Supplements: L-arginine

l-arginine-300x155As the fit lifestyle is rapidly gaining new fans the supplement market keeps growing and expanding. Of course everyone who’s serious about their health and fitness will not spare money of supplement which will help them become better and more efficient. But before purchasing any supplements (especially those expensive ones) it is worth to take a look at some facts and consider the pros and cons.

L arginine is an amino acid found in many protein high foods. Despite having many functions its main role is to serve is as a nitric oxide booster – beneficial particularly to the cardiovascular system and the healthy functioning of blood vessels. We also need it for protein syntheses, wound healing and removing urea and nitrogen waste from the body.

Benefits

According to some studies supplementation with l-arginine can improve the function of blood vessels and improve coronary blood flow. Additionally it lowers blood pressure and can even reduce angina and other symptoms in people with heart disease. It has been known to be used as additional treatment in heart condition patients.

L- arginine supplements  claim to help with erectile dysfunction. Since it is a precursor of nitric oxide responsible for vasodilation it is claimed to improve blood flow also it that area in the body.

In addition to the above, l-arginine has the ability to fight free radicals, and potentially signal muscle cells, release growth hormone as well as remove bad cholesterol.

How would it enhance muscular development? It has an impact on insulin, which is an anabolic hormone. Also, if you can dilate your arteries, you enhance blood flow to the muscles and enhance nutrient delivery and waste product removal. More nutrients = better development.

L-arginine takes part in fat metabolism and regulating salt levels in the body.

 

Side Effects

Despite several studies confirming the effectiveness of l-arginine in treating certain conditions other studies such as the one conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that arginine doesn’t help people with arterial issues and can even make the condition worse. Claims were made that given to heart patients, l-arginine increases mortality rates. It is therefore logical to assume that it shouldn’t be taken as a supplement without consulting your doctor.

L-Arginine supplements have been shown to worsen asthma symptoms and increase lung inflammation.arginine

Also, some studies are skeptical about the erectile dysfunction improvement or muscle growth as benefits of l-arginine.

In large doses l-arginine has been known to cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea and weakness.

Conclusion

So far the studies aren’t really conclusive and supplementation should be approached with caution. If you are serious about your healthy lifestyle and training, there is nothing wrong with trying natural supplements such as l-arginine, just remember to buy from trustworthy sources and consult a physician especially if you suffer from any health conditions.

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine

L-carnitine supplements are one of the supplements gaining popularity in recent years as the fitness and sport industries conquer the new territory of more and more ‘civilians’. Since it’s become popular for everyone from physical workers to office rats to be fit and nutrakey-acetyl-l-carnitine-250g-supplement-centralspend most of their time in the gym or fitness studio, supplements such as l-carnitine have been in their prime. But what is it, what are the uses and side effects and is it worth the money?

The science behind it

L-carnitine is an amino acid –like and vitamin-like substance related to the B vitamin group. It used to be referred to as vitamin BT. It is a compound which helps transport fatty acids from the blood into the mitochondria so that they can be used as energy. L- carnitine is important for energy and metabolism of fats. If you want to utilize fat effectively or take even more advantage of your fat ‘melting away’ during exercise – l-carnitine is your guy. It has also been found to reduce fatigue which will help you stay active and make your workouts more intense.

The benefits

  • Fat burning – of course the primary function is fat metabolism and turning fat cells into energy by oxidizing them. Supplementation with l-carnitine is very helpful during weight loss.
  • Muscle Mass Increase-  Since it increases endurance and strength- it promotes lean muscle mass growth
  • Bone Mass Retention- Studies show that L-Carnitine decreases bone loss associated with old age.
  • Heart Condition Prevention – is often used alongside heart medicine for heart conditions and in people who have suffer heart attacks.
  • Kidney Treatment – your kidneys produce carnitine, so in kidney diseases it is also often used as treatment
  • Infertility – according to research, l-carnitine can help improve both sperm count and quality of sperm
  • Type II Diabetes Prevention – regulates metabolism increasing glucose oxidation, glucose storage, as well as glucose uptake
  • Support of the Immune System – l- carnitine is an antioxidant, it protects us from free radicals doing damage to our cells. Will support your immune system and protect you from health issues starting with the common cold all the way to life-threatening diseases
  • Improved Brain Function – as we age, cognitive function decreases. L-carnitine supports healthy brain function especially in seniors

