Ever wondered what is in your supplements and the effects of the different compounds? Here is a list to get you started.
Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL (ALCAR): Acetyl L-Carnitine is a modified amino acid that supports cellular energy production by assisting in the transport of fat into the mitochondria where it is oxidized and converted into ATP (chemical energy for the cell). Acetyl L-Carnitine is a highly bioavailable form a L-Carnitine which helps to maintain healthy cellular energy metabolism and supports brain function.
Agmatine: Agmatine stimulate the release of nitric oxide (NO) and diminish enzymes that break down NO through stimulating the release of pituitary hormones, including Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Growth Hormone (GH).
Aminogen: This patented enzyme blend includes proteases derived from Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae. Proteases are enzymes that specifically break down protein into smaller fragments. When you consume a protein powder with Aminogen in it, you get a faster digesting protein source. Clinical research confirms that Aminogen increases the absorption of protein by the body, as well as its utilization by the muscle fibers.
Arginine: Arginine gives you that pump through it's conversion to nitric oxide (NO) via nitric oxide synthase. It also boost growth hormone which assist in muscle increase and fat-burn. There are several types of arganine, including L-arganine, arginine-AKG, arginine HCL and arginine ketoisocaproate. L-arganine has been found to be a bit tougher to absorb, so looking out for other ones is good to achieve the best result. Besides boosting Nitric Oxide levels, Arginine has also been found to boosts growth-hormone levels
Beta-alanine: Beta-alaine is an amino acid that promotes strength, power and endurance. It forms the dipeptide (a double amino-acid protein) carisone, which helps muscles contract with more force and reduce fatigue. One side-effect is a harmless tingles that some may find uncomfortable
Betaine: Betaine, usually derived from beets, is a modified amino acid also known as trimethylglycine that has been discovered to increase strength and power. (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/3/539.long)
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAAs): BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are important for muscle growth and also increase energy and put a break on fatigue- BCAAs is often also had as an intra-workout drink!
B Vitamins: Vitamins B6 and B12 are important for producing energy and are often added to pre-workouts. Alternatively, if your pre-workout doesn't contain B Vitamins- to support your healthy lifestyle it's good to take a separate B Vitamin Complex supplement.
Caffeine: Caffeine is the world's most commonly used psychoactive drug. If dosed correctly it can increase attention, performance and muscular recovery.
Casein protein: Perfect before bed as it breaks down slowly and supplies your body with nutrients for hours after you go to bed.
Carnitine: Carnitine is an amino-acid-like compound found to enhance blood flow to working muscles and aid recovery. It has also been suggested to support androgen receptors in muscle cells, to which testosterone binds to instigate growth.
Choline: This essential nutrient can indirectly increase muscle strength and brain function due to its formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. With more acetylcholine, you can produce stronger muscle contractions for longer periods of time and it has also been found to improve mood and mental function.
Citrulline: Citrulline is an amino acid that is converted into arginine and then into nitric oxide (NO). Citrulline has been found to boost nitric oxide levels better in the blood than arginine as a lot of the NO derived straight from arginine is absorbed by cells in the intestines when ingested.
Citrulline Malate: Citrulline malate is a combination of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid. It can help users increase nitric oxide levels, which may lead to increased strength and endurance, through the increase in blood flow, glucose uptake and oxygen delivery to the muscles. This process decrease fatigue and speed up recovery. The compound has been clinically shown to enhance aerobic performance and is also a precursor to arginine.
Creatine: Creatine is a very popular supplement additive and a powerful strength booster (indirectly increase muscle mass) used in some pre-workouts and is also widely used as a post-workout recovery supplement (directly assist in increasing muscle mass). Creatine works by stocking up ATP and helping to maintain power output during exercise.
Creatinol-O-Phosphate (COP): Creatino-O-Phospate has been found to increase strength, buffer for lactic acid, improve anaerobic glycolysis hence promoting improved performance and supports muscle recovery.
Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE): DMAE increases choline levels in the brain which form acetylcholine. DMAE has been found to improve mood, mental function, and muscular strength better than choline due to that DMAE restrain the breakdown of choline.
Dimethyl Glycine: Dimethyl Glycine is an amino acid used to treat a variety of health problems including ADHD, epilepsy, chronic fatigue, allergies, liver function problems, blood pressure & blood sugar and to reduce stress. Furthermore, on an athletic level- dimethyl glycine increase athletic performance and boost the body's use of oxygen.
EAA supplement (protein): can be used like a whey protein pre-, intra- or post-workout but is not a preferred before-bed source.
Egg Albumin (Protein): Egg whites are an excellent natural source of protein. It is also commonly available in a powder form Egg Albumin can be used anytime of the day but is not a preferred before-bed source.
