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  • Amino Acids/BCAAs

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    1. What are Amino Acids?


    Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Indeed, amino acids are the alphabet of life, combining to form protein structures including muscle tissue, enzymes and hormones.

    What makes amino acids, which combine to form proteins, different from other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats)? The reason they are called "amino acids" is that they all contain an amino group (NH2) attached to an acidic carboxyl group (COOH) and an organic side group (R). Carbohydrates and fats do not contain an amino group.

    Amino acids are a remarkable and essential component of our genetic code and are present in every single cell in our bodies. Thus, amino acids are involved in a number of metabolic pathways that effect the breakdown of food and growth.

    2. What are the different types of Amino Acids?


    Amino acids are either essential (must be derived from one's diet), nonessential (can be synthesized within the body from the breakdown of proteins and other amino acids) or conditionally essential (amino acids which cannot be synthesized in certain situations and therefore must be consumed).

    20 amino acids are important for humans. Nine of which are generally regarded as essential. They are: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, histidine, valine and phenylalanine. The nonessential amino acids are: alanine, serine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid and proline.

    The amino acids considered conditionally essential are: arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine and tyrosine. Although they are not normally required in the diet, certain populations may require food sources to receive these amino acids as they may not synthesize them in adequate amounts.

    Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's), a group of three essential amino acids, are different from the other 17 amino acids in that in one of their roles, they are a primary source of fuel for skeletal muscles. This makes them of particular value and importance to elite athletes as far as sports supplements are concerned. The branched chain amino acids are: valine, leucine, and isoleucine.

    3. What are the best sources of Amino Acids?


    In order for protein to be used most efficiently in the body, all of the essential amino acids must be present. A complete protein is one that contains all of the essential amino acids where as an incomplete protein does not. Examples of complete proteins, high in essential amino acids, are animal-based proteins such as chicken, beef, pork, fish, milk, cheese, as well as milk proteins such as whey, casein, egg and plant-based soy protein. Additionally, two incomplete proteins such as beans and rice may be combined to form a complete protein. Consuming optimal amounts of amino acids including essential, conditionally essential and nonessential amino acids will aid you in your quest to maintain a healthy body.

    Contrary to popular belief, an adequate daily intake of essential amino acids can be obtained entirely from plant sources although it requires more of a conscious effort. If the vegetarian diet has sufficient variety and planning and contains adequate amounts of legumes, soy protein, seeds and nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables, then the recommended daily allowance of protein can be achieved. Vegetarians who consume eggs and milk products are much less likely to have a deficiency.

    Some of the best sources of amino acids are protein shakes and energy bars, which are specifically formulated to have an ideal balance of essential amino acids to be effectively used within the body. Additionally, high-quality amino acid supplements in the form of tablets and powders are available from A1Supplements.com.

    4. What do Amino Acids do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

    As previously mentioned, amino acids are the primary constituents of an array of structures vital to life. Amino acids may be linked together via peptide bonds to form proteins used by the body for anabolic purposes, assisting in the growth and repair of body tissues. They may also be broken down and used as energy in catabolic reactions.

    Supplementing one's diet with additional amino acids can be highly beneficial, enhancing muscle tissue growth and serving as an energy source available during exercise. Due to the incredible efficiency of the human body, if adequate amino acids are not available during an intense workout, the body may start to cannibalize muscle tissue to make up for the deficit. That's why pre-workout amino acid supplementation and the postworkout anabolic window is vitally important for maintaining positive nitrogen balance and building muscle mass with protein (amino acids) consumption.

    One study found that when a group of individuals was split up and given either 40 g of essential amino acids or a placebo, then followed an identical resistance training program, the group taking amino acids showed greater muscle growth.

    A follow-up study was then conducted with the same protocols, except this time with 6 g of essential amino acids and 36 g of sucralose taken either pre-workout, postworkout, or at both times. what is interesting is that the data shows that group that consumed the essential amino acid and sugar combination before exercise produced a 158% greater anabolic effect than those who consumed it immediately after training (International Journal Of Sports Nutrition And Exercise Metabolism, 109-32. 2001). This study suggests that not only do amino acids assist muscle growth and energy for resistance training individuals, but the best time to consume this particular mixture is pre-workout.

