Science Agrees: BCAAs Are Awesome

FO_BCAAsport_WatermelonAs experts in the supplement industry, we are intimately familiar with concerns and questions customers and the paying public may have about products.

Do they work? (To wildly varying degrees, yes – buy the good ones.) Are they safe? (Buy from reputable vendors like Nutrishop, and they couldn’t be safer – we don’t hesitate to yank inferior products off our shelves.) What exactly do they do?

We like to turn to science and study when it comes to answering all of those questions. ln recent years, what’s come to light specifically about one certain supplement is extremely encouraging. Not only do BCAAs stand up as an excellent product for fat loss and muscle gain in non-biased, scientific review, but they routinely make regular customers’ shopping lists each time they visit us. A lot of products will come and go – only the best ones stick around when the hype wears off and results are all that’s left. And at the end of the day, BCAAs are always left standing.

What makes Branched Chain Amino Acids such an effective supplement? For starters, BCAAs are incredibly versatile.  Typically, supplements can reasonably claim to address one or two goals – strength, muscle mass, fat loss, or athletic performance. BCAAs can help with all of them. 

A randomized, double-blind study, published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, was performed to “evaluate the efficacy of consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) during an eight-week resistance-training program.”  The conclusion:

Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. In addition, the ingestion of a whey protein supplement resulted in greater lean mass gains than ingestion of a sports drink.

What does that mean? In short: Regular use of BCAAs as a supplement to your diet and training program make you leaner and stronger. Less fat, more muscle, more strength.

Benefits don’t stop there. In 2006, The Journal of Nutrition published a study that found BCAAs to play a role in reducing exercise fatigue – meaning that if you took BCAAs before and/or during your workouts, you could go more intensely, or longer, to get more out of your exercise. The same study found that “Branched-chain amino acids also positively influence the metabolic response of muscle to exercise.”

Translation: BCAAs slow your metabolism’s feast on your muscle tissue when you’re working out.

Even when you’re not training, though, BCAAs have the same effect. So if you’re taking a break, trying out anabolic fasting diets, going on vacation or suffering an injury that keeps you out of the gym, knocking back BCAAs regularly will help slow the muscle catabolism (your body using muscle for energy) or atrophy that would otherwise occur. That phenomenon was proven out in a study published in Nutrition Research in 2012.

It’s not snake oil, folks.

For years, the most-researched and trusted supplements in this industry were whey protein and creatine. Doubters cropped up all over the place at first, but as the scientific method consistently proved them wrong, these products clearly developed staying power. Well, it’s time to add BCAAs to that list. Study after study is showing that amino acids are not only just an emerging powerhouse supplement, but a must-have for all ranges of athletic ability – from elite athletes to first-day beginners.

Focus on Nutrition and Supplements to Fight Aging

photos.demandstudios.com-getty-article-117-94-87322955_XSAs we age, our bodies’ important systems slowly start to become less and less efficient. This is true for just about everything — and, as it turns out, this includes how well we can metabolize and use the nutrients we’re eating.

A 2013 publication from Germany hypothesized that older people needed to increase their protein intake to make up for a diminished ability to create muscle (slowed anabolic response to food), and then brought forth evidence backing up this claim:

New evidence shows that older adults need more dietary protein than do younger adults to support good health, promote recovery from illness, and maintain functionality. Older people need to make up for age-related changes in protein metabolism, such as high splanchnic extraction and declining anabolic responses to ingested protein. They also need more protein to offset inflammatory and catabolic conditions associated with chronic and acute diseases that occur commonly with aging.

Today begins our series on nutrition and supplements for those 50 and older. Many forget that NUTRISHOP does not just cater to athletes, but to a wide range of people who simply are trying to optimize their nutrition to live the best, healthiest lives possible. Right off the bat, we can tell you this: Increasing your protein intake, as suggested in the study above, will work wonders for improving your livelihood even as you age.

Our two most popular options, PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS and FORZA PRO, are popular for a reason: They work. Ensuring you have enough protein in your daily diet is key to not only improving the way you look, but how you function and feel on a day-to-day basis.

