Archive for the ‘Vitamins & Supplements’ Category

Glutamine & Creatine

Glutamine: The benefits may surprise you!

Glutamine is a common supplement found in many supplement stores, gym bags, protein shakes and a plethora of other nutritional products.  Yet, ironically it’s considered a non-essential amino acid…and in my opinion, the greatest benefits of glutamine rarely get recognized!  This is a disservice to all of you, hence the goal of this article is not to change anyone’s opinion or sell you on a glutamine product.  The goal is simply to teach you, to the best of my abilities, why glutamine is widely considered a staple in many training athletes supplement arsenal.  As well as, why glutamine should have more universal appeal to those outside the “bodybuilding/fitness” arena.

What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is classified as a non-essential amino acid, since it can be readily synthesized by various tissues such as skeletal muscles, liver, and adipose tissue.  glutamine is the most abundant single amino acid found in the bloodstream, which comprises 61% of the free intracellular amino acid pool (most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle tissue), while Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA‘s) comprise 8.4% of the pool.  Glutamine’s unique structure, containing two nitrogen side chains, consists of 19% nitrogen- making it the primary transporter of nitrogen into the muscle cells.

Over the years people begun to recognize the benefits of glutamine (each will be discussed further), such as:
1) Enhances the Immune System
2) Enhances glycogen storage
3) Improves Intestinal and Gastric health
4) Prevents Muscle Tissue breakdown (Catabolism)
5) Promotes Muscle Tissue growth and repair (Anabolism)

What Does Glutamine Do?
During exercise or other times of metabolic stress such as diet, severe injury, illness, etc. the demand for glutamine in your blood matrix (Plasma) markedly increases.  For instance, various cells of the immune system such as lymphocytes and macrophages depend on glutamine as a primary fuel source, and thus the demand for glutamine increases when and immunological response is mounted.  Macrophages and lymphocytes are the primary virus and bacteria fighter in your bloodstream.  As glutamine travels through the body, the enterocytes of the small intestines are the largest consumers of glutamine accounting for about 40-50% of glutamine consumption.  Also, glutamine is required for the synthesis of nucleotides.  Thus, a sufficient supply of glutamine is particularly important for rapidly dividing cells such as enterocytes and the immune cells.  Therefore, the synthesis of glutamine may be insufficient to meet the physiological demand during times of severe metabolic stress when the amount of free glutamine is rapidly depleted.  Therefore, it may be beneficial for people who continuously place themselves in infectious areas or commonly get sick, to supplement with glutamine to aide virus and/or bacteria fighting cells.

Glutamine supplementation may also promote nitrogen retention (a positive nitrogen balance) and prevent the loss of muscle protein.  A decreased ratio of testosterone to cortisol is believed to be directly responsible for losses in muscle mass since cortisol promotes the synthesis of glutamine.  By maintaining intracellular concentrations of glutamine within the skeletal muscles, the synthesis of glutamine may prevent the loss of intracellular nitrogen.

Therefore, it may be beneficial for people who continuously place themselves through strenuous workouts to supplement with glutamine to aide when glutamine stores are depleted.  Furthermore, by enhancing plasma concentrations of glutamine, the demand for free form glutamine by other tissues and cells (i.e., small intestines and immune cells) is attenuated and thus the release of glutamine from muscle tissues is reduced.

Why Does Your Body Need Glutamine?
To fully understand why glutamine is beneficial to the body, we must continue this biochemistry lesson.  The body uses glutamine to shuttle ammonia around in the body, so blood levels of glutamine try to maintain constant.  Glutamine is craved by the digestive tract and the immune system as fuel.  Most people eat more than enough protein from the supermarket, but they do not get enough glutamine through the digestion of meats and other proteins.  Under certain pathological circumstances the body’s tissues need more glutamine than the overall amount supplied by the diet and natural synthesis such as during a strenuous workout.

During catabolic stress, for instance, intracellular glutamine levels can drop more than 50% and plasma concentrations can fall by 30%.  It’s under these circumstances that supplemental glutamine becomes necessary.

