Tags Posts tagged with "supplements"

supplements

When we think intra-workout supplementation, we often find ourselves thinking BCAA, BCAA, BCAA, but what about Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)? For years we’ve been led to believe that BCAAs are all you need for intra-workout supplementation, but research shows that isn’t the case [1].

BCAA use has been promoted in various manners:

  1. All day sipping, which turned out to blunt MPS (muscle protein synthesis) signaling. This is counterproductive to muscle growth and recovery, and thus should not be promoted as a way to flavor your water.
  2. Intra-workout usage. This is not helpful since it takes all of the EAAs to reap the benefits of intra-workout use (see article below).
  3. Using BCAA’s between meals to signal muscle protein synthesis. This would be beneficial for those in a caloric deficit as an “anti-catabolic” agent, but once again does not work (see reference 1). Dieter et al. (2016) found that the usage of BCAAs does not lead to an increase of fat-free index in those dieting while supplementing with BCAAs [1]. This is a finding consistent with lots of BCAA studies [2].

Essentially BCAAs are not the Holy Grail we’ve been led to believe by supplement companies.

What does Leucine do?

Leucine itself is a tricky beast. Leucine can increase MPS by 30%. Leucine, in theory, works because it is a rate-limiting step in protein synthesis. By supplementing Leucine, you get around the rate-limiting step. Rate limiting step, in this case, refers to the means in which a process is limited (i.e. without more leucine, MPS rates are limited). This is due to an intracellular anabolic signaling, which is increased when leucine is supplemented. Leucine, however, is not the only important component of this process as it does require the other Essential Amino Acids to work best. A major limitation in these studies is that in humans skeletal muscle is a small amount of your total body mass [2].

What about EAA’s?

A 2011 study performed by the US military (meaning these are very fit individuals) studied the effects of EAA supplementation during endurance exercise; they were interested to see the effects of EAA supplementation on postexercise skeletal muscle metabolism. This study examined the effects of 10 g of EAAs in two different groups: a 3.5g Leucine group or a 1.87g Leucine group [3]. Subjects performed one hour of slow steady state (endurance) exercise while consuming their BCAA/EAA mixture over the course of two weeks.

The interesting finding of this study was that muscle protein synthesis (MPS) was as much as 33% greater in the 3.5g Leucine group than the 1.87 g leucine group. This shows that leucine amount is key to activating MPS. They also found that whole body protein breakdown was lower. So you may be thinking to yourself, well that’s pretty common sense, leucine activates MPS so what makes this study unique?

  1. This study was done by the US Military, so there is no inherent bias from the funding source.
  2. This study shows the importance of Leucine and shows that the ratio of BCAA’s is not important.
    For years, people have touted the so-called “2:1:1” ratio as best (oddly enough, a majority of research is actually not using the so-called “2:1:1” ratio that is being touted as best [4]), but this study shows that ratio does not matter. The high Leucine group in this study used essentially a 4:1:1 ratio (refer to figure 1). This study shows as long as you get enough EAA’s, Leucine content is what’s most important, not the ratio. This study also highlights the importance of EAA’s during endurance exercise; an area of research that BCAA’s alone have been unable to do so far.
  3. The lack of Carbohydrates. A large number of studies investigating the effects of BCAA’s confound the research findings by including Carbohydrates with their BCAA or EAA mixture. Not all athletes consume carbohydrates during exercise, making the findings of those studies difficult to extrapolate into real-world results. We currently live in an industry that is petrified of carbohydrates even though they have lots of ergogenic potential.
eaa ratio chart
Figure 1

Why are these findings important? Unlike resistance exercise, endurance exercise is truly catabolic. Endurance exercise results in lower rates of MPS and plasma Leucine concentration [3]. This means when you are performing endurance exercise, not only are you deficient in plasma Leucine content in your bloodstream, but you are also deficient in stimulating muscle protein synthesis as well. This one-two combination can have a major catabolic effect on your body. The data from the US military study indicates that increasing Leucine availability during endurance exercise promotes skeletal muscle protein anabolism and spares endogenous protein. This prevents the catabolic effects of endurance exercise.

