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Food & Supplements

  • Ingredient Explained: Citrulline

    What is it?

    L-citrulline is the natural form of citrulline. The human body produces its citrulline. However, consuming extra citrulline can have significant performance benefits. It is found naturally in fruits such as watermelon and vegetables such as squash and pumpkin. 

    What does it do?

    Citrulline enhances nitric-oxide levels, which allows for blood vessel dilation. This, in turn, allows for more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your muscles. Citrulline can also reduce symptoms of muscular fatigue. It plays a role in removing a fatigue-inducing compound called ammonia from your blood. 

    How do I take it?

    • Dosage

    6-9g is the recommended serving size of L-Citrulline Malate 2:1

    3-6g is the recommended serving size of pure L-Citrulline

    • Timing

    Citrulline typically takes 30-40 minutes to digest and enter the bloodstream. Therefore, to maximise its full benefits, it's a good idea to take it pre-workout.

    • Frequency

    There's no ideal frequency for citrulline. However, given the positive effects on performance, we recommend that you consume it before each workout session.

    What are the top products?

    We recommend that you find the best value for money citrulline malate product, i.e. look for a cost-effective price point! Just check the product's ingredient profile to ensure that it's 100% L-citrulline or L-citrulline malate.

  • Ingredient Explained: Carnitine

    Step 1: What is it?

    Acetyl L-Carnitine is an amino acid. It is commonly found in red meat, and supplements (usually referred to as ALCAR, LCLT or L-Carnitine). 

    Step 2: What does it do?

    Acetyl L-Carnitine assists in the production of energy. In particular, it helps your body transports fatty acids from stored body fat into the mitochondria of muscle cells, where it can be used for energy. 

    Although the body naturally produces L-Carnitine, dietary supplementation can increase the concentration levels of carnitine in the body. This means that supplementation might be beneficial for people deficient in carnitine.

    There are 3 main types of carnitine. All types act in the same way in terms of transporting fatty acids from stored body fat into the mitochondria of muscle cells to be used as energy. However, each different type has unique side effects which may render helpful.

    • Acetyl L Carnitine (ALCAR or ALCA): This form of carnitine converts to acetylcholine, positively affecting mood and concentration.
    • L-Carnitine Tartrate (LCLT): This form of carnitine is more commonly used in research. That is because this form has a more rapid absorption rate when compared to the other forms of carnitine.
    • Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine: May improve high-blood pressure via enhanced nitric oxide production when taken in high dosages (+5g per day).

    Step 3: How do I take it?

    • Dosage

    500mg - 1500mg per day

    • Timing

    30-60 minutes before exercise

    • Frequency

    Everyday

    Step 4: What are the top products?

    We recommend that you find the best value for money carnitine/acetyl l carnitine product i.e. look for a cost-effective price point! Just be sure to check the product's ingredient profile to ensure that it's 100% carnitine

  • Ingredient Explained: Glutamine

    Step 1: What is it?

    Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid. Glutamine is a building block for making proteins in the body. It's also needed to make other amino acids and glucose.

    Step 2: What does it do?

    Glutamine assists in recovery following physical stress, such as weight training, for example. Glutamine notably has anti muscle wasting, immune-supporting and digestive system benefits.

    Step 3: How do I take it?

     

    • Dosage

     

    To maximise glutamine’s holistic effects of muscle-sparing, digestion aid and immunity support, Amino Z recommends that you take 3g per day unless directed otherwise.

     

    • Timing

     

    Amino Z recommends taking 3g in a fasted state - 30-60 minutes before consuming a meal.

     

    • Frequency

     

    Every day - 3g. 

    Step 4: What are the top products?

    We recommend that you try to find the best value for money glutamine product i.e. look for a cost-effective price point! Just be sure to check the ingredient profile of the product to ensure that it’s 100% glutamine.

