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Food & Supplements

  • 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.
  • Can Multi-Vitamins Help You Recover Faster?

    Whether you are a weekend weight lifter or a serious competitive athlete, we all know that feeling of delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS. This soreness comes from microtears in the muscle following intense physical activity. These tears are nothing to worry about but the soreness that comes from them can be annoying and sometimes restrictive. This is especially true if you are too sore to get back into the gym.

     

    We know that nutrition is the way to recovery but do multi-vitamins play a part in this? Can a multi-vitamin help to increase recovery? Let's take a look at the facts about multi-vitamins to find out.

     

    What is a Multi-Vitamin?

    Multi-vitamins are comprised of all the essential vitamins and minerals deemed necessary by government recommendations. The idea behind a multi-vitamin is that one needs to fill the gaps left behind by the lack of nutrients in a diet. Theoretically, everyone should be able to get in the recommended amount of nutrients without a supplement but the reality is that most people do not.

     

    The Case for the Multi-Vitamin

    The average person simply does not eat enough of the right foods to acquire the vitamins and minerals needed to satisfy government recommendations. What's more, those who are extremely active require MORE nutrients than the average person. Again, this may be difficult to achieve with only a whole food-based diet.

     

    Muscles have been shown to respond to several key nutrients such as Vitamin D and B6 in regards to recovery and energy production. If someone is lacking in a whole food diet or is over training, the risk for a deficiency increase. This is why a multi-vitamin may be of great use to most people.

     

    If you are a very active person, even if you have a great diet, consider a multi-vitamin to boost your recovery. This may help reduce soreness, promote results, and get you back in the gym.

     

    If you would prefer to take only a few individual vitamins as opposed to a complete broad spectrum vitamin, here are a few key nutrients to focus on for recovery:

     

    • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin B6
    • Vitamin D
    • Magnesium
    • Zinc

     

    Word of Caution

    Too much of a good thing can be toxic in the case of multi-vitamins. You must not exceed the recommended dosage prescribed on your specific brand. You do not want to exceed upper limits of specific minerals and vitamins as the side effects can be dangerous.

     

    What's more, it's worth noting that whole food-based multi-vitamins are far more bioavailable than those created with synthetic compounds. Consider investing in a liquid multi-vitamin. If you prefer capsules, again, make sure you find yourself one that has predominantly whole food-based ingredients.

     

    Lastly, the best form of nutrients is in real food. A multi-vitamin is a supplement to your diet, meaning it should just be the side help and not the primary focus. Never replace whole foods for supplements.

     

    Ready to buy your multi-vitamin? Click here to select from one of our top sellers.

     

    References

    1. Melvin H Williams. Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Introduction and Vitamins. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2004; 1(2): 1–6. Published online 2004 Dec 31. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-1.
  • Is Whey Protein Superior to Egg Protein?

    If you're like most people, whenever you head to the supplement store, you eventually find yourself in the protein isle. For most, the choice has always been the same: you go right for the whey protein. For those looking to try something new or for those who have done their homework, the choice is egg protein. Price aside, in the supplement world, is whey protein better than egg protein?

     

    Let's take a look at the pros and cons of both to see which protein may be better for your personal fitness goals.

     

    Highlights of Whey Protein

     

    Whey protein is derived from cow's milk and it is the most popular protein choice in the supplement industry. It is highly bioavailable receiving the highest score on the bioavailability chart. It has numerous studies proving its benefits as a fitness tool to achieve goals in muscle building, fat loss, recovery, and performance enhancement. It has even been shown to be effective in boosting your immune response. Whey protein can be purchased as a concentrate or an isolate. One is not necessarily better than the other. Rather, they each play a role in supplementation timing.

     

    Potential Issues of Whey Protein

     

    The most common issue with whey protein has to do with allergies. Those who are lactose intolerant may not be able to handle the consumption of whey protein. Considering most of the population is lactose intolerant, this may be why so many manufacturers are placing digestive enzymes into their whey protein products.

     

    The other issue, which is not necessarily with the product but with the company procedures, is nitrogen, or amino, spiking. This is where a manufacturer puts amino acids into the protein supplement in order to score a higher nitrogen score, thereby giving the impression that the product has a higher total protein score.

