Food & Supplements

  • The Top 3 Pre-Workout Ingredients Experts Are Using in 2017

    Pre-workout supplements are one of the most popular categories in the industry. Right alongside protein and fat burners, pre-workouts are considered a critical part of any successful workout. We all lead crazy lives. Each day our energy is zapped from work, school, and our home lives. Still, we need to press on to get to the gym. This is where a pre-workout supplement comes into play. The most successful pre-workouts are equipped with energy boosters, thermogenics, and nootropics. 2017 marks a year when the pre-workout industry is going to see some big players stepping into the arena. Let's take a look at the top 3 pre-workout ingredients that you'll want to be using in 2017.

     

    1. Theacrine

    Let's start our list with an ingredient that has been getting a lot of attention: Theacrine. Often referred to as the easy going relative of caffeine, Theacrine has been in the spotlight due to the benefits it provides in relation to exercise. Theacrine has an effect similar to caffeine in that it can boost your energy levels and amplify focus. The difference between the two is that Theacrine does not promote the anxiousness that is related to caffeine use.

     

    Best of all, if you don't get the jitters from caffeine, you can pair the two together. Studies show that the nootropic and energy boosting effects of caffeine are amplified when paired with Theacrine. (1)

     

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    1. Guarana Extract

    Guarana has been actively used as an herbal health remedy for a very long time. Native to the Amazonian rainforest, many tribes in the Amazon used Guarana on a regular basis. It was considered essential to well-being. In this modern day, Guarana can be found in several types of supplements including thermogenics and pre-workouts. Studies suggest that Guarana can help to boost your energy and focus while promoting a healthy weight. (2)

     

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    1. Yerba Mate Extract

    Finally, we have Yerba Mate Extract. You'll start to see this one popping up in plenty of pre-workouts and fat burners in the coming year (assuming your favourite brands haven't already thrown this one in). Yerba Mate is made from the Holly tree and it possesses a number of energy boosting and fat burning benefits. Just like Guarana, it was considered an overall health remedy for tribes in the Amazon. It was also shared as a communal drink, being passed around the tribe. Recent studies have highlighted Yerba Mate Extract as a natural way to promote energy levels, making it ideal for pre-workouts. (3)

     

    Looking for an excellent pre-workout that contains Yerba Mate Extract? Click here to check out Stacker 2 Rush Enraged.

     

    Conclusion

    If you're trying to get ahead of the curve with pre-workouts, be on the lookout for these three ingredients that have been shown to boost energy and promote a healthy weight loss.

     

    References

    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. Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11.
    1. Young-Rye Kang, Hak-Yong Lee, Jung-Hoon Kim, Dea-In Moon, Min-Young Seo, Sang-Hoon Park, Kwang-Ho Choi, Chang-Ryong Kim, Sang-Hyun Kim, Ji-Hyun Oh, Seong-Wan Cho, Sun-Young Kim, Min-Gul Kim, Soo-Wan Chae, Okjin Kim, and Hong-Geun Oh. Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. Lab Anim Res. 2012 Mar; 28(1): 23–29.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     

     

  • 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.
  • Weightlifter? 4 Reasons Why You Need Joint Supplements

    If you're a gym rat, this article is for you.

     

    Weight lifting is one of the most popular ways to stay fit and achieve the body you want. Every physical activity takes a toll on the body and weight lifting may place quite a high demand. From heavy weight to improper technique, the risk for injuring joints and connective tissue via weight training is high. One of the best ways you can protect your body is to supplement with joint support. Let's take a look at 4 reasons why joint supplements need to be right next to your whey protein.

     

    1. Compound Movements Take a Toll

    The classic bodybuilding movements (squat, deadlift, and bench press) are, without a doubt the most effective exercises in the industry. The problem is that these same exercises are also the ones that cause the most injuries. Sure, that may be the fault of the user sometimes as when someone tries to show off but many other times, it's not. The classic moves are triggering the greatest number of muscle groups at the same time. Add to that a great deal of weight and you are putting quite the strain on joints and connective tissue.

     

    Connective tissue takes three times as long as muscle tissue to recover. Considering joints and connective tissue make all of your exercises possible, it becomes a necessity to look after them properly. This is where joint supplements come into play.

     

    1. Reduce Soreness

    How many times have you had to go lighter on sets or skip the gym entirely due to muscle soreness?

     

    Muscle soreness is just a natural part of exercise but it can get to the point where you're not able to perform at your normal level and that's an issue. Joint supplements that contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM have been suggested in a number of studies to be very beneficial for recovery by alleviating soreness. (1, 2)

     

    1. Alleviate Inflammation

    In the case of muscle tissue, inflammation is the actual soreness that you're feeling in the muscle itself. When it comes to joints and connective tissue, the inflammation you feel in these areas can be uncomfortable to downright painful. Ever do too much with the barbell squat to find your knee clicking and hurting the following day? Inflammation is the body's way of signaling healing but too much inflammation can be problematic. Joint supplements, especially those with MSM, have been suggested to be powerful anti-inflammatory agents. This will provide you with a natural alternative to over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, which can cause stomach issues. (1, 2)

     

    1. Proper Lubrication

    It's not something you think about but your joints and connective tissue need to be properly lubricated in order to function at maximum effort.

     

    Think of your elbows and knees like the internal mechanisms in a car. If you didn't place oil into your car, there would be no lubrication for the engine to work from. The result would be a gnashing and grinding of gears until the engine exploded.

     

    Your joints need proper lubrication for function AND protection. This is to ensure that cartilage doesn't start grinding against cartilage. The best way to support proper lubrication of joints? Supplements that are heavy in glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Studies suggest that these three ingredients, working together, can promote better lubrication, thereby alleviating the symptoms mentioned above while protecting the tissue. (1, 2)

     

    If you're ready to start supporting your joints, click here to take a look at one of our top sellers.

     

    References

    1. National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. The NIH Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT). J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2008;22(1):39-43.

     

    1. Usha PR, Naidu MU. Randomised, Double-Blind, Parallel, Placebo-Controlled Study of Oral Glucosamine, Methylsulfonylmethane and their Combination in Osteoarthritis. Clin Drug Investig. 2004;24(6):353-63.
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