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Food & Supplements

  • Get a Brain Boost: 4 Ingredients You Need to Improve Cognitive Ability

    Have you ever wished there was a way to focus better when you're learning a new skill or subject?

    What about boosting your memory so you retain more information?

    Need to ditch those pre-test jitters and ensure you're able to set your sights on getting a great grade?


    The world of cognitive enhancing has come a long way since science turned its attention to naturally boosting our brain's ability with simple ingredients. Nootropics are a category of supplements that are used to enhance cognitive capability. Not all nootropics can produce results though.


    Let's take a look at the top 4 ingredients you need to use to improve your brain power.


    1. Ginseng

    Ginseng has been a part of traditional Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Native to eastern Asia with an emphasis on China and Korea, this root is still immensely popular and is a big part of the culture and lifestyle. Ginseng is prescribed by natural and holistic doctors for ailments such as high stress, loss of libido, and overall wellbeing. Ginseng is also recommended as a cognitive booster. Studies suggest that ginseng is able to improve memory. (1)


    Check out our complete collection of Ginseng here.


    1. Taurine

    If you're a fan of Red Bull or other popular energy drinks, then there's a good chance you are familiar with Taurine.


    Taurine is an amino acid that is found primarily in energy focused drinks and supplements. For example, Taurine is most often found within pre-workout supplements as studies suggest it may support athletic performance.


    Taurine is also a popular nootropic as it was found to positively impact attention, focus, and cognitive ability. These effects were increased when Taurine was taken along with caffeine. (2)


    Here's our complete collection of Taurine supplements.


    1. Phenibut

    Like Taurine, Phenibut can also be found in a number of workout supplements but its benefits lie in that it's used as a way to alleviate anxiety and paranoia. This is a common night time supplement as it helps you relax. Phenibut is a useful nootropic as it may help you calm down before a big event or test. It's also suggested to support memory and information retention. (3)


    Click here to check out our number one Phenibut supplement.


    1. Huperzine A

    The most trusted nootropic ingredient on the market is Huperzine A. This compound was the subject of a number of cognitive boosting studies, revealing it to be a powerful way to improve memory and brain power. Studies suggest that using Huperzine A may increase memory, focus, and information re-call. You'll find Huperzine A as a standalone supplement or used in conjunction with other nootropic ingredients (such as the ones on this list).


    Want a high-quality supplement with Huperzine A? Click here to check out our best sellers featuring Huperzine A.



    1. Hye-Bin Yeo, Ho-Kyoung Yoon, Heon-Jeong Lee, Seung-Gul Kang, Ki-Young Jung, and Leen Kim. Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive and Motor Function: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial. J Ginseng Res. 2012 Apr; 36(2): 190–197. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2012.36.2.190.
    1. Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R, Hauser E. A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42.
    1. Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS Drug Rev. 2001 Winter;7(4):471-81.
    1. Sun QQ1, Xu SS, Pan JL, Guo HM, Cao WQ. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999 Jul;20(7):601-3.
  • Nitric Oxide Supplements: Everything You Need to Know

    Think about the supplements you commonly use. There's a really good chance you have protein and a pre-workout sitting on the shelf in your kitchen. What about a nitric oxide booster? Have you even heard of this type of supplement?


    Nitric oxide boosters are primarily used by experienced lifters with a specific goal in mind. Bodybuilders, for example, may use nitric oxide boosters to achieve a better 'pump' and vascular gains. However, nitric oxide boosters may be appropriate for a number of health and fitness goals. Let's review what nitric oxide supplements are and how they may be able to help you achieve your ideal physique.


    What is Nitric Oxide?

    As soon as you see the term 'nitric oxide,' you may immediately think of the gas given to you at the dentist's office. Sure, that's one example but in this case of fitness, we are talking about a compound found within the body that may promote a number of different processes.


    In the case of exercise, the compound nitric oxide may support blood flow and oxygen delivery to skeletal muscle. Elevated levels of nitric oxide may also play a part in reducing inflammation, boosting recovery, and removing lactic acid build-up post-workout.


    How Do You Increase Nitric Oxide Levels?

    Exercise is hands-down the best way to naturally boost the body's nitric oxide levels; however, supplements are now being used to help as well. Nitric Oxide supplements contain proven ingredients that may trigger a spike in nitric oxide levels, thereby promoting a series of fitness-related benefits as mentioned above.


    What is a Nitric Oxide Supplement?

    A nitric oxide supplement, often referred to as an N.O. Booster, is made up of several compounds that may be able to naturally boost nitric oxide levels in the blood, if only for a short while.


    This temporary boost will help to support a number of benefits including the following:


    The Classic 'Pump'

    • Those using a quality N.O. Booster always report an increased 'pump' during exercise. This is when the blood swells in the working muscle, promoting a pumped-up feeling that may be accompanied by increased vascularity.


    Strength and Recovery

    • Some studies report that a quality nitric oxide booster may be able to boost blood flow and oxygen delivery to skeletal muscle. As a result, this may help promote more strength intra-workout followed by increased recovery post-workout.


    Lactic Acid and Inflammation

    • When using an N.O. Booster, you may experience less soreness. This is because increased levels of nitric oxide may support an enhanced removal of lactic acid, thereby, decreasing inflammation and soreness. (1-2)


    What are the Best Nitric Oxide Boosting Ingredients?

    There are hundreds of supplements but not all of them contain the proven ingredients that have been the subject of study and trials. The most popular and used N.O. boosting ingredients are the following:


    • L-Arginine
    • AAKG (Arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate)
    • L-Citrulline
    • L-Norvaline


    What are Some of the Best Brands of N.O. Boosters?

    Some of the bestselling and most widely used brands of N.O. Boosters include the following:



    Check out the full collection of nitric oxide supplements here.



    1. Bescós R, Sureda A, Tur JA, Pons A. The effect of nitric-oxide-related supplements on human performance. Sports Med. 2012 Feb 1;42(2):99-117.
    1. Álvares TS, Meirelles CM, Bhambhani YN, Paschoalin VM, Gomes PS. L-Arginine as a potential ergogenic aid in healthy subjects. Sports Med. 2011 Mar 1;41(3):233-48.
  • 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)



    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)



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



    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.



    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.



    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


    Black Widow Hydroxy Whey


    Muscletech Hydroxycut SX-7 100% Protein Isolate


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



    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

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