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Trouble Gaining Weight
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myszkab Offline
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Trouble Gaining Weight
Hello James, new member here.

I saw your postings on another site, and was directed here. I just want to say that I am highly impressed with your knowledge and evidence based approach to medicine. It was unbelievable the claims people would make with absolutely no support, and it was nice seeing someone set the record straight with well-backed research. Being a college student hoping to pursue and study medicine, I aim to become as informed about the medical community as you are.

That said, I am a 20 year old male on a tight college budget. I eat fairly healthy, including tons of fruits and veggies (organic where affordable), limit processed foods, and also eat fish a few times a week. I do not eat a ton of grains, other than oatmeal a few times a week. I have been working out for the past year or so, and was able to put on about 10 pounds of muscle, and my current weight is 155lbs. Despite this, I still appear very skinny with ribs showing etc. I aim to put on between 5-10 more pounds this coming summer. However, I have said from the beginning that I will try not to kill my body in the process. People tell me to just eat whatever, wherever, and whenever, but I do not like that approach. So I guess my question to you is, what is a healthy way to gain weight?

A good part of my diet consists of meat, such as chicken, steak and pork. Along with every meal I have a serving of veggies and fruit. I have been researching for a while and see a plethora of different approaches to gain muscle, most of which involving a high protein intake. Therefore, I have aimed for ~150g a day, more or less. However, recently I have seen you dismiss this claim, stating that the average person can only tolerate about 90g a day, slightly higher for athletes. I have found a few studies that examined the effect. They are slightly older, and new evidence may have come out since then that I am not aware of. What are your thoughts?

http://www.jissn.com/content/1/1/45

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/25

I guess I am just completely lost, because much of the calorically dense foods that I have thought to be so called "healthy weight-gain foods" such as nuts, avocados, beef etc. all have setbacks. Most nuts are extremely high in omega 6, beef is full of hormones among other toxins. I have calculated that to put on an average of .5lbs a week, I need to eat around 2800 calories a day. Now I have been doing well meeting that goal, but it has taken a toll on bank account trying to eat healthy in the process! I have recently started buying items that I know are not really "good" for me, such as whole milk, peanut butter, and whole wheat pasta, just as cheap calorically dense foods. Is there any way to eat healthy and meet this daily requirement consistently?

In the years growing up I ate a diet full of processed foods, and never gained a pound. Now everyone always tells me that will change one day, which I somewhat believe. However, now I try my best to eat healthy and gain weight simultaneously, but it seems to be futile.

As a side note, I believe it is well accepted that one of the reasons meat consumption should be limited is due to the high methionine content. I know you wrote about the methionine cycle in another post, and there is research that restriction of methionine leads to increased longevity, at least in rats that is.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2691799/

What are your thoughts on the glycine/methionine balance? New research has surfaced that compared adding glycine to the diet helps excessive methylation of methionine. Although I do not have access to the full paper:

Brind, Joel, et al. "Dietary glycine supplementation mimics lifespan extension by dietary methionine restriction in Fisher 344 rats." FASEB Journal. Vol. 25. 2011.

Dietary methionine (Met) restriction (MR) extends lifespan in rodents by 30–40% and inhibits growth. Since glycine is the vehicle for hepatic clearance of excess Met via glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT), we hypothesized that dietary glycine supplementation (GS) might produce biochemical and endocrine changes similar to MR and also extend lifespan. Seven-week-old male Fisher 344 rats were fed diets containing 0.43% Met/2.3% glycine (control fed; CF) or 0.43% Met/4%, 8% or 12% glycine until natural death. In 8% or 12% GS rats, median lifespan increased from 88 weeks (w) to 113 w, and maximum lifespan increased from 91 w to 119 w v CF. Body growth reduction was less dramatic, and not even significant in the 8% GS group. Dose-dependent reductions in several serum markers were also observed. Long-term (50 w) 12% GS resulted in reductions in mean (±SD) fasting glucose (158 ± 13 v 179 ± 46 mg/dL), insulin (0.7 ± 0.4 v 0.8 ± 0.3 ng/mL), IGF-1 (1082 ± 128 v 1407 ± 142 ng/mL) and triglyceride (113 ± 31 v 221 ± 56 mg/dL) levels compared to CF. Adiponectin, which increases with MR, did not change in GS after 12 w on diet. We propose that more efficient Met clearance via GNMT with GS could be reducing chronic Met toxicity due to rogue methylations from chronic excess methylation capacity or oxidative stress from generation of toxic by-products such as formaldehyde.