There’s more to feeling healthy than just your muscle tone, of course: body fat, joint health, vitality, etc. We will hit all those topics this week, right here in this running blog entry. Stay tuned!

GENERAL HEALTH

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the older we get, the less effective our bodies get at absorbing critical nutrients. We also just eat fewer of them:

…Several aspects of aging may increase the likelihood of a deficiency in key vitamins and minerals, according to the National Institute on Aging. These include having a reduced sense of taste and smell; spending more time indoors; difficulty chewing; following a restricted diet because of a health condition; eating alone; experiencing loss of appetite; and taking medications that may prevent absorption of vitamins and minerals. Older adults also are at higher risk for dehydration because they may not notice when they are thirsty. (Source)

This might not only be applicable to senior citizens, too; even as young as 50, these aspects may start affecting our diets. That said, one of the best vitamin investments you can make to account for deficiencies in calcium, vitamins A, C and E, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, is NATURE’S FUEL. Its formula is among the best in terms of complete efficacy and there is no match for its absorption, meaning you get what you pay for when you take your vitamins. And for those who would tell you multivitamins are useless, we beg to differ: The American Cancer Society, referencing Harvard research, noted that over an 11-year study involving more than 14,000 subjects, there was an 8-percent decrease in cancer risk for men 50 and older:

Harvard researchers have found a possible link between taking a daily multivitamin over a long period of time and a small reduction in cancer. They analyzed data from the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) II, which tested the effects of multivitamins in 14,641 male doctors 50 years of age or older. PHS II participants received either a multivitamin or a placebo for an average of about 11 years. The study was published early online Oct. 17, 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Source)

JOINT HEALTH

As we age, the moving parts in our bodies that consistently are worn down, every day, little by little, start to go. Our joints are first and foremost on this list; it’s estimated that 37 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis and that by 2020, it could be such an impactful malady that it could even affect the nation’s workforce:

 In 1994 the Centers for Disease Control reported that by year 2020, when one out of every two Americans will be over the age of 50, there will be a larger increase in new cases of arthritis than of any other disease in the United States. Among the leading causes of disability, arthritis heads the list; osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form and has the greatest economic impact. (Source)

JOINTHTHERAPEUTICSObviously, joint health is a huge concern. How can you help save yours? For starters, perfecting your exercise form and movements can help a great deal, making sure you are not exerting undue stress on joints or ligaments as you train. And while getting that down may take some time, there’s an easier fix still: supplementing for joint health.

JOINT THERAPEUTICS is the strongest, most complete joint support formula available designed to support healthy joints, relieve sore joints, improve mobility, strengthen and repair cartilage and connective tissue as well as reduce inflammation that leads to joint pain and discomfort. On top of actually helping to strengthen your joints for the future, JOINT THERAPEUTICS provides inflammation relief as well. Inflammation, one of the body’s responses to irritation or injury, has been associated with many conditions. It usually includes pain and sometimes redness and swelling in the area of the damage. The pain relieving, anti-inflammatory ingredients in our Anti-Inflammatory Complex are designed to support healthy joint function, assist in the healing of minor sprains, strains, muscle injuries, and the pain, swelling and tenderness that accompany sports injuries. This is accomplished by significantly reducing inflammation which can also bring effective relief to arthritic and sore joints as well as improve flexibility and mobility. These properties make this a popular alternative to prescription painkillers for the treatment of pain associated with arthritic joints.

– FIGHTING MUSCLE LOSS

We discussed earlier how muscle maintenance is important via diet, and why protein is so vital. However, as older people age, it does become more difficult to consume the same amount of calories and keep weight off, simply because exercise becomes more difficult (either to perform, or to schedule in). The deterioration of muscle tissue to fuel the body’s energy supplies is called “catabolism,” and it is a significant concern of fitness-minded folks — we call it “muscle-wasting,” as an example of how we view it.

