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Food & Supplements

  • Top 5 Health Benefits of Spirulina

    The last 10 years has seen the rise of a collection of amazing meals and supplements deemed to be 'super foods.' Arguably, one of the most popular super foods to be widely introduced to the fitness industry is spirulina.

     

    This green alga super food can be found in the form of powder and capsules but you can also find it in your favorite foods and drinks like kombucha.

     

    Is spirulina really all that it's cracked up to be? Let's take a look at the top 5 health benefits of spirulina.

     

    5. Weight Loss

    First and foremost, one of the top reasons that people supplement with spirulina is its reported weight loss benefits. Spirulina has a positive impact on your cardiovascular health. Most notably, your cholesterol levels will improve.

     

    Studies suggest that because spirulina is able to decrease the amount of serum cholesterol levels on a long-term basis, healthy weight management may also be achieved. (1-2)

     

    4. Disease Prevention

    Spirulina is packed with plenty of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. One of the best things about spirulina is its antioxidant profile.

     

    Antioxidants are critical for fighting off free radicals, which may contribute to age-related disease. Studies show that spirulina supplementation may be able to effectively promote a high antioxidant release, helping to prevent age-related and cardiovascular-based diseases. (2)

     

    3. Detoxification

    One health trend that became common place in the industry is the detox. Whether you're using juice, herbal remedies, or raw foods, a detox can help to flush out toxins and help you feel better. One of the best nutrients that you can add to a detox is spirulina.

     

    Spirulina has been shown in studies to be effective at removing heavy metals from the body with arsenic being at the top of the list.  The antioxidants you'll receive via spirulina will also help to boost your detox. (3)

     

    2. Anti-Inflammatory

    No one likes inflammation. At its worst, it is a precursor to disease and at its best, its accompanied by soreness.

     

    Whether you want to decrease muscle soreness post workout or you simply want to follow an anti-inflammation diet, spirulina is one of the best choices to include.

     

    Studies show that spirulina is an effective anti-inflammatory. So much so that it is reported to help with arthritis stiffness as well. (2)

     

    1. Overall Wellbeing

    Spirulina is one of those rare foods that everyone can benefit from regardless of goals or body type. It's a powerhouse super food that can provide you with a variety of beneficial nutrients to support your overall health and wellbeing.

     

    Spirulina can remove heavy metals, promote a healthy detox, decrease inflammation, and prevent certain diseases from forming. If there is one all-around great supplement to include in your diet, it's spirulina. (1-3)

     

    Conclusion

    Ready to add spirulina to your diet?

    Want to combine it with a few other super foods like acai berry to maximize your health?

    Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder.

     

    Jump on the supplement builder, plug in the ingredients, and you'll soon have your very own custom supplement! Try it today.

     

    References

    1. Amudha Ramamoorthy, S. Premakumari. Effect of Supplementation of Spirulina on Hypercholesterolemic Patients. J. Food Sci. Technol. 1996, Vol. 33, No. 2, 124-128. Web.

     

    1. Deng R, Chow T-J. Hypolipidemic, Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Microalgae Spirulina. Cardiovascular therapeutics. 2010;28(4):e33-e45. doi:10.1111/j.1755-5922.2010.00200.x.

     

    1. Hadi A, Parveen R. Arsenicosis in Bangladesh: prevalence and socio-economic correlates. Public Health. 2004 Dec;118(8):559-64.
  • Scientific Dosages of Whey Protein, Beta Alanine, Glutamine, Creatine and D-Aspartic Acid

    When you walk through your local supplement shop, you may be surprised to find that the same ingredient can have a wildly different dosage depending on the brand.

     

    Some brands will put in less to cut cost while other brands go above and beyond ensuring to use the exact dosage you need to see results.

     

    Do you know what the ideal dosage is for your favorite supplement ingredients?

    Let's take a look at the top 5 most popular supplement ingredients and the scientifically proven dosage for each.

     

    How Much Whey Protein Should You Use?