Skeletal muscle contains the greatest intracellular concentrations of glutamine, comprising up to 60% of total body glutamine stores, and is considered the primary storage depot of glutamine, and thus the primary exporter of glutamine to other tissues.  In times of metabolic stress, glutamine is released into circulation, where it is transported to the tissue(s) in need.  Intracellular skeletal muscle glutamine concentration is affected by various assaults including injury, sepsis, prolonged stress, and starvation.  Besides skeletal muscle, the lungs are the next largest producer of glutamine.
Glutamine is especially useful post workout when nutrients are at a low until recovery.  In this condition research shows glutamine levels are significantly reduced, taking up to one month (in extreme cases) to return to baseline.  In athletes, glutamine has been used as a marker to indicate overtraining.  This fall in glutamine is catabolic to muscle tissue.  In a catabolic state, glutamine is the first amino acid used to correct that deficiency.  Glutamine drives protein into the muscle cells where it is synthesized for growth  This means that additional glutamine is necessary during periods of stress, resulting in bigger, stronger muscle cells.

Research Findings
In a recent study of glutamine’s role enhancing the immune system, glutamine demonstrated that increased levels of glutamine leads to greater amounts of virus and infection fighting cells, T and B Lymphocytes.  Cells of the immune system including the macrophages and lymphocytes depend on glutamine as a primary fuel source.  In addition, it has been hypothesized that a high rate of glutamine consumption by these rapidly proliferation cells is required for sufficient nucleotide synthesis.

Research indicates that low levels of glutamine within the body may result in the increased susceptibility to infections and illness due to a suppressed immune system.  The ability to reproduce and the activity of immune cells in vitro have reportedly been suppressed in trials lacking glutamine.  Tests also demonstrated that the increased rate of infection and illness (particularly infections of the upper respiratory tract) has been reported among athletes participating in intense, long duration sports (i.e., marathon racing).
It has been suggested that a decline in plasma glutamine concentrations may be one of the factors responsible for this increased rate of illness.  Specifically, the activity of natural killer cells, a reduced number and proliferate ability of lymphocytes, and a reduced ratio of T-helper to T-suppressor cells may be the result of prolonged, exhaustive exercise.

Glutamine as a GDA (Glucose Disposal Agent)
In another study of glutamine’s role on glucose and glycogen formation, the importance of glutamine was also emphasized.  The human carbon based skeleton of glutamine can serve as a gluconeogenic precursor and may regulate gluconeogenesis, which is basically the production of glycogen, independently of the insulin/glucagon ratios.  Because glutamine may serve as a precursor to glucose independently of glucagon regulation, glutamine supplementation may also enhance glycogenolysis and thus increase muscle glycogen stores even when insulin levels are low.  So basically glutamine helps regulate glycogen in your body when levels are low and may even increase them, which would result in better performance and growth.

Use of Glutamine
Glutamine and L-Glutamine can be purchased in powder or capsule form.  Glutamine containing products are protein shakes, protein powders and protein drinks.  Additional glutamine can be added to protein powders and shakes.  However, glutamine is relatively unstable in solution, and thus glutamine powders must be consumed shortly after being mixed into solution.

Glutamine Side Effects
It is completely safe.  There are no known side effects.

Conclusion
Hopefully this article has opened you up to the topic of glutamine supplementation.  Supplementing with glutamine can result in measurable gains in strength, muscularity, and immune function.  Taking glutamine before and during a workout will increase performance and delay fatigue.  This amino acid is needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue during physical stress and intense exercise and plays a crucial role in the fight against sickness.  From the perspective of athletes, glutamine functions as an anabolic/anti-catabolic agent, which allows the body to burn fat and not muscle.  Therefore, glutamine is crucial in your quest to achieve Ultimate Human Performance!!

Lipids (Fats).

English: A salmon rose, part of a sashimi dinn...

Lipids:

Lipids (i.e., fats) are the most concentrated source of energy in the diet.  One gram of fat yields approximately nine calories when oxidized, furnishing more than twice the calories per gram of carbohydrates or proteins.

In addition to providing energy, fats act as carriers for the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  By aiding in the absorption of vitamin D, calcium is also available to body tissues, particularly to the bones and teeth.  Fats are also important for the conversation of carotene to vitamin A.

Lipids/Fats are involved in the following:
▪    Cellular membrane structure and function
▪    Precursors to hormones
▪    Cellular signals
▪    Regulation and excretion of nutrients in the cells

Fat deposits surround, protect and hold in place organs (visceral fat), such as the kidneys, heart and liver.  A layer of fat insulates the body from environmental temperature changes and preserves body heat.  Dietary fats prolong the digestion process by slowing the stomach’s secretions of hydrochloric acid, this creating a longer lasting sensation of fullness after a meal (satiation).