Focus, Concentration & Mood enhancing ingredients: Focus, concentration and mood is important for your mindset/muscle connection when you are training. Focusing of all your reps can help you perform your absolute best.
Garcinia Cambogia: Garcinia Cambogia or 'Malabar Tamarind', is a tropical fruit that contain the active ingredient, hydrocitric acid (HCA) in its skin. Garcinia Cambogia has been claimed to boost fat-burning and cut back appetite by blocking the enzyme citrate lyase, which your body uses to make fat. It also increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which may make you feel less hungry.
Geranium extract: The extract of this plant restrain the active ingredient Methylhexanamine/ dimethylamylamine (DMAA). This popular pre-workout stimulant, as described above, has been found to give a potent buzz of energy, improve endurance and act as a satisfying mood enhancer. It may also decrease hunger and boost fat-burning. Watch out for this compound in your pre-workouts as DMAA has lead to many devastating health side-effetcts.
Glutamine: Can increase growth hormone levels; stabilizes endurance and reduces fatigue.
Glycerol: Glycerol is the backbone of triglycerides - the main fats in our diet. Glycerol is not a nitric oxide booster but can increase muscle pumps through its osmotic properties- attracting and binding large amounts of fluids like water which enhance muscle pump. Glycerol can also assist in minimizing dehydration and maintain body temperature when exercising in the heat.
Glycocarn/ Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine (GPLC): Glycocarn is a formulation of carnitine together with the amino acid glycine, that has been found to increase nitric oxide levels significantly, and also increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle and the heart, leading to greater oxygen and nutrient delivery both during and after exercise.
Green Tea Extract: Includes active ingredient EGCG to improve fat burning; also works as a mild stimulant.
Huperzine A: Huperzina A is extract from club moss. It restrains the the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, which supports a sharper mind and improved mood and focus.
Hydrolysed Protein: This is a high quality fast absorbed protein that often cost slightly more. Hydrolysed protein may be used anytime of the day except before bed.
Isoleucine (BCAA): Isoleucine is an essential amino acid and supply your muscles with energy.
Leucine (BCAA): contributes to the maintenance and growth of muscles by supporting the protein synthesis. During a workout, if you have insufficient amounts of L-leucine in your blood- your body will access it from your muscles instead, consequently leading to muscle breakdown. It is widely used by athletes as a supplement and in treatment of decrementing protein illnesses. L-Leucine is the most important BCAA for older athletes as it prolong and elevates the protein synthesis in older individuals which other ways drops off after the age of 35,
Magnesium L-Asparate: Magnesium-L-Asparate is a combination of the essential mineral Magnesium and the natural amino acid L-Asparate (L-Aspartic Acid). It has been found to support many metabolic processes in the body as well as proper function in muscle, immune system and the nervous system. Magnesium is the main carries of metabolic energy in the blood and L-aspartic acid is involved in energy production as a fundamental intermediate in cell energy production through Krebs citric acid cycle
Methyl Synephrine: Methyl synephrine activates beta-3 receptors in the body and boosts norepinephrine levels. It can enhance fat breakdown and also improves attention and focus for effective workouts.
Methylhexanamine/Dimethylamylamine (DMAA): DMAA is a very powerful stimulant that is integrated as an ingredient in many pre-workouts. The ingredient has been found to give a potent buzz of energy, improve endurance and act as a satisfying mood enhancer. It may also decrease hunger and boost fat-burning. This compound has now been banned in many countries due to its dominant effects that have lead to many devastating health side-effects. Watch out for this compound in your pre-workouts!
Muscle Growth enhancing ingredients: Certain ingredients in your pre-workout can assist in muscle growth by increasing growth hormone levels or indirectly by enhancing strength, power and pump. Ingredients like creatine for example indirectly assists by increase strength during your workout, having creatine it post-workout will improve muscle gains during recovery. The following ingredients directly boost your growth hormones during your workout. Higher growth hormone levels during your training session initiate muscle gains, and also give you strength whilst helping to burn more fat.
Natural vs Synthetic Supplements: It's believed that natural nutrients are absorbed by the body more efficiently than synthetic ones leading to greater obtained benefits. It also eliminates the risk of attaining several added harsh chemicals that may be used in the process of making the synthetic compound.
Nitrates: Nitrates are a significant NO booster. When consumed, nitrates are converted into nitrites by bacteria living on the tongue. Nitrates are often added to supplement compounds but found naturally in vegetables and are especially high in beetroot.
