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Food & Supplements

  • Top 4 Ways a Probiotic Can Improve Health, Results

    In recent years, correlations have been found between the intake of probiotics and a healthier immune and digestive system. What you may not have realized is just how far reaching these newfound benefits go.

     

    Probiotics have been associated with a wide range of health-related issues including acting as an effective agent to promote weight loss to neutralizing various allergies and alleviating serious mental illnesses such as depression. Let's review the top 4 ways in which a probiotic can start to dramatically improve your health and fitness results.

     

    Weight loss

    Probiotics are suggested to prevent as well as treat diarrhea. This inevitably strengthens the digestive system, which is critical for the assimilation of nutrients. To take it full circle, the better your ability to properly digest and assimilate nutrition, the better likelihood of you feeling full. This will, in turn, help with a healthy weight. What's more, probiotics may support an increased metabolic response.

     

    It's also suggested that probiotics may prevent the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine. So, they just may help you look fitter, younger, and healthier. (1)

     

    Hair Loss

    An alarming number of people, men and women alike, suffer from excessive hair loss.

     

    This may be due to our hectic, stressful lifestyles or possibly due to our unhealthy diets. Probiotics may boost your immune system, making it more resistant to those environmental and dietary factors that may support hair loss.

     

    Studies suggest that probiotic usage may be associated with a decreased occurrence of hair loss. (2)

     

    Food Allergies & Skin Conditions

    More and more people are becoming prone to food allergies and these allergies may show themselves via skin ailments. This may well be because of our heavily processed, artificial and imbalanced dietary choices.

     

    Due to the positive role that probiotics play with the immune system and the positive boost they give to gut flora, they just may be the key to overcoming certain food allergies and skin conditions. Studies suggest that probiotics have been incredibly successful in reducing the severity of certain skin allergies such as eczema. Some probiotics may also prevent or reduce inflammatory responses in people with milk or dairy allergies. (3)

     

    Depression

    Probiotic supplements have been suggested to help in improving some mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

     

    It is often argued that gut health is linked to mood and mental health. As discussed earlier, probiotics strengthen our immune system and it is believed that this link to immunity may boost mental health.

     

    One study showed that taking probiotics for eight weeks may help in decreasing depression levels significantly. This evidence is invaluable for those who lead a stressful life and are likely to fall prey to depression. (4)

     

    Conclusion

    Convinced of the amazing benefits of probiotics? Ready to start your probiotic supplement program? Check out our entire probiotic collection here.

     

    References

    1. Jaclyn M. Omara, Yen-Ming Chana, Mitchell L. Jonesb, c, Satya Prakashb, c, Peter J.H. Jonesa. Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus as probiotics alter body adiposity and gut microflora in healthy persons. Journal of Functional Foods. Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 116–123.
    1. Tatiana Levkovich, Theofilos Poutahidis, Christopher Smillie, Bernard J. Varian, Yassin M. Ibrahim, Jessica R. Lakritz, Eric J. Alm, and Susan E. Erdman. Probiotic Bacteria Induce a 'Glow of Health' PLoS One. 2013; 8(1): e53867. Published online 2013 Jan 16.
    1. Kuitunen M. Probiotics and prebiotics in preventing food allergy and eczema. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Jun;13(3):280-6.
    1. Ruixue Huang, Ke Wang, and Jianan Hu. Effect of Probiotics on Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2016 Aug; 8(8): 483. Published online 2016 Aug 6. doi: 10.3390/nu8080483
  • Top 4 Reasons to Start Using Egg Protein

    One of the most popular supplements for muscle building is whey protein but there's another muscle builder powder on the market and it just may have whey beat. We are talking, of course, about egg protein.

     

    Not only is it a good source of protein, but egg protein also has vitamins and nutrients that are essential to muscle building and overall health. You may be wondering why someone should take an egg protein supplement when you can simply eat eggs. You may even be weary of giving up your whey supplements. Let's take a look at the top 4 reasons to start using egg protein powder.

     

    No Risk for Salmonella

    To the first point mentioned above: Eating raw eggs. Some fitness enthusiasts out there are still training like Rocky, including eating raw eggs. Raw eggs DO contain a higher nutrient profile and they can help you build muscle; however, there's always the 'what if?' Raw eggs carry a risk for contracting food poisoning.

     

    Strict regulations have already been implemented by the governments of Australia and the United States but even with these rules for production, there may always be a chance.

     

    Egg protein supplements, on the other hand, are pasteurized. This process eliminates salmonella and other pathogens from eggs and decreases the risk for foodborne bacterial infection.

     

    No / Lower Risk for Allergic Reactions

    Whey protein supplements are made from dairy products and contain lactose. Lactose, while it has its benefits, can cause allergic reactions in some people. In these people, not only can the body not digest lactose properly, causing symptoms such as bloating, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea, but their sensitivity to the proteins in whey can also trigger an allergic reaction.

     

    This is not the case with egg protein supplements.  It is made from pure egg whites and because it doesn't use any dairy product, it is lactose free. For people suffering from lactose intolerance, egg protein supplements are the best choice.