Fat in Foods:

The bulk of fat consumed in the diet is ingested in the form of triglycerides.  Triglycerides are made up of a glycerol backbone with three fatty acids attached.  The fatty acids attached to the glycerol may differ from one another in two ways: chain length and degree of saturation.  Saturation refers to the chemical structure.  A saturated fatty acid is one that carries the maximum number of hydrogen atoms, leaving no points of unsaturation.  Unsaturated fatty acids can be divided into two types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  Food fats contain a mixture of the three kinds of fatty acids.

When a fat contains predominantly saturated fatty acids, it is said to be a saturated fat.  Similarly, when a fat or oil contains a large proportion of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, respectively.  Generally, the more unsaturated the fat, the lower it’s melting point and the more likely it is to become liquid at room temperature.

Trans-fatty acids are not generally found in nature.  Trans-fatty acids are created when double bonds are transformed into single bonds through the addition of hydrogen.  This entire process creates trans-fatty acids.  An example of this process is when a poly-unsaturated vegetable oil is transformed into a semi-solid (i.e., margarine, shortening).

Essential fatty acids:

Essential fatty acids (EFA‘s) are just that, essential!  These fats are considered essential simply because they CAN NOT be manufactured by the body.  Furthermore, essential fats CAN NOT be manufactured from other sources within the body, as is the case with essential amino acids.  EFA’s must be provided to the body through one’s dietary intake or via supplementation.  The common essential fats are; Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9.

**Interesting fact: The FDA recently changed the recommended ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids from a 20:1 ratio, to a 3:1 ratio…I’m no math whiz but that’s a tremendous difference!  It’s now known, saturated fats only account for approximately 20% of arterial plaque accumulation.  What happens when Omega-6 fats grossly out number Omega-3’s (i.e., 20:1 ratio)?  We find where the other 80% of arteriolosclerosis comes from!

Essential fatty acids truly deserve the attention of an entire article.  However, you can’t have an article titled, Lipids, without including something about the shear necessity of EFA’s.  If you can afford only one supplement, make certain it be a quality Omega-3 fatty acid supplement!

Micronutrients…Make a Mega Difference!!.

Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans and other living things throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions, but which the organism itself cannot produce.  (Canadian UNICEF Committee, Global Child Survival and Health, 2006, p.67)

I tend to find that many athletes underestimate the importance of vitamins and minerals, that’s why I found it appropriate to start this blog with the acronym, CHOPKINS Cafe MG.  This acronym stands for the bio elements that make up the fundamental structures of all living things; carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, nitrogen, calcium, iron, and magnesium.  Quite simply, these are the “bare necessities” needed for mammalian existence.  Vitamins are organic compounds that a living organism requires in trace quantities for good health, but which the organism can not synthesize and therefore must be obtain through it’s diet.  Vitamins are not an energy source but play a vital role in releasing the energy that is stored in foods consumed for sustenance.  Vitamins play a key role in the control and regulation of enzymes, as well as, the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems.  Minerals in contrast to vitamins are inorganic compounds.  Minerals require no digestion, and some may even be stored in the liver.  Minerals are vital in the formation of strong bones and teeth, they also help control the nervous system, fluid balance, muscular contractions, as well as, some hormone functions and enzyme secretion.  Electrolytes provide the proper electrical charge within bodily fluids for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscular contraction, proper acid-base balance for ideal ph and overall fluid levels.  Without getting into specific detail of each particular vitamin, mineral, or electrolyte… The key take home message here is the importance of a balanced nutrition program, a quality vitamin/mineral supplement, and the significants of proper hydration and electrolyte replenishment.  As an athlete, the aforementioned elements are lost through sweat, respiration, physical, and mental stress to the body.  In order to perform at optimal levels at all times, I can’t stress enough the importance of proper nutrition and supplementation.  Intensely trained athletes don’t necessarily have a difference in micronutrient requirements than that of the average person… However, the requirement is typically far greater.