 

Side Effects

Does it all sound too good to be true? L-carnitine supplements have been shown to cause a few side effects, a high dose can cause nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A positive ‘side effect’ is an unexpected one and not related to fitness so much. One study from Italy has shown that l-carnitine was more effective than testosterone therapy for treating male erectile dysfunction and infertility. There are two reasons for this – firstly, it increases blood circulation and vascularity and secondly it improves the quality of the sperm.

Our Judgment: It’s worth a try

 

To conclude, l-carnitine has been tested enough to prove it does work and it’s safe. Therefore, it’s worth a try, especially if you are serious about your gym progress. Before you consume any supplement, research the proper dosage and possible interactions (with medicine you take and/or other supplements).

*It is recommended to take l-carnitine with carbs which spike insulin and enhance muscular uptake.

 

 

 

 

How to Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day

how-to-stay-hydrated

Dehydration is one of the most common and underestimated dangers in our daily lives. You may not think about it or realize it and by the time it can seriously hurt you, you get so thirsty you finally get a drink. But what are the consequences or not being adequately hydrated all day, every day?

First of all, water regulates most functions in the body, it’s also a major part of all our cells and tissues. It helps in efficient transportation and distribution of oxygen by blood to all cells. When you are even slightly dehydrated you will feel tired and sluggish. You may experience headaches and dizziness or light headedness. What are you likely to do then? Grab a cup of coffee? This will dehydrate you further putting this vicious cycle in motion. What’s important to know is that by the time you physically experience thirst – your body is already telling you it’s desperate for water. You should strive to never allow that state to occur. Even slight dehydration will decrease your physical and mental abilities by up to 25%.

Secondly, water flushes out and removes waste from our systems. It helps keep cholesterol at bay and maintain healthy blood pressure. So when you feel sleepy and your blood pressure drops, forget the coffee and grab a bottle of water. If you observe dark urine with intense smell that is a worrying sign of dehydration, the color and smell suggest a high amount of waste and toxins.

Thirdly, water is essential for staying fit and losing/maintaining a healthy weight. Why? It regulates the metabolism and absorption of nutrients. It also helps keep hunger under control. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger.

Tips and Tricks

But you may not enjoy sipping on water all day, not have the time or forget. What can you do?

  1. For better taste and even more health benefits add a slice of lemon, fresh mint leaves or cucumber. You can always give a super free drink stick such as Slender Stick a try.  We get it – plain water is not everyone’s thing.
  2. Drink plenty of tea – red, green, herbal, fruit flavored – there is a kind for everyone. Swap coffee for a cup of herbal tea.
  3. Always carry a bottle with you. If you happen to be bored and reach for crisps or sweet to nibble on, you will sip on the drink you have, first.
  4. Make a point out of drinking a large glass of cool water when you wake up. It will energize you and kick start your metabolism.
  5. Instead of meeting your friends for beer or cocktails, find a nice tea/fruit juice bar and drink away!

It may seem awkward at first to ‘force’ yourself to drink but you will feel the effects soon enough and you will not want to stop!

Essential Oils- Uses and Benefits

 

oilsIn the modern world many people underestimate natural medicine and remedies. But many of them are powerful healing tools for different conditions starting from anxiety all the way to physical injury.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in many ancient cultures for medicinal and health promoting purposes. There are many uses of essential oils including skin care, medicinal uses, cleaning and beauty care.

Essential oils are obtained by distilling or extracting different parts of plants, including the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and peels. Ancient Egyptians made them by soaking the plants in oil and then filtering it through a linen cloth.

Essential oils possess antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Let’s take a closer look at some of their uses.

  1. Relaxation and stress management.

The oils are great for those who suffer from stress or anxiety. They will help you relax and recover. For example if you diffuse lavender essential oil around your home it will help reduce stress and tension. If you are active and work out it is crucial for you to get proper recovery and oils will definitely help you relax.