    5. Who needs Amino Acids and how much should be taken? Are there any side effects or symptoms of deficiency?


    Everyone needs a daily amount of amino acids to live. Amino acids can be particularly beneficial to hard training athletes and bodybuilders bulking up who are looking to put on excess muscle mass.

    Because the body cannot make or store essential amino acids, they must be consumed in one's diet daily. The RDA for protein (amino acids) for men and women is 0.83 g of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.377 g per pound of body weight); however, an athlete's protein (amino acids) requirements may be higher due to the constant protein breakdown caused by training.

    Although it's debatable the adequate or optimal level of protein consumption, many personal trainers, sports doctors and scientists now recommend 1.2 to 1.8 g per kilogram of body weight for those who regularly exercise; depending on a persons type of training, intensity, duration, frequency, overall caloric intake and body composition goals.

    Deficiencies are rare because most people consume enough amino acids in the average diet. Those who are at risk from amino acid deficiency and may benefit from amino acid supplementation are people on low calorie diets, vegetarians, people with allergies or stress-related diseases and people with hypoglycemia. Other people who may show signs of amino acid deficiency could be people with trouble digesting food. This could be due to a lack of digestive enzymes, which are synthesized by the body combining amino acids; but they may also be supplemented.

  • Anti-Aging Supplements

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    What is anti-aging?


    Anti-aging has always been a point of fascination for mankind. For most of us it was just a buzz word that we paid little attention to in our youth. It is also a word that takes on a different meaning for everyone. Some connotations of this word might be wrinkled skin, hair loss, low energy, weight gain, loss of mobility, decreased libido, and a host of other ailments. You probably first became aware of the affects of aging from your grandparents and wondered why they took so many pills and moved about laboriously. Then your parents showed signs of aging as well. And finally, you started to become affected by the aging process.

    In the next sections we will explore a widely held viewabout how aging occurs, some research that points to the effects aging has on hormones, and how diet and exercise can help one age gracefully.


    Free Radical Theory Defined:


    Free radicals are the byproduct of energy production involved in normal cellular function. These unstable oxygen molecules have a free electron. This free electron makes this molecule highly volatile and allows it to bond to other molecules in the body. This causes deleterious effects to the molecules that they indiscriminately bond with. The molecules that are bonded with cease to function properly.

    Antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Resveratrol and Coenzyme Q10 can help reduce the impact of these free radicals. A great source of these antioxidants comes in the form of a well formulated multivitamin. When these antioxidants are readily available in the cell they bind to the free radicals and decrease the damaging effects that ensue. They are therefore the first line of defense against this cellular threat.

    While exploring oxidation in the body, it is important to notethat metal oxidation is called rust. Aging is thought to be related to this incessant attack on our bodies from within. Some damage caused by free radicals includes: damage to mitochondrial DNA, breakdown/ hardening of lipids in cell walls, damage to DNA, RNA, and protein enzymes.


    Hormone Decline:


    As we age our bodies begin to slow down hormone production. This leads to the loss of muscle tissue, slowed metabolism, mood effects, decreased libido and fatigue. One of the most pronounced conditions that this decrease in hormone production produces is commonly referred to as menopause (andropause for men). “By the age of 60, DHEA levels are only about 5–15% of what they were at their peak at younger ages” (Ebeling P, Koivisto VA. Physiological importance of dehydroepiandrosterone. Lancet 1994;343:1479–81) Unfortunately DHEA cannot be attained from one’s diet. Therefore, when your body is done producing this essential hormone you have to get it via supplementation. It is produced in the adrenal glands. It is important to note that DHEA is the precursor for testosterone, estrogen, and other hormones.

    Coinciding with the reduction of hormones overall, the body greatly reduces the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) as well when we age. HGH has three positive benefits on the body. It promotes the development of new muscle cells. This is important because as we age muscle tissue declines at a steady pace. The second benefit is increased metabolism and energy levels. The last benefit received from HGH is that it speeds up the healing process.


    Healthy Fats:


    You may be a bit confused by the title with the bad stigma that fats receive. You have probably heard plenty of diets that advocate little to no fats. Well all fats are NOT created equally. There are essential fatty acids that we need for proper function. These fatty acids cannot be synthesized in our bodies. Due to our diet, which is heavy in grains, we get plenty of omega 6 and omega 9, but we consume very little omega 3. The body needs a balance of these essential fatty acids, but unfortunately we do not get much omega 3 in our diet.