Many studies have been done on athletes using vitamin and mineral supplements.  The outcome is consistently the same,  supplemented athletes show greater performance, for longer periods of time then non-supplemented athletes.  It’s nice to think that it’s a possible to ingest the required amount of vitamins and minerals from one’s diet, but in today’s day and age of pesticides, preservatives, and poor soil quality it’s nearly impossible (I hate to be negative, but let’s be honest here).  I personally believe, as an elite athlete being spot on with one’s nutrition program AND giving an equal amount of attention to micronutrient supplementation based on vitamin/mineral testing is essential to performance.  This simple process will eliminate the guess work involved, ensuring each athlete knows exactly what he or she as an individual is lacking in order to attain… Ultimate Human Performance!

You’re Being Lied To…By The Scale!.

    One of my early mentors in bodybuilding used a phrase to explain ones relationship w/ the scale.  “The scale doesn’t lie, but it sure don’t tell the truth!”  How is that possible!??  Allow me to start by tackling the age old question- “What’s the difference between losing weight and losing fat?”  The common belief is that if you simply reduce your caloric intake you will lose weight and change your body composition.  This approach becomes flawed very quickly!

“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

    When the body experiences a continual decrease in caloric intake, it will lose both fat and muscle.  As a result, the numbers on the scale will drop twice as quickly.  However, muscle comprises a machinery necessary to burn fat.  If you lose this fat burning machinery, your body will not be able to maintain the weight loss (less muscle = fewer calories burned).
When attempting to lose “weight” the primary goal is the retention or increase of the present lean muscle tissue, which will enable you to burn more fat and eat more food.  Typically, when designing a weight loss program often times people initially state that they won’t be able to consume the amount of food recommended.  However, it generally does not take long for most clients to become accustomed to, and enjoy the quantity of food.  Additionally, the elevation in caloric intake becomes necessary in order to increase lean muscle mass.  As previously stated…by increasing your lean muscle tissue this will increase ones ability to burn fat!

“Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Bottom Line…
Accomplishing muscle hypertrophy and/or body fat reduction requires continual manipulation of food consumed (potential energy measured in calories) and food used (work measured in calories).  When these two factors are equal (energy balance), there is no change in body mass.  This is also the state the body constantly strives to maintain.  In other words, every time the human body experiences an energy imbalance (mandatory for body mass change) it’s job is to bring the energy back into balance.  The body accomplishes this by adapting to the exercise and/or energy input (diet) and ultimately reaches a plateau.  At this point, an adjustment must be made in the energy output (exercise) and/or energy input (diet), if progress is desired.  The bodies obligatory response to energy imbalance creates the need for continual manipulation of food and work in order to achieve continuous progress.
The key to favorably altering body composition is to direct the body to use it’s stored fat to supply the extra calories needed to sustain or build muscle, therefore, simultaneously reducing the fat stores.  This is building or sustaining muscle at the expense of body fat.  This is the art and science (the fun stuff) of favorably altering body composition until you reach your goal.

People Don’t Plan to Fail… They Fail to Plan!.

TRAINING- CARDIO, WHEN AND WHY?

THERE ARE TWO TIMES OF DAY WHEN THE BODY’S ABILITY TO UTILIZE BODY FAT AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY (AKA LIPOLYSIS) IS AT IT’S PEAK. THE FIRST BEING IN THE MORNING RIGHT OUT OF BED ON AN EMPTY STOMACH AFTER HAVING FASTED FOR SEVERAL HOURS WHILE SLEEPING (HOPEFULLY). HOWEVER, I DO HIGHLY RECOMMEND DRINKING A LITER OF WATER, AND IDEALLY, ADDING SOME BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS TO ENSURE MUSCLE CATABOLISM IS HELD TO A MINIMUM (CURRENTLY STUDIES ARE SHOWING THAT FASTED CARDIO IS NOT THE END ALL BE ALL TO FAT LOSS, AND THAT ACTUALLY ADDING BCAA’S CAN INCREASE THE LIPOLYTIC EFFECTS INDUCED BY AEROBIC EXERCISE). THE KEY HERE IS TO MAINTAIN A HEART RATE OF NO HIGHER THAN 130 BEATS PER MINUTE (FOR MOST, GENERALLY SPEAKING) TO REMAIN IN AN AEROBIC ZONE. REMEMBER, FAT IS AN INEFFICIENT SOURCE OF ENERGY, THEREFORE IT’S PREFERRED DURING LOW INTENSITY EFFORTS WHERE THERE IS NO NEED TO BE EFFICIENT.
THE OTHER TIME WHEN CARDIO IS MOST EFFECTIVE TO BURN FAT IS FOLLOWING RESISTANCE TRAINING. DURING TRAINING ONE PERFORMS REPS BY REPEATED MUSCULAR CONTRACTIONS WHERE GLYCOGEN IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF ENERGY. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, YOU WON’T ACTUALLY DEPLETE GLYCOGEN LEVELS THAT MUCH UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN UNDERGOING DAYS ON A CARB DEPLETION. HOWEVER, BLOOD GLUCoSE LEVELS WILL BE LOWERED, HENCE THE OCCASIONAL BOUT OF LOW BLOOD SUGAR FOLLOWING AN INTENSE WORKOUT, DESPITE NOT FEELING ALL THAT GREAT, THE BODY’S LIPOLYTIC ABILITIES BECOME HEIGHTENED DURING THIS TIME; PROVIDED THE HEART RATE STAYS WITHIN THAT AEROBIC ZONE (65-75% OF MAX TARGET HR). ONE IMPORTANT THING I WANT TO POINT OUT IS THAT WHILE YOU MAY BURN A FEW HUNDRED CALORIES DURING A PARTICULAR CARDIO SESSION THE REAL BENEFIT COMES FROM YOUR ELEVATED CALORIC EXPENDITURE FOR THE OTHER 23 HOURS OF THE DAY. BE CONSISTENT, FOLLOW A HEALTHY NUTRITION PROGRAM, AND ABIDE BY THESE TWO SIMPLE RULES AND YOU’LL BE SURE TO INCREASE YOUR FAT BURNING ABILITY IN NO TIME.