Would taking a gelatin supplement that is 33% glycine be helpful?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your response.
05-08-2014 11:23 AM
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mtl777 Offline
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RE: Trouble Gaining Weight
I am also interested in this question. Not for myself but for my aunt who I am trying to help gain weight. She is so skinny and has lost so much weight after adopting a vegetarian diet as part of her alternative treatment for breast cancer. Before she had breast cancer she was already a little underweight to begin with.

So in my Google search I found this appetite enhancement product called Black Hole made by Controlled Labs:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/clabs/...5542913389

This product is herbal and looks good. Maybe it will help you, but I'm not really sure. So let's ask James.

James, what do you think of this product? Do you think it is effective and safe for most people? How about for an elderly woman with breast cancer?

Thanks!
05-11-2014 12:25 AM
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James Offline
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RE: Trouble Gaining Weight
(05-08-2014 11:23 AM)myszkab Wrote:  Hello James, new member here.

I saw your postings on another site, and was directed here. I just want to say that I am highly impressed with your knowledge and evidence based approach to medicine. It was unbelievable the claims people would make with absolutely no support, and it was nice seeing someone set the record straight with well-backed research. Being a college student hoping to pursue and study medicine, I aim to become as informed about the medical community as you are.

That said, I am a 20 year old male on a tight college budget. I eat fairly healthy, including tons of fruits and veggies (organic where affordable), limit processed foods, and also eat fish a few times a week. I do not eat a ton of grains, other than oatmeal a few times a week. I have been working out for the past year or so, and was able to put on about 10 pounds of muscle, and my current weight is 155lbs. Despite this, I still appear very skinny with ribs showing etc. I aim to put on between 5-10 more pounds this coming summer. However, I have said from the beginning that I will try not to kill my body in the process. People tell me to just eat whatever, wherever, and whenever, but I do not like that approach. So I guess my question to you is, what is a healthy way to gain weight?

A good part of my diet consists of meat, such as chicken, steak and pork. Along with every meal I have a serving of veggies and fruit. I have been researching for a while and see a plethora of different approaches to gain muscle, most of which involving a high protein intake. Therefore, I have aimed for ~150g a day, more or less. However, recently I have seen you dismiss this claim, stating that the average person can only tolerate about 90g a day, slightly higher for athletes. I have found a few studies that examined the effect. They are slightly older, and new evidence may have come out since then that I am not aware of. What are your thoughts?

http://www.jissn.com/content/1/1/45

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/25

I guess I am just completely lost, because much of the calorically dense foods that I have thought to be so called "healthy weight-gain foods" such as nuts, avocados, beef etc. all have setbacks. Most nuts are extremely high in omega 6, beef is full of hormones among other toxins. I have calculated that to put on an average of .5lbs a week, I need to eat around 2800 calories a day. Now I have been doing well meeting that goal, but it has taken a toll on bank account trying to eat healthy in the process! I have recently started buying items that I know are not really "good" for me, such as whole milk, peanut butter, and whole wheat pasta, just as cheap calorically dense foods. Is there any way to eat healthy and meet this daily requirement consistently?

In the years growing up I ate a diet full of processed foods, and never gained a pound. Now everyone always tells me that will change one day, which I somewhat believe. However, now I try my best to eat healthy and gain weight simultaneously, but it seems to be futile.

As a side note, I believe it is well accepted that one of the reasons meat consumption should be limited is due to the high methionine content. I know you wrote about the methionine cycle in another post, and there is research that restriction of methionine leads to increased longevity, at least in rats that is.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2691799/

What are your thoughts on the glycine/methionine balance? New research has surfaced that compared adding glycine to the diet helps excessive methylation of methionine. Although I do not have access to the full paper:

Brind, Joel, et al. "Dietary glycine supplementation mimics lifespan extension by dietary methionine restriction in Fisher 344 rats." FASEB Journal. Vol. 25. 2011.