    Hands down, the staple of the supplement industry, whey protein offers a variety of benefits. It offers muscle protection from breakdown, increased lean tissue growth, and supports recovery. It is also one of the most debated supplements for an appropriate dosage. (1-5)

     

    The amount of whey protein you should use depends on what your goals are. On a daily basis, if your goals are muscle growth and promoting anabolic environment, you'll want to use a whey protein twice per day. The amount per serving should be between 25 and 30 grams of protein. This will vary by brand so you'll have to adjust accordingly.

     

    Per serving: 25 to 30 grams

    How often: Daily

     

    How Much Beta Alanine Should You Use?

    Found in nearly every pre-workout on the market, Beta Alanine is an amino acid that helps to support intra-workout performance along with recovery. Its most notable feature is that flushed feeling you get in your neck and face when taking it. (6-8)

     

    The industry standard for Beta Alanine is 1,200 mg (1.2 grams) per day, typically taken pre-workout. Depending on your bodyweight, activity level, and goals, you can take up to 2,000 mg (2 grams) per day to support performance and recovery.

     

    Per serving: 1,200 mg (1.2 grams) – Up to 2,000 mg (2 grams)

    How often: Daily

     

    Why settle for under-dosed supplements? Try the Amino Z Supplement Builder and create your own supplements with the perfect dosage per serving.

    How Much Glutamine Should You Use?

    Glutamine, considered the counterpart to Creatine, is one of the most effective and popular supplement ingredients for sports recovery and promoting lean muscle gains. It's also used to alleviate stomach inflammation, which is great news if you have a sensitive stomach. (9-10)

     

    For the average person, you can supplement with 5,000 mg (5 grams) of Glutamine per day. Again, based on your bodyweight, goals, and activity level, it is safe to increase that amount to 10,000 mg (10 grams per day).

     

    Per serving: 5,000 mg (5 grams) – Tolerable up to 10,000 mg (10 grams)

    How often: Daily

     

    How Much Creatine Should You Use?

    Famously used by the bodybuilding crowd long before it hit the general market, Creatine is one of the best pre-, intra-, and post-workout supplements you can use. It directly supports energy production for muscle tissue, sports performance, and boosts recovery. (11-12)

     

    Studies show that 5 grams of Creatine is the industry standard but it is tolerable up to 20 grams per day during a loading cycle of 7 to 14 days. Although studies have demonstrated the safety of Creatine over the long term, you still may want to cycle off of it after one month of consistent use.

     

    Per serving: 5,000 mg (5 grams) – Tolerable up to 20,000 mg (20 grams)

    How often: Daily – May require an off-cycle after one month of consistent use

     

    How Much D-Aspartic Acid Should You Use?

    Finally, we have one of the best all-around fitness supplements. D-Aspartic Acid may be able to amplify testosterone levels in men while supporting strength, lean muscle, and performance. This is, without a doubt, one of the most common under-dosed supplements out there.  (13-14)

     

    3,000 mg of D-Aspartic Acid is the industry standard but it's not always easy to find a supplement with this amount. For men looking to increase their testosterone levels, you'll take 3 grams twice per day.

     

    Per serving: 3,000 mg (3 grams) – Up to 6,000 mg (6 grams) for men wanting to increase testosterone levels

    How often: Daily

     

    Conclusion

    There's no reason to take a chance on getting under-dosed supplements. You can ensure you get the right supplement with the correct dosage every time by using the Amino Z Supplement Builder.

     

    Build your very own supplement today!