    Some exciting new research studying the health affectsof proper levels of omega 3s is currently going on. According to the an article on MSNBC.com titled ” Want to live longer? You need this nutrient,” omegas 3s have the following benefits: “better vision and eye-hand coordination, better mood, enhanced general movements, and an increased capacity for sustained attention.” Omega 3s are also good for cardiovascular health, inflammation reduction, and proper brain function.


    Diet:


    Surely you have come across the phrase, “You are what you eat.”Well that phrase has now become more relevant than ever. In this modern day, science is linking diet with all sorts of disease, cancer, and general malaise. We are in an exciting time where nutrition and science are synthesizing to produce profound new evidence regarding the benefits of a healthy diet. The following sentence from a WebMD article titled “The Anti-Aging Diet” does an excellent job of stating that “Age-related changes may be reversed by consuming foods and beverages that are rich in a variety of compounds, including antioxidants, and are anti-inflammatory, such as cold-water fish and richly colored fruits and vegetables.” Diet is a very crucial part of aging well.


    Exercise:


    A very effective method for reducing the pains of aging is exercise. Yes, exercise. You have read this tip time and time again; however you want to find some way around it. So what is the real reason that you show exercise? Well there are many. Exercise makes us not only look better on the outside, it makes us feel better on the inside as well. It has been proven to increase muscle, elevate energy levels, build bone density, improve circulation, release endorphins, reduce stress, and increase lung capacity.

    According to a Webmeds.com article titled “Exercise”, exercise also provides the following benefits: Mental health, reduction of high blood pressure, reduction of bad cholesterol, reduces fat, lower risk of developing diabetes and diabetes type 2 management, weight control, reduction in the risk of some types of cancer, decreased risk of osteoporosis, reduced risk and management of arthritis.

    So you are starting to like the idea of exercise; well the recommended daily amount is 30 minutes. Walking has long been the choice method for a low impact low injury exercise regiment. It is as easy as taking a stroll through your neighborhood at night, or going to the local track. Another very popular low-impact exercise is cycling. While these are great exercises for cardio, one also needs some weights for resistance exercise which helps build bone mass. It is recommended that you do some low weight bearing exercises 2 to 3 times a week to build bone density.

    Exercise is a key to improving overall healthand it is a cornerstone of healthy aging. There is no escaping this key element to achieving a well balance anti-aging regiment.


    Conclusion:


    Anti-aging is a very large subject that affects everyone. There are many theories regarding the process on a cellular level; we have covered a very widely adopted theory known as free radical theory. It is important to get antioxidants daily for counteracting the negative effects caused by free radicals. We have also looked into the affects of aging on our hormones and how the levels decline as we age. If you feel you have been affected by this decline, one way to increase hormone levels is through supplementation. Don’t believe all the bad hype on fat and be sure to get the healthy essential fat Omega 3. Lastly we explored diet and exercise and looked at their important roles in overall health and longevity. There is still much we do not know about the human condition, but thanks to science and technology we are closing the gap.

  • Calcium

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    1. What Is Calcium?


    Not only is the soft, gray mineral that chemists call calcium it's the fifth most abundant element on earth, it is the fifth most abundant element in human beings. Most people know that we need lots of calcium—around a thousand milligrams a day, more for pregnant women and the elderly—for healthy bones and teeth. But they may not be aware that calcium plays a vital role in the transmission of nerve impulses, the constriction and relaxation of blood vessels, and even in the production of certain hormones such as insulin.


    2. What Are Food Sources Of Calcium?


    Dairy remains the best known and most widely available food source of calcium. Due to concerns over the effect of saturated fat on heart disease, many health-conscious consumers prefer to eat dairy—whether milk, yogurt, cheese, or kefir—in a low-fat form. Other good sources include pinto beans, rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and some forms of tofu.

    Adolescents typically have the greatest need for calcium, since their skeletal systems are forming. Often, however, they substitute soft drinks for calcium-rich milk, and are famously reluctant to eat their vegetables. This sets adolescents up for bone problems and other health difficulties later in life.


    3. What Are Some Possible Benefits Of Calcium?


    So many studies have accumulated showing that a good intake of calcium can lessen the chances of osteoporosis and hip fractures in the elderly that in 1993 the US Food and Drug Administration allowing a health claim not only for calcium-rich food but also for supplements stating that calcium can reduce the risk of bone loss later in life.