Dietary methionine (Met) restriction (MR) extends lifespan in rodents by 30–40% and inhibits growth. Since glycine is the vehicle for hepatic clearance of excess Met via glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT), we hypothesized that dietary glycine supplementation (GS) might produce biochemical and endocrine changes similar to MR and also extend lifespan. Seven-week-old male Fisher 344 rats were fed diets containing 0.43% Met/2.3% glycine (control fed; CF) or 0.43% Met/4%, 8% or 12% glycine until natural death. In 8% or 12% GS rats, median lifespan increased from 88 weeks (w) to 113 w, and maximum lifespan increased from 91 w to 119 w v CF. Body growth reduction was less dramatic, and not even significant in the 8% GS group. Dose-dependent reductions in several serum markers were also observed. Long-term (50 w) 12% GS resulted in reductions in mean (±SD) fasting glucose (158 ± 13 v 179 ± 46 mg/dL), insulin (0.7 ± 0.4 v 0.8 ± 0.3 ng/mL), IGF-1 (1082 ± 128 v 1407 ± 142 ng/mL) and triglyceride (113 ± 31 v 221 ± 56 mg/dL) levels compared to CF. Adiponectin, which increases with MR, did not change in GS after 12 w on diet. We propose that more efficient Met clearance via GNMT with GS could be reducing chronic Met toxicity due to rogue methylations from chronic excess methylation capacity or oxidative stress from generation of toxic by-products such as formaldehyde.

Would taking a gelatin supplement that is 33% glycine be helpful?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing your response.

The studies are more focused on whether high protein diets are detrimental, not how much protein can actually be utilized by the body at one time.

Also, when they refer to high protein diets they are not referring to taking massive amounts of protein, but rather taking a higher ratio of protein as opposed to carbohydrates or fats. In fact, if you do the calculations on the amount of protein they are recommending per kilo body weight the amounts are not much higher than the body can utilize.

As for not being able to gain weight there can be different reasons for this. Could be the thyroid being slightly overactive. Could be malabsorption problems or if your fiber intake is too high the transit time could be too fast for proper absorption. Or if you have enough muscle mass this can also make gaining weight more difficult since muscle burns calories even at rest. For example, back when I used to race triathlons and do cross country bicycling I was eating 10,000 calories a day mainly as pasta and potatoes yet I was 40 pounds lighter than I am now. Although I was underweight at the time. Certain diseases, such as diabetes can also cause weight loss. So it is impossible to tell why you are having problems putting on weight with such little information, but there are some possibilities for you to look in to.

And in general for weight gain high fat foods are probably your best bet. Examples are bananas, avocados and nuts. Fats are very calorie dense.

Gelatin is a good source of glycine, which is needed for collagen and elastin formation and helps calm the nervous system. Will it help with weight gain? I doubt it, but glycine is still a great amino acid for other things.

http://www.MountainMistBotanicals.com
(This post was last modified: 05-14-2014 10:10 PM by James.)
05-14-2014 09:44 PM
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James Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Trouble Gaining Weight
(05-11-2014 12:25 AM)mtl777 Wrote:  I am also interested in this question. Not for myself but for my aunt who I am trying to help gain weight. She is so skinny and has lost so much weight after adopting a vegetarian diet as part of her alternative treatment for breast cancer. Before she had breast cancer she was already a little underweight to begin with.

So in my Google search I found this appetite enhancement product called Black Hole made by Controlled Labs:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/clabs/...5542913389

This product is herbal and looks good. Maybe it will help you, but I'm not really sure. So let's ask James.

James, what do you think of this product? Do you think it is effective and safe for most people? How about for an elderly woman with breast cancer?

Thanks!

From what I can see the main action will be from the cannaboid-like compounds that will stimulate the appetite.

Keep in mind though that weight loss is not always the result of lack of caloric intake.

Since she has cancer what I would recommend is giving her several capsules of yucca root with her meals as well as a half dropper full of digestive bitters. Yucca root is antitumor and aids in absorption of nutrients. Digestive bitters help with digestion and absorption and also helps the liver with breaking down excess hormones.

http://www.MountainMistBotanicals.com
05-14-2014 10:06 PM
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mtl777 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Trouble Gaining Weight
(05-14-2014 10:06 PM)James Wrote:  From what I can see the main action will be from the cannaboid-like compounds that will stimulate the appetite.

Keep in mind though that weight loss is not always the result of lack of caloric intake.

Since she has cancer what I would recommend is giving her several capsules of yucca root with her meals as well as a half dropper full of digestive bitters. Yucca root is antitumor and aids in absorption of nutrients. Digestive bitters help with digestion and absorption and also helps the liver with breaking down excess hormones.

Thanks so much, James!

Should the yucca root and digestive bitters be taken before or after meals? And is that going to be for every meal, so 3X daily?

How about if she takes papain (enzyme)? I think that would help, too, right? I read that papain is good for digestion and for cancer as well. For cancer patients, it "digests" dead cancer cells, thus helping to mop up the debris left by the other alternative treatments employed that kill the cancer cells.
05-18-2014 12:49 AM
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