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  • Anti-Aging Supplements

    ant ag

    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.

  • 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!"





  • protein

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


    Protein is one of the three primary macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fat. All macronutrients contain carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules; however, protein differs in that it also contains nitrogen. Once protein is consumed, it is broken down into its component parts including the basic building blocks of protein, amino acids. Protein's building blocks, amino acids, are classified as essential, nonessential, and conditionally essential. Amino acids which the body cannot produce are essential because they must be consumed. Conditionally essential amino acids must be consumed only under certain circumstances. Amino acids which are important to the human body and their classification are displayed on the amino acid table of the amino acids page. Proteins containing all of the essential amino acids are deemed complete proteins because the body can break them down and create any proteins, nonessential amino acids, enzymes, hormones or structural components needed in the body. 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, certain combinations of incomplete proteins such as beans and rice are complementary and form a complete protein when consumed together. The most convenient and highest quality protein sources available are protein shakes and protein bars, which are specifically formulated to have an ideal balance of essential amino acids to be effectively used within the body.


    2. What does Protein do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this? What are the main types of protein supplements?


    Protein is vital to life. Proteins are used in the body for anabolic purposes, assisting in the growth and repair of body tissues as well as for catabolic purposes such as energy production. Protein is an important nutrient for strength and stamina. It is a primary component of muscle tissue. Nevertheless, protein has all kinds of uses in the body, not just muscle building. It is used as structural material for cells and tissues, keratin in skin and elastin in connective tissue to name a few. It also plays a role in providing essential building blocks that help regulate important metabolic processes. The goal with athletes, bodybuilders and strength training individuals is to maintain nitrogen balance. Because nitrogen is a byproduct of protein metabolism, its excretion can be measured against its consumption. When nitrogen consumption and excretion are equal the body is said to be in nitrogen balance. If more nitrogen is excreted been consumed, the body is in negative nitrogen balance, which means one might be losing precious muscle. Supplementing one's diet with additional protein supplements 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 and post-workout protein supplementation is vitally important for maintaining nitrogen balance and building muscle mass with protein 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. Some of the different types of protein supplements are:Meal Replacements, Whey Protein, Casein, Soy Protein, Egg Protein, and Protein bars. Of these some variations include: Low Carb, High Carb, Protein Blends, Protein Bars and straight Amino Acids. Let's look at each of these.

    Meal Replacements : Nutritious "Fast Food" Meal Replacements (MRP's) are basically a protein powder that contains vitamins and minerals so that a serving will provide an adequate daily value of nutrients so as to "replace a meal". These are awesome, probably the most underrated supplement around. Many people use them because you know exactly what you are getting and they are a lot healthier than many other forms of fast food. These are a good way to go, although the price may be higher than basic protein sources such as whey protein concentrate.


    Whey Protein : Most popular form of protein supplementation Whey Protein is derived from cheese. It is highly absorbed and easily assimilated. Whey is the way to go for a post workout shake because it gets into your system very rapidly and that's the most important time to get it! Less than half an hour is all it takes for the body to process it. Whey protein is generally available in as main types; the higher quality, more expensive isolate and the less expensive, generic concentrate.


     Casein: Slow digesting nighttime protein Casein is a milk based protein that takes longer than other types of protein supplements to be fully absorbed. Because it digests over a 2-7 hour time period, it works great as a nighttime protein supplement.


    Soy Protein: Vegetarians' delight Soy Protein is one of the healthiest forms of protein because it provides a heart-healthy alternative to meat. As one of the only plant-based complete proteins, soy is great news for vegetarians. It is also beneficial for women because it provides estrogen support in women. It's ok for men to use soy, just not all the time as for women.


    Egg Protein : Complete protein source Egg Protein is a good source, so long as no more than one yolk is consumed daily. More than one yolk exceeds the RDA for cholesterol (300 mg). Egg protein powder in a supplement shake provides a good anytime protein that absorbs at a medium pace (1.5-3 hours). Supplement powders also taste good and are great in terms of cholesterol as well.


    Protein Blends : Versatile balanced protein source Protein Blends can be found in supplement protein powders and they have their benefits. For one thing, you get a variable absorption rate which means you get the best of all worlds. For another, you get a balanced source that is easy to consume.


     Low Carb : Strictly protein Straight protein supplement powders are low carb by nature; however, many manufacturers add in sugars to make it taste better. The low carb ones tend to be pretty much straight protein or use a sugar substitute that has little or no caloric value. These are great for those low carb diets and also for those who want to control their macronutrient intake with more precision, getting carbs from other sources. One caution: for the post workout shake, a little carbs are good to help your body absorb the protein easier by initiating an insulin spike.