    Other possible benefits of calcium are much more surprising. For instance, some research indicates that additional dietary calcium may actually inhibit weight gain in women. (Similar investigations have not yet been performed on men.) In one study 2006, women in their fifties who took more than 500 mg per day of calcium gained five fewer pounds over 10 years than those who did not. Nobody knows how this works, but possible explanations include decreased production of parathyroid hormone which leads to loss of calcium in fat cells. Another possibility is that extra calcium simply blocks the absorption of dietary fat, thereby reducing caloric intake.

    Speaking of women’s health, other calcium research points to the possibility that extra calcium may help reduce by 30% the risk of developing Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. This could potentially alleviate much pain and suffering for millions of women…and men.

    Hypertension-induced stroke is a leading cause of disability and death in America and the rest of the industrialized world. For the last two decades both observational and experimental, including the famous DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study, have lent support to the idea that calcium may help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure to a moderate degree without the use of dangerous medications. The amount of calcium that seems to be useful is in the range of 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg per day.

    A particularly dangerous form of hypertension is preeclampsia, which strikes pregnant women. Again, studies point to the usefulness of calcium in reducing the risk of this sometimes deadly condition. Again, pregnant women should probably be taking about 1,000 to 1,200 mg per day of calcium.

    Until recently scientists and doctors believed that too much calcium could cause kidney stones in some people, but recent work in the field suggests that calcium actually appears to reduce the body’s tendency to form kidney stones by a whopping 44%. As little as 200 mg per day of calcium might do the trick, although taking more of this key nutrient is probably a good idea for most people.

    Other possible uses of calcium include its use to reduce the risk of polyps that can turn into colon cancer, a major cause of death among Americans if not caught in time., as well as minimizing the damage that lead exposure can cause in both adults and children.


    4. How Can Calcium Be Taken?


    Try to take half your calcium (500 mg or thereabouts) with breakfast, and the other 500 mg with supper. Calcium carbonate works okay, but many people, including the elderly and those on heartburn medicine, will probably find that forms such as calcium citrate are absorbed better.

    Calcium supplements can be found in liquid, chewable, powdered, and pill forms. Keep in mind that calcium needs to be taken with vitamin D, preferably in the cholecaliciferol form, to be absorbed by the body. Magnesium also helps in this regard.


    5. Is Calcium Safe?


    Calcium is safe for almost everyone. Possible side effects can include gas and constipation. Adding some magnesium or switching from calcium carbonate to calcium citrate usually clears this up.

    Calcium can sometimes block the absorption of prescription drugs such as thyroid medicine and certain antibiotics, including tetracycline, so be sure to check with your doctor if you are on these or any other medications.

  • Creatine Supplements

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    1. What is Creatine and where does it come from?


    Simply put, creatine monohydrate is the most popular and effective sports supplement on the market and with good reason; those who use it make impressive gains in muscle energy, leading to strength increases in the weight room and speed increases on the field!

    There is one good reason why three out of four of the '96 summer Olympic medallists used creatine: it works and it works well. A French scientist first discovered creatine in 1832, but it was not until 1923 that scientists discovered that over 95% of creatine is stored in muscle tissue. The first published report of creatine having bodybuilding effects was The Journal of Biological Chemistry in, get this, 1926! Although we've known about creatine for quite some time, the first real use of it to enhance performance was the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain.

    So, what is creatine? Our bodies naturally make the compound, which is used to supply energy to our muscles. It is produced in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, and is transported to the body's muscles through the bloodstream. Once it reaches the muscles, it is converted into phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate). This high-powered metabolite is used to regenerate the muscles' ultimate energy source, ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Unlike steroids or drugs, creatine is 100% natural and occurs naturally in many foods; therefore, it can never be banned from any sports or international competitions (unless they banned eating meat). Many foods especially herring, salmon, tuna, and beef contain some creatine. However, the very best source of creatine by far is creatine monohydrate because it contains more creatine per weight of material than any other source. A1Supplements.com sells only high quality 99.9% pure pharmaceutical-grade creatine monohydrate.

