VESPA / OFM are “Leading the Science”
“You guys are leading the science”- Jeff Volek PhD/RD at the 2014 American College of Nutrition Conference to VESPA/OFM athletes Zach Bitter & Dan Lenz
VESPA has been the vanguard in the “Fat for Fuel” movement for athletic performance long before fat-adaptation became trendy and co-opted by a number of internet health/wellness/athletic performance gurus. In 2008, Peter Defty, GM of VESPA’s N. American operations, began investigating how to develop and support VESPA users to consistently obtain the results we at VESPA, knew were not only possible but proven with winning results. Out of this investigation the OFM program was developed. At this time (2008) several “experts” in the field of athletic performance, including some of the top coaches and researchers, like Chris Carmichael & Louise Burke PhD., made it clear fat played no role in performance athletics. Suffice to say VESPA was roundly dismissed and ridiculed is an understatement! In spite of the growing numbers of consistent winning and record breaking performances set by VESPA / OFM athletes this ridicule continues to be the case among the “experts”. That is until now because now there is published science to support what VESPA and its athletes have been saying & demonstrating for years. In fact, most of the LCD Cohort from the FASTER Study use the OFM program, including VESPA, in their real world training/racing.
While VESPA/OFM lead the science this does not mean we are doing so without rhyme or reason. Far from it. VESPA & OFM are based upon science and utilize science as a guide. We are constantly reading the scientific literature, including various journal publications, talking with leading researchers, and referencing the science to understand better how to improve your VESPA / OFM experience. This being said, the “Science” of VESPA & OFM go beyond the current published research and into the real world of applied Human Performance & Health. VESPA works closely with several athletes both elite and regular people just like you to learn, incorporate and develop VESPA’s OFM program. This is why VESPA and it’s OFM program are consistently generating the winning and record setting performances elite VESPA athletes are achieving and the Personal Records / Personal Bests for athletes of all ages and abilities. Science is about studying, learning and eventually understanding more about our world and the world around us. This is especially true of biological systems. In our hubris we humans all too often get it backwards as if “The Science” is something nature must follow and adhere to. Thus, when nature springs something new and novel on us like VESPA & OFM people tend to ask; “Where’s the Science?”
VESPA & OFM are notably lacking the kind of direct journal published studies many nutrition and supplement companies love to wave around as “proof” their product “works” and sports nutritionists like to refer without rigorously reading the entire study and critically considering the scientific design. Its like, “if its published, its science, right?” Not exactly, the real answers are much more complex and varied than most of the soundbite science athletes are exposed to. We encourage you to read thoroughly but, as you do, ask yourself; “Do I want to wait for the published science to obtain the performance and health benefits offered by VESPA and its OFM program?”
1) VESPA and OFM are “Nature’s Science” at work: VESPA: VESPA’s key ingredient, a naturally occurring wasp extract peptide, was discovered by Japanese entomologists studying the Asian Mandarin Wasp, an animal so potent it can fly 60-100 Km per day and carry a food ball weighing a third or more of its body weight back to the colony to feed to the larvae. These wasps were able to perform such feats of strength and endurance through using the naturally-occurring wasp extract peptide found in VESPA. The peptide is fed to the adult wasp by the larvae in a symbiotic relationship called Trophallaxis. The peptide triggers a high rate of fatty acid metabolism using the fatty acids stored in the adult’s thorax. because this wasp cannot consume naturally occurring solid foods it depend largely on the fat stored in its thorax for energy. Because animal cells are remarkably similar across species and because there is a strong scientific basis that naturally-occurring peptides can signal with the epithelium and stomach and gut bacteria to “pass” this barrier into the bloodstream and have the same effect on cells in other animals.
