Health and Wellness

One Powerful Antioxidant!

The world’s strongest antioxidant known to mankind is Astaxanthin. I first heard about this super-antioxidant from watching “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe. He was at a pharmaceutical plant in Hawaii over 10 years ago. His job was to use sunlight and salt water to turn the algae from green to red and deposit it into gel caps. The show talked about all the health benefits of this marine algae. The more I researched this supplement, the more I was intrigued. Fast forward several years and this doctor was talking about different types of supplements that were the most beneficial on the Dr. Oz show. This doctor, Dr. Joe Mercola, said if he could take only one supplement it would be Astaxanthin. Needless to say, this supplement has been part of my daily regimen for several years. This supplement will tend to make you a shade darker over time. (This is what gives Salmon, Krill, and Pink Flamingos its color) Don’t worry, you won’t turn pink.

What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a powerful, naturally occurring carotenoid pigment that’s found in certain marine plants and animals. Often called “the king of the carotenoids,” Astaxanthin is recognized as being one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. It is of particular significance, because unlike some other types of antioxidants, Astaxanthin never becomes a pro-oxidant in the body so it can never cause harmful oxidation.

How Beneficial Is Astaxanthin for the Human Body?

When compared to other antioxidants, Astaxanthin is very potent. Common antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E, possess far less antioxidant power than Astaxanthin, when applied to human physiology. (BioAstin) Astaxanthin possesses 550 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E; 6,000 times the power of vitamin C; and 800 times the power of the popular super-antioxidant, Co-enzyme Q10. When adding a supplemental health agent such as Astaxanthin to a daily diet and a routine exercise regimen, the health benefits can be enjoyed throughout the body.

Astaxanthin can also cross the blood brain barrier. This is very beneficial for a healthy brain!

Which brand to get?

I would highly recommend the Bioastin that has 12mg. It’s made from the big island of Hawaii and has been rated the best brand for these supplements.

 

Dietary Supplements, Health and Wellness

Supplement of the week! L-Carnitine

This is actually my favorite supplement of all time! It’s a must have when dieting down for a contest as it can help incinerate those stubborn fat cells and plays a critical role in energy production. So what exactly is L-Carnitine?

Carnitine, derived from an amino acid, is found in nearly all cells of the body. Its name is derived from the Latin carnus or flesh, as the compound was isolated from meat. Carnitine is the generic term for a number of compounds that include L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine [1,2].

It transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria so they can be oxidized (“burned”) to produce energy. It also transports the toxic compounds generated out of this cellular organelle to prevent their accumulation. Given these key functions, L-Carnitine is concentrated in tissues like skeletal and cardiac muscle that utilize fatty acids as a dietary fuel [1,2].

Type 2 diabetes
Insulin resistance, which plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes, may be associated with a defect in fatty-acid oxidation in muscle [3]. This raises the question of whether mitochondrial dysfunction might be a factor in the development of the disease. Increased storage of fat in lean tissues has become a marker for insulin resistance [3]. Early research suggests that supplementation with L-carnitine intravenously may improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics by decreasing fat levels in muscle and may lower glucose levels in the blood by more promptly increasing its oxidation in cells [3-5]. A recent analysis of two multicenter clinical trials of subjects with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes found that treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine (3 grams/day orally) for one year provided significant relief of nerve pain and improved vibration perception in those with diabetic neuropathy. The treatment was most effective in subjects with type 2 diabetes of short duration [6].

My pick:

I’ve tried many brands including pill form and liquid. The best bang for your buck with cost, effectiveness, taste and quality is Pro Supps L-Carnitine 3000. (Go with the Berry flavor)

 

References

  1. Rebouche CJ. Carnitine. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th Edition (edited by Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross, AC). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, New York, 1999, pp. 505-12.
  2. The editors. Carnitine: lessons from one hundred years of research. Ann NY Acad Sci 2004;1033:ix-xi.
  3. Mingrone G. Carnitine in type 2 diabetes. Ann NY Acad Sci 2004;1033:99-107.
  4. 4De Gaetano A, Mingrone G, Castagneto M, Calvani M. Carnitine increases glucose disposal in humans. J Am Coll Nutr 1999;18:289-95.
  5. Mingrone G, Greco AV, Capristo E, Benedetti G, Giancaterini A, De Gaetano A, Gasbarrini G. L-carnitine improves glucose disposal in type 2 diabetic patients. J Am Coll Nutr 1999;77-82.
  6. Sima AAF, Calvani M, Mehra M, Amato A. Acetyl-L-carnitine improves pain, nerve regeneration, and vibratory perception in patients with chronic diabetic neuropathy: an analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials. Diabetes Care 2005;28:96-101.
Dietary Supplements, Health and Wellness

Does L-Arginine boost your Nitric Oxide levels?

What exactly is Nitric Oxide?

  • Nitric oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body.
  • Help memory and behavior by transmitting information between nerve cells in the brain
  • Assist the immune system at fighting off bacteria and defending against tumors
  • Regulate blood pressure by dilating arteries
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Increase your recognition of sense (i.e. smell)
  • Increase endurance and strength Assist in gastric motility.

Let’s get straight to the point. L-Arginine has been proven in several studies to show no effect on increasing Nitric Oxide production. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, seventeen healthy adult males were given 6 grams of L-Arginine hydrochloride or a placebo. “To analyze NO production, NO3 was converted to NO2 by nitrate reductase, followed by the derivatization of NO2 with 2,3-diaminonaphthalene. NOx, ADMA and SDMA were analyzed using a high-performance liquid chromatography system and monitored with a fluorescence detector. Two-way ANOVA with repeated measures showed no significant changes in NOx concentrations on the L-arginine group as compared to placebo group at any of the fivetime points.”

So if you’re taking L-Arginine to help with your “muscle pumps,” stop being fooled by supplement companies trying to sell you Nitric Oxide supplements with L-Arginine as their main ingredient. I’ll admit, I bought into the hype many years ago with L-Arginine until I did some research.

If you’re interested in legitimately increasing Nitric Oxide production with supplementation, two studies have shown Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine (GPLC) to increase blood levels of nitrate/nitrite (a marker of N.O.) if 4.5 grams are used on a daily basis. I’ve been taking GPLC for several months now, and I can tell you this stuff really works when I’m training. It feels like the muscle is going to rip through the skin some days!

In conclusion, do you really need to take supplements to increase N.O. production? No, not really. The most common way to increase nitric oxide is through exercise. When you lift weights or do cardio, your muscles need more oxygen (which is supplied by the blood). As the heart pumps with more pressure to supply the muscles with blood, the lining in your arteries releases nitric oxide into the blood, which relaxes and widens the vessel wall, allowing for more blood to pass through. Eating a good diet can certainly help as well.

References:

Kreider RB, Wilborn CD, Taylor L, Campbell B, Almada AL, Collins R, Cooke M, Earnest CP, Greenwood M, Kalman DS, Kerksick CM, Kleiner SM, Leutholtz B, Lopez H, Lowery LM, Mendel R, Smith A, Spano M, Wildman R, Willoughby DS, Ziegenfuss TN, Antonio J. ISSN Exercise & Sport Nutrition Review: Research & Recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7:7. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-7-7.

Bloomer, RJ; Tschume, LC; Smith, WA (2009). “Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine modulates lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide in human subjects”. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 79 (3): 131–141. doi:10.1024/0300-9831.79.3.131.