    High Carb/Weight Gainers : High calorie deliciousness On the other end of the spectrum, we have Weight Gainers (high carb). These are very popular for those trying to put on mass because they have a high ratio of carbs to proteins and may also include a healthy amount of fat. As calories are the real reason people put on weight, these tend to have higher serving sizes that are calorie dense.


    Protein Bars : Convenient and tasty Protein bars are as convenient as can be and delicious if you find the right ones! Gone are the days of chalky disgusting protein bars. There are many chewy, delicious flavors to choose from! Many bars have a good mix of protein, carbs, fat, vitamins and minerals; but, they specialize so check the label. Also, remember you can always cut a bar in half, saving half for later and that would cut the calories in half if you're counting.


    Amino Acids : The building blocks There are quite a few straight amino supplements out there and they can be great for muscle growth as well. You cannot get the quantity of protein this way, but you can get quality. You also know you're getting all the essential aminos to make a complete protein and branched chain aminos as well for increased muscle growth. These are great to take preworkout to give your body the building blocks it needs during your workout to respond to the stress you place on it.

  • Vitamin C

    vtc 

    What is Vitamin C?


    Since its discovery by Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgi in the 1930s, more controversy has swirled around ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, than any other nutrient. Perhaps this stems from the term "ascorbic acid," meaning "without scurvy," which refers Vitamin C's well-known ability to fight scurvy, a disease of Vitamin C deficiency. Many doctors and researchers have assumed that fighting scurvy may in fact be all that Vitamin C does. But this nutrient does far more than that, including (along with lysine and proline) play an indispensable role in the production of collagen, the body's primary connection tissue--that is, the "glue" that holds our cells together.

    Vitamin C may in some ways be the single most crucial nutrient for human beings, guinea pigs, bats, and primates, all of which lack L-gulonolactone oxidase, a crucial enzyme that allows every other mammal species to make life-giving Vitamin C inside the body. (A 150-pound goat, for instance will manufacture as much as 13,000 mg of vitamin C per day, an amount hundreds of times more than the human RDA.)

    What are food sources of Vitamin C?


    Oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, limes, papaya, strawberries, and cantaloupe contain especially high levels. Good amounts can be found in tomatoes, broccoli, green and red bell peppers, raw lettuce and other leafy greens, with small quantities also present in potatoes. Unfortunately, for many modern Americans the primary source of Vitamin C comes from French fries.

    What is Vitamin C used for?


    Literally tens of thousands of studies involving Vitamin C have been performed, and a number of these indicate that higher-than-RDA levels may play a role in helping boost the body's immunity by raising levels of antibodies and immune system cells such as phagocytes and neutrophils, as well as interferon, the protein that helps protect us from viral invaders and cancer cells. This may explain Vitamin C's reputation as a powerful cold- and infection-fighter.

    Additionally, Vitamin C appears to promote the formation of healthy bone tissue, markedly speed wound healing, and fight gum disease. It appears to reduce levels of lead in the human body. A powerful water-soluble antioxidant, it also helps the body "recycle" fat-soluble Vitamin E. And without Vitamin C the body cannot manufacture the amino acid carnitine, or absorb iron, or break down pro-inflammatory histamine, a component of many allergic reactions.

    Vitamin C is well known to inhibit the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the stomach, which are often generated by eating preservative such as nitrites from sausages and other cured meats.

    Interesting, some tissues in the body accumulate more than 100 times the level of Vitamin C than is typically found in blood plasma. These include the adrenal glands, the pituitary gland, the thymus, and the retina. The brain, liver, testicles, and thyroid accumulate more than 10 times the concentration present in blood plasma.

    Scientists such as the Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling have claimed that ingestion of high levels of Vitamin C inhibit the formation of arterial plaque, prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and generally play a crucial role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

    How is Vitamin C taken?


    Vitamin C can be taken as a powder mixed in water or juice, as a chewable table, or as a pill. Since pure Vitamin C is somewhat acidic and can occasionally cause gas or diarrhea, many users prefer buffered forms, such as ascorbate or Ester C.

    The body rapidly excretes Vitamin C, so knowledgeable scientists and doctors often suggest taking it two, three, or even four times a day to prevent big drops in levels of this nutrient. Time-release forms of Vitamin C are also helpful.

    Bear in mind that many individuals have differing requirements for vitamin C. Although the Recommended Daily Allowance is 60 mg per day, diabetics, smokers, and those will chronic illnesses may well benefit from higher doses.

    Is Vitamin C safe?


    Yes. No fatalities linked with Vitamin C have ever been recorded. Do not, however, take so much as to cause gas or loose stools.

    Linus Pauling and others have suggested taking several hundred to several thousand milligrams per day in divided does. If you decide to follow their advice, start with low doses and slowly work your way up.