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  • Leucine, DAA, & BCAAs: Muscle Building Supplements for 2018

    Are you beginning to set your muscle building goals for 2018? How much lean muscle would you like to gain? Would you rather focus on bulking now and worry about cutting in the spring? If solid muscle is what you’re after, there are a few ingredients that need to be a part of your supplement line-up to see the best results. Let’s take a look at the top three muscle building ingredients for 2018.



    Arguably the most notable of the nine essential amino acids when it comes to muscle building, leucine has been the subject of numerous studies showing a dramatically positive effect on muscle building. Leucine has been shown to trigger protein synthesis, a necessary process for muscle building. What’s more, it can promote an environment of anabolism, which is also critical for muscle building.


    You need to supplement with leucine since it is used up so rapidly during exercise, especially weight lifting. We recommend using 3,200 mg (3.2 grams) of leucine but if you are a very active individual, you can increase this to 4,000 mg (4 grams). Take leucine during your workout and an hour before bed.


    D-Aspartic Acid

    D-Aspartic Acid, a famous testosterone boosting supplement for men, has also been suggested to be an effective way to support muscle building goals.


    Theoretically, if D-Aspartic Acid can enhance levels of testosterone then it will also promote an anabolic environment, necessary for growth. Lean muscle mass thrives when growth hormones are present as these hormones promote recovery and lean tissue growth. Supplement veterans also swear by DAA as a pre-workout enhancer.


    It’s important to take DAA on an empty stomach to see the best results. You can do this first thing in the morning or an hour before your workout if you train without eating much. Based on the famous testosterone studies, we recommend using 3,000 mg (3 grams) of DAA each day.


    Want to get your hands on an effective muscle building supplement? Why waste time looking for the ideal supplement when you can create your own? The Amino Z Supplement Builder allows you to use the ingredients you want at the dosages you need. Try it today!



    Hands down, one of the best supplements to use to trigger muscle growth is branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs. The BCAAs that have been found to be most effective for muscle building are isoleucine, valine, and leucine (as mentioned above).



    • May enhance protein synthesis for muscle growth
    • May support lean muscle tissue growth
    • May be valuable for weight management



    • May increase endurance
    • May boost sports recovery
    • May increase lean muscle mass



    • May boost protein synthesis
    • May trigger lean mass growth
    • May support recovery


    Build Your Own Muscle Building Supplement

    If you’re serious about building lean muscle mass for 2018 then you need to arm yourself with proven muscle building ingredients. Don’t waste money on a random supplement. Instead, create your own with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. Control the ingredients and the dosage to see results!



    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.


    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.


    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.


    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.


    1. Doi M, Yamaoka I, Nakayama M, Mochizuki S, Sugahara K, Yoshizawa F. Isoleucine, a blood glucose-lowering amino acid, increases glucose uptake in rat skeletal muscle in the absence of increases in AMP-activated protein kinase activity. J Nutr. 2005 Sep;135(9):2103-8.


    1. Topo E, Soricelli A, D'Aniello A, Ronsini S, D'Aniello G. The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Oct 27;7:120. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-7-120.


    1. Spillane M, Schwarz N, Leddy S, Correa T, Minter M, Longoria V, Willoughby DS. Effects of 28 days of resistance exercise while consuming commercially available pre- and post-workout supplements, NO-Shotgun® and NO-Synthesize® on body composition, muscle strength and mass, markers of protein synthesis, and clinical safety markers in males. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Nov 3;8:78. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-78.
  • BSN EndoRush Vs BSN No Xplode

    What is BSN EndoRush?

    BSN EndoRush is the newest product in the BSN pre-workout line-up. A tamer version of its predecessor, N.O. Xplode, BSN EndoRush may be the ideal pre-workout for those just getting started with supplements. It contains a moderate amount of energy boosters, nootropics, and nitric oxide support that provides the rush of a pre-workout without going overboard.



    • Features 150 mg of caffeine per serving (N.O. Xplode has 275 mg)
    • 3 grams of Creatine Monohydrate and 1 gram of Creatine Nitrate to support strength levels
    • Provides nitric oxide support with L-Arginine and L-Citrulline
    • Moderately infused energy booster that is ideal for beginners


    Why You Should Use BSN EndoRush

    Unlike N.O. Xplode with its five-tier energy matrix, BSN EndoRush takes a more straightforward approach and sticks to a foundation of proven and effective energy boosters.


    One thing I really liked about EndoRush is that it does not use a proprietary blend like N.O. Xplode does. You know what ingredients you’re getting and exactly how much you’re getting. This is a welcome change especially for those who want to make sure they are getting specific dosages of ingredients.


