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Food & Supplements

  • Top 3 Supplements to Help You Sleep, Boost Your Recovery

    Sleep: You know it's really important so then why does it seem so difficult to get in your 7 to 9 hours each night? The average person only gets between 5 and 6 hours of sleep. While it may not seem like a big difference, those missing hours add up. This may result in fatigue, slower recovery or a weakened immune response. It may also make you more susceptible to over training.

     

    If you have a hard time getting to sleep AND staying asleep, there are a few all natural supplements that may be able to help. Let's take a look at the top 3 supplements to help you sleep and boost your recovery.

     

    ZMA

    ZMA is marketed as a sports recovery supplement but it's no coincidence that you are directed to take it just before bed. ZMA is made up of Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. You'll often see ZMA associated with bodybuilding and athletics but make no mistake about it: ZMA can be a valuable supplement for anyone looking to improve their sleep.

     

    Each individual ingredient in ZMA has been shown to promote sleep and when combined, the supplement has had incredible results. ZMA has been shown in numerous studies to improve deep sleep. This is when the body's heavy duty recovery happens. (1-4)

     

    Take the ZMA as directed. Just be sure not to take ZMA with a protein shake as protein will interfere with the absorption of Zinc.

     

    Want to pick up a high quality ZMA supplement? Click here to check out our ZMA collection.

     

    GABA

    When you wake up in the morning and that sunlight hits your face, your body immediately begins producing hormones that make you alert and ready to start the day. As you prepare for sleep, your body does just the opposite. It prepares to shut down. This is where GABA comes into play. GABA is short for Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. GABA is an inhibitor neurotransmitter that naturally helps you prepare for sleep AND helps you stay asleep during the night. It's no surprise that many nighttime recovery supplements have GABA as their number one ingredient.

     

    Looking for an excellent GABA supplement? Check out our collection of GABA here.

     

    VALERIAN ROOT

    Valerian root has been used a natural sleep aid for many years. The subject of a variety of sleep-focused studies, valerian root may be able to help promote restful sleep. What's more, it may help you stay asleep longer. How does it do this? It's all about GABA.

     

    Studies suggest that valerian root helps to promote the release of GABA, the compound we discussed above. Once released, valerian root helps to protect GABA from breakdown. This means it will stay in your system longer, allowing you to sleep better.

     

    Click here to check out our valerian root collection.

     

    Conclusion

    Getting more and better quality sleep is simple when you try one of these all natural herbal supplements. Taken as directed, these supplements may help to promote healthy sleep patterns.

     

    References

    1. Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Monteferrario F, Antoniello N, Manni R, Klersy C. The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Jan;59(1):82-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03232.x.
    1. Kordas K, Siegel EH, Olney DK, Katz J, Tielsch JM, Kariger PK, Khalfan SS, LeClerq SC, Khatry SK, Stoltzfus RJ. The effects of iron and/or zinc supplementation on maternal reports of sleep in infants from Nepal and Zanzibar. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2009 Apr;30(2):131-9. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31819e6a48.
    1. Nielsen FH, Johnson LK, Zeng H. Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep. Magnes Res. 2010 Dec;23(4):158-68. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2010.0220. Epub 2011 Jan 4.
    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. Gottesmann C. GABA mechanisms and sleep. Neuroscience. 2002;111(2):231-9.
    1. Lindahl O, Lindwall L. Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Apr;32(4):1065-6.
  • 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)

     

    Click here to try Muscle Pharm Assault Black, which contains the effective dose of Theacrine and caffeine!

     

    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)

     

    Want a pre-workout that contains Guarana? Check out Cobra Laps The Ripper.

     

    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.
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