Food & Supplements

  • Garcinia Cambogia, truth or myth?

    There has been a lot of hype surrounding the use of garcinia cambogia for weight loss. People who rely heavily on reducing calorie intake to lose weight usually experience terrible success rates and even if the diet program was successful, they usually put the weight back on as soon as reverting back to a normal diet. Here comes garcinia cambogia, also known scientifically as garcinia gummi-gutta, a tropical plant naturally found in the jungles of South East Asia, India and Africa, which has been claimed to suppress appetite hence aid weight loss by a number of high profile healthcare professionals.

     

    So does garcinia cambogia really work? Well, let's be direct here, there are currently no definitive clinical proof to indicate that garcinia cambogia works for weight loss in humans. The active ingredient of garcinia cambogia is called hydroxycitric acid, which has been found to inhibited fat production and increase serotonin secretion, hence lead to decreased appetite and subsequently weight loss in rats. However, rats are not humans, the results in human studies were less encouraging. It has been shown that garcinia cambogia caused no decrease in appetite in women compared to the placebo, and a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that subjects taking garcinia cambogia actually lost less weight compared to the placebo, even though the result was not statistically significant. The limitation with the latter study, was that the test subjects were already on a high-fiber, low-calorie diet, therefore, the results only proved that nothing is better than a healthy good diet, even garcinia cambogia.

    Other scientific studies involving garcinia cambogia have showed mixed results, and even when a statistically significant influence on body weight was detected, the effect was still marginal. This, in a scientific context, rendered garcinia cambogia clinically ineffective for weight loss. A drug that only works less than 50% of the times with marginal results would not be deemed efficacious.

    However, one needs to understand that scientific studies usually, here I say usually, take the average results of the subjects tested, thus studies found that garcinia cambogia was ineffective for weight loss may be pverlooking those lucky few who might had lost weight by taking it. A search online showed mixed reviews of the product, with some claiming that it worked wonders on them while many others said it was ineffective and quite a few actually reported weight gain after the commencement of their garcinia cambogia regimes. These reviews, if credible, give a snapshot of the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia in real-life situations and it actually concured with the published studies. As stated previously, despite the global media frenzy, garcinia cambogia showed no consistent clinical benefit on weight loss as of the day this article was written. The best-proven method for natural weight loss is still through regular exercise combined with health eating, there is certainly no shortcut to get around that yet.

  • Yacon syrup for weight loss?

    Yacon syrup has recently been dubbed as the new miracle drink to aid weight loss. This sweet tasting juice is extracted from the sweet potato like roots of Yacon plants, which is thought to be one of the best sources of fructooligosaccharides, the indigestible sugar molecules that have the ability trick your brain into thinking you just had sugar. Yacon syrup is low in calories, and rich in prebiotics. It has shown to be able to reach the gut flora after ingestion, which can lead to a number of positive effects on health and metabolism. In short, even without the weight loss effect, Yacon syrup is a natural, healthier alternative of sugar and other synthetic sweeteners.

    But can Yacon syrup assist weight loss? To date, the weight loss effect of Yacon syrup in humans was only investigated in one study, which was published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009. During the study, researchers observed the effects 2 daily doses of Yacon syrup on obese and slightly dyslipidemic pre-menopausal women during a 120-day period. The study found that 0.14g fructooligosaccharides/kg body weight/day of Yacon syrup equivalent, that is around 0.25g Yacon syrup/kg body weight/day is safe for human consumption and significantly reduced body weight, waist circumference, BMI, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol levels and fasting serum insulin levels of the test subjects compared to the placebo. In fact, the group consuming Yacon syrup lost 15kg on average in the 120-day period, which I would say is quite remarkable.

    The limitation of the study, other than the obvious gender bias, was the small number of subjects used. In addition, no further studies investigating the weight loss effect of Yacon syrup were found. Therefore, the results of the study should be taken with a grain of salt. One study does not mean it is scientifically proven. Nevertheless, Yacon syrup is natural and a good source of soluble fiber, take one or two teaspoons of the syrup 30 minutes to 1 hour before each meal may aid digestion, and may even aid weight loss in the long run. Remember, although safe, too much Yacon syrup can cause stomach discomfort, so reduce intake if you are experiencing any side effects.

  • Whey Protein vs. Plant Protein: Which is Better for Muscle?

    What is Whey Protein?

    Whey protein is a milk-based product. Milk protein is made up of 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. Companies isolate the whey protein content of milk protein to give you the muscle building supplement that you're familiar with.

     

    Types of Whey Protein

    Whey protein can further be broken down depending on the filtration process. There are three types of whey protein that are widely available in the supplement industry:

     

    Whey Protein Concentrate

    • Used in most protein supplements. Whey concentrate normally contains between 40% and 89% actual whey. The rest is nutrient filler such as simple carbohydrates and fatty acids.

     

    Whey Protein Isolate

     

    Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

     

    Benefits of Whey Protein

    Muscle Building

    • Whey protein supplementation has been shown to promote muscle growth through protein synthesis and an anabolic environment triggered by amino acids in the body.

     

    Protects from Muscle Loss

    • Whey protein supplementation has been shown to be an effective way to protect the muscle you already have gained by preventing catabolism or muscle breakdown.

     

    Recovery

    • The amino acids in whey protein will help to promote effective muscle healing and less soreness post-workout.

     

    What is Plant Protein

    Plant protein comes from plant extracts that are notably high in protein. Plant proteins usually have to be combined to form what are known as complete proteins, or proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids. There are a few exceptions including pumpkin seeds and soy.

     

    Types of Plant Protein

    Pea

    • Pea protein isolate contains an impressive amount of protein but it is incomplete. It must be combined with another plant-based source to ensure the body gets all of the essential amino acids.

     

    Brown Rice

    • Brown rice protein is highly bioavailable but it's also incomplete so it must be combined with a plant-based source like pea protein.

     

    Pumpkin Seed

    • Packed with protein, minerals, and fatty acids, pumpkin seed is one of the best plant-based protein sources. Best of all, it is a complete protein.

     

    Soy

    • Soy is another complete protein that also promotes cardiovascular health.

     

    Benefits of Plant Protein

    Muscle Building

    • Just like whey protein, plant protein supplements have been proven to promote muscle growth, protein synthesis, and an anabolic environment for results. Plant protein can also help to protect from catabolism.

     

    Recovery

    • Although you may need to combine two different plant protein sources, the amino acids found within complete plant protein can boost recovery after a workout.

     

    Which Protein is Better for Muscle?

    Despite popular belief, studies have shown that whey and plant protein are equally effective at triggering muscle growth, protein synthesis, recovery, and anti-catabolic actions. In fact, it is recommended that you use both a whey and a plant-based protein source to maximize benefits.

     

    Make your own whey or plant protein supplement with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. You can combine the ingredients you want at the dosages you need to maximize your muscle building gains.

     

    References

    1. Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Cree MG, Aarsland AA, Sanford AP, Wolfe RR. Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;292(1):E71-6. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

     

    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. 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. Phillips, S. M., and L. J. Van. "Dietary Protein for Athletes: From Requirements to Optimum Adaptation." Journal of Sports Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011. Web.
  • 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.

     

    Leucine

    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!

     

    BCAAs

    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).

     

    Isoleucine

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

     

    Valine

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

     

    Leucine

    • 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!

     

    References

    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.
  • 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.

     

    Spirulina

    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!

     

    References

    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.' NutritionFacts.org, 22 Aug. 2013, nutritionfacts.org/2013/08/22/the-science-on-acai-berries/.
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