    2. What does Creatine do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?


    Creatine is bodybuilding's ultimate supplement, and for good reason. For one thing, creatine can significantly increase lean muscle mass in just two weeks. It is also responsible for improving performance in high-intensity exercise, increasing energy levels, and speeding up recovery rates. It's no wonder athletes who use it have such of an edge over those who do not. Soon nearly every athlete who competes will use it (if they don't already). Creatine's ability to enhance energy reserves in muscles comes from its muscle protein synthesizing action, while minimizing protein breakdown. This occurs because creatine has the awesome effect of super-hydrating muscle cells with water. It enhances muscles' growth too-making muscle fibers bigger and stronger.

    Quite a few studies have been done on creatine to figure out why and how it works so well. There have been over twenty double blind (meaning neither the researchers nor the subjects knew who was getting what), placebo-controlled studies conducted on creatine in the past five years. They proved that creatine increased energy levels, resulting in increased strength, endurance levels, and recovery rates. Another unexpected benefit attributed to creatine was discovered as well: creatine accelerates fat loss, while building lean body mass!

    3. What Different Types Of Creatine Products Are Currently Available?

    Creatine is available in a variety of forms and combinations.Each classification of creatine product has its advantages. Check out the different types of creatine products below and click the links to find out what products are best for you!

       Pure Creatine Powder - The original creatine powder that started it all!

    When we say pure creatine powder, we're talking creatine monohydrate. Pure Creatine Monohydrate plays an important role in the transfer of energy. In the muscle, it is used to fuel the process of contraction. It is converted to phosphocreatine which is important for short energy bursts such as sprinting and weightlifting. Depletion of phosphocreatine can result in muscular fatigue and fading muscle power.

       Creatine and Glutamine - A great combination for strength and recovery!

    Get the best of both worlds with creatine and glutamine supplements. Creatine's muscle energizing and strength building properties combined with glutamine's well-known recovery boosting abilities makes for a powerful synergistic combo!

        Creatine and Nitric Oxide - Get the muscle pump and energy you need!

    Enhanced creatine's powerful strength building and energizing capacity with nitric oxide! Nitric oxide helps maintain muscle pumps and forces more creatine phosphate into the muscle cells for better results.

        Creatine Capsules - Convenient, no hassle, no nonsense creatine at your fingertips!

    Experience the wonder of creatine in convenient, easy to swallow capsules! Creatine capsules are a great way to maintain your creatine supplementation schedule for those who don't like to drink creatine mixtures or for those who just want the convenience of a capsule.

        Creatine Chewables - Delicious creatine chews are the way to go to satisfy your craving for lean muscle!

    Introducing the latest innovation in creatine supplementation: creatine chewables! Tasty creatine chewables are here to stay! Creatine chewables are delicious way to get your creatine so you can gain the energy and strength you need to achieve maximum results at the gym.

        Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE) - Cutting edge creatine formulation!

    Creatine Ethyl Ester is an advanced form of creatine which has been clinically shown to increase lean muscle mass, improve performance in high-intensity exercise, maximize energy levels and strength gains, and speed recovery. Creatine ethyl ester technology leads to improved absorption, less bloat and minimal water retention.

        Creatine Plus Potentiators - An advanced creatine combination for maximum results!

     Creatine Plus Potentiators is a much more advanced form of supplemental creatine. Creatine Plus Potentiators is one of the most effective forms of creatine because potentiators create an insulin spike which makes creatine more readily absorbed into the muscle cells.

        Kre-Alkalyn Creatine - The latest innovation in creatine technology!

    Creatine Monohydrate has been proven through a decade and more of research to enhance strength, endurance, and subsequent athletic performance. The only disadvantages of traditional Creatine Monohydrate are the extremely short term stability, rapid conversation into the bi-product Creatinine when exposed to liquid, and subsequent poor absorption into the bloodstream.

    Kre-Alkalyn Creatine, buffered for maximum absorption and stability, solves this dilemma. Kre-Alkalyn Creatine offers the athlete Creatine which is 100% stable, will not break down into Creatinine, and will absorb efficiently into the bloodstream. In fact, each 1 gram of Kre-Alkalyn is equivalent to ingesting 10 grams of Creatine powder allowing the athlete to take far less product while experiencing even more explosive results.

        Liquid Creatine - Easier to metabolize, easier to maintain creatine!

    Liquid Creatine offers creatine monohydrate in stabilized liquid form. With a two year shelf-life, it will not break down to waste product creatinine. It also metabolizes faster, safer and more efficiently than powdered creatines.