What about protein?

According to the U.S. Dairy Council, Whey Protein offers the highest concentration of BCAAs of any dietary source of Protein at about 26 g of BCAAs per 100g of Protein. Whey protein itself has a multitude of benefits and has the optimal amount of BCAA’s/EAA’s one would use when using an intra-workout product. This means if you are simply low on money, Whey Protein is your best chance to make sure you are getting an increase in muscle protein synthesis rate (refer to figure 2). It is important to note that BCAA & EAA products provide “free form” amino acids, so they do not count towards your daily protein intake, and that they do contain calories unlike what you see on most supplement facts for most Amino products.

Whey Protein EAA Ratio
Figure 2

Take Home Message

So what’s the take-home message? Well, if you are going to take additional amino acids in your diet through a supplement, there are only two things you really should look for:

  1. Leucine content. Know how much you are consuming. Take at least 2.5 g or more.
  2. Take Leucine with additional EAAs. Also make sure you take the full 10 grams, which does include the Leucine content.

Do not just take BCAAs, because if you are going to be supplementing, you should supplement what is needed…Essential Amino acids with a high Leucine content. Anyone selling an EAA product with a proprietary blend under 10 grams is not doing you any favors.

Product Recommendations

intra-blast-productThe top supplement in this category hands down is NutraBio Intra Blast. Intra Blast is the gold standard for Essential Amino Acid products and has been for years. It features a full 10g EAA’s (including an optimal dose of Leucine at 3.6g) along with Glutamine, Betaine, OKG, Taurine, and Electrolytes. Other EAA products sometimes cost less but do not offer the optimal Leucine dosage or overall EAA dosage.

Shop All EAA's

 

References:

  1. Dieter, B. P., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Aragon, A. A. (2016, May 11). The data do not seem to support a benefit to BCAA supplementation during periods of caloric restriction. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-016-0128-9
  2. Wolfe, R. (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?. J Int Soc Sports Nutri 14:30.
  3. Pasiakos, S. M., McClung, H. L., McClung, J. P., Margolis, L. M., Andersen, N. E., Cloutier, G. J., Pikosky, M. A., et al. (2011). Leucine-enriched essential amino acid supplementation during moderate steady state exercise enhances postexercise muscle protein synthesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(3), 809-818.
  4. Norton LE, Layman DK. (2006). Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise. J Nutr. 136:533S–7S.

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Bodybuilder With Mask

What is 1-Andro?

This article is primarily about the supplement 1-Andro which is a DHEA metabolite and is legal in the US under DASCA (Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act). The DHEA metabolite 1-Andro undergoes a two-step conversion to the hormone 1-Testosterone. This two-step conversion is what makes it a legal compound.

1-Androsterone is an androgenic sex hormone and is a metabolite of testosterone.  It’s a non-methylated anabolic compound whose primary metabolite is 1-Androstendione (1-AD) in the body.  1-Andro is the nomenclature for 1-androstene 3b-ol, 12-one.  It is also known as Androsterone. The assumption is that 1-Andro converts to testosterone, which is wrong.  1-Andro converts to 1-testosterone which can boost testosterone levels without the conversion to estrogen.  Some of the 1-Andro benefits are actually anti-estrogenic which means it’s a very good compound for adding lean muscle mass or aiding in fat loss.

What are the benefits of 1-Andro?

Due to the boost of 1-testosterone, your body will be able to add lean muscle mass.  If the goal is to add mass, a calorie surplus is usually required.  But even in a calorie deficit when cutting, this compound can help your body build muscle.  Due to the anti-estrogenic effects, your body shouldn’t hold extra water, no bloating, and won’t be like many prohormones of the past which caused a large amount of water weight gain.

The androgenic effects are very potent, meaning you will see gains on this compound.  The more in touch the user is with diet and training, the greater the change they should notice.  1-Andro is an excellent compound to either use alone or stack with other anabolic compounds for making even greater progress.