The reasons someone 50 or older might worry about muscle-wasting include general day-to-day movement, easing the stress on joints and ligaments and decreasing pain and increasing agility associated with full-body movements you do routinely (standing up, getting out of bed, getting into a car, etc.). One newer supplement that is becoming more and more popular with the plus-50 crowd is HMB — even drinks like Ensure are now including it. And it’s the star of BETABOL at NUTRISHOP.

betabolHMB is a naturally occurring compound produced when our bodies metabolize the amino acid leucine. Its main role has been found to be the repair, growth and preservation of muscle tissue, as well as the capacity to burn fat. The body spends precious resources with muscle repair — each rep you do results in microscopic muscle-fiber tears; the regrowth of these tears puts a huge energy strain on the body. Leucine is the only essential amino acid with the capacity to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, but it is essentially used primarily to repair muscle damage incurred while lifting. When it is metabolized, HMB is produced as a natural byproduct and aids in recovery.

What if, however, you could “free up” the leucine to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to develop NEW muscle, instead of merely repairing the damaged tissue? That is precisely where an HMB supplement like BETABOL comes in. An increase in HMB is designed to allow essential leucine to build new muscle tissue, in turn burning more fat.

In the Journal of Applied Physiology,  an Iowa State University study from 1996 examined the effects of HMB in detail, providing specific ratios to test subjects who engaged in weight-training exercise and also supplemented with protein (rich with leucine). The conclusion: “Supplementation with either 1.5 or 3 g HMB/day can partly prevent exercise-induced proteolysis and/or muscle damage and result in larger gains in muscle function associated with resistance training.” (SOURCE.)

The study points out that the muscle-building benefits of leucine have been scientifically backed for the 45 years, but that only recently has the byproduct HMB gotten any attention for its role in the process. By the end of the study, researchers found that the subjects that were using enhanced doses of HMB were experience higher levels of anti-catabolism, more fat loss and an increase in strength, muscle volume and recovery speed.

Supplements for More Than Physique Athletes

fit-woman-running-outdoors1

At NUTRISHOP, much of our reputation for helping people achieve higher levels of fitness comes from our physique competitors — bodybuilders, bikini contestants and the like. It’s true that we do love helping these athletes hone their craft and shape their bodies. But we help with much more than simply how an athlete looks!

The body is all about movement and function — what can it do for us, and how can we help it perform better? Even those who don’t necessarily compete or exercise, who just want to feel better and be healthier in their day-to-day lives, make up a big part of our clientele.

To that end, we’ve come up with a list of the best products to use for athletes, specifically in endurance-dependent sports, those who might not be interested in getting on a stage to show off their muscular development but who would rather put their gains to functional use in competition, like races or athletics. We’ll be going through them with this running blog this week, two at a time.

The first two on our list are old standbys — frankly, they’d be great supplements for anybody.

1. PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS/FORZA PRO. Anyone who’s depending on muscle development and maintenance will find a need for protein in their diet; the problem is that it’s awfully tough to fill in with lean sources of protein throughout the day without loading up on calories. That’s where protein powders come in. PRO7 and FORZAPRO are some of the best-tasting, highest protein-to-calorie ratio supplements you can invest in.

How it helps the athlete: Aside from inherently adding more lean muscle mass, an increased protein intake has myriad benefits, including body fat loss. When you’re moving your body around in athletics, every pound has to pull its weight, especially if you’re competing in a weight class! Muscle recovery and optimization are key for any athlete.

2. BCAA SPORT. Further broken down, proteins, at their base level, are essentially made up of branched-chain amino acids. Your body can and will use these for energy, and finds them from food and even within the body — many distance runners, for example, appear to be very skinny and lean because while their metabolisms attack fat stores for energy, they also will turn to muscle and the amino acids in them for fuel. Supplementing with BCAAs provides a buffer of sorts, as well as helping maintain and even build the muscle in the body.

How it helps the athlete: On top of protecting the lean muscle mass the athlete has achieved or is working to improve upon, BCAA SPORT is unique in that it also includes an electrolyte blend that keeps cells hydrated, crucial for any endurance athlete. What makes it stand out from other supplements is that BCAAs are metabolized in the muscle, not the liver, for faster uptake — this makes it perfect before, during or after a grueling workout. Some studies have indicated that BCAAs help fight fatigue as well!

betabol3. BETABOL. Featuring HMB,  a naturally occurring compound produced when our bodies metabolize the amino acid leucine, BETABOL is an excellent choice for endurance athletes who need recovery. HMB’s main role has been found to be the repair, growth and preservation of muscle tissue, as well as the capacity to burn fat. The body spends precious resources with muscle repair — each rep you do results in microscopic muscle-fiber tears; the regrowth of these tears puts a huge energy strain on the body. Leucine is the only essential amino acid with the capacity to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, but it is essentially used primarily to repair muscle damage incurred while lifting. When it is metabolized, HMB is produced as a natural byproduct and aids in recovery.