NUTRITION- PRE/POST WORKOUT MEAL PLANNING

I LIKE TO THINK OF PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION AS THE BOOKENDS TO YOUR TRAINING SESSION; WITH THESE IN PLACE THE BODY IS STRONG AND STURDY, WITHOUT THEM THERE’S NO FOUNDATION. PRIOR TO RESISTANCE TRAINING YOU WILL WANT TO AVOID CARBS THAT ARE DRASTICALLY HIGH ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX DUE TO THE FACT THAT A RAPID SPIKE IN ENERGY WILL TRANSLATE TO A RAPID CRASH IN ENERGY. FOR MOST ATHLETES EATING A MEAL AN HOUR TO AN HOUR AND A HALF PRIOR TO TRAINING IS IDEAL. THIS ALLOWS FOR GLUCOSE TO ENTER THE BLOODSTREAM AND TO MAINTAIN ENERGY LEVELS THROUGHOUT THE WORKOUT. A FEW OF YOUR IDEAL PRE WORKOUT CARB CHOICES ARE OATMEAL, BROWN RICE, PASTA(YES DURHAM SEMOLINA IS ON THE LOWER END OF THE GI SCALE), AND SWEET POTATO JUST TO NAME A FEW. ONE PRINCIPLE THAT I USE WITH MY CLIENTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN PERFORMANCE BASED ACTIVITIES OR EVENTS, IS WHAT I CALL CARB STACKING. WITH THIS APPROACH I LIKE TO BLEND A MIXTURE OF HIGH AND LOW GLYCEMIC CARBOHYDRATES, THIS ALLOWS FOR IMMEDIATE AS WELL AS SUSTAINED ENERGY TO ASSIST THE TRAINEE IN ACHIEVING PEAK PERFORMANCE THROUGHOUT THE DESIRED ACTIVITY. YOUR PRE WORKOUT PROTEIN INTAKE IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS RESEARCH TELLS US THAT 80% OF THE GLYCOGEN NEEDED DURING INTENSE TRAINING IS SYNTHESIZED THROUGH AMINO ACIDS. A LEAN MEAT SUCH AS CHICKEN OR A WHEY PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT WOULD SERVE QUITE WELL IN THIS SITUATION. ADDING A PROTEIN SOURCE WILL ALSO SLOW THE BREAKDOWN OF CARBOHYDRATES INTO GLUCOSE, THUS ALLOWING FOR A SLOWER, MORE CONSISTENT RISE IN BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS, RESULTING IN A MORE BALANCED RATE OF INSULIN SECRETION BY THE PANCREAS. INDIVIDUAL’S WITH A FASTER THAN NORMAL METABOLISM, GENERALLY ECTOMORPHIC BODY TYPES, MAY WANT TO ADD IN SOME ADDITIONAL CARBOHYDRATES, DUE TO THE ELEVATED RATE OF GASTRIC EMPTYING. ON THE FLIP SIDE, THOSE WITH SLOWER METABOLISMS MAY BENEFIT MORE BY ADDING MORE FIBROUS CARBOHYDRATES LIKE GREEN VEGGIES TO FURTHER SLOW THE BREAKDOWN FROM THE STARCHY CARBS, IN ORDER TO REGULATE INSULIN SPIKES TO A GREATER DEGREE. MY IDEA OF A PRE WORKOUT MEAL WOULD BE A GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST, A MIXTURE OF WHITE AND BROWN RICE, AND A SMALL AMOUNT OF STEAMED BROCCOLI.
THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE WITH PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION IS WHERE YOUR PRE WORKOUT MEAL CONSISTS OF A SLOW DIGESTING OR A BLEND OF CARBOHYDRATES. POST WORKOUT SHOULD CONSIST OF A HIGH GLYCEMIC CARB AS WELL AS AN EASILY DIGESTIBLE LIQUID PROTEIN SUCH AS A WHEY ISOLATE TO START THE RECOVERY PROCESS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. A HIGH GLYCEMIC CARB WILL REPLENISH GLYCOGEN LEVELS TO STARVING MUSCLES READY TO SOAK THEM UP LIKE A THIRSTY SPONGE. A LIQUID PROTEIN SOURCE WILL