    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. Phillips, S. M., and L. J. Van. "Dietary Protein for Athletes: From Requirements to Optimum Adaptation." Journal of Sports Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011. Web.
    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. 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. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z. Epub 2012 Jan 24.
    1. Artioli GG, Gualano B, Smith A, Stout J, Lancha AH Jr. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1162-73. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c74e38.
    1. Hoffman J, Ratamess N, Kang J, Mangine G, Faigenbaum A, Stout J. (2006) Effect of Creatine and Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Performance and Endocrine Responses in Strength/Power Athletes. IJSNEM, 16(4).
    1. Gleeson M. Dosing and efficacy of glutamine supplementation in human exercise and sport training. J Nutr. 2008 Oct;138(10):2045S-2049S.
    1. Legault Z, Bagnall N, Kimmerly DS. The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015 Oct;25(5):417-26. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0209. Epub 2015 Mar 26.
    1. Kreider RB. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94.
    1. Robert Cooper, Fernando Naclerio, Judith Allgrove, and Alfonso Jimenez. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012; 9: 33. Published online 2012 Jul 20. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33.
    1. Topo E, Soricelli A, D'Aniello A, Ronsini S, D'Aniello G. The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Oct 27;7:120. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-7-120.
    1. Spillane M, Schwarz N, Leddy S, Correa T, Minter M, Longoria V, Willoughby DS. Effects of 28 days of resistance exercise while consuming commercially available pre- and post-workout supplements, NO-Shotgun® and NO-Synthesize® on body composition, muscle strength and mass, markers of protein synthesis, and clinical safety markers in males. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Nov 3;8:78. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-78.
  • 5 Amazing Health and Fitness Benefits of Caffeine

    It's in one of the most popular morning beverages.

    It's in a variety of fitness supplements.

    It can even be found in over-the-counter medications.

     

    Caffeine is everywhere.

    It's one of the most popular and widely used compounds in the entire world. In fact, there's a good chance that you started your day with it.

     

    What's so special about caffeine?

    Why is it so popular?

     

    Let's take a look at the top 5 amazing health and fitness benefits that caffeine can provide you.

     

    1. Disease Prevention

    The mind is a terrible thing to waste and as we age, our minds become more susceptible to degenerative disease such as Alzheimer's. Diseases of the brain rob people of who they are and while medical advancements have come a long way, there is something simple that you can do to protect yourself: drink more coffee.

     

    Studies show that consistent and moderate caffeine consumption plays an important role in protecting the mind from the onset of Alzheimer's disease. (1-2)

     

    1. Workout Recovery

    For anyone who has stepped into the weight room, you know only too well how it feels the next day when you wake up. That feeling of muscle soreness means you did a great job in the gym but now you have to heal up.

     

    Caffeine consumption, particularly coffee, has been shown to boost workout recovery and decrease the amount of soreness you feel. (3)

     

    1. Focus and Alertness

    Anyone who has ever tried a cup of coffee can attest to how quickly they feel more alert upon drinking it. What's the secret? Caffeine.

     

    An average cup of coffee will contain around 100 mg of caffeine. Some brands of coffee may contain less and some may contain a lot more. Studies have proven how effective caffeine is at boosting your alertness and focus but you don't need a study to prove that to be true. Try it for yourself. (4)

     

    1. Weight Loss

    Ever wonder why caffeine is present in so many weight loss supplements?

     

    First, caffeine is a proven thermogenic compound, which means that it directly promotes fat burning. It triggers the release of fatty acids into the blood stream to be used as a source of fuel.

     

    What's more, caffeine is a potent energy booster, which supports you during physical activities. Once you drink coffee, for example, you're more likely to get up, move about, and burn more calories. (5-6)

     

    1. Energy Booster

    Finally, we have caffeine's most popular benefit: energy.

     

    It's no wonder why so many people start their days off with a cup of coffee. Caffeine is one of the most popular ways to increase someone's energy levels. Couple this with the benefits of alertness and focus and caffeine is the perfect tool for work or school. (4, 6)

     

    Conclusion

    Caffeine is an effective way to support overall health but it can also play an important role in your fitness goals.

     

    Caffeine can boost performance, increase intra-workout focus, and support recovery. If you aren't already, you need to add Caffeine to your workout supplement list.

     

    Why not make your own Caffeine-focused workout supplement with the Amino Z Supplement Builder?