So in short……

  • Increases Lean Muscle Mass
  • Increases Strength
  • Increases Recovery
  • Doesn’t convert to estrogen
  • No Bloating
  • Has a recomposition effect to it (building muscle in a calorie deficit, burning fat while building muscle)

Is 1-Andro Legal?

Sounds like some very good benefits, right?  You must be wondering if 1-Andro is a legal supplement.  In 2014 is when the big prohormone ban came about and 1-Andro is one of the ingredients not on the list and is the most effective prohormone ingredient left on the market. See the first paragraph in this blog for more info.

Any side effects?

Due to being non-methylated and no estrogenic related increases, the side effects are very minimal if the user experiences any.  Non-liver toxic.  Gyno cannot occur without the estrogen increase.  Males who are prone to baldness should avoid this compound as mild hair loss may occur.

Lethargy is the most common side effect but not something all users experience.  Users may also experience a decrease in libido while on cycle.  Other temporary health issues are an increase in blood pressure and possible anxiety.  Not all users experience these side effects and some can go multiple cycles without having any negative effects. One way to combat these side effects is to stack it with a compound containing Epiandrosterone (Such as Sparta Epimax) as this converts to the male sex hormone DHT.

So in short…..

  • Lethargy
  • Decreased libido
  • Anxiety
  • Hair loss to those genetically prone
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Painful pumps (supplement with taurine to help)

Running a Cycle

1-Andro cycles can run anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  Stretching longer may hinder results and increase the number of side effects.  Results can usually be seen fast in the first couple weeks.  Fuller looking muscles, strength levels increasing, more muscle definition, and increased aggression.

Cycle support alongside a 1-Andro supplement is highly necessary with any anabolic hormone.  Running at the recommended dosage or higher is always best being safe and protect your body.  After all, we all got into fitness with the idea of a healthy body.  A cycle support supplement would be highly recommended as they will help the body process and deliver all these ingredients while maintaining strong organ and body health.

Post cycle therapy (PCT) will be needed to restore your natural testosterone production. During your cycle, your natural production of Testosterone will slow due to supplementation of 1-Andro. PCT will be required to raise those levels, and also to lower levels of Estrogen and Cortisol. These hormones are catabolic (breaks down muscle) in nature, and failing to suppress them may lead to a severe loss of muscle mass.

Most brands that sell a 1-Andro supplement also sell cycle support and PCT supplements.  You can stick to all one brand or buy from a couple different brands.

What are the most realistic gains I can expect from a cycle?

5-10lbs of lean muscle mass with a decrease in 1-4% body fat is very possible while on a 4-6 week cycle.  The longer and higher the dosage, the more significate those numbers can change.  Results will vary based on the individual’s diet, training, genetics, supplements, and goals.

Price Point?

1-Andro products will be priced rather high.  Don’t be surprised if you’re spending $60-80 for a 1-Andro supplement or up to $100 if you’re buying a supplement with a blend of 1-Andro and other compounds.  Remember, this is the strongest remaining prohormone ingredient on the market for adding clean muscle mass and enhancing fat loss.

Popular 1-Andro Supplements:

Popular PCT Supplements:

PSA: you can also supplement your gains during post cycle by taking a natural anabolic such as Black Lion Research Follidrone.

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Youtube Suppz Giveaway

Want $100 to spend at Suppz.com?
Upload a video to Youtube telling us what you would buy, and you will be entered to win!

We will choose 3 lucky $100 winners on Wednesday December 18th.

RULES:
1. You must upload your video to Youtube with the title “How I Would Spend $100 at Suppz.com”
2. You must include a link to http://suppz.com (or this blog post) in the video’s description
3. Leave a comment on this blog post, with your video’s URL (otherwise we won’t know that you uploaded it)

Easy, right!?
If you have any questions, leave a comment here, or email me at [email protected]

Here is an example of what the video should look like: