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  • Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein vs. BSN Syntha 6

    What is Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein?

    Sure, whey protein may be what you’ll find in most kitchens but only those who are serious about supplementing their muscle gains go the extra mile with casein protein. Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein is an elite quality protein supplement packed with 24 grams per serving that can support muscle mass and recovery.

     

    Highlights:

    • Provides 24 grams of pure micellar casein
    • Slowest digesting protein that supports a variety of fitness goals
    • Claims to deliver eight hours’ worth of amino acids, making it the ideal recovery supplement to avoid catabolism (protein breakdown)
    • Low fat and low carb

     

    Why You Should Use Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein

    Casein protein is not your standard whey protein supplement. The two are very different. Sure, both supply usable amino acids to muscle tissue but casein breaks down at a much slower rate. With an extended release of up to eight hours of amino acids, casein protein ensures an anabolic environment.

     

    This makes it ideal for those pursuing growth and recovery-related goals. For example, if you want to build muscle mass or encourage a faster rate of recovery, Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein would be the go-to supplement.

     

    What sets Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein apart from BSN Syntha 6 is the caloric, protein, and fat content. Optimum Nutrition provides a lower calorie protein supplement that is only protein. Syntha 6 delivers a protein and healthy fatty acid blend, which means more calories. The extra calories could help or hurt your fitness goals, depending on what they are.

     

    Things to Watch Out for With Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein

    Optimum Nutrition supplies a gram of fibre via polydextrose, which is a synthetic form of fibre, not to be confused with whole and natural forms such as wheat bran or oats. With only a gram of fibre per serving, this shouldn’t pose a risk or any issues especially if you’ve used major brand supplements in the past. BSN Syntha 6 also contains polydextrose, providing 5 grams of fibre per serving. If you have sensitivities with digestion and artificial additives, Optimum Nutrition may be the supplement that wins out.

     

     

    What is BSN Syntha 6?

    BSN Syntha 6 is a great tasting protein blend that provides 22 grams of a variety of the most effective protein sources including concentrate, isolate, and casein. This means getting an immediate shot of amino acids and an extended release throughout the day. Used as directed, Syntha 6 can help to support lean muscle building, weight management, and performance enhancement.

     

    Highlights:

    • 22 grams of protein from a unique blend
    • Reports 10 grams of amino acids per serving – Optimum Nutrition provides 9 grams per serving
    • Provides fatty acid blend, fibre, and digestive enzymes
    • Higher in calories than O.N. Casein, which may make it ideal for muscle mass gains

     

    Why You Should Use BSN Syntha 6

    Syntha 6 utilizes a protein blend of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumin, and glutamine peptides. Depending on your fitness goals, protein blends may be the ideal option because they supply amino acids sooner than casein but also provide an extended release over the course of a few hours.

     

    Like Optimum Nutrition Casein, BSN Syntha 6 is also an effective muscle builder and recovery booster. However, unlike the casein protein, Syntha 6 provides a higher number of calories along with fat and fibre. This means a slower rate of protein digestion – although not as slow as casein. What’s more, if you are trying to stay within a daily caloric limit, Syntha 6 may not be an ideal meal replacement supplement.

     

    We recommend Syntha 6 for goals involving muscle building, performance enhancement, and strength building. Those seeking weight loss may prefer the lower calorie Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein with only 120 calories and 24 grams of protein per serving.

     

    Things to Watch Out for With BSN Syntha 6

    Aside from the polydextrose mentioned above, the only other issue that we see with Syntha 6 would be the inclusion of artificial sweeteners and additives. Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein also contains sweeteners but only Syntha 6 provides digestive enzymes that may help you avoid any gas or bloating.

     

    Which Supplement Should You Use?

    Neither supplement would be an ideal post-workout protein due to the slower digestion speed; however, both are excellent depending on what you want to achieve.

     

    Looking to build muscle, perform better, recovery faster with no regard for caloric intake? Try BSN Syntha 6.

     

    Do you want to increase your daily consumption of protein while keeping in mind your low-calorie diet? Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein is your answer.

     

    Trying both would also give you an opportunity to see which brand your body responds the best to and the progress of your results on each supplement.

     

    References

    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. 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. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.

     

    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.

     

    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.

     

    6. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.

  • Whey Concentrate vs. Whey Isolate: Why Use Both?

    Whey protein has been a household term for well over a decade. Even if you aren’t into the fitness scene, there’s a good chance you use a whey protein supplement to support your overall health. There are two primary types of whey protein: concentrate and isolate. Is one better than the other? Which one should you be using to support your fitness goals?

     

    Concentrate vs. Isolate: What’s the Difference?

