Muscle contains a substance called carnosine, which acts to buffer acid and as a result may act to allow muscles to contract longer and harder. Beta-alanine is the rate-limiting component in the synthesis of carnosine levels in muscles. This means that beta-alanine consumption is necessary to maximize carnosine content in the muscle.
Researchers from the United Kingdom had healthy men supplement for four weeks with either 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day or a placebo. Before and after supplementation, the men performed a cycling test to exhaustion at an intensity that caused them to fatigue in about two minutes.
Results showed that four weeks of beta-alanine supplementation allowed subjects to exercise for a longer period of time. Four weeks of beta-alanine supplementation increased performance by 15%, and ingesting sodium bicarbonate before an exercise challenge improved performance beyond that of beta-alanine, indicating a potential added effect. The effect of bicarbonate was found not to be significant but the authors noted that there was a 70% probability of a potential positive effect.
Reference: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Oct;43(10):1972-8. PubMed PMID: 21407127.
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Many athletes take caffeine before workouts to increase energy levels and strength. A study from Cal State University found that high doses of caffeine (approximately 400mg) increased strength during maximal knee extension-flexion. A lower dose of caffeine had no effect on strength-endurance. High doses of caffeine where able to increase high-intensity strength-endurance by about 6 to 8 percent.
Many Americans are becoming involved in strenuous physical activities, from ultra-marathons (100-miles races), cross-country running and Iron Man Triathlons. These activities can actually cause structural damage to cells that include muscle soreness and swelling, prolonged loss of muscle function, and leakage of muscle proteins into circulation. As a result, we are seeing that strenuous exercise may actually have harmful effects on health and consequently, the search is on to find ways to help offset these effects.
A new study suggests that Coenzyme Q10 may help offset the harmful effects of strenuous exercise. In the study, 20 professional runners between the ages of 38 and 45 took either 150 mg of CoQ10 (as 5 30-mg capsules) or placebo.
-The CoQ10 group saw an 8% decrease in triglycerides after the race (1.91 to 1.75 mmol/L) compared to a 24% drop in the placebo group (1.71 to 1.31 mmol/L). This much smaller drop is thought to be due directly to CoQ10 as higher levels of triglycerides during exercise improve skeletal muscle activity and exercise capacity, “which could indicate potential ergogenic effect of CoQ10.”
- Regarding levels of DNA damage as measured in the urine by a protein called 8-OHdG, the CoQ10 group saw a 43% increase (0.023 to 0.033 pg/mL) while the placebo group saw a 71% increase (0.028 to 0.048 pg/mL), indicating CoQ10’s ability to decrease DNA damage.
- Regarding levels of fat tissue damage measured in the urine by isoprostanes, the CoQ10 group saw a 300% increase (1.0 to 4.0 ng/mL) while the placebo group saw a 427% increase (1.1 to 5.8 ng/mL).
For the researchers, “CoQ10 supplementation before strenuous exercise decreases the oxidative stress and modulates the inflammatory signaling, reducing the subsequent muscle damage.”
Creatinol O Phosphate or COP increases levels of ATP in the muscle, and this may be due in part because of its actions as an intracellular buffer, a phosphate donor, and a stabilizer of cell membranes. The end result is that contractility (force of contraction) of muscles is increased – especially in low oxygen, low blood flow conditions. These conditions would be present during demanding activity such as weight training.
When you are performing an explosive activity like weight training you are going to create conditions in which lactic acid increases and PH drops in the muscle. ATP levels also drop as you perform intense activity. These are the conditions that cause muscle failure.
So what happens when you supplement with Creatinol O Phosphate? Your muscles are able to generate a greater amount of force which leads to strength gains, and increased muscular endurance.
Look for Creatinol O Phosphate in Muscle Sport International’s Lean Revolution and Mass Revolution.
In recent studies dietary nitrate supplementation was shown to reduce the oxygen cost during submaximal exercise and to increase the time to exhaustion during high intensity exercise. These data confirm and expand on the original findings of nitrate induced improvement of exercise efficiency in humans. Basically this means that nitrates will allow an individual to train harder and accomplish more work in a given period of time.
Look for BCAA Nitrates in products like MSI BCAA Revolution.
If you’ve never heard of mTOR (and even if you have), listen up as this is one of the most under-rated anabolic pathways to increase protein synthesis. And chances are you’re not even coming close to maximizing its enormous potential. mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin) is a large proline-directed serine-threonine protein kinase that’s responsible for a wide range of physiologic and metabolic functions in several cell types, including both fat cells and muscle cells. Among its many roles, mTOR is responsible for hypertrophic growth (an increase in muscle cell size), protein synthesis and tissue morphogenesis.
