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Hornets, Horniness and Hardness

Hornet larvae amino acids. I’m sure you’ve heard the trade name VAAM—it stands for Vespa Amino Acid Mixture. Packaged in liquid form, it has a composition similar to that produced by larvae of the species Vespa mandarina, or hornets. Yep, hornets. Animal studies have shown that VAAM may enhance fat metabolism and exercise tolerance.

What happens to humans when they take VAAM? Twenty-four older women—aged 63.5 years—were randomly assigned to receive 3,000 milligrams per day of either VAAM or a placebo. The subjects in both groups participated in 90-minute exercise sessions consisting of aerobics and light resistance training two times per week for 12 weeks. The researchers found an increase in maximal oxygen uptake and a reduction in abdominal fat in the VAAM group. So an amino acid cocktail from hornets might give you an added bite—or shall I say sting?—to your fat-loss regimen.1

Certainly erectile dysfunction, usually called E.D. these days, is no laughing matter—unless you’ve got a cruel wife, girlfriend or both. Well, who woulda thunk that pistachios might help? Scientists investigated the effects of Antep pistachio (a.k.a. Turkish pistachios) on International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores, penile color Doppler ultrasound (PCDU) parameters and serum lipids in patients with E.D.. I honestly have no clue how you measure erectile function in the science lab, but guys know the real-world way of measuring it. So a total of 17 married patients who’d experienced E.D. for at least 12 months were included in a prospective study. Patients were put on a 100-gram pistachio diet for three weeks. One hundred grams is about 557 calories, of which about 44 grams are fat, 21 protein and 29 carb, give or take. Researchers found that the nut helped the subjects attain major wood. As they put it: “We demonstrated that a pistachio diet improved IIEF scores and PCDU parameters without any associated side effects in patients with E.D. Furthermore, the lipid parameters showed statistically significant improvements after this diet.”2

Citrus depressa Hayata, commonly known as shiikuwavsa, or flat lemon, is cultivated in the northern areas of Okinawa, Japan, and used as a juice. (Why is it that Japan and China always have these obscure funky herbs and supplements?) In one study, scientists examined the effects and mechanism of action of shiikuwavsa peel extract using high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. They found that the stuff had an anti-obesity attribute that helps regulate fat-building genes in white adipose tissue.3

Last but not least, we know that nitrite has been identified as a vasodilator that is preferentially harnessed in conditions of hypoxia, or low oxygen. A recent study found that dietary nitrate may be useful in improving regional brain perfusion, a term that describes the pressure blood flow to the brain, in older adults in critical brain areas known to be involved in executive functioning.4 In addition to creatine and fish oil, perhaps you could add this to the growing list of brain foods!


Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (; also check out his site


1 Sasai, H., et al. (2011). Effects of regular exercise combined with ingestion of vespa amino acid mixture on aerobic fitness and cardiovascular disease risk factors in sedentary older women: A preliminary study. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 11(1):24-31

2 Aldemir, M., et al. (2011). Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res. In press.

3 Lee, Y.S., et al. (2011). Effects of a Citrus depressa Hayata (shiikuwavsa) extract on obesity in high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. Phytomedicine. In press.

4 Presley, T.D., et al. (2011). Acute effect of a high nitrate diet on brain perfusion in older adults. Nitric Oxide. 24(1):34-42.


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