  1. Relieving pain including muscle pain, headaches etc.

Below we give you a few oils that are excellent for treating pains and aches.

Chamomile – possesses anti-inflammatory properties that will help relieve headaches, muscle pain, back pain and PMS.

Sweet marjoram – sedative, calming and pain relieving properties.

Lavender – as well as relaxation it provides pain relief and is good for treating allergies.

Eucalyptus – prevents inflammation and relieves sore muscles.

Peppermint – good for muscle and joint pain as well as headaches.

Other powerful pain-killing oils include ginger and rosemary.

How to use the essential oils for muscle or joint pain?

There are a few different ways you can take advantage of this natural yet powerful remedy.

For massaging sore muscles or back dilute a few drops of an oil (or a few different ones) in olive oil or almond oil. For headaches – apply the mixture to your temples and massage. Alternatively, use a essential oil diffuser and smell the oil – this can also be effective for headaches.

Adding oils to your bath – good to soothe tired, aching muscles, relieve arthritis and rheumatism. Add a few drops of essential oil to your hot bath.

  1. Cleansing an detoxifying your body

Oils such as cypress, lemon and grapefruit have cleansing properties. They can be used to help our bodies get rid of toxins. You can come across such practices in saunas and using those for purifying massages. It’s advisable to add them to homemade body scrubs as they also nourish and cleanse the skin. Many of them help with the lymphatic system, releasing weight gain and a sluggish digestion. In combination with massages, for example they help improve circulation and remove all the negative compounds and toxins from your body.

 

 

 

 

What You Should Know About Pre-Workouts

 

Pre-Workout-SupplementThe pre-workout frenzy is reaching a new high but the opinions on the benefits of such products are divided. Some can’t live without them, others use them occasionally as a pick-me-up and others still say they’re a complete marketing ploy. So let’s take a look at what we really pay for and what we can and should expect from pre-workout supplements.

What Are They Really?

You probably already know (the clue is in the name) that these supps are designed to improve focus and energy. Most of them contain stimulants and other ingredients such as creatine, beta-alanine, and citruline malate, as well as nitric oxide boosters such as agmatine and glycocarn. Some products exist on the market that don’t contain strong stimulants for those who don’t like that feeling of caffeine ‘high’

What They Contain

You should really look into the ingredients before consuming a pre-workout (or any other supplement). Some may contain doses too high for someone unaccustomed or can influence medical conditions or drugs. Here are some of the most common ones.

Caffeine: A stimulant found in most pre-workouts and fat burners. Dosed correctly, it can promote increased attention, physical performance and increased muscular recovery. Needs to be used with caution – especially for people with health conditions. Used late at night can cause trouble sleeping.

Methylhexanamine: strong stimulant included in many pre-workouts. It causes a strong energy rush, improved endurance and it can enhance your mood.

Creatine: It promotes and helps maintain strength by replenishing ATP during exercise. Creatine is the most tested supplement which has proven time and again to support strength and muscle gain.

Beta-alanine: Helps maintain energy and decrease fatigue. A known side-effect of it is the so called paraesthesia, also called ‘the tingle’. It may feel strange but it is harmless and many people like the sensation.

Citruline Malate: Present in most pre-workout supps it is proven to improve aerobic performance.

Agmatine: stimulates the release of hormones such Luteinizing Hormone and Growth Hormone as well as Nitric Oxide (improves blood flow – the so called ‘pump’).

Taurine: improves physical performance, reduces muscle pain and acts as a cell volumiser by hydrating the muscle.

Arginine: Helps stimulate production of Growth Hormone and Nitric Oxide.

How To Choose The Right One

Choosing whether or not to use them or which pre-workout to pick may be hard. The market is truly flooded with fancy products. But don’t let marketing fool you. Firstly analyze if you have any health risks or contraindications. If not, test a few brands and see what works for you a great pre workout that I like is Rule One Pre-Train
. Some people with low tolerance feel the effects strongly and others need to use more to feel anything. Go for a smaller dose when you start with any given supplement. You don’t want to stay up for the next 3 days, trust me! Also, to avoid building up a tolerance, don’t use them every day. Alternatively pick the weaker ones or ones without any stimulants.