    Both whey concentrate and whey isolate are byproducts of cheese-making. They are both high in protein but the difference lies in the refining and hydrolyzing processes. In other words, the degree to which a protein is filtered will determine whether it is a concentrate or an isolate.

     

    Preliminary filtration results in a product that is around 80% protein on average. This would qualify as a whey concentrate. Whey concentrate may also contain some fat, cholesterol, and natural carbohydrates.

     

    When extra filtration and hydrolyzation is completed, you get a purer protein of at least 90%. This would be a whey isolate. Whey isolate is almost completely protein with minimal, if any, cholesterol and carbohydrates.

     

    Benefits of Whey Concentrate

    You may hear “purer protein” and immediately think that whey concentration is the inferior option. Don’t be so quick to jump to that conclusion.

     

    Whey concentrate is considered one of the best forms of protein on the market. It’s easy to digest, provides an abundant amount of amino acids over the course of a few hours, and it’s been shown to support muscle, bone, and cardiovascular health.

     

    With its medium digestion speed, whey concentration is ideal for meal replacement and pre-workout shakes.

     

    Benefits of Whey Isolate

    Whey isolate may supply a higher percentage of protein but it does so at an extremely rapid rate. This makes it ideal as a post-workout supplement since this is the optimal time to maximize amino acid delivery. With that said, whey isolate is not always the best choice throughout the day because the body makes quick use of it.

     

    You can use it to break a fast, after a workout to kickstart recovery, and before bed as a fast digesting protein-focused snack. It’s clean, effective, and has a lower calorie count. For all other reasons, use a whey concentrate.

     

    Concentrate vs. Isolate: Do You Need to Use Both?

    Absolutely! Both whey concentrate and whey isolate have their individual strengths. When you’re trying to gain muscle mass, build strength and power, and increase performance, protein timing is key.

     

    You would want to supply your muscles with a whey concentrate during the day, such as before a workout. The slower digesting amino acids will stay in the body longer, triggering an environment of growth while protecting from catabolism.

     

    Whey isolate, on the other hand, is a rapid digesting protein. This makes it perfect to encourage recovery as it is delivering the actual building blocks of muscle tissue directly into the body when they are needed most.

     

    Whey Protein Dosage & Schedule

    If you are going to use both whey concentrate and whey isolate, here are the ideal times to take each. Fit them into your schedule as needed.

     

    Morning:

    • 30 grams of whey concentrate

     

    Pre-Workout:

    • 30 grams of whey concentrate

     

    Post-Workout

    • 30 grams of whey isolate

     

    Night (1-2 hours before bed)

    • 30 grams of whey isolate

     

    References

    1. Boirie Y, Dangin M, Gachon P, Vasson MP, Maubois JL, Beaufrère B. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 23;94(26):14930-5.

     

    1. Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 Jan;12(1):86-90. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32831cef8b.

     

    1. Veldhorst MA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):519-26. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27834. Epub 2009 Jul 29.
  • Scivation Xtend vs. Scivation Xtend GO

    What is Scivation Xtend?

    The science is in and amino acids have been shown time and time again to be effective at promoting a variety of fitness goals. Scivation Xtend is an effective amino acid supplement that contains the proven 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Used as directed, Scivation Xtend may be able to help with muscle recovery, protect from catabolism, and promote muscle growth.

     

    Highlights:

    • 7 grams of BCAAs (Xtend GO also has 7 grams per serving)
    • Also includes L-Glutamine and Citrulline Malate
    • Provides electrolyte blend, which is ideal for intra-workout consumption
    • Zero calories – You can use this during fasting

     

    Why You Should Use Scivation Xtend

    Scivation Xtend is the definition of an intra-workout supplement. Not only does it provide you with the ideal ratio for branched chain amino acids but you’ll also get L-glutamine, citrulline malate, and a powerful recovery electrolyte blend.

     

    Why are amino acids important? Amino acids are the ideal supplement to take during your workouts as they support your performance, improve your intra-workout strength, and protect muscle from catabolism or breakdown. Scivation Xtend contains the ideal balance of BCAAs but it also has citrulline malate, which may increase performance and promote nitric oxide production.

     

    Xtend GO contains these same ingredients but what sets it apart from the original is the addition of two powerful energy boosters: caffeine and L-theanine.

     

    Things to Watch Out for With Scivation Xtend

    If you are taking a B-vitamin supplement, we’d recommend stopping before introducting Scivation Xtend in your supplement plan. Xtend contains B6 and more is not always better when it comes to vitamins. If you’re taking any other B-vitamin then you’ll be fine. It’s the B6 you have to watch out for.

     

    Other than the inclusion of vitamin B6, the only other issue would be artificial sweeteners and colouring but good luck finding a supplement that doesn’t have those.

     

    What is Scivation Xtend GO?