GET VITAL AMINO ACIDS TO THE MUSCLE FASTER THAN SOLID FOOD, WHICH ULTIMATELY BECOMES A LIQUID THROUGH THE DIGESTION PROCESS ANYHOW. MY IDEA OF AN IDEAL POST WORKOUT MEAL WOULD BE WHEY PROTEIN POWDER MIXED WITH WATER AND A BAKED POTATO OR WHITE RICE. AFTER THAT I WOULD NOT WAIT LONGER THAN 2 HOURS TO HAVE YOUR POST/POST WORKOUT MEAL. USE THESE “ANABOLIC WINDOW’S” TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO MAXIMIZE YOUR RESULTS, THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN CONTINUOUSLY TAKING ONE STEP FORWARD AND TWO STEPS BACK. GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR HARD WORK BY BECOMING MORE AWARE OF YOUR BOOKENDS!! NOTE** WHEN STRIVING SOLEY TO REDUCE BODY FAT WHILE MAINTAINING LEAN MASS…MANY BODYBUILDER’S ONLY CONSUME PROTEIN AND ESSENTIAL FATS AFTER TRAINING. THIS APPROACH, WHILE NOT IDEAL FOR THOSE TRYING TO ADD THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF MASS, DOES HAVE IT’S PLACE IN ANY NUTRITIONAL PROTOCOL ARSENAL WHEN THE MAIN GOAL IS TO REDUCE ONES BODY FAT!

SUPPLEMENT REVIEW — CREATINE!!… THE MOST RESEARCHED SPORTS SUPPLEMENT EVER!!

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE- In my experience when talking to coaches, parents, and fitness professionals creatine is one of the most controversial supplements pertaining to athletes. Over the past few years a number of variations of creatine have been developed. For our purposes I will be referring exclusively to creatine monohydrate as it is the most heavily studied sports supplements to date. In layman’s terms creatine is simply a chain of 3 amino acids; Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine. Creatine can have many positive benefits to an athlete. First off creatine draws fluid into the muscle cell creating cell volumization. Greater cell volume means better nutrient synthesis which leads to a positive nitrogen balance therefore preventing catabolism. Creatine monohydrate also is catalyst to ATP production in the mitochondria of the cell. ATP is what gives the cell energy output allowing for greater contractile force over longer periods of time. The biggest issue against creatine I hear most often is that it causes muscle cramps and strains, and in some cases gas and bloating. My response to this is to keep in mind that with any supplement it’s a foreign object to the body and the body has two choices either to accept it or reject it. I believe that a high quality brand of creatine monohydrate will eliminate many of the stomach and intestinal irritation. As I stated, creatine works through cell volumization, so yes, you must keep your water intake elevated. Personally, I believe most muscle strain associated with creatine is from dehydration and probably would have occurred anyway. Creatine monohydrate is the most studied sports supplement and has yet to show any toxicity to the body. Foods that are naturally high in creatine are red meat, fish and poultry.

The 5 Simple Steps.