A wide range of data have suggested that amino acids are capable of directly regulating mTOR signaling pathways in skeletal muscle including the possibility that they activate some of the cell signaling elements upstream from mTOR in the insulin/growth factor signaling pathway. Of the amino acids which can have this effect BCAA’s are the most effective with L-Leucine being at the top of the list. In practical terms taking in BCAA’s before or during a workout can speed recovery and build muscle.
Taking protein before working out has become more popular as it has been shown to increase protein synthesis which has been assumed will lead to increases in strength and muscle gains. The research on this is mixed in that it does show some increase in protein synthesis but that has not equated to long term gains in lean muscle or strength.
I am not a big fan of protein pre-workout due to the water costs of digesting protein. It takes a considerable amount of water to digest protein and research has shown that increases in protein can lead to dehydration. Even very mild dehydration can lead to significant decreases in athletic performance. You can very easily negate any increases in protein synthesis by losses in performance due to mild dehydration.
Any easy solution is to consume a BCAA product like Intek’s BCAA Evolution prior to your workout rather than a whole protein. A BCAA product will provide the benefits you would get if you consumed a whole protein (increase in protein synthesis) but will not lead to dehydration and loss of performance.
Endurance supplements can be boiled down to four main categories which consist of hydration, fuel, recovery and performance.
Hydration is pretty simple. It consists of proper water intake and electrolyte balance. For electrolyte intake during endurance events we usually recommend Hammer Endurolytes.
Fuel is the energy to keep the body moving which is provided primarily by carbohydrates. Think of energy gels like Hammer Gel or drinks like Accelerade, Hammer Perpetuem, or Hammer Heed. These products are designed to be mixed in water and consumed during endurance activities. They consist of primarily carbohydrates with some electrolytes and some may have amino acids.
Recovery products are designed to be used at the completion of a workout. Recovery comes in several parts. The main components to worry about are structural recovery which is concerned with repair of damaged tissue, metabolic recovery which involves replacing cellular energy stores and hormone optimization which requires providing the proper nutrients and rest to normalize testosterone and cortisol. By far the best product in this category is AfterGlow by BioRhythm, with Hammer Recoverite being our next choice for endurance athletes.
Performance supplements should be considered after you have taken care of the basic needs mentioned in the three paragraphs above. It doesn’t make sense to try and improve performance if you are not taking a good recovery drink. Performance supplements are as the name says designed to help improve performance. For endurance athlete’s beta- alanine, creatine and natural testosterone boosters should all be considered. Beta-Alanine is a favorite with endurance athletes as it buffers lactic acid so it allows an athlete to work harder and longer.
In future articles we will go into more detail on supplementation for endurance athletes but this should hopefully provide an easy to understand framework from which to create an appropriate supplementation program.
Joint Rejuvenate combines the most effective compounds to help increase mobility, decrease joint pain, and reduce inflammation while helping to rebuild joint cartilage. The two major components of the joint are the cartilage which protects the bone surface from touching other bone and the synovial fluid which lubricates the cartilage and fills in the space in the joint structure. Joint Rejuvenate contains a cutting edge compound called Type II Collagen which is derived from avian collagen. Type II Collagen or avian collagen contains the only form of hylauronic acid which is absorbable by the human body. This is important because hylauronic acid is the compound from which synovial fluid in the joint is comprised. By ingesting Type II Collagen the body will produce more synovial fluid in the joints. By increasing the amount of synovial fluid the joint will function better and have an increased range of mobility. Increased production of synovial fluid also ensures the joint is well cushioned. Most users will notice results in about 10-12 days when using this compound.
This product also contains several other key components which support the structure and function of the joint.
Joint Rejuvenate contains a pharmaceutical grade glucosamine. Glucosamine is necessary to produce glycosaminoglycan, a molecule used in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues.
Growth hormone is looked at by many as the fountain of youth. It has been said that growth hormone can decrease body fat, increase muscle, reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. While some of this is based in truth like most other claims there is also quite a bit of exaggeration. Actual growth hormone cannot be purchased over the counter and is accessible only by prescription from a physician. Many supplement companies have claimed to have products which mimic growth hormone but few products produce actual results for their users. One new product which looks promising is Pro-GH produced by NOW Foods under the NOW Sports label. This product was formulated by a physician and is undergoing clinical studies to validate its efficacy.Reports from individual who have tried it are promising. There are two ways to take the product. The first is before a workout to enhance strength, muscular endurance and hormone output. The second is at night before bed to promote hormone release during sleep. Users have reported feeling more energy, increases in strength, increases in endurance, greater sex drive, and fat loss.
This product can be used by both men and women as growth hormone is not gender specific.