  • Superfoods and Greens: The 4 Horsemen of Health

    Let’s be honest- can you truly say that you get the recommended amount of fruits or veggies daily? Since there is a high likelihood that the majority (and by majority, probably over 75 %!) of us will answer no, don’t you think that something needs to change?

    Yes, eating more REAL plant based foods is always best, but you probably won’t do that, so what’s the best option? The answer may lie in a good greens and superfood supplement.

    What Exactly Are Greens And Superfoods Supplements?

    The name actually says it all. These are supplements (oftentimes, in powdered form) that contain an array of plant based nutrients, from many of the most nutritionally dense sources on the planet, as well as some that are not often thought of as being superfoods.

    Reasons You Need A Greens/Superfoods Supplement

    Besides the very obvious fact that you are probably not getting enough greens in your diet, there are several distinct benefits to including more of them in your diet. These benefits include:

    Increased Dietary Fibre Intake

    The importance of fibre is sorely underappreciated. Much of the health of your digestive tract, and as an extension, your body as a whole, hinges on getting enough fibre. Sufficient daily consumption can help to offset the occurrence of constipation, helps support healthy probiotic cultures, and helps promote the speedy evacuation of solid waste (faeces).

    Not to forget the fact that soluble fibre binds bile acids and cholesterol and can help improve your blood lipid values, an important benefit if you consume a lot of red meat.

    Improves pH Balance

    The pH of the body is very important to overall health, and to an extent the degree of hypertrophy you experience. pH ranges from a scale of 1-14, with the lower ends of the spectrum representing acidic, and the upper end, alkaline pH.

    The body functions best at a pH that is neutral to very slightly alkaline (about 7.4), but sadly many of the foods consumed on the standard Western Diet are very acidic or acid forming. This can have far reaching implication on health, for example, as cancer is believed to thrive under acidic conditions.

    Many fruits and vegetables are naturally alkaline or alkaline-forming when consumed, helping to shift the balance of acid/base where it should be. Consuming superfoods/greens powders also do the trick, and help ensure that you can consistently get some of these nutrients in your diet on a daily basis.

    Anti-Oxidant Powers

    Oxidation is the bane of cellular existence. Excessive oxidative damage prematurely damages/destroys cells, and can even have far reaching implication to the DNA level, increasing the risk of an undesirable cellular mutation occurring.

    Superfoods and greens with a high ORAC (oxygen radical absorptive capacity) are capable of neutralizing more of these harmful free radicals, and in turn diminishing the effect it can have on your body.

    Free radicals can also attack your muscle gains, making this alone reason to get more greens.

    What Should A Good Greens/Superfoods Powder Contain?

    Wheatgrass

    Known as the king of all alkaline foods, wheatgrass is an excellent source of alkaline minerals[i]other health benefits as well, including improved digestion which bolsters nutrient absorption, and a metabolic boosting effect. And of course- it is a bonafide treasure trove of nutrients that warrant its inclusion in the first place. Wheatgrass easily checks all the boxes that make a superfood.

    Spirulina

    While it may sound strange to eat something such as aquatic algae, spirulina is one that can make you think again. Spirulina is basically a bacteria, but not the kind that is deleterious to your health.

    Instead, this blue-green superfood has a lot going on for itself. A tiny 7g serving consists of over 50% protein, as well as well as significant amounts of B vitamins and iron. Since bacteria aren’t technically animals, vegans everywhere can rejoice in adding this nutrient dense superfood to their diets.

    Most notably to athletes is the fact that spirulina can help improve performance. Studies have shown that it can help improve endurance[ii]endurance and resistance to fatigue[iv]other superfoods that often find themselves included in such supplements, thanks to their excellent benefits on health. These may include:

    In Summary

    Superfoods and greens supplements can be an excellent way to help fortify your diet, especially if you know that you should be doing more when it comes to eating plant based foods. While not a guaranteed solution for anything, consumption of more of these types of foods can contribute to you achieving your athletic goals and improving your health at the same time.

    They are a worthy investment in your future, so don’t discount just how important they are.

    [i]

  • 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.

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