Phenylethylamine (PEA): PEA is natural alkaloids that work as neurotransmitters and has potential stimulant benefits for your workout. It has also been found to enhance mood and feelings of well-being. Due to that it is rapidly metabolized once consumed it needs to be in conjunction with drugs that block its destruction for it to work as a prolonged effect.
Pump enhancing ingredients: Pump enhancing pre-workouts have active ingredients that boost the nitric oxide (NO) levels in your body leaving you achieving that 'pumped look'. Nitric Oxide affects your muscle membranes and can activate cell pathways that can lead to long-term muscle growth.
Pycnogenol: Pycnogenol the extract from the French marine pine tree and it is a powerful antioxidant. It has been found to increase the NO level in the body by increasing the NO syntrhase and allowing more arginine to be converted to NO. Being a powerful antioxidant it also destroy free radicals in the body that break down NO.
Raspberry Ketone: Raspberry Ketones have been claimed to increase metabolism and aid in weight loss whilst aiding in gaining lean muscle mass. It might also affect the hormone adiponectin, although there is no scientific evidence of its effects on people.
Rhodiola extract: Rhodiola is an adaptogen root extract which can improve your training as it helps the body to adapt and to deal with stress. It also amplify the release of beta-endorphins which are brain chemicals that reduce pain and enhance your improve mood.
Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola Rosea is a herb that is thought to counteract stimulants by keeping catabolic cortisol levels down and increasing the body's natural resistance to stress. It also sustain healthy hormone levels such as testosterone, the growth hormone, dopamine and thyroid hormone.
Schisandra: Schisandra is a native Berry to northeast Chine and some parts of Russia. This super-berry outshines health benefits of any other berry and used for many medical purposes for overall health and longevity. It is used for slowing down the aging process, for inflammation and cell health, for energy and as a fatigue-fighter- and for mental health. It is has been shown to sharpen your mind, improve concentration, coordination and endurance.
Schisandra Chinensis: Schisandra Chinensis is a Chinese berry that has been found to support muscle endurance, enhance brain function and keep cortisol levels down.
Sodium Bicarbonate: Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda is sometimes also added to pre-workouts. Sodium bicarbonate works as a lactic acid buffer, delaying fatigue and boosting endurance.
Soy protein: Relatively fast digested protein source (Soy protein isolate). The Arginine content in Soy protein makes it a good pre-workout protein as it boosts NO levels but it can be used both before and after a workout or during the day.
Stimulants: When you consume stimulants a message is sent to the brain to allow the release of adrenalin into the blood stream. Stimulants give you that buzz that many people love and are after in their pre-workouts. However, be careful with your stimulants as your body will adapt to the amount you take. You will end up needing more of the active ingredient to get that same buzz you got at the start and this leads many athletes to abuse their pre-workouts.
Synephrine: Synerphine is claimed to increase fat-burning and can be found in some pre-workouts as a natural component of Citrus aurantium ("bitter orange") or as a synthetic/purified source.
Taurine: Taurine is known to increase energy and aerobic endurance by increasing blood flow to the working muscles. It has also been found to reduce muscle fatigue and draw water and nutrients into the muscle acting as a cell volumiser.
Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an amino acid that give you energy, enhance mood, stamina and mental focus. It works by producing hormones and neurotransmitters (like adrenaline and dompanine) that boost your intensity during workouts.
Valine (BCAA): is an important building block of many enzymes in the body. It also plays a significant role in increasing strength, power and speed as well as muscle growth as it assists in supplying your muscles with energy.
Vinpocetine: Vinpocetine is the active ingredient in the bush 'Lesser periwinkle' or 'Vinca Minor'. It's often called the “smart drug” due to its clinical usage in Europe to enhance memory and cognition, as well as treat a number of brain disorders. Vinpocetine’s has the ability to expand blood vessels, enhance blood flow, support function of red blood cells, reduce blood viscosity, increase oxygen utilization and increase energy production.
Whey concentrate or whey blends (protein): Great blended in with your morning oats, during the day or as a post-workout supplement. Relatively fast absorbing & good price point for a beginner.
Whey isolate (protein): Fast absorbing protein source and is great as a post-workout supplement. Low lactose.
Yerba Mate: The leaves of this powerful plant contain a unique blend of xanthine alkaloids (naturally occurring chemical compounds that is mostly made from basic nitrogen atoms), including theophylline and caffeine. The buzz from Yerba Mate is claimed to give you a more extended energy buzz and not to give you those nervous side-effects.
Yohimbe: Yohimbe is extracted from the bark of the West African tree Pausinystalia yohimbe. Yohimbe has been found to assist fat loss by significantly increasing the amount of fat released from fat cells. The effects of yohimbe can also be felt as an energy boost as more fat is used for fuel and it may also amplify blood flow to working muscles.