    Add Caffeine to dozens of other ingredients that fit your goals. Try it today!

     

    References

    1. Eskelinen MH, Kivipelto M. Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S167-74. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1404.
    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]
  • Top 3 Ingredients to Mix Together for an Insane Pump

    When you are working out in the gym, there's nothing like that intense feeling of the pump. When the blood starts pooling into the muscle and you watch as it swells, that is the highlight of the day for the most dedicated weight lifters.

     

    The pump is a sign that you're doing something right and there is evidence to back this up. When a muscle is placed under the right amount of stress, the pumped feeling you get is proof that the muscle is firing on all cylinders. When your goal is muscle mass, this is the feeling you strive for over and over again.

     

    Another way to support that feeling of the pump is by boosting nitric oxide production in the body. The best way to do that? Supplementation.

     

    Let's take a look at the top 3 ingredients you need to use to promote an insane pump and a boost in nitric oxide production.

     

    Agmatine Sulfate

    Agmatine Sulfate is derived from the amino acid, L-Arginine, and it is one of the most popular ingredients to be found in N.O. boosters and supplements that promote that pumped up feeling.

     

    Agmatine promotes blood flow in the body, which is the foundation of how it triggers several other benefits. By boosting blood flow, nutrients that support performance, recovery, and muscle building can reach their destinations faster.

     

    Most notably, Agmatine may be able to significantly boost nitric oxide production and promote an intense swole feeling in the working set muscle groups.

     

    Something else to note about Agmatine Sulfate is that it is an excellent post-workout supplement as it may alleviate inflammation and muscle soreness. (1-3)

     

    Citrulline Malate

    While it is not an essential amino acid, Citrulline Malate is commonly found in BCAA supplements because of the benefits it provides in relation to intra-workout performance and post-workout recovery.

     

    On its own, Citrulline Malate may be able to significantly improve intra-workout performance and this has been demonstrated time and time again in endurance-based studies. Taken post-workout, Citrulline has been suggested to help to alleviate muscle soreness.

     

    When Citrulline is combined with Agmatine Sulfate, the two form a powerful combination that promotes high level athletic performance and, most importantly, skyrockets that pumped up feeling that you chase during your workout. (1-5)

     

    Why spend hours trying to find the perfect supplement when you can create your own?

    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can create your very own nitric oxide supplement to promote intense levels of pump and performance.

     

    Caffeine Anhydrous

    Last but not least is the famous Caffeine Anhydrous. Caffeine is one of the most widely used ingredients in the entire world. Whether you drink it via your coffee or you take it in a supplement form, Caffeine hosts a number of fitness-based benefits.

     

    Everyone knows about how Caffeine can increase your energy levels. Most people also notice a dramatic improvement in focus and alertness. This is the main reason people drink so much coffee.

     

    Caffeine is a powerful thermogenic that can support weight loss. It's also been suggested to support heart health while having no negative impact on diabetic users.

     

    When you put Caffeine together with Agmatine Sulfate and Citrulline Malate, you have an incredible pre-workout formula that will boost energy levels, kickstart nitric oxide production, and promote an insane pumped feeling. (1-8)

     

    Conclusion

    When you want to feel that intense pump during your lifting session, you need the right workout program and the perfect supplement.

     

    You can try to find the ideal supplement in your local nutrition store but wouldn't it be easier to create your own using the best and most effective ingredients?

     

    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can combine Caffeine together with Agmatine Sulfate and Citrulline Malate to create the perfect pumped up supplement. You can even add in a few more ingredients that are particular to your goals.

     

    Try the Amino Z Supplement Builder today!