How it helps the athlete: What if you could “free up” the leucine in your body to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to develop NEW muscle, instead of merely repairing the damaged tissue? That is precisely where an HMB supplement like BETABOL comes in. An increase in HMB is designed to allow essential leucine to build new muscle tissue, in turn burning more fat.

4. KARBOLYN.  A full dose of double patent-pending X-R3 Enhancement is designed to take your lean muscle gains to new heights by creating the proper anabolic environment for explosive power, strength, performance and muscle endurance as well as accelerating post-workout muscle recovery when used in conjunction with proper nutrition and a regular exercise program.

How it helps the athlete: The delivery of complex carbohydrates and Kre-Alkalyn (creatine) means more energy (via glucose and increased ATP), strength and power, on top of accelerated post-workout recovery. For someone needing sustained energy AND to promote muscle gain, like an endurance athlete, KARBOLYN is another solid choice.

5. GLUTAMINE. Glutamine’s properties as a recovery supplement help it target broken-down areas of muscle. This applies to weight lifters and athletes as a tool to reduce soreness by speeding up the process of muscle recovery. It is the presence of glutamine ITSELF in muscle tissue that is responsible for how sore you are after an intense workout. Even bed-ridden patients in hospitals are given excess glutamine to make sure their muscles don’t waste away while they’re off their feet. So, the more glutamine that’s available, theoretically, the less sore you will be.

How it helps the athlete: Any athlete who has been through the rigors of training and competition will tell you the value of feeling fresh and strong; it’s another thing entirely to have your immune system and muscles recovering at full optimization. Glutamine’s reparative properties make it a must-have for anyone who consistently exercises at demanding levels.

6. NATURE’S FUEL. On top of the main purpose of actually getting what you pay for, NATURE’S FUEL stands apart from knock-off or cheap versions of a daily multivitamin with other blends that make it a powerful addition to anybody’s supplementation schedule. For one, it contains amino acids — we know amino acids are building blocks of protein, and we know that you can rarely have too many of them. Their role in NATURE’S FUEL is to provide your body with a little extra recovery ability, joining forces with the many vitamins and minerals that aid in the same process.

How it helps the athlete: With an amino acid blend, greens blend and antioxidant blend, NATURE’S FUEL is a complete multivitamin designed to cater to the competitive athlete. Immune function, energy and digestion all are important facets of physical health.

What Are Your Vitamins Doing For You?

“Loaded with vitamins and minerals” is a popular catch phrase in seemingly every healthy food or supplement choice these days, it seems, but what exactly are you putting in your body, and why? Understanding why it’s important to fill in certain dietary gaps with a supplement is one of many aspects to achieving better overall health.

Of course, sometimes it seems easier with some vitamins than others. For example, we all know vitamin C is good for the immune system, and therefore we try to boost our consumption of it with plenty of fruits and veggies or, in case of emergency, we might load up on a vitamin C supplement to try to chase off a common cold or flu. What if we had that kind of basic, no-brainer response to more of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are just as important?

That’s the aim of our blog this week: To highlight some of the more important vitamins that can be obtained through regular supplementation. Today, we’ll start off with the underrated, under-consumed powerhouse mineral magnesium.

The USDA claims that only 32 percent of the American population meets the daily requirements for magnesium, and this could be one of many telltale signs behind American obesity rates — magnesium is required for ALL cellular energy (ATP) production, and a lack of it is directly related to a lack of energy, and we all know how tough it is to work out when you can’t bring yourself to get off the couch. Moreover, proper magnesium consumption is shown to reduce risk of stroke and heart attack, while shortening the length and severity of migraine and PMS symptoms. To these ends, magnesium is readily available in NATURE’S FUEL, which is almost completely bioavailable and is one of the most potent daily multivitamins available.