    EndoRush has a well-designed energy blend mixed with a performance-focused formula. Not only will you feel like you’re getting next level energy, your muscles will be able to pump out more thanks to ingredients like creatine and l-arginine.


    Thing to Watch Out for With BSN EndoRush

    EndoRush may not be satisfying to those supplement veterans that have been using pre-workouts for years. It’s a moderately dosed pre-workout that is ideal for beginners unlike N.O. Xplode, which features a high performance and high-octane formula. If you’ve built up a tolerance to pre-workouts, you may need an additional scoop of EndoRush.


    What is BSN N.O. Xplode?

    BSN N.O. Xplode features a hard-hitting energy-driven formula that has been the talk of the fitness industry for over a decade. Featuring thermogenics, nootropics, and intra-workout support, BSN N.O. Xplode is a veteran that may be able to effectively support your energy levels, workout performance, and strength levels.



    • Five-tier energy breakdown of ingredients: Myogenic Matrix, Endura Shot, Thermic Energy, N.O. Alpha Fusion, Shock Composite
    • Features 275 mg of caffeine per serving
    • Provides 1.8g of Beta-Alanine to support strength levels
    • Energy boosters are balanced out with ingredients shown to support muscle performance


    Why You Should Use BSN N.O. Xplode

    There’s a reason that N.O. Xplode took the market by storm years ago and continues to do so: it works. Despite the formula changes, BSN N.O. Xplode is still an incredibly effective product.


    It’s five-tier energy blend provides one of the most well-rounded pre-workout formulas on the market. Yes, you get plenty of caffeine but more importantly, you’re getting ingredients that promote sharper thinking, more strength, and fuel for muscle tissue. For example, it contains a creatine blend. Creatine converts into adenosine triphosphate, which is the preferred fuel source of muscle during weight lifting.


    The complexity of the formula shows as researchers clearly went above and beyond, rolling with the punches of the changing restrictions and are still managing to provide a great product.


    Thing to Watch Out for With BSN N.O. Xplode

    BSN N.O. Xplode uses a proprietary blend, which is an issue for me since you know what ingredients are in the formula but you have no idea exactly how much outside of the few things they’ll tell you. For example, BSN lets you know that it contains 275 mg of caffeine and 1.8 grams of beta-alanine.


    Still, this is an issue because you’ll never know if you are getting the proper dosage level needed to see real results.


    Which Supplement Should You Choose?

    Both supplements are great but which one you choose will depend on experience level. If you’re new to taking pre-workout supplements, start with BSN EndoRush. It’s a more leveled out pre-workout that won’t take you over the edge.


    If this isn’t your first rodeo with pre-workouts, then go with BSN N.O. Xplode. It’s hard hitting formula will be exactly what you need to get going.



    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.


    1. Daniel J. Kuhman, Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women. Nutrients. 2015 Nov; 7(11): 9618–9632.


    1. Park SJ, Park DH, Kim DH, Lee S, Yoon BH, Jung WY, Lee KT, Cheong JH, Ryu JH. The memory-enhancing effects of Euphoria longan fruit extract in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 2;128(1):160-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Jan 11.


    1. K. Hnia, J. Gayraud, G. Hugon, M. Ramonatxo, S. De La Porte, S. Matecki, et al. L-Arginine Decreases Inflammation and Modulates The Nuclear Factor-?b/Matrix Metalloproteinase Cascade In Mdx Muscle Fibers. Am J Pathol, 172 (6) (2008), pp. 1509-1519.


    1. B.I. Campbell, P.M. La Bounty, M. Roberts. The Ergogenic Potential of Arginine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 1 (2) (2004), pp. 35-38.


    1. Robert Cooper, Fernando Naclerio, Judith Allgrove, and Alfonso Jimenez. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012; 9: 33. Published online 2012 Jul 20. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33.
  • Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer vs. Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex

    What is Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer?

    Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer is one of the industry staples for mass gaining. It provides 650 calories per serving with 60 grams of protein! This protein-focused mass gainer may be exactly what you need during bulking season to maximize mass gains while limiting fat gains when compared to other gainers that are high-calorie, carbohydrate, not protein-based.



    • 650 calories and 60 grams of a protein blend per serving
    • Features Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Egg Albumin, Hydrolyzed Whey Peptides, Glutamine Peptides – Great for hours of amino acid delivery
    • 85 grams of carbohydrates – Ideal for restoring muscle glycogen levels
    • 8 grams of healthy fats – Necessary for healthy hormone levels


    Why You Should Use Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

    Unlike some of the supplements out there that provide over 1,000 calories from simple carbohydrates, Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer has a realistic approach to healthy mass gaining. At 650 calories, Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer is an effective tool for pushing your caloric threshold while supplying the body with muscle building amino acids, glycogen-restoring carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This balance may help to boost recovery and build muscle mass while limiting the amount of weight gain from fat.


    Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex also supplies 60 grams of muscle supporting protein but at a fraction of the calories. One serving of Pro Complex provides 270 calories with the same amount of protein as Pro Gainer. The implication here is that Pro Complex may be best suited as a lean gainer, not a mass gainer.


    Things to Watch Out for With Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

    Aside from artificial sweeteners, the only thing I’d point out would be the inclusion of synthetic vitamins and minerals. If you’re not taking a multi-vitamin or a single vitamin or mineral supplement, then you wouldn’t have to worry about this. If you’re currently taking a supplement for vitamins and minerals, I’d recommend stopping that supplement until you finish with O.N. Pro Gainer. Too much of a vitamin or mineral supplement could have side effects including toxicity.


    What is Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex?

    Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex is a protein supplement providing you with 60 grams of protein from isolate and hydrolyzed sources. Pro Complex only has 1 gram of fat and 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving, making it an ideal post-workout or lean gains supplement.



    • 270 calories per serving
    • 60 grams of protein from the following sources: Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate, Egg Protein, Hydrolyzed Egg Protein, Leucine Peptides
    • Ideal for low-carb, low-fat diets
    • Focus is on muscle recovery via rapid digesting proteins


    Why You Should Use Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex

    With 60 grams of protein coming from all isolate and hydrolyzed sources, Pro Complex is one of the best post-workout supplements on the market.


    After a workout, your muscles require immediate nutrition. Isolate and hydrolyzed protein is known to be the fastest digesting protein available, ensuring your lean muscle mass receives the amino acids it needs to spark post-workout recovery and growth.


    Things to Watch Out for With Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex

    If you intend to use Pro Complex after a workout, it’s important to note that simple carbohydrates are a necessity to restore glycogen levels and decrease cortisol levels, assuming you aren’t following a carbohydrate-restricted diet such as the Keto Diet. Since Pro Complex only has 5 grams of carbohydrates, I’d recommend pairing it with a healthy carbohydrate source such as a bowl of oat-based cereal (e.g., Cheerios) but only for after a workout. At any other point, it’s fine on its own.


    Which Supplement Should I Buy?

    Realistically and ideally, you could be using both depending on your goals. If you want to gain mass without the added fat weight, also known as lean gains, you could pair these two up, taking Pro Gainer in the morning or an hour before a workout. You could then finish a workout by using Pro Complex, which is going to provide those fast digesting amino acids.


    If you don’t care about the amount of fat you gain, such as during bulking season, then you could use Pro Gainer several times per day for the extra calories and protein.


    If you want to lose weight and focus on toned, lean muscle, go with Pro Complex, it’s lower in calories and fits in perfectly with a low-carb lifestyle.



    1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002


    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.


    1. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.


    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.


    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.


    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.
  • Protect Cardio Health with Wheat Grass, Spirulina, and Acai

    Wheat Grass Powder

    Wheat grass powder contains a unique nutrient profile that is ideal for supporting cardiovascular health. In every serving of wheat grass powder, you’ll get an impressive amount of chlorophyll, flavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E.


    Due to its high-level nutrition, wheat grass powder may be an effective way to destroy disease-causing free radicals in the body. What’s more, it may be useful for dramatically reducing cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


    Studies suggest that daily consumption of wheat grass powder may be a natural and effective way to support your cardiovascular health.


    To see maximum benefits from wheat grass powder, you’ll want to take 3,000 mg per day. Consider a second serving if you’re a very active person.



    Found off the coasts of beautiful Hawaiian Islands, spirulina is microalgae that contains amino acids, gamma-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, B-vitamins, chlorophyll, and phycocyanin. Studies suggest that spirulina is an effective anti-inflammatory and this has huge implications for cardio health.


    Inflammation has been shown to be at the center of many diseases and illnesses. Spirulina may help to fight off that inflammation, thereby supporting your cardiovascular health.


    Spirulina is also a powerful anti-oxidant, like wheat grass, and it fights off disease-causing free radicals.


    3,000 mg per day is the ideal serving size to take if you want to experience maximum benefit from spirulina. Just like with wheat grass, feel free to take a second serving if you are an active person.


    Acai Berry

    When it comes to impressively high levels of antioxidants, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber, nothing comes close to competing with acai berry.


    Acai berry may be able to support your cardio health in a few ways. First, it contains amino acids, the very building blocks of muscle, which may support the recovery of cells and tissue.


    Remember how inflammation is a major cause of disease, especially with cardiovascular disease? Acai berry powder delivers three unique compounds: anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and protocatechuic acid. All three of these compounds are effective anti-inflammatory nutrients, which may reduce your cardiovascular risk factors while improving your cardio health.