     

    Highly Bioavailable

    Considered as a complete protein food, eggs have a high biological value measured at well over 90 out of 100. This means that egg proteins can easily be absorbed by the body to use in protein synthesis.  Compared to milk, fish, and meat, egg protein is highly bioavailable and has the highest quality because the body is able to utilize nearly all of its nutrients.

     

    Supports Muscle Building

    Egg whites contain a high level of naturally occurring amino acids, different vitamins such as B12 and minerals such as zinc. The amino acids found in protein are the very building blocks of muscle. They help to increase recovery, thereby supporting gains in strength and muscle mass. The nutrients found in eggs not only promote fat loss and boost energy levels but also support muscle, heart, and brain health.

     

    Finally, loading up on egg protein and other protein-rich food can catabolism, or protein breakdown.  This is the process by which muscles lose their mass due to excessive training, inadequate diet, and lack of recovery.

     

    Conclusion

    Egg protein supplements can help you achieve your fitness goals. If you are searching for a quality egg protein supplement, check out our entire selection of egg protein here.

     

    References

    Jose M. Miranda, Xaquin Anton, Celia Redondo-Valbuena, Paula Roca-Saavedra, Jose A. Rodriguez, Alexandre Lamas, Carlos M. Franco, and Alberto Cepeda. Egg and Egg-Derived Foods: Effects on Human Health and Use as Functional Foods. Nutrients. 2015 Jan; 7(1): 706–729.

    Jay R. Hoffman and Michael J. Falvo. Protein – Which is Best? International Society of Sports Nutrition Symposium, June 18-19, 2005, Las Vegas NV, USA - Symposium - Macronutrient Utilization During Exercise: Implications For Performance And Supplementation. J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep; 3(3): 118–130.

  • Thermogenic Protein: How to Burn Fat While Building Muscle

    One of the most asked questions in the fitness industry is whether or not someone is able to build muscle WHILE burning fat. There seems to be this disconnect between the two as if you have to do one first and then follow up with the other. While there may be some truth to this as a professional whose job it is to look your best every day for marketing purposes, the average person CAN build muscle and burn fat. The primary way to do this is through diet and exercise but supplementation can also play a key role in your success. When you want to build muscle while burning more fat, the best supplement to utilize is a thermogenic protein. Let's take a look at what a thermogenic protein is, the ingredients to look for, and the best brands to use.

     

    What is a Thermogenic Protein Supplement?

    Fat burning supplements contain ingredients known as thermogenic compounds. A thermogenic ingredient supports fat burning in a number of ways: primarily, the ingredient will directly trigger a metabolic response. Some also make it more difficult for fat to be stored; instead, forcing it to be utilized as energy in place of glycogen.

     

    On the protein side of things: Protein supplements are used to support muscle building. The amino acids that are present within the protein supplement are the very building blocks of muscle tissue. This means that amino acids can support muscle recovery, protect muscle from breakdown, and support muscle growth. All the things you want if you're goal is to achieve a lean, muscular look.

     

    When you combine a quality protein blend with several elite quality thermogenic compounds, you get a powerful supplement that can promote muscle building while it triggers fat burning in the body.

     

    Are all thermogenic protein supplements created with equal quality? Not even close. There are specific ingredients to watch out for if you want the best results.

     

    The Best Thermogenic Ingredients That Should Be in Your Protein

    Many low quality thermogenic proteins use ingredients that have no scientific backing behind them. If you're considering using a thermogenic protein, here are the main ingredients that the supplement should contain:

     

    • L-Carnitine
    • Theobromine
    • Green Tea Extract
    • Bitter Orange Extract
    • Capsicum

     

    There are certainly more proven fat burners but the ones listed above are the most popular and effective. Now, are there any brands that contain most, if not all, of these ingredients?

     

    Best Thermogenic Protein Brands to Try

    Thermogenic protein supplements are quickly catching on and it's not hard to see why: Imagine being able to support two fitness goals at once. Who wouldn't want to do that? Here are a few brands that stand out:

     

    Gen-Tec Pro Lean

    • Click here to buy Gen-Tec Pro Lean

     

    Black Widow Hydroxy Whey

    • Click here to buy Black Widow Hydroxy Whey

     

    Muscletech Hydroxycut SX-7 100% Protein Isolate

    • Click here to buy Muscletech Hydroxycut SX-7 100% Protein Isolate

     

    Check out the complete collection of thermogenic protein powders here on the Amino Z website.

     

    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. 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. 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. MU Eteng, HA Ibekwe, UI Umoh, PE Ebong, IB Umoh, EU Eyong. Theobromine rich cocoa powder induces weight loss and changes in lipid profile of obese wistar rats. Discovery and Innovation Vol. 18 (3) 2006: pp. 191-196.
    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. Stohs SJ, Preuss HG, Shara M. A review of the human clinical studies involving Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) extract and its primary protoalkaloid p-synephrine. Int J Med Sci. 2012;9(7):527-38. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

    7. Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):651-5

  • 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.
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