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  • Top 3 Reasons You Need to Be Taking Magnesium (Especially If You Exercise)

    Although it’s only the 8th most abundant mineral in the body, the important role of magnesium cannot be overstated. If you think you have a tough job to go to, imagine being responsible for well over 300 tasks each day.

    That’s just a normal day for magnesium. According to the government website, Medicine Plus, magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions to be completed. It plays a critical role in the function of nerves and muscles and, at the same time, it’s needed for your heart, bones, and blood. This is just for a normal person. If you’re an active person or an athlete, your magnesium requirements are even more important. Let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons why you may want to consider supplementing with magnesium to boost your overall health.

     

    1. Magnesium May Promote Better Sleep

    For those of you who are active, you know that recovery is the key to results and feeling well enough to fight another day in the gym, track, or pool. Recovery primarily happens while you are fast asleep. This is when your body enters stages of deep sleep. If you aren’t sleeping well and your body doesn’t have that chance to enter R.E.M. sleep, then you’ll be missing out on key growth hormones for recovery. An easy way to promote sleep? Try magnesium.

    Studies suggest that magnesium may be an ideal supplement for healthy, natural sleep. Best of all, you don’t need a prescription for it. It’s recommended to take one serving of magnesium about one hour before bed. Try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. (1)

     

    1. Magnesium May Increase Immunity

    It doesn’t matter that time of the year it is, colds and illness are always waiting around the corner. To keep yourself from getting sick, it’s important to take care of yourself. Boosting your immunity is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. A better immune response will also aid in your recovery post-workout. Aside from a healthy diet and regular exercise, another easy way to boost your immune system is with magnesium.

    Studies suggest that when you supplement with magnesium, you may be increasing your immune response. The result, of course, is a decrease in colds and illness. If you do get sick, the duration of your cold may be much shorter with magnesium supplementation. (2)

     

    1. Magnesium May Help Boost Performance

    Last but not least, magnesium may be a great way to improve your performance inside of the gym. This is applicable to all fitness goals, regardless of your background. One study published in Journal of Sports Science and Medicine provided one group of cyclists with magnesium and the other group with a placebo. The group that supplemented with the magnesium saw an increase in overall performance when compared to the placebo group. (3)

    Try taking magnesium one hour before a workout. You can combine this with your normal pre-workout supplement, so long as it too doesn’t have magnesium in the formula. You don’t want to overdo it.

     

    Conclusion

    By supplementing with this amazing mineral, you may be able to get better sleep, boost your recovery, improve your immune response, and increase your overall athletic performance. Click here to take a look through the entire Amino Z magnesium supplement line-up.

     

    References

    1. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9.
    1. M Tam, S Gómez, M González-Gross and A Marcos. Possible roles of magnesium on the immune system. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, 1193–1197. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601689
    1. Lindsy S. Kass, Philip Skinner, and Filipe Poeira. J Sports Sci Med. A Pilot Study on the Effects of Magnesium Supplementation with High and Low Habitual Dietary Magnesium Intake on Resting and Recovery from Aerobic and Resistance Exercise and Systolic Blood Pressure. 2013 Mar; 12(1): 144–150.
  • GAT Nitraflex vs. Cellucor C4

    In the supplement market, there are great pre-workouts and there are the best pre-workouts. If you’ve been using supplements for a while, German American Training and Cellucor are no stranger to your ear. These two giants have two of the best-selling products but are Nitraflex and C4 really all they’re cracked up to be? Let’s review these two supplements to see which one is worth picking up.

     

    GAT Nitraflex

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of GAT Nitraflex

    Right away, you can see that GAT’s Nitraflex is geared towards a male audience and this has everything to do with the fact that there is a testosterone support agent inside of this pre-workout. I’ll speak more on that below.