     

    Highlights of Egg Protein

     

    The majority of egg protein supplements are made of egg whites as this is where the bulk of protein can be found. Just like whey protein, egg protein is extremely bioavailable, also scoring high on the bioavailability chart. Also, just like its dairy counterpart, egg protein has been shown to provide the critical nutrients you need to support goals of muscle building, fat loss, and recovery.

     

    Potential Issues of Whey Protein

     

    The biggest issue you may hear around the forum chat rooms is that consistent consumption of egg protein powder can lead to a Biotin deficiency. Avidin, a compound found in eggs, can attach itself to Biotin, thereby deactivating it, if the eggs you eat haven't been cooked. The chances of this happening are very unlikely. IF you are an avid egg eater and egg protein powder user AND you're worried about your normal diet not meeting your Biotin needs, simply take the supplement form of it. You can buy Biotin here.

     

    Also, those with an allergy to egg, which is not as common as a milk allergy but still prevalent, may have trouble using egg protein powder.

     

    Whey Protein or Egg Protein?

     

    Both are amazing so which one should you choose?

     

    If you can afford it, you should be using both. Having a variety of protein sources will only benefit you as your body is getting nutrients from two different sources. If you need to choose just one, it'll be up to two deciding factors: allergies and price.

     

    If you're allergic to one, go with the other. In terms of price, egg protein powder has always been more expensive than whey protein concentrate. If you're on a budget, go with whey protein. If you can afford to splurge, go with egg protein.

     

     

    REFERENCES

     

    1. Jay R. Hoffman and Michael J. Falvo. Protein – Which is Best? J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep; 3(3): 118–130. Published online 2004 Sep 1. PMCID: PMC3905294

     

    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.
  • 4 Ingredients Proven to Boost Your Testosterone Levels

     

    When men reach the age of 30, their testosterone levels peak and from there, these levels slowly begin to decline each year. The average guy loses 1% of his total testosterone each year. If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, this number may be higher. If you're pursuing weight lifting and eating a balanced diet, this number may be lower. One thing that every man can do is supplement. Supplements are a safe way to increase natural testosterone levels but not all ingredients work. Let's take a look at the top 4 scientifically proven testosterone boosters.

     

    1. Tongkat Ali

     

    Eurycoma Longifolia Jack is most commonly referred to as Tongkat Ali and sometimes sold as Malaysian Ginseng. Regardless of the name, this herbal remedy is from the rain forests of Malaysia and it's been used in traditional medicinal practices for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. At one time, it was used as an overall health aid. Once it was brought into the West, it was used primarily for increasing sex drive and libido. Eventually researchers discovered it had a positive impact on men's testosterone levels. (1)

     

    How much to take:

    • Extract form: 200 to 300mg (Based on 100:1 extract)

     

    1. Ashwagandha

     

    Another herbal remedy from ancient times, Ashwagandha has played a part in primarily Indian alternative medicine for many years. At one time, Ashwagandha was used as an overall health and well-being supplement. Modern medicine has discovered that Ashwagandha has many benefits outside of the fitness world including being an anti-inflammatory and a cancer fighter.

     

    When it comes to men's health, Ashwagandha has been shown to improve the quality of your sleep, lower cortisol (catabolic hormone) levels, and increase testosterone (anabolic hormone) levels. (2)

     

    How much to take:

    • Extract form: 300 to 400 mg

     

    1. Vitamin D

     

    The same essential vitamin found in dairy products is, indeed, a testosterone booster. Vitamin D has been shown time and time again in scientific studies to be one of the most effective ways to support testosterone production. Ideally, you're getting in whole food-based Vitamin D and spending some time in the sun. However, supplementing with a high quality Vitamin D3 product is also an excellent way to hit your daily recommended serving. (3)

     

    How much to take:

    • Vitamin D3 – One serving per day with a meal

     

    1. ZMA

     

    ZMA has been a staple in the bodybuilding world since that ground-breaking study was released to the public. Used primarily for sports recovery and to improve healthy sleeping patterns, ZMA is also a highly effective testosterone booster. ZMA is made up of Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. On their own, these ingredients have ALL been shown to have a positive response on your testosterone levels. Together, they are unstoppable. Studies show that when men supplement with ZMA, they see a boost in testosterone as well as growth hormone. (4-6)

     

    How much to take:

    • One serving 30 minutes before bed on an empty stomach.

     

    Conclusion

     

    Whether you are approaching the big 3-0 or you passed it long ago, it's never too late to start a healthy regimen to increase the thing that makes you a man: testosterone. Healthy testosterone levels result in an improved quality of life. If you want to naturally and safely boost your testosterone production, these four supplements are the best of the best.