Another important role magnesium plays is in the sleep cycle — simply put, enough of it helps aid sleep while a deficiency hinders it. Stress is often a noted cause of sleep deficiency, and this is partially due to the hormonal response caused by lack of magnesium; when stress hormone levels are elevated, the body’s magnesium and calcium stores are depleted, causing a lack of physical energy but also mental restlessness.  This is why many sleep-aid supplements, like 1-XPM, rely on magnesium as part of their blends to aid recovery and growth hormone production as well.

Magnesium can mostly be found in leafy greens, as it’s abundant in chlorophyll, but is also available in spices, nuts, coffee, cocoa and tea, and taken as food, is almost impossible to over-consume. A good magnesium supplement can go a long way!

 

DHA

naturesEFAWe’ll spare you the long scientific name, but DHA is commonly found in essential fatty acids, particularly fish oils and some fruits and nuts. Perhaps known best for its anti-inflammatory properties, DHA-rich EFA products (like NATURE’S EFAs) are directed at preventing bloating and excess body fat retention. But it has other valuable benefits, too.

Some research suggests that DHA deficiency is linked to ADHD, cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria and myriad mental imbalances; most of these can be explained by the brain’s dependency on DHA for not only childhood development, but adult maintenance. Found abundantly in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, DHA’s role in the body seems to be largely beneficial — a decrease in it is linked with the proliferation of Alzheimer’s, and some studies back EFA-rich foods as prevention against hypertension, arthritis and even some cancers. (Source)

VITAMIN K2

One underrated facet of maintaining good health is caring for your bones — honestly, when was the last time you mindfully took a supplement or ate any kind of food with your skeleton as the motivation? Yet bone density is an important part of longevity and health, and can also help prevent injuries and promote the support of more more skeletal muscle.

K2′s largest claim to fame to date is its strong correlation to fighting off osteoporosis. Originally, a calcium deficiency was thought to be the main culprit, and indeed it does play a role in brittle bones, but in cases where there was actually calcium build-up (calcification) around the heart but not the arteries, osteoporosis was still present despite a heavy calcium content in the body. Newer research has shown that this is because of Vitamin K2 deficiency. In one Japanese research example, a particular region of the country that did not eat large amounts of the K2-rich soybean food natto was found to have significantly more broken hip cases.

The relatively rare occurrence of K2 in foods makes it somewhat difficult to get into one’s diet regularly, though. It is found most in natto, which is actually fermented soybeans, but also shows up in other curdled or fermented food protein-rich foods, like cottage cheese. More easily, of course, it can be found in NATURE’S GREENS.

Fill in the Gaps in Your Gluten-Free Diet with Daily Essentials

A balanced diet can be a bit tricky when you cut out the gluten — you’re saying goodbye to many carbohydrates, which isn’t a bad thing, but some fiber and assorted vitamins and minerals can get cut out along the way. To be sure, if you have celiac disease or want to maintain a leaner figure, it’s worth it, but why not have the best of both worlds?

The human body needs essential vitamins and nutrients, and many of them it cannot produce on its own (in fact, “essential” means it must come from a dietary source). Organ health, immune function, digestion and more rely on a wide spectrum of nutrition. Here is the Daily Essentials line, recommended for achieving this and, of course, GLUTEN-FREE:


Nature’s Fuel

A complete, high potency blend of Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Antioxidants, Greens and Immune Supporting Nutrients!


Nature’s Greens

Supercharged Whole Food Concentrate, Produced from over 60 Nutrient-Dense Superfoods.


Nature’s Fruits

Supercharged Whole Food Concentrate, Produced from over 40 Nutrient-Dense Superfoods.


Nature’s EFA

The most complete, sophisticated blend of Omega 3, 6 and 9 Essential Fatty Acids available with an added High-grade extract of Sesamin!

The Gift-Giver’s Guide for Fitness Goals: Complete Detox

There is no more valuable possession than health, and personal fitness is a big part of it. So why  not make a Christmas gift out of it? Showing someone you care for their health, happiness and longevity is a great place to start when it comes to picking out a special present.