     

    References

    1. Gilad GM, Gilad VH. Long-term (5 years), high daily dosage of dietary agmatine--evidence of safety: a case report. J Med Food. 2014 Nov;17(11):1256-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.0026. Epub 2014 Sep 23.
    1. Aggarwal S, Shavalian B, Kim E, Rawls SM. Agmatine enhances cannabinoid action in the hot-plate assay of thermal nociception. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Oct;93(4):426-32. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.06.004. Epub 2009 Jun 16.
    1. Galea, E et al. 'Inhibition of Mammalian Nitric Oxide Synthases by Agmatine, an Endogenous Polyamine Formed by Decarboxylation of Arginine.' Biochemical Journal 316.Pt 1 (1996): 247–249. Print.
    1. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
    1. Suzuki T, Morita M, Kobayashi Y, Kamimura A. Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016;13:6. doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0117-z.
    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. 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.

    8. David Furman, Junlei Chang, Lydia Lartigue, et al. Expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extreme clinical and immunological states. Nature Medicine 23, 174–184 (2017) doi:10.1038/nm.4267.

  • Top 5 Benefits of Using a Plant Protein Powder

    With cardiovascular disease rates at all-time highs across the globe, people are beginning to turn more and more towards plant-based options for their nutrition.

     

    In the fitness industry, plant protein supplements have exploded in popularity and not just with a vegan crowd. From bodybuilders to the average weekend lifter, everyone is adding more plant-focused nutrients into their diets.

     

    Have you started to do the same?

    If not, let's take a look at the top 5 benefits of using a plant protein powder for your health and fitness goals.

     

    1. No Lactose Allergy Worries

    Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food allergies in the world. If you get an upset stomach when you eat common dairy-based items like cheese and milk then there's a good chance milk-based protein supplements will cause you the same stress.

     

    Supplementing with a high-quality plant-based protein supplement allows you to forget about whether or not your stomach will agree with what you're drinking. Avoid allergy worries with plant protein. (1)

     

    1. May Help to Fight Disease

    A number of studies have connected diets high in animal products and low in vegetables with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. While you don't need to give up your chicken and fish, it is important to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet. Plant protein powder allows you to do this while supplementing your daily protein intake.

     

    A diet rich in plant-based foods has been shown to significantly decrease your risk for many ailments such as heart disease and high cholesterol. (1-3)

     

    1. Environmental Impact

    There's a good chance that you've heard about the environmental destruction that is taking place due to deforestation. Forests are being cut down in order to make room for cows that supply both milk and meat. Most of the animal-based proteins you find on the market may have a negative impact on the environment by utilizing the milk product of these massive factory farm.

     

    Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, do not negatively contribute to the environment. Rather, they allow for more diverse crops to be harvested and protect the land from being used for slaughterhouses.

     

    1. Boost Your Health

    Continuing with the idea above, these cows are loaded up with soy-based feed, hormones, and antibiotics. Where do all of these compounds wind up? They find their way into your protein supplement.

     

    If you want to avoid the potentially troublesome additions in many whey protein products, you can use a plant-protein. Many plant proteins offer the same number of grams of protein per serving without the antibiotics or hormones.

     

    1. Just as Good as Whey

    One of the most popular reasons that people buy whey protein is because they believe that plant protein will not allow them to gain the same amount of muscle mass. This has been proven in several studies to be false.

     

    A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that plant protein such as pea protein isolate was just as effective as whey protein at promoting protein synthesis, increasing lean muscle mass, and boosting recovery. (2-3)

     

    Conclusion

    Ready to start incorporating more plant-based sources of protein into your diet to maximize your health and gains? Why not start by making your very own plant protein powder?

     

    You can mix several of the highest quality plant-based sources together with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. It even has pre-set recommendations based on your goals if you're not sure which ingredients you want. Get started today!

     

     

    References

    1. Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Babinska K, Valachovicova M. Health benefits and risks of plant proteins. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2005;106(6-7):231-4.
    1. Nicolas Babault, Christos Païzis, Gaëlle Deley, Laetitia Guérin-Deremaux, Marie-Hélène Saniez, Catherine Lefranc-Millot and François A Allaert. Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 201512:3.
    1. Joy JM, Lowery RP, Wilson JM, et al. The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition Journal. 2013;12:86. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-86.
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