    For those who need to send their energy levels through the roof before a workout, Scivation Xtend GO will be your supplement of choice. Containing all of the amino acids, electrolytes, and vitamins as the original formula, Scivation Xtend GO sets itself apart with potent energy boosters.

     

    Highlights:

    • Contains the same levels of amino acids as the original formula including L-Glutamine and Citrulline Malate
    • Provides you with 200 mg of caffeine for energy and focus
    • L-theanine supports mood, natural energy, and helps to calm the anxiousness from caffeine
    • Zero calories – You can use this during fasting

     

    Why You Should Use Scivation Xtend GO

    When it comes to amino acids, both Scivation Xtend GO and Scivation Xtend are evenly matched because they contain the exact same ingredients. Scivation Xtend GO is going to be the superior supplement if you need a boost before and during your workout.

     

    Scivation Xtend GO contains 200 mg of caffeine, which may help to boost energy levels, improve focus, and increase alertness. Scivation Xtend GO also provides 200 mg of L-theanine, which may help to eliminate the jitters you get from caffeine while it supports your natural energy levels. In other words, caffeine and l-theanine complement one another to increase energy levels.

     

    Things to Watch Out for With Scivation Xtend GO

    If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to use only half the dose of Scivation Xtend GO as it does contain 200 mg of caffeine. L-theanine will help with caffeine sensitivity but it’s always best to play it safe before taking a full dose of any energy booster.

     

    Scivation Xtend vs. Scivation Xtend GO: Which One to Buy?

    If you aren’t sure which one to buy, it all comes down to this question:

     

    Do you need to increase your energy levels during your workout?

     

    If the answer is no, then stick with the original Scivation Xtend formula. If the answer is yes, then give Scivation Xtend Go a try as it does contain caffeine and l-theanine in addition to the muscle building and recovery supporting amino acids that you find in the original formula.

     

    We’d recommend buying both as you’ll have both a pre-workout with amino acids and a recovery supplement without any stimulants that you can safely use before bedtime.

     

    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. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.

     

    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.

     

    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.

     

    1. Doi M, Yamaoka I, Nakayama M, Mochizuki S, Sugahara K, Yoshizawa F. Isoleucine, a blood glucose-lowering amino acid, increases glucose uptake in rat skeletal muscle in the absence of increases in AMP-activated protein kinase activity. J Nutr. 2005 Sep;135(9):2103-8.

     

    1. Daniel Borota, Elizabeth Murray, Gizem Keceli, Allen Chang, Joseph M Watabe, Maria Ly, John P Toscano, & Michael A Yassa. Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans. Nature Neuroscience 17, 201–203 (2014) doi:10.1038/nn.3623.

     

    1. Maridakis V, O'Connor PJ, Dudley GA, McCully KK. Caffeine attenuates delayed-onset muscle pain and force loss following eccentric exercise. J Pain. 2007 Mar;8(3):237-43. Epub 2006 Dec 11.

     

    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. Acheson KJ, Zahorska-Markiewicz B, Pittet P, Anantharaman K, Jéquier E. Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97.

     

    1. Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports [1978, 10(3):155-158].
  • Amazing Benefits of AAKG: Why You Need to Use AAKG

    In the supplement world, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed. Stepping into a store or browsing online, you’ll be provided with dozens of different categories and thousands of options. If you don’t know what you want, then you could wind up with a lot that you don’t need. This is why it’s so important to look for those ingredients that have the most scientific backing. Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate is one of those tried and true supplements.

     

    More commonly abbreviated as AAKG, this L-Arginine-based ingredient can support a variety of fitness goals including performance, muscle growth, and nitric oxide production. Let’s take a look at the benefits of AAKG and how it can help you achieve fitness success.

     

    Pre-Workout and Performance

    AAKG is commonly found within pre-workout supplements as it has been shown to enhance performance. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggested that AAKG may be able to significantly improve intra-workout performance by supporting creatine production, improving blood flow, and boosting nitric oxide levels in the blood.

     

    This suggests that AAKG may be able to help you extend your total fatigue time while boosting strength output.

     

    Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

    Continuing with the idea of AAKG as a nitric oxide booster, studies show that higher levels of nitric oxide during your workout result in more intense pumps, better performance, and greater strength. The classic pump feeling is when the blood is pooling in the muscle and this will help support strength and muscle gains.

     

    Build More Muscle Mass

    A better workout with higher levels of nitric oxide may help to promote greater levels of muscle mass. Building lean muscle tissue requires that you maintain a specific intensity (65% to 75% of your 1RM), repetition range (8 to 12), and rest break timing (60 seconds).

     

    The result is muscle hypertrophy. Since AAKG may support your workout performance and energy levels, you’re more likely to reach the variables needed for growth. What’s more, AAKG has been suggested to be a potent recovery aid, promoting the healing of lean tissue.