    Liquid Creatine Serum needs no loading because it saturate the muscles within minutes with enough creatine for your immediate workout. The maintenance phase is not necessary either, although some serum users prefer to take it daily to boose other energy-requiring activities.

    With all the different creatine products on the market it can be tough to choose the one that's right for you. To get candid opinions on which creatine products work best, visit our supplements forum!

    4. Who needs Creatine and how much should be taken? Are there any side effects or symptoms of deficiency?

    First, anyone who is ready to have more energy, build more muscle faster, and have more endurance should try supplementing with creatine monohydrate. Next, anyone who would like to be more toned by increasing lean muscle mass, recuperating faster, and losing that extra little fat roll should supplement with creatine monohydrate. Last, anyone who is involved in intense physical activity, experiencing physical stress and fatigue, and likes incredible results should supplement with creatine monohydrate.

    Excellent results have been observed in taking creatine monohydrate in two different ways. The first way is called loading. This method works very well for anyone who has never taken creatine before. Just as the name implies, it involves loading up or saturating your muscles with creatine. During the first four days to a week, take 20 to 30 grams per day. Mix it with non-acidic juice or water. Grape juice works well. After this loading period, take a regular intake of between five to fifteen grams per day to keep your muscles saturated (no need to over do it). The other method is a more gradual approach to supplementing with creatine monohydrate. Over the course of an extended period, one basically skips the loading phase and just supplements with five to fifteen grams per day, everyday. The best results have been noticed when creatine is combined with a high carbohydrate base, such as dextrose (glucose) and taken about one-half hour before training.

    The best part about creatine-no adverse effects have been reported in any studies. NONE! Creatine is totally safe and effective. Creatine has never been shown harmfully toxic. Nevertheless, just like with anything, it is not recommended to over-supplement once your muscles are saturated with creatine-there is no reason to. This means, stick to the recommended dosages, and be prepared to experience the very best muscle, strength, energy, and endurance gains possible!

  • Muscle Builders

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    Supplemental Hormonal Enhancement


    Muscle building or hypertrophy is the process of gaining muscle size and strength. The greatest boon to muscle building is proper nutrition, followed by training and rest. The focus of this article will be on how one's core program can be augmented with muscle building supplements related to hormone levels.

    The supplement industry has been ever-changing in the muscle-building category. We've seen the rise of creatine, protein powders and prohormones and watched as the anabolic segment has been quite dynamic since the prohormone ban went into effect in 2004. As we cover creatine and protein powders elsewhere on this site, this category is geared toward prohormone-related supplements.


    What's left?


    These days, many prohormone-related supplements seem to have a short shelf-life, but a few have thus far withstood the test of time. Candid, brief reviews of DHEA, HGH, Tribulus Terrestris, ZMA, Anti-Estrogen and Post Cycle Therapy supplements follow.


    DHEA


    The results of DHEA supplementation in scientific studies have been mixed, some positive results and some possible side effects. DHEA is prohibited by many athletics associations and failed attempts have been made to reclassify it as a controlled substance under the category of anabolic steroids.

    DHEA has been around for a long time and it's still available. This is a pretty reasonable description of how it's represented:

    "Some advocates call it the fountain of youth. Known as the mother of hormones, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is needed by the body to produce many types of hormones including estrogen and testosterone. DHEA is secreted by the adrenal glands (located on top of the kidneys) as well as by the skin, brain, testicles, and ovaries. Although women make less DHEA than men, in both sexes DHEA production declines dramatically with age; levels are 80% lower at age 70 than at age 30.

    There has been plenty of hype surrounding DHEA, so it is difficult to separate wishful thinking from sound scientific evidence. DHEA has been said to stimulate weight loss, increase libido, enhance memory, and prevent osteoporosis, but these claims are unsupported. Studies do indicate, however, that DHEA may improve general well-being in older people (although just how isn’t clear), reduce the risk of heart disease, ease symptoms of the autoimmune disease lupus, help manage diabetes, and bolster immunity, among other things."


    Growth Hormone


    A number of studies have been conducted on HGH effects; however, the data is insufficient to draw definitive, long-term conclusions.

    There are a great variety of products which claim to support or boost growth hormone in the human body. The results have been mixed. Here's a few snippets of info regarding these:

    "HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is an amino acid produced in the anterior pituitary gland of the brain. hGH is continually secreted throughout the human lifecycle. This hormone influences our growth and aging process, and it is responsible for keeping our bodies young and in good health. hGH affects every bodily function, including sex and reproduction, growth and development, metabolism and mood. hGH levels are at their highest during childhood, and they peak at adolescence. After this, levels continue to decline. By age 61, hGH levels decrease to 80% less than what they were at age 21."