     

    References

     

    1 Shawn M Talbott, Julie A Talbott, Annie George, and Mike Pugh. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 28. Published online 2013 May 26. doi:  10.1186/1550-2783-10-28. PMCID: PMC3669033

     

    1. Vijay R. Ambiye, Deepak Langade, Swati Dongre, Pradnya Aptikar, Madhura Kulkarni, Atul Dongre. Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 571420.

     

    1. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

     

    1. Netter A, Hartoma R, Nahoul K. Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count. Arch Androl. 1981 Aug;7(1):69-73.

     

    1. Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R.Biol. Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8676-3. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

     

    1. Symes EK, Bender DA, Bowden JF, Coulson WF. Increased target tissue uptake of, and sensitivity to, testosterone in the vitamin B6 deficient rat. J Steroid Biochem. 1984 May;20(5):1089-93.
  • Forskolin: Benefits for Muscle Gain & Fat Loss

    Unless you're a professional athlete trying to smash specific personal records, there's a good chance that your fitness goals are going to involve losing body fat and building solid, lean muscle tissue. Aside from the required training program and diet, the right supplement can make all the difference in your results. With all of the false promises on supplements, is there one that can help to boost fat loss and enhance muscle mass? The answer is Forskolin. Let's take a look at the scientifically proven benefits of this herbal wonder.

     

    What is Forskolin?

     

    This herbal remedy is more commonly known as Coleus Forskohlii. Despite recent scientific studies proving how useful it can be, Forskolin was used as a medicinal tool thousands of years ago. Jumping into the present age, Forskolin was being used as a way to naturally treat asthma and now it's a king in the supplement industry.

     

    The reason for the attention towards this ancient remedy has everything to do with its effect on your hormone levels. It's been shown to promote a positive response in your thyroid as well as testosterone levels. From this, you'll see a number of benefits.

     

    Blast Body Fat

     

    Thanks to the increased levels of Cyclic AMP from Forskolin supplementation, you'll see lipases also increase in your body. The effect that has on your body fat is very important. Studies show that when there is a higher level of lipases in the body, the more triglycerides are eliminated. Triglycerides are used to store fat. As you'd imagine, the less triglycerides, the less body fat comes as a result. Studies show that Forskolin is a very effective means to naturally support weight loss. (1)

     

    Boost Levels of Testosterone

     

    As mentioned above, Forskolin supplementation boosts levels of Cyclic AMP. As it turns out, Cyclic AMP will mimic the benefits of a luteinizing hormone, resulting in increased production of total testosterone. The primary human-based study showed that subjects saw up to a 33% increase in testosterone levels when compared to the placebo group. It's important to note that the study involved obese men and not athletically trained men. Given these conditions, it may be best to err on the side of caution and say that Forskolin can potentially boost your testosterone levels. (2)

     

    Supports Muscle Building

     

    Given that Forskolin is a potential testosterone booster, it will also be a useful tool to support muscle mass. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in the body that promotes the building and protecting of lean muscle tissue. So if Forskolin does boost your t-levels, your muscles benefit as a result.

     

    Just as important, Forskolin was shown to promote protein synthesis, a process that is at the heart of muscular repair, maintenance and growth. (2-3)

     

    Conclusion

     

    If you're trying to naturally support your goals of fat burning and muscle building, one supplement that has received plenty of positive attention is Forskolin. Taken as a part of a well regimented training and nutrition program, it may support fat loss, testosterone production, and muscle building.

     

    To maximize your benefits, it's best to take Forskolin in conjunction with other proven ingredients. Using a thermogenic blend such as with  Muscletech's Hydroxycut is an ideal and convenient way to get the compounds you need for results. Ready to give it a try? Buy Muscletech Hydroxycut!

     

    REFERENCES

     

    1. Asano Tsuguyoshi (2001). Clinical report on root extract of perilla plant (Coleus forskohlii) ForsLean® in reducing body fat. Asano Institute. Tokyo , Japan.

     

    1. Godard MP, Johnson BA, Richmond SR. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005 Aug;13(8):1335-43.

     

    1. Leamon, KB; Padgett, W; Daly, JW. 'Forskolin: Unique diterpene activator of adenylate cyclase in membrane and intact cells' Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1981,78, 3363-67.
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