     

    Make Your Own AAKG Supplement

    The problem with AAKG in supplement blends lies in the fact that it is usually under-dosed. In other words, the supplement blend will not contain enough AAKG to provide the reported benefits. This is why we recommend making your own supplement. In this way, you control the ingredients AND the amount per serving that you need to see the benefits of AAKG. You can create your own AAKG supplement by using the Amino Z Supplement Builder.

     

    Whether you only use Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate or you place it within a mix of other powerful ingredients, be sure to use between 2,000 and 2,500 mg, based on your physical activity level.

     

    Create your perfect supplement with the Amino Z Supplement Builder today!

     

    References

    1. Willoughby DS, Boucher T, Reid J, Skelton G, Clark M. Effects of 7 days of arginine-alpha-ketoglutarate supplementation on blood flow, plasma L-arginine, nitric oxide metabolites, and asymmetric dimethyl arginine after resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2011 Aug;21(4):291-9.

     

    1. K. Hnia, J. Gayraud, G. Hugon, M. Ramonatxo, S. De La Porte, S. Matecki, et al. L-Arginine Decreases Inflammation and Modulates The Nuclear Factor-?b/Matrix Metalloproteinase Cascade In Mdx Muscle Fibers. Am J Pathol, 172 (6) (2008), pp. 1509-1519.

     

    1. B.I. Campbell, P.M. La Bounty, M. Roberts. The Ergogenic Potential of Arginine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 1 (2) (2004), pp. 35-38.
  • Super Food Benefits: Maca, Acai, Matcha, & Wheat Grass

    The term super foods has become a household name for those foods that are nutritionally above and beyond. Not all super foods are created equal and not all super food supplements provide the benefits they claim. Let’s review the top 4 super foods that have been proven by science to be the best.

     

    Maca

    Exploding in popularity during the last decade, maca is a Peruvian super food that has been used for thousands of years.

     

    Ancient peoples made maca a part of their daily diet, citing it as a way to promote overall health and wellness. Today, Peruvians still love maca and science is revealing that maca has several key benefits that apply to both men and women.

     

    Maca is well known as a hormonal balance ingredient. It supports testosterone levels for men while it promotes healthy estrogen levels in women. Maca has been shown to boost libido and sex drive while increasing overall energy levels.

     

    Post-menopausal women find maca to be very helpful as a natural way to improve mood and mindset. (1)

     

    Acai

    When research was breaking about the dangers of free radicals and the importance of antioxidants, blueberries were getting all of the attention. Once researchers discovered the nutritional profile of acai berries, this little purple berry became an overnight celebrity.

     

    Acai berries contain more antioxidants than blueberries along with heart-healthy fats, amino acids, vitamins, and fiber. Aside from having an impressive list of nutrients, acai berries are natural anti-inflammatories as they contain anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and protocatechuic acid, which are all potent anti-inflammatory compounds. (2)

     

    Want to take advantage of these super foods? Not sure where to look for a high quality super food supplement? Just make your own!

     

    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can create your own elite quality super food supplement! Support your health today!

     

    Matcha

    The health benefits of green tea are well known but what many people don’t realize is that there are a variety of different types of green tea. One of the highest quality and most nutritious types of green tea is matcha.

     

    Used in traditional tea ceremonies in Japan, matcha green tea is held to the highest standard throughout Asia. The frothy and thick green tea contains an incredible number of antioxidants and nutrients that support weight management, disease prevention, and overall wellness. (3)

     

    Wheat Grass

    Last but not least, we have wheat grass. Trendy super foods all started with wheat grass when a wave of stories was published about the amazing nutrient profile of wheat grass. Not only does it contain high levels of chlorophyll but wheat grass is packed with flavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamins.

     

    Wheat grass powder captures the same nutritional benefits and it has been shown to destroy disease-causing free radicals while promoting cardiovascular health. (4)

     

    Make Your Own Super Food Supplement

    You could go out and try to find the perfect super food supplement containing the best levels of the four ingredients listed above or you can make your own.

     

    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, it’s never been easier to create your own super food supplement. You control the ingredients and the dosage. Try it today!

     

     

    References

    1. Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM. 2012;2012:193496. doi:10.1155/2012/193496.

     

    1. Greger, Michael. “The Science on Açaí Berries.” NutritionFacts.org, 22 Aug. 2013, nutritionfacts.org/2013/08/22/the-science-on-acai-berries/.

     

    1. Chacko SM, Thambi PT, Kuttan R, Nishigaki I. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. Chinese Medicine. 2010;5:13. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-5-13.

     

    1. Bar-Sela G, Cohen M, Ben-Arye E, Epelbaum R. The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2015;15(12):1002-10.
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