NUTRISHOP wants to help you share the gift of health and is ready to help you pick out the perfect gift! Everyone’s goals are a little different, but chances are that we’ve got something for everybody. This list will focus on complete detoxification — the fine-tuning your body needs to get rid of the waste, toxins and build-up that are not only harmful to your health, but that can also slow your fitness gains. Or, if you are trying to get in shape yourself, jot some of these down and direct your own Santa Claus to NUTRISHOP!

  • Full System Detoxifier: The liver, kidneys, gall bladder and colon go through a lot of work to try to keep your digestive system efficient and effective. Unfortunately, what we know as the Western diet wreaks havoc on these naturally detoxifying organs, leaving waste and toxins floating in the system.  An all-natural detox formula is the solution. Our best optionDetoxin.
  • Liver Rejuvenator: The liver has tons of digestive functions and in truth is one of the most important organs in the body. It filters toxins, processes fats, plays a role in protein synthesis and much more. But over time, its efficiency takes a hit with repeated drinking, eating, not enough water and just general, daily digestive processes. Nobody’s diet is perfect (though NUTRISHOP can help with free diet plans!), so consider Liver Therapeutics — a blend formulated to help your liver do its work.  Our best optionLiver Therapeutics.
  • Multivitamin: A complete, high potency blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, greens and immune-supporting nutrients, crucial at this germ-infested time of the year but really just essential on a day-to-day basis. The powdered multivitamin NATURE’S FUEL is top-notch for absorption and efficacy and delivers the complete nutrition you need from a multivitamin, not just some generic horse pill that makes your pee really bright yellow. Our best multivitaminNature’s Fuel.

There are tons of other supplements to choose from, so come in to NUTRISHOP and let us help you build the perfect Christmas present!

The Gift-Giver’s Guide for Fitness Goals: Daily Essentials

There is no more valuable possession than health, and personal fitness is a big part of it. So why  not make a Christmas gift out of it? Showing someone you care for their health, happiness and longevity is a great place to start when it comes to picking out a special present.

NUTRISHOP wants to help you share the gift of health and is ready to help you pick out the perfect gift! Everyone’s goals are a little different, but chances are that we’ve got something for everybody. This list will focus on the daily essentials — the vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables and fats your loved ones need for optimal overall health and well-being. Or, if you are trying to get in shape yourself, jot some of these down and direct your own Santa Claus to NUTRISHOP!

  • Complete multivitamin: A complete, high potency blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, greens and immune-supporting nutrients, crucial at this germ-infested time of the year but really just essential on a day-to-day basis. The powdered multivitamin NATURE’S FUEL is top-notch for absorption and efficacy and delivers the complete nutrition you need from a multivitamin, not just some generic horse pill that makes your pee really bright yellow. Our best multivitaminNature’s Fuel.
  • Fruits blend: When it comes to fruits and veggies, you almost can’t eat enough to be good for your health — unless, of course, you care about your sugar intake (which your very well should!). While loading up on berries, citrus, apples, bananas, etc. all day might sound appealing, the fructose that naturally occurs in fruits makes it difficult to access the entire catalog of vitamins available in them. Hence, NATURE’S FRUITS — a powdered blend made from real fruit without the natural sugars. Our best fruits blendNature’s Fruits.
  • Greens blend: Cruciferous vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, etc.) are truly wonderfoods for your body. It’s just really, really difficult to eat gigantic bowls of broccoli and kale throughout the day. To get the benefits of the huge range of vitamins and minerals from these foods, opt for NATURE’S GREENS, an easy and palatable way to help fill in the gaps in your diet left by the lack of green veggies. Our best greens blendNature’s Greens.
  • Essential fatty acids: Not just for those trying to lose body fat, EFAs are essential to everyone with an interest in proper organ function and health. The skin, digestive system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system and more are all dependent on ever-important Omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. Most people don’t get enough healthy fats in their diets, despite their ability to make a huge difference in immune function and well-being. Our best EFA optionsNature’s EFA, OMEGA-3.