Supplement news: MCT

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What are Medium-Chain Triglycerides?

Medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs for short) are made up of medium-chain fatty acids. The length of their chemical structure (carbon and hydrogen) is 6 to 12 carbons. We have 3 types of MCTs:

1-Caproic acid

2-Caprylic acid

3-Capric acid

The Benefits of MCTs;

MCTs are very easy for the body to absorb and transform into energy which is why they are used therapeutically for people with malabsorption problems, like Crohn’s Disease. They’re also great for people without a gallbladder.

You may be skeptical about consuming fat as a supplemet since you may be afraid of weight gain but according to studies over a 12-week period, subjects who got MCT oil lost about 2 pounds more than those on placebo.

Some studies show that the effects of MCT may be very small but our bodies need healthy fats for a healthy metabolism and hormonal balance.

MCT oil is good for the health in other ways, too. It is an antioxidant with strong anti inflammatory properties and it promotes gut health.

Some other commonly mentioned benefits include:

-Promoting healthy weight by increasing satiety and boosting metabolism
-Reduce stored body fat
-Energize you and enable clear thinking
-Improve digestion and gut health
-Balance hormone levels
-Improve your mood
-Fight bacterial infection and viruses
-Absorb fat-soluble nutrients from various foods (such as vitamins)

MCT Sources

Of course, apart from supplements (usually MCT oil), MCTs are present in foods such as:

-Coconut oil
-Palm kernel oil
Butter
-Milk
-Yogurt

When it comes to comparing the two, it depends what you are looking to get out of it. The MCT oil is the winner when it comes to the content of MCT but the advantage of natural sources is that they are rich in other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Grass fed dairy, beef and organic coconut oil are unquestionably great additions to a balanced diet.

Conclusion

To conclude, MCT is yet another nutritional component worth investing in. The lifestyles we have filled with processed, nutrient depleted foods definitely call for the right supplementation to increase the health value of what we consume. But whether you choose to eat a diet high in MCT or supplement your diet with MCT oil make sure you go for organic foods and reputable supplement brands. Getting high quality food and supplements is extremely important for your health.

MCT is not a miracle cure like it’s often claimed to be, but it has been proven beneficial by many studies. If you are looking for MCT only then the purest form of the oil is right for you. If you have a more general approach, try organic coconut oil or both.

Creatine Supplements

creatineCreatine is one of the most commonly used supplements in the fitness world. It is also known for being widely tested and actually effective. So what is it exactly and how does it work?

There are some myths out there about creatine and some may feel skeptical or afraid to take it. Let’s take a look at the facts together and see if it is worth the money.

What does it do?

Creatine – or the nitrogenous organic acid helps to supply energy to all cells in the body, primarily muscle. This is achieved by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).   Creatine is completely natural, it is present in meat and around 1% of human blood is creatine. It is only reasonable that it was named after the Greek word ‘meat’ (kreas).

The benefits of creatine in fitness and bodybuilding are size and strength of the muscle. The volume of the muscle is enhanced by creatine holding water in the muscle cells making them look fuller.

On the other hand the ATP, which creatine helps form and accumulate, is responsible for better performance. According to research a significant increase in strength were observed in individuals supplemented with creatine and of course that resulted in more intense workouts and muscle growth.

Myths and Safety

There are myths out there that creatine isn’t safe for the kidneys and the heart or it may cause muscle cramps and pulls, dehydration, and diarrhea. These stories are anecdotal as creatine is one of the safest supplements out there. Multiple studies show that there are no major health risks or side effects associated with creatine.

Some people think they will get ‘fat’ or bloated from creatine if they don’t work out enough. Again, this is a myth and if you don’t do the work in the gym it will simply not work. There is no bloating effect since the water is stored inside the muscles.

Types of Creatine

Creatine Monohydrate is the most common and cheapest type of creatine that has been used for supplementation for years. It is easy to buy and does the job pretty well.

Pros:

-Almost all studies concern creatine monohydrate and prove it effective
-Cheap
-Doesn’t require a loading phase

Cons:
-Not very soluble in water
-Only about 1% absorbed into the body
-Not effective in about 10% of the population

 

Micronized Creatine is creatine monohydrate where the molecules of creatine have been divided or cut up. This increases their surface area 20 times, increasing absorption and reducing possible stomach discomfort.

Pros:
-Effective even on non responders to monohydrate
-No bloating or stomach discomfort
-Purer than monohydrate

Cons:
-More expensive
-Requires a loading phase

 

CEE (Creatine Ethyl Ester) is a creatine molecule with an ester attached which allows for almost 99% absorption into the body.

Pros:
-Increased absorption.
-Very effective for all users
-No bloating or stomach discomfort.
-No loading phase required

Cons:
-Horrible taste but capsules can be purchased
-Expensive

 

Tri Creatine Malate is a compound of molecules created from malic acid and creatine. Tri Malate has 3 monohydrate molecules.

Pros:
-Faster recovery and less fatigue
-Very effective
-More water soluble and absorbent
-Cell Volumizing effect

Cons:
-Expensive
-Health effects unknown

Of course, there are many other types of creatine supplements on the market and the research and development is constantly moving forward. Our recommendation is that it’s great to use creatine supplements and you should try them out and see what works for you personally.

Supplement News: CLA

cla

CLA which stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a slightly altered form of linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid important to human health, found mostly in animal food sources. It is important to know more about it since a recent study in the US said that CLA deficiency could be one of many reasons for obesity in Americans.

The Role of CLA

Research has found that CLA supplements are responsible for fortifying the immune system, protect against cancer and heart disease and it may help build muscle and promote fat loss. It has been discovered recently to help promote healthy glucose levels and insulin metabolism. CLA regulates lipid levels and protects us from free radicals (antioxidant).

 

Sources of CLA

Natural food sources rich in CLA include:

  • Beef –up to 0.9g/100g
  • Milk and dairy products 0.7% of all milk fat
  • Lamb
  • Goat

Grass fed animal products can contain up to 5 times more CLA than non grass fed ones.

Role of CLA in Fitness and Bodybuilding

According to a study approximately 3.4 grams of CLA per day shows extremely beneficial effects of CLA on body fat. Dr. Michael Pariza, who conducted research on CLA with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, concluded that it stops small fat cells from growing and helps keep fat tissue at bay.

There are studies that confirm implication of CLA for training. The combination of CLA and weight training can be very beneficial for everyone. A trial conducted on novices proved that ingesting 7g of CLA daily, improved strength and muscle mass compared to the group taking placebo.

Assumptions were made that CLA improves anabolic processes but it has to be investigated further.

Another study has shown that CLA supplementation reduced body fat by as much as 9% and simultaneously increase lean muscle mass by around 2%.

 

Conclusion

Having reviewed the properties of CLA and the positive research outcomes it is reasonable to assume that CLA supplementation can be of use to most of us. Whether you are looking to keep fit, build muscles or lose fat, CLA is the ‘go to’ supplement. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of variety will guarantee you are getting essential nutrients and you may also want to consider taking CLA in the form of a supplement. 4 grams and above is the recommended dose per day. Most supplements com in the form of capsules that already contain some oil to help your body absorb the CLA. Most users confirm that CLA combined with a healthy lifestyle does give good results and most reviews sit at 9.5 out of 10 stars.

 

*WARNING: CLA is water soluble so it should be taken with foods that contain fat.

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.