OFM: OFM is rooted in sound evolutionary biology, anthropology, anatomy, nutritional science and physiology, however, much of the science we use to guide us in the developing the OFM program is not what the consumer sees because it is not “sound-bite science”. It is clear from the anthropological record, evolutionary biology and basic anatomy humans are acid digesters, not hindgut or ruminant digesters and thus evolved to be fat burning animals which are uniquely capable of metabolizing sugar on those seasonal occasions where fruits, berries or tubers were ripe. A lot of people simply do not realize most animal species evolved to get most of their caloric energy needs from fat, even ruminants actually receive their nutrition and calories from the fatty acids generated by the bacteria in their rumen consuming the plant matter. Similarly, the human body has evolved to store virtually unlimited energy stores of fat. Even the leanest athlete has more than enough fat calories to run a 100 miles or ride a double century or complete an Ironman distance triathlon while this same human body stores a very limited amount of glycogen, which evolutionarily is a “fight or flight” fuel source…..so, ask yourself, why is the conventional “science” so poised toward force feeding us into a dead end energy source? While there is no argument carbohydrates are rapidly metabolized to energy in a normal healthy human, the kinds and levels of carbohydrates being recommended for a “healthy” athlete from a conventionally trained sports nutritionist are far and away above what evolution, science if you will, has shaped humans for. Furthermore most concentrated carbohydrate sources are relatively low in nutrition and all are low in key fatty acids like DHA & EPA and fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin K2. While there are many papers published on plant based nutrition on some healthy compounds like licopene or resveratrol or beta-carotene (which, incidentally is not a bio-available source of Vitamin A contrary to what many are led to believe) the amount of food necessary to obtain an effective dose/effect often is literally a truckload! This does not begin to take into account the inflammation, glycation and glycemic load placed on the body by a conventional sports performance diet touted as science based.
Carbs DO play a role! Similarly, based upon the body of current published literature, observational evidence and working with VESPA/OFM athletes, we take the view that for top-end performance a strict fat-burning or ketogenic state is lacking. It may get an athlete 70-85% there and that fat-adapted athlete may be able to go all day at this high rate but will lack the “extra-gear” necessary to win races and set records. This is why the OFM program makes “Strategic Carbohydrates” a key tier of the OFM pyramid. As evidenced by numerous winning and record setting performances by VESPA athletes. The common misconception of VESPA & OFM being strictly a fat-based approach is hardly the case. Because VESPA/OFM is based upon fat-adaptation as the foundation for performance we speculate this is why VESPA athletes report that strategic use of carbs have a stronger, more sustainable effect, using less when following the OFM protocol. Here at VESPA we do our utmost to look at the entire biological system rather than what is obvious or immediate or the isolated element being researched. OFM nutrition is based upon nutrition and real foods, not calories and macronutrient profiles. This is an important distinction. We look at how to build the athlete up to be the healthiest, strongest and most robust possible, naturally, as evolution shaped us,so they can withstand the stresses of training and competition and not only recover faster but get stronger over time. This is done by metabolizing fat which not only provides concentrated energy but nutrition to build muscle and other tissue rather than catabolize it, mitochondria size & levels in muscle cells, hormonal balance, minimize oxidative stress and build a robust biome. The scientific basis for this is now coming to light after 40 years of “dietary science” attempting to ostracize fats, particularly stable saturated fats and cholesterols from the diet. Please see references in the right bar for more information related to the scientific basis for OFM.
2) Science begins with Observational Evidence: The results VESPA/OFM athletes are experiencing are no accident but examples of how following natural science and evolutionary biology can naturally produce human performance and health on another level. This adherence to nature is “Mother Nature Obeyed” as Chris Masterjohn PhD terms it. From observation of natural phenomena a hypothesis can be formulated and tested using controlled studies. Controlled studies in biological systems help to gain understanding, however, humans, including researchers, have a tendency to use study data to view what they are studying through that particular isolated lens rather than gain understanding of the complex reality of biological systems their study is looking at. Observational Evidence is that first big step in science toward positive change in human performance. Though the Observational Evidence of VESPA & OFM is real and compelling it literally defies what the established science says is possible thus has created a large degree of skepticism to outright dismissal by conventionally entrenched “experts”. Yet the facts remain these “observed” performances of VESPA/OFM athletes are genuine, consistent and growing as more and more athletes experience and “observe” for themselves the “game-changing” advantages of VESPA and its OFM program.
