5 Supplements You Need to Take
21May/2014

5 Supplements You Need to Take

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SURE, YOU ARE DOWNING PROTEIN SHAKES AND MAY EVEN BE AUGMENTING YOUR WORKOUTS WITH CREATINE, BUT A NUMBER OF OTHER SUPPLEMENTS MAY FURTHER OPTIMISE YOUR TRAINING EFFORTS. BY ETHAN BOLDT

 

Your protein powder intake is probably routine, and you’ve most likely given - and continue to give - creatine a go, along with some other popular supplements. But if you’re like most people, you’re still waiting for more - as in more power, more energy and, most of all, more muscle.  Indeed, to get ‘more’ remains a mystery for most of us, despite the many gym-goers, publications and supplement companies that are happy to make a recommendation - or 20. Akin to eating in a fine restaurant, you are ready to go beyond the meat-and-potatoes dish but aren’t sure what to order and rely on your fellow diners and waiters to point you in the right direction.  Consider following your trip right past those amateurs to the back of the restaurant to ask the master chef himself about what concoction will do the trick. That fellow is Dr Dwayne Jackson, an assistant professor in the department of medical biophysics at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in Ontario, Canada, where he runs his own lab. With many scholarly journal credits to his name and the Ontario Exercise Physiology Graduate Research Award under his belt, Dr Jackson first notes that protein supplements are indeed the backbone of any smart athlete’s regimen. Check. He then acknowledges the countless studies attesting to creatine’s efficacy. Check again. But then he goes on to observe that the weight trainer may have some very effective and lesser known agents that will boost his performance and muscular growth. Here are what Dr Jackson considers to be the top five supplements.

 

L-CARNITINE L-TARTRATE (LCLT)

 

WHAT IT IS:

L-carnitine is a natural nutrient from the B-vitamin family that is principally stored in skeletal muscle and the heart; LCLT is a new carnitine compound that further expands on the benefits of L-carnitine.

 

WHAT IT DOES:

 Recently, researchers from the University of Connecticut confirmed the anabolic impact of LCLT supplementation in humans when taken after resistance exercises, as published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Another study revealed that LCLT reduced the amount of exercise-caused muscle-tissue damage. This is significant, says Dr Jackson, because with more undamaged tissue, a greater number of intact receptors are available for hormonal interactions. Meanwhile, studies involving animals suggest that LCLT may even increase the density of the androgenic receptors and get the most out of your post- exercise “anabolic window,” Dr Jackson says.

 

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

 Two grams a day.

 

TYROSINE

 

WHAT IT IS:

Tyrosine, found in casein, is one of the 20 amino acids used by cells to synthesise proteins. It’s also a naturally occurring amino acid that helps at the start of production of many important neurotransmitters. WHAT IT DOES In addition to conducting a plethora of internal chemical reactions associated with motivation, mood, attention, alertness, motor activity and anxiety, these neurotransmitters also assist in fat-burning, Dr Jackson explains. Stress - physical, emotional and environmental - however, can get in the way of this beneficial process, limit neurotransmitter production and perhaps even set low levels of tyrosine in motion. Furthermore, chronically elevated stress levels can compromise muscle synthesis after a workout and lead to fat deposition, especially around your waist and buttocks - it’s a two-fer in the worst way. Early studies indicate that an L-tyrosine supplement can combat the negative effects of severe stress. In a study funded by the US Army Research Institute, 24 US Army

Personnel were exposed to two levels of environmental stress (cold and hypoxia) for 4.5 hours over two trials. Jackson states that tyrosine supplementation reversed the symptoms of stress (headaches, coldness, distress, fatigue and muscular discomfort), was beneficial to all aspects of mood state (clear thinking, unhappiness, dizziness, hostility, confusion, fatigue and tension) and augmented measures of mental performance, reaction time and vigilance performance.

 

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

An exercise bar with tyrosine (300mg per kg of body weight).

 

ZMA

 

WHAT IT IS:

A combination of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6

 

WHAT IT DOES:

Up to 50 per cent of humans don’t have enough magnesium as it is, and when you add exercise to the mix, you can ensure further loss of magnesium, as well as zinc and vitamin B6.  “ZMA - a form of zinc - has been shown to increase insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and testosterone levels to promote an anabolic sleep environment,” Dr Jackson says. IGF-1 generates anabolic conditions in adults, and you already know how valuable elevated testosterone levels are to muscle growth and fat loss.

 

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

The proportion of ingredients is usually 20-30mg of zinc, 400-500mg  of magnesium and about 10mg of vitamin B6. Take it before bed on an empty stomach.

 

BETA ALANINE

 

WHAT IT IS:

Beta alanine is a nonessential amino acid obtained through protein foods, and it naturally occurs in the body. WHAT IT DOES “It has garnered much research interest based on its potential to elevate skeletal-muscle carnosine levels,” explains Jackson, who points out that animals who have a great capacity for prolonged high-intensity exercise have high intramuscular carnosine levels. Additionally, carnosine levels are relatively higher in fast-twitch versus slow-twitch muscle fi bres, which is particularly important for the guy who likes to lift weights.

 “Elevating carnosine has been hypothesised as benefi cial to performance,” Dr Jackson says. Further research indicates that beta alanine supplementation results in elevated carnosine levels in muscle and a subsequent increase in total volume of training.

 

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

Four or five grams a day.

 

TRIBULUS TERRESTRIS

 

WHAT IT IS:

Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant herb that was traditionally used for men’s conditions such as erectile dysfunction and impotence and is now used for sports performance. WHAT IT DOES “Natural testosterone boosters have been around for centuries, but their primary use was to increase libido and virility,” Dr Jackson says. “One of the most effective herbal formulations comes from extracts of tribulus terrestris.”  Specifically, certain components - called saponins - of tribulus terrestris are responsible for its biological activity, and research has shown that one such saponin raises levels of testosterone and affects other androgen- impacting substances, such as DHEA and DHT.

 

RECOMMENDED DOSAGE:

3.21mg per kg of body weight each day. Jackson adds that you should always look for those containing standardised herbal extracts and from companies that indicate the percentage by which they are standardised.

 


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