     

    As to the pre-workout itself, Nitraflex hosts an impressive combination of ingredients that combine stimulants and nootropics, or “brain boosting” compounds. Ingredients of note are the following:

    Raulwolfia

    • Similar to Yohimbe in structure and function
    • Supports weight loss
    • May trigger boost in norepinephrine (energy) without an increase in blood pressure (1)

    Caffeine

    • Famous stimulant
    • May significantly boost your energy levels
    • May increase mental focus and alertness (2)

    DMAE Bitartrate

    • May be beneficial for neuromuscular health
    • May boost focus and memory
    • May prevent feeling of anxiousness, which is common feeling with stimulants (3)

     

    Cons of GAT Nitraflex

    There are two concerns with Nitraflex that I have: First, GAT uses a proprietary blend. This is frustrating because you don’t know exactly how much of a certain ingredient you’re getting in this blend. With the blend being 7.2 grams, you have to wonder just how effective the pre-workout can be. For example, elite pre-workouts use 2 to 3 grams of Beta Alanine alone. With that said, this is an impressive line-up and at 7 grams, there should be a decent amount of everything in there. As always you can double the dose.

    The only other issue we have is with marketing. By adding the unproven testosterone booster into the pre-workout, GAT is losing out on a potential female market. I’d say ditch the unproven t-booster and market to everyone.

     

    Cellucor C4

     

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor C4

    C4 by Cellucor has been dominating the pre-workout market for a long time. User reviews report that C4 gives them the energy they need without the crash that comes with caffeine-dominant supplements. This may be directly related to the use of Theacrine, which is considered a softer cousin of caffeine. One study revealed that taking a mixture of both caffeine and Theacrine resulted in an increase in cognitive function and energy without the rise in blood pressure associated with other stimulants. (4)

    Cellucor C4 is also backed by Beta Alanine, Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate, and Creatine Nitrate. Again, you’re looking a solid line-up of ingredients that have all been the subject of research, study, and fanfare.

     

    Cons of Cellucor C4

    Like GAT, Cellucor uses a proprietary blend when it matters most. They do reveal that C4 only has 150 mg of caffeine per serving but you’re left in the dark with the other 275 mg of the blend. With that said Cellucor does provide the information for most of the other ingredients, which is helpful. As I mentioned above, you could double the dose, if need be, but I feel as if one serving will be plenty considering ingredients like Beta Alanine are dosed appropriately.

     

    Conclusion

    You have two industry giants with two amazing products. It’s impossible to choose between them because both have so much to offer. Despite relying on proprietary blends, GAT and Cellucor are providing products that are sure to get you through your workouts. I really like the addition of Theacrine in C4 but I’m also a huge fan of the Raulwolfia in Nitraflex. I’d suggest buying both and see which one is better for your body type.

     

    References

    1. Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Alpha Blockers." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
    1. Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports [1978, 10(3):155-158]
    1. Caille E.-J. Study concerning the bisorcate demanol effects upon quantified EEG, cortical vigilance and mood. Comparative double-blind, cross-over balanced design versus pirisudanol. Psychol Med. 1986;18:2069-2086.
    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.
  • Top 3 Ways an Iron Supplement Can Boost Your Fitness Results

    Of all the supplements that you hear about in the popular fitness magazines and on health websites, iron is rarely talked about. You’ll be flooded with pre-workout and post-workout supplement articles until you can’t stand it but information about how iron can help you with your fitness goals is rarely seen.

     

    Iron is a very important nutrient. Found in all cells in the body, iron plays countless roles in important bodily processes. For athletes and those who are very active, iron is even more important because of the loss of iron through sweat. Let’s take a look at the top 3 ways an iron supplement may be able to boost your fitness performance and recovery for better results.

     

    1. May Boost Performance

    One of the main functions of iron is to make sure oxygen rich blood is delivered to the tissues that need it. For fitness enthusiasts, if your working muscles are short on oxygen rich blood then you’re going to notice it when your performance starts to decrease. Remember that you’re constantly sweating during exercise and this is one way that you lose iron. Supplementing with iron may help to keep oxygen rich blood flowing to the working muscles that need it, resulting in better performance. (1)

     

    1. May Provide You with More Energy

    On a cellular level, your body breaks down carbohydrates and stored body fat and uses it as energy. Iron plays an important role in assisting the body break down those carbohydrates and turn them into usable energy. When you’re low in iron, your body may not be able to efficiently create energy as needed. When you take an iron supplement, you may be able to support the conversion process of carbohydrates to energy. More energy means the ability to go longer in the gym with high intensity. (1, 2)

     

    1. May Support the Post-Workout Process

    Most importantly, iron may help us bounce back after a tough workout. We all know the feeling of smashing into the wall after an intense workout or running session. If you supplement with iron, this may help you avoid that onset of fatigue. First, as mentioned above, iron helps supply oxygen rich blood throughout the body. Secondly, it has been shown in studies to accelerate recovery after a blood donation. Anyone who has ever donated blood knows that feeling of tiredness following the donation. Iron supplementation may help to boost recovery post-workout when taken regularly.

     

    Conclusion

    Iron supplementation may be an important part of an athlete’s nutritional program as it may help to boost performance, improve recovery, and support energy production.

     

    Click here to check out the entire Amino Z line-up of high quality iron supplements.

     

    References

    1. Pasricha SR, Low M, Thompson J, Farrell A, De-Regil LM. Iron supplementation benefits physical performance in women of reproductive age: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr. 2014 Jun;144(6):906-14. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.189589. Epub 2014 Apr 9.
    1. Woods A, Garvican-Lewis LA, Saunders PU, Lovell G, Hughes D, Fazakerley R, Anderson B, Gore CJ, Thompson KG. Four weeks of IV iron supplementation reduces perceived fatigue and mood disturbance in distance runners. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 23;9(9):e108042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108042. eCollection 2014.

     

     

  • MuscleTech Performance Series Nitro Tech Ripped vs. BSN Isoburn

    One of the newest crazes to hit the supplement market is thermogenic protein. Just like the name implies, thermogenic protein has a foundation of muscle building protein, which is supported by fat burning ingredients such as L-Carnitine and Yohimbe. Two of the biggest giants in the industry have grabbed on to the new protein craze: MuscleTech Performance series Nitro Tech Ripped vs. BSN Isoburn. Let’s review the pros and cons of both of these brands to see which one has a better thermogenic protein product.

     

    MuscleTech Performance Series Nitro Tech Ripped

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of MuscleTech Performance Series Nitro Tech Ripped

    MuscleTech isn’t messing around when it comes to this thermogenic protein. Right out of the gate, you’re getting 30 grams of protein from a unique blend of Whey Peptides, Whey Protein Isolate, and Whey Protein Isolate. This means that MuscleTech is going to be ideal for a post-workout treat. The fast-acting amino acids may help to support recovery, trigger protein synthesis, and promote lean muscle tissue growth. (1-7)

     

    MuscleTech also features a great line-up of some proven fat burning thermogenics. Some of these ingredients have been shown to promote fat loss while boosting your metabolic rate. (8-10) Here’s the full list:

     

    • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate
    • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
    • canephora robusta extract (bean) (Robusta Coffee)
    • Green Tea Extract (as Camellia sinensis) (leaf)
    • Rose Hip Extract (as Rosa canina) (fruit)
    • Kelp

     

    Cons of MuscleTech Performance Series Nitro Tech Ripped

    The only issue we have with MuscleTech Performance Series Nitro Tech Ripped is the dosage of some of the thermogenic ingredients is under-dosed. If you look at the study samples and how big of a dose they used to get those results, MuscleTech cuts it a bit short. With that said, this is a protein supplement first and foremost and a weight loss support second. It’s like a protein shake with a little boost of fat burning but it's still a protein shake.

     

    BSN Isoburn

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN Isoburn

    Just like MuscleTech, Isoburn from BSN focuses on fast digesting proteins. That means it’s going to be ideal after your workout or first thing upon waking. Remember, as we mentioned above, those amino acids from the isolate may help to boost muscle building and recovery.

     

    As to its thermogenic formula, it features a decent line-up of thermogenic compounds:

     

    • Green Coffee Extract
    • Blue-Green Algae Extract
    • Beta-Carotene
    • Pomegranate Extract
    • L-Carnitine Tartrate
    • Choline Bitartrate
    • Banaba Extract

     

    Just like MuscleTech, it’s offering plenty of protein for muscle building goals and a select line of thermogenic compounds that may support weight loss.

     

    Cons of BSN Isoburn

    First, BSN doesn’t compare with MuscleTech in the gram for gram category. MuscleTech provides 30 grams of protein while BSN is only giving 20 grams.

     

    The bigger problem is the thermogenic formula. Since BSN uses proprietary blends, you have no idea how much of each ingredient you’re getting. Considering the blend is only 1 gram, you can rest assured that it won’t be much. One way to remedy this would be to double the dose. That would effectively give you twice the protein and fat burning agents but it would also burn through your wallet twice as fast.

     

    Conclusion

    Both brands are great examples of a real thermogenic protein but it’s easy to see why we would go with MuscleTech Performance Series Nitro Tech Ripped. It has more protein and more fat burning ingredients than BSN. With that said, BSN Isoburn is still a decent protein that would be a good choice, especially if it was on sale. For a post-workout protein that supports fat burning, try one of these great thermogenic proteins.

     

    References

    1. Phillips SM1, Van Loon LJ. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S29-38. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.619204.
    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.
    1. Venables MC, Hulston CJ, Cox HR, Jeukendrup AE. Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):778-84.
    1. Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.
    1. Igho Onakpoya, Rohini Terry, and Edzard Ernst. The Use of Green Coffee Extract as a Weight Loss Supplement: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2011; 2011: 382852.
  • 4 Reasons You Need to Be Pairing Up Calcium with Your Vitamin D Supplement

    Are you a weight lifter who is using Vitamin D supplements to help with recovery and hormone levels?

    Are you a sprinter who uses Calcium to support bone health?

    Maybe you’re someone who is on the fence about which is better: Calcium or Vitamin D?

     

    Whether you want to support your overall health or push yourself closer to a fitness goal, you don’t have to choose between Vitamin D or Calcium. Taken together, these two supplement can support a number of health and fitness goals. Let’s take a look at the top 4 reasons why you should be pairing Vitamin D with Calcium.

     

    1. Better Absorption

    First and foremost, Vitamin D and Calcium need one another to maximize absorption. As an athlete, if you have a diet that’s high in protein and sodium, you may be at risk for Calcium deficiency. Protein and sodium negatively impact Calcium retention. The more protein and sodium that you eat, the more Calcium is excreted through the kidneys. While you may not be able to cut out protein from your diet, especially if you’re a muscle-focused athlete, you can boost absorption through Vitamin D. Studies show that Vitamin D helps to boost and maintain Calcium levels. (1)

     

    1. Stronger Bones

    Those who are at risk for osteoporosis typically have very low levels of Calcium in their body. When your body is able to efficiently absorb Calcium, thanks to Vitamin D, you will be directly supporting the health and strength of your bones. Calcium is one of the best ways to boost your bone health. What’s more, the hormonal support of Vitamin D will also help to preserve bone strength. Combine these supplements with resistance training or plyometrics and watch your bone strength soar. (2)

     

    1. Beat Back Inflammation

    Inflammation is a popular topic in health news. Experts have connected inflammation in the body to dozens of ailments including diabetes and cancer. This recent discovery has prompted a search for ways to reduce inflammation. Aside from eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and super foods, supplementing with Calcium and Vitamin D may also be able to help. Recent studies are suggesting that taking the two together or on the same day at different times may help reduce inflammation markers. (3, 4)

     

    1. Boost Metabolic Health

    Every time you visit your doctor for a check-up, you are taken through a panel of necessary tests including heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. As we get older, or as our lifestyle choices tend to slip, these numbers can prompt a lecture from your doctor. Aside from a healthy diet and exercise, one way to support your cardiovascular health is to supplement with Vitamin D and Calcium. Studies suggest that when taken as a part of a healthy diet, these two supplements may have to improve metabolic health. (5)

     

    Conclusion

    If you want stronger bones, better cardiovascular health, and less inflammation, it’s time you started adding the powerful combination of Vitamin D and Calcium to your diet. Looking for a great brand? Click here to check out our collection of Vitamin D and Calcium supplements.

     

    References

    1. The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases. "Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age." National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 May 2015. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.
    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2004.
    1. Meg Mangin, Rebecca Sinha, and Kelly Fincher. Inflammation and vitamin D: the infection connection. Inflamm Res. 2014; 63(10): 803–819.
    1. Bussière FI, Gueux E, Rock E, Mazur A, Rayssiguier Y. Protective effect of calcium deficiency on the inflammatory response in magnesium-deficient rats. Eur J Nutr. 2002 Oct;41(5):197-202.
    1. Asemi Z, Karamali M, Esmaillzadeh A. Effects of calcium-vitamin D co-supplementation on glycaemic control, inflammation and oxidative stress in gestational diabetes: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Diabetologia. 2014 Sep;57(9):1798-806. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3293-x. Epub 2014 Jun 25.
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