.3), BW (-13.4 ± 9.0 lbs), WC (- 3.5 ± 1.9 in), BF% (-1.3% ± 1.1%), and HDL (+9.0 ± 7.3 mg/dL), all p<0.01. CONCLUSION: These studies demonstrate significant and meaningful health benefits for subjects using the Monavie RVL Weight Loss Program, including improved “good” HDL cholesterol levels and reductions in BMI, waist circumference, body weight, and body fat percentage.


Session: Metabolic and Disease Processes

Study: Acai juice with beta-glucan reduces URTI symptoms and improves mood state in stressed subjects


BACKGROUND: Several studies have shown Baker’s yeast Beta- 1,3/1,6 D-glucan, extracted from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is effective in reducing the incidence of cold and flu symptoms. Other studies have shown acai berry juice to provide antioxidant benefits and reduce oxidative damage. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the effect of a combination of acai berry and Baker’s yeast beta-glucan (MonaVie M-Mun) on upper-respiratory tract infection symptoms (URTIs) and physical/psychological well- being in subjects with moderate levels of psychological stress. METHODS: Healthy adults (41 ± 12y) self-administered 4 ounces of Placebo juice (N=34) or M-mun juice (N=45) daily for 12- weeks. We used the Profile of Mood States (POMS) psychological survey and RAND SF-36 Medical Outcomes Survey (MOS) to assess changes in mental/physical energy levels and overall well- being. A quantitative health perception log was used to track URTI symptoms. RESULTS: Subjects in the M-mun group reported 43% fewer URTI symptoms compared to Placebo, as well as superior measures of physical & mental functioning, and overall well-being (MOS +7%, POMS +6%). CONCLUSIONS: These data show that daily dietary supplementation with an acai/beta-glucan juice (M- mun) reduces URTI symptoms and improves mood state in stressed subjects, and thus may be a useful approach for maintaining immune protection against daily stressors.


About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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