3) The Science of the REAL World RESULTS: VESPA’s consistent real world results are not anecdotal nor a coincidence. Elite VESPA athletes achieve winning and record-setting results in the real world, while, at the same time, VESPA athletes of all ages and abilities are setting PR/PB’s and dominating their age groups. This does not happen by accident. In fact, VESPA has had a 15 year history of athletic performance SUCCESS in sports at the highest levels in sports ranging from Men’s Figure Skating to today’s ultra-endurance athletes who are literally performing at the outer envelope of human performance. This includes Olympic Gold Medals in Figure Skating, Hockey and multiple Gold Medals for the marathon. The development of VESPA’s OFM program yielded consistent results both for each athlete and among athletes regardless of age, gender, or ability. The consistency of performance, lack of intestinal issues, recovery, mental focus and overall health/well-being is well-documented on our SUCCESS! page and on the header images throughout this site.
4) VESPA/OFM Science to date: Here at VESPA, we make every attempt to research thoroughly and think critically. We talk to and collaborate with some of the leading cutting-edge researchers in nutrition yet are very careful to allow their work to be independent and unbiased. VESPA is working toward obtaining funding for basic research on VESPA and OFM. Because we have confidence our product and approach are based upon sound science we do not need to influence research via funding and allow researchers to perform their work without influence. To date some data and yet to be published studies have been performed and the data is congruent with the Observational Evidence. There are some proposals for further study including some pilot studies. There are also several studies on the synthetic version of VESPA, VAAM, which is a mixture of synthesized free amino acids in a compositional profile which mimics the amino acid compositional profile of VESPA’s wasp extract peptide. All these studies were funded by VAAM’s manufacturer, Meiji Dairies a large pharma company in Japan. In one paper which we post in references the actual wasp extract peptide is mentioned (“The effects of hornet larval saliva were stronger than those of VAAM. VAAM therefore showed the major effect of the -saliva.”) and shown on a graph where the wasp extract data point shows significantly greater effect in maintaining serum blood glucose (what we call the “Blood Sugar Stability” characteristics of VESPA).
5) The politics of Science: Many consumers are not aware the route of scientific publications, including the politics surrounding them, must take before publication. After a study is funded and data collected the road to publication, particularly for a study which counters the body of evidence of convention, can take years. Not only does the data go through rigorous statistical analysis but a peer-review process with the selected journal(s) the authors select to publish in. There is also a distinct ranking order for journals so while it can be relatively easy to get published in a lower tier journal, it may be next to impossible in a top-tier journal. Many of the publications for sports nutrition cited by “experts” are funded directly and largely by a company having a stake in the outcome and are published rapidly in lower-tier journals because the subtle but significant difference in journal ranking is not taken in as a factor….once it is published, it is “science” in the eyes of most people.
6) The Science of YOU!: This is YOUR body . . . your health and performance depends upon it! While the basics of physiology run common in humans the spectrum of individual variation is wide and varied. This is a major reason why the OFM Program is not a specific protocol but one that is adaptable, taking into account the infinite variables. OFM is your program to shape and mold. VESPA is the catalyst. They are based upon “Nature’s Science” and when you mold OFM to fit your specific situation and needs and use VESPA to drive them this is “YOUR Science!” So take responsibility, think critically and analytically. Be curious to the new yet balance curiosity with skepticism. This includes skepticism of the conventional “expert” advice, especially if it is not working for you. Question what you have been led to believe, again, especially if what you are doing is not working. Be willing to try new things and be willing to make “mistakes” and learn from them but do so by doing your homework. Often more can be learned from a bad experience. Look for consistencies in the science and in your own experience. Your N=1 is a valuable tool for your personal health and performance.