    "What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of human growth hormone boosters you have used in the past? Personally, the first thing that comes to my mind is I felt let down, and lied to. Let down because when it comes down to it, the things I was supposed to feel, according to the bottle, or the person selling it, never happened. Stories of raising HGH to supraphysiological levels, levels that can only be obtained by using expensive, and illegal HGH injections. I felt lied to because raising HGH to supraphysiological conditions can result in bad side effects, so why would anyone want to intentionally do this, or promote a product that states it will do it?"



    "HGHup‚ is the world's first hANh (Hybrid Anabolic / Near Hormonal); which is defined as a product that engages a synchronization of natural and exogenous factors to produce a pronounced anabolic and hormonal response. The distinct advantage of a hANh is that the user is able to obtain maximal physiological benefits comparable to that of fully hormonal products while minimizing potential side effects and disruption of endogenous factors post-usage."

    Be sure to check out the customer reviews on these and others from the HGH category.


    Tribulus Terrestris


    It's touted as a sex-drive enhancer and testosterone booster/PCT; however, the results from controlled studies have been unable to consistently verify these claims.

    The following text is from a well-known tribulus terrestris product, Tribestan (this one's been around the block a time or two), to illustrate the gist of this supplement:

    "When you take Tribestan, your pituitary releases luteinizing hormone, which is responsible for stimulating the testes to produce testosterone. It's common for levels of both luteinizing hormone and testosterone to decrease when you are taking steroids or even when you use the testosterone boosters. This is because when the body senses an external source of testosterone, it will decrease the amount of testosterone it produces to maintain homeostasis. That means your body will always attempt to balance itself.

    That's why many people who have taken steroids for long periods of time experience a dramatic reduction in the amount of testosterone they produce and some even suffer a complete shutdown. That's how some bodybuilders become sterile or impotent. They rely on outside sources of testosterone so much that their own system for testosterone production becomes inactive (dormant).

    The reason why Tribestan works so well is because it is not an external source of testosterone or a precursor to testosterone. It doesn't supply testosterone. It stimulates your body to produce more of its own testosterone. And even in situations where people are taking steroids and their natural testosterone production has diminished, it can raise testosterone production back up to normal levels."

    More tribulus terrestris products can be found here.


    ZMA


    ZMA was hailed as a major breakthrough in testosterone enhancement when strength gains were reported in an NCAA football players' 8 week program in 1998. Subsequent studies have failed to duplicate this result. Here's the breakdown from one of the current top-sellers:

    "We use only the finest patent-pending ZMA that has been scientifically proven to be 2 1/2 times stronger than a placebo! ZMA is the only non-steroidal, all natural dietary supplement that is 100% clinically proven to increase Testosterone levels and increase strength in athletes. Increased muscle tissue growth and recovery can only be accomplished if your body is kept in an anabolic state for a considerable length of time. ZMA will help your body to stay in this anabolic state thereby increasing your body's overall lean muscle mass.

    In an eight week double blind, placebo controlled study with college football players, ZMA was found to increase total plasma testosterone levels by 32.4%, increase Insulin-Like Growth Factor by 3.6%, increase free testosterone levels by 33.5%, and increase muscle strength by 11.6%. This study is conclusive because the testosterone levels and IGF-1 levels actually dropped in the placebo group overnight, whereas with the ZMA group, it jumped considerably."

    Sort all ZMA products by best-selling here.


    Anti-Estrogens


    Just as the name implies, anti-estrogen products are designed to attack the hormone balance problem of maintaining maximum anabolism from a different angle.

    This is another category wrought with an ever-changing dynamic. One of the long-time products found here is Animal Stak. Another is T-Bomb II.

    Learn more about anti-estrogens here.
    Check out the full list of best-selling anti-estrogen products here.


    Post Cycle Therapy


    Finally, post cycle therapy is the in vogue way of addressing the hormonal balance of one's body after a "cycle" of one or more of the anabolic products supplemented with above. Some of these products appear to have a "kitchen sink" philosophy, while others are more targeted.