    To see maximum benefits, we recommend 10,000 mg (10 grams) of acai berry powder each day. You can split this dosage into two 5,000 mg servings throughout the day.


    Make Your Own Cardio Health Supplement

    Ready to support your cardiovascular health? Want to ensure you’re getting the best ingredients with the proper dosages? Create your own cardio health supplement with the Amino Z Supplement Builder!


    Convenient and easy to use, the Amino Z Supplement Builder allows you to control the ingredients and dosages you put in your product. Protect your health with your own supplement masterpiece!



    1. Bar-Sela G, Cohen M, Ben-Arye E, Epelbaum R. The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2015;15(12):1002-10.


    1. Deng R, Chow T-J. Hypolipidemic, Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Microalgae Spirulina. Cardiovascular therapeutics. 2010;28(4):e33-e45. doi:10.1111/j.1755-5922.2010.00200.x.


    1. Greger, Michael. “The Science on Açaí Berries.”, 22 Aug. 2013,
  • Protect Your Prostate with Flaxseed, Maca, and Pumpkin Seed

    While popular fitness blogs are packed with articles on muscle building and burning fat, the importance of prostate health is rarely a front-page topic. It’s not the most glamorous health topic but it’s certainly a necessary thing to begin considering.


    While prostate issues are rare in men under 50, it’s never too early to start caring for your prostate health. Aside from a healthy diet and exercise program, one of the best ways to protect your prostate is with natural supplements. Let’s review the top 3 supplements for prostate health.


    Benefits of Flaxseed

    Flaxseed has been a popular super food for the last decade due to its proven benefits of supporting healthy cholesterol levels and weight management. Packed with soluble and insoluble fibre, healthy fatty acids, and key micronutrients, this tiny seed may be able to help support prostate health.


    A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that flaxseed may help protect men from prostate cancer while improving the condition of men who already have the cancer. This may be due to the phytoestrogen content within the seeds but researchers are still looking to find the link between flaxseed and a lower risk of prostate cancer. (1-3)


    We recommend supplementing with 10 grams of flaxseed powder per day as this seems to be the ideal serving for most people, regardless of current goals and bodyweight.


    Benefits of Maca

    Maca, a famous Peruvian super food, has been used for thousands of years as a libido booster and overall health aid. Recent studies have shed light on the mechanisms behind maca and the true benefits they provide.


    Aside from increasing libido, maca may also play a helpful role in protecting the prostate. Maca and red maca in particular, was shown to have a positive effect on prostate health. In an animal study with rats, those who were given maca saw alleviated symptoms from an enlarged prostate. (4)


    The ideal serving size for maca is 3 grams (3,000 mg) per day and it should be taken consistently to see the greatest benefits.


    Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Powder

    Pumpkin seed is a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet that is packed with protein, healthy fats, and zinc. For men, pumpkin seeds play a very important role in supporting natural testosterone levels and protecting the prostate.


    In a recent study published in Urologia Internationalis, men who had an enlarged prostate were given pumpkin seeds or a placebo over a 12-month period. At the conclusion of the study, the men who had been given pumpkin seeds just dramatic improvements in their condition and prostate health. One of the easiest ways to consume this incredible food is with pumpkin seed powder. (5)


    Make Your Own Prostate Protection Supplement

    Ready to protect your prostate? If you’re already eating a great diet and engaging in a proper fitness program, all you need is a high-quality prostate supplement. Why chance using a low grade and useless supplement when you can create your own? With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can make your own supplement using the suggested ingredients and dosages above.


    You can even add more ingredients to boost antioxidants, fat burning, or muscle mass. You make all the calls with the Amino Z Supplement Builder.



    1. Hongyu Wu, An Pan, Zhijie Yu, et al. Lifestyle Counseling and Supplementation with Flaxseed or Walnuts Influence the Management of Metabolic Syndrome. J. Nutr. November 1, 2010 vol. 140 no. 11 1937-1942.


    1. Salas-Salvado J, Fernandez-Ballart J, Ros E, Martinez-Gonzalez M-A, Fito M, Estruch R, Corella D, Fiol M, Gomez-Gracia E, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts on metabolic syndrome status: one-year results of the PREDIMED randomized trial. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:2449–58.


    1. Demark-Wahnefried W, Polascik TJ, George SL, et al. Flaxseed Supplementation (not Dietary Fat Restriction) Reduces Prostate Cancer Proliferation Rates in Men Presurgery. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention?: a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology. 2008;17(12):3577-3587. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-08-0008.


    1. Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM. 2012;2012:193496. doi:10.1155/2012/193496.


    1. Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo-controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95. doi: 10.1159/000362903. Epub 2014 Sep 5.
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