    "A-HD (Arimedex HD) is a novel compound Testosterone Boosting Agent. A shut down non-prescription Anti-Aromatase Inhibitor that works by blocking/binding to the enzyme aromatase therefore preventing the conversion of Estrogen. It also works by binding to the estrogen receptors and by doing so, prevent harmful estrogen from binding to these receptor sites. ZERO to little Estrogen leads to a harder, leaner, more dry looking physique. No more holding water, no more bloated looks just rock hard shredded muscle!"





  • Zinc

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    What is zinc?


    The metabolic activity of 300 of the body’s enzymes requires the essential trace mineral zinc. Scientists consider zinc essential for cell division and the synthesis of DNA and protein, as well as the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate, fat, and alcohol. The human body also needs zinc for wound healing, immune function, brain function, and a keen sense of taste, as well as the production of testosterone and sperm.
    It is interesting to note that humans contain roughly 2-3g of zinc. Since our bodies have no specific storage sites for zinc, we require a regular supply in the diet. Zinc can be found in all parts of our body, 60% in muscle, 30% in bone, and about 5% in our skin. The prostate gland and semen contain particularly high concentrations. Men need more zinc than women because male semen contains 100 times more zinc than is found in the blood. Not surprisingly, the more sexually active a man the more zinc he will require.

    What are food sources of zinc?


    Rich sources of zinc include shellfish, beef, and other red meats, as well as meat and eggs. Good amounts of zinc can be obtained from nuts and legumes, with pumpkin seeds being an especially reliable source, although other plant foods such as whole grains are problematic, since those contain substances called phytates that tend to block absorption of zinc. Leavened (that is, yeast-containing) whole gain bread is a fair source, because the leavening process tends to neutralize the phytates


    What is zinc used for?


    In health food stores all across the country zinc is one of the most popular mineral supplements, in part because even a moderate degree of zinc deficiency affects the body’s ability to make T-lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell that helps fight infections. Presumably this is why malnourished children in Africa and elsewhere in the Third World seem to experience shorter courses of illness after taking zinc supplements in the range of four to forty milligrams a day. Other studies conducted in America suggest that similar amounts of zinc taken in pill form may also help those in the First World boost their immunity against common diseases such as flu and colds.

    However, these days zinc may be most popular taken as a lozenge, thanks to the publication of a 1996 Cleveland Clinic study. Study participants who started taking zinc lozenges within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms were free of cold symptoms on average by about 4 1/2 days. Those who took a placebo had symptoms for 7 1/2 days. Research at Dartmouth University and elsewhere has yielded similar results. This holds out the possibility that millions of people maybe be able to reduce the duration of their colds, thereby missing fewer days of work and also lessening their overall misery.

    More than 50 percent of men over the age of forty have prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), and after age eighty it is 80 to 90 percent, often leading to urinary symptoms and surgery. However, the use of zinc supplements may be of considerable use to men at risk for these and other prostate conditions.

    In one study at the Center for Study of Genitourinary Diseases in West Dundee, Illinois, male subjects suffering from BPH took 150 milligrams of zinc sulfate every day for two months, followed by 50 to 100 milligrams a day as a maintenance dose. Over time, 14 of the 19 men experienced shrinkage of the prostate. These results have been duplicated in a number of other studies. (A possible mechanism of action is suggested by work at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in Scotland: Test tube experiments using prostate tissue found that high doses of zinc inhibited the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to its more powerful cousin, dihydrotestosterone. Levels of dihydrotestosterone typically rise with age, especially in men.)

    Zinc has many other potential uses as well. Down’s Syndrome children, for instance, may require large amounts of this trace mineral, as well as smokers, heavy drinkers, and vegetarians.

    How is zinc taken?


    For short term use—that is, a few weeks—zinc may be used in lozenge form to benefit from its possible effects against the common cold. For longer term use many may wish to take approximately 15-30 mg of zinc per day in pill form. This can be obtained from a good multivitamin or from a stand-alone zinc supplement.

    Since zinc and another essential mineral, copper, compete for absorption, it might be best to take both together so as to avoid inducing a copper deficiency.

    Is zinc safe?


    Long-term, high doses of zinc have also been shown to lower HDL (the "good" cholesterol), to suppress immune system function and to interfere with the absorption of copper which may result in a condition known as microcytic anemia. Do not take more than 50 mg of zinc per day unless you are under the supervision of a nutritionally knowledgeable physician.