D-aspartic acid was first discovered in 1827 by a French pharmacist, Plisson. DAA is one of the twenty proteinogenic amino acids in the body. These twenty amino acids are the building blocks of protein. DAA is formed by the uniting of L-aspartate and a “racemate,” which then forms D-aspartate (D-aspartic acid). Located in the pituitary gland and testes, DAA has been shown to have positive effects on testosterone production in the body.
DAA when consumed can help the body increase testosterone production in the body. By allowing the body to produce testosterone naturally, DAA can be a potentially safer alternative to steroids. A study in the late ‘90s showed a 42% increase in male participants’ testosterone with just 12 days supplementing with DAA.
A rise in testosterone production leads to an increase in muscle mass, strength, fat loss, and even improves sex drive. More testosterone can facilitate faster improvements in physique development. Whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder, strength athlete or simply want to look better on the beach, increasing testosterone with a DAA supplement can help you reach your fitness goals faster.
Supplementing with DAA has also been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood. Nitric oxide helps facilitate blood flow through the body, improving muscle pumps as well as speeding up lactic acid removal. Both of these effects have been show to help weightlifters gain muscle more effectively.
Sources and Dosage
DAA can be consumed through some common foods. A few examples are lunch meats, sausage, asparagus, oats, and wild game. Although DAA can be consumed through diet, it is undoubtedly in small amounts. If a consumer is attempting to use DAA to improve testosterone production, a supplement form may be easier to consume. The typical dosage recommendation for DAA is around 3 grams per day. Some supplements found at MFN containing D-aspartic acid are:
-Revolution PCT by Final Flex
-Pure Test by Final Flex
Aspartic acid. (2013, March 28). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartic_acid
Bhasin, S., Storer, T., Berman, N., Callegari, C., Clevenger, B., Phillips, J., Bunnell, T., & Tricker, R. (1996). The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men. The New England Journal of Medicine, Retrieved from http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199607043350101
D-aspartic acid. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://dasparticacid.org/
Topa, E., Soricelli, A., D'Aniello, A., Ronsini, S., & D'Aniello, G. (2009). The role and molecular mechanism of d-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of lh and testosterone in humans and rats.Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, Retrieved from http://www.rbej.com/content/7/1/120
Alpha Lipoic Acid, commonly known as “ALA” is an antioxidant with several benefits for athletes. ALA has been shown to promote energy production by improving the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins within the body. It also helps control glucose levels in the body and is also great at preventing and reducing harmful free radicals.
ALA is a very effective antioxidant. The chemical is both water and fat soluble which allows it to be spread throughout almost the entire body. This allows ALA to effectively reduce and prevent free radicals. Free radicals have been shown to cause damage to cells, and eventually lead to several diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Most athletes may question the need for an antioxidant when trying to reach physique or strength goals. While reducing free radicals may not directly increase muscle mass or lower body fat, preventing serious diseases will help ensure a long and healthy career for any athlete.
ALA also helps promote optimal energy in the body by helping to effectively metabolize the food you eat. As athletes, more energy is always in high demand. Increased energy will translate into more intense workouts, greater gains, and additional energy throughout the day after a grueling training session.
Sources and Dosage
ALA can be found in a few foods including red meats and brewer’s yeast. Due to the usually high cost of red meat, and the rarity of having brewer’s yeast lying around the house, supplementing with ALA is likely a more practical way to ensure you are maximizing your energy levels each day, and give your body the tools it needs to remain healthy.
Correct dosages for ALA are very dependent on the product you buy or the prescription given by a doctor. It’s important to follow the directions related to the product you are currently using.
Some supplements sold here at MFN that contain Alpha Lipoic Acid are:
- Pure ALA by Primaforce
-Liver Matrix by Pro Science Labs
Alpha-lipoic acid the universal antioxidant with metabolic functions. (2003). Retrieved from http://www.tedvernon.com/files/pdf/Alpha_Lipoic_Acid_Data_Sheet.pdf
Alpha - lipoic acid. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins- supplements/ingredientmono-767-Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID).aspx?activeIngredientId=767&activeIngredientName=Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALPHA-LIPOIC A CID)
Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. (2010).Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
Long Jack is a small shrub tree native to Southeast Asia. Long Jack is often called by several different names online or on ingredient labels. Some of the more common alternative names are Eurycoma longifolia, and Tongkat Ali. Long Jack has been used to treat fever, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone. It’s been suggested that supplementation with Long Jack can potentially be an effective alternative to medical hormone replacement.
Originally used in Southeast Asia, Long Jack has become popular in western culture due to its positive effects on testosterone levels in men. After testosterone peaks around thirty years of age it begins to decline roughly 1% or more per year. Testosterone decline leads to the inability to efficiently build muscle mass or strength, loss body fat, and also leads to a decreased libido. By supplementing with Long Jack, this decline can be prevented, allowing for greater performance in the weight room as well as the bed room.
Long Jack is called an adaptogen, a term used by herbalist that means it helps the body adapt to stress without causing harmful side effects. A large amount of studies have been performed on this ingredient which show positive effects with use of Long Jack. One human study in particular showed a 46.8% increase in males who supplemented with Long Jack during a one month trial. This study demonstrates the extremely beneficial effects Long Jack can have on body composition and libido.
Sources and Dosage
As a shrub tree, Long Jack isn’t found in food sources. This makes supplements containing Long Jack the most convenient and easily accessible way to include it in your diet. Dosage for Long Jack depends on consumer age, healthy status, and current testosterone levels. Following the product directions is a good method for determining proper use.
A few products at MFN that contain Long Jack are:
-Reaper by Xcel Sports
-T-Bomb II by MHP
Creatine monohydrate is arguably one of the most proven, cost effective and safest supplements for athletes on the market. Creatine works by increasing the availability of ATP in the body. When an athlete is participating in high intensity exercise, ATP is broken down to produce immediate energy. Although very effective, ATP is depleted rapidly during exercise. Creatine comes into play by allowing ATP to be re-formed quickly, letting the body to continue high intensity exercise.
By replenishing ATP quickly, an athlete is allowed to produce more force for a longer amount of time during a high intensity training session. Bodybuilders, strength athletes, sprinters, and even noncompetitive athletes attempting to gain size and strength can benefit from creatine supplementation. By reducing fatigue and improving power and strength output, an athlete can train longer and harder during each training session. Some studies suggest creatine can improve high intensity performance by 5-15%. While this may seem disappointing, a 5-15% increase of maximum strength or speed attempts can mean the difference between placing second or first in a competition.
Sources and Dosage
Creatine monohydrate can be found in small amounts in red meat and some. While it can be consumed through normal diet it is unlikely that enough can be eaten daily to allow for positive effects on strength or speed. There are varying views on optimal dosage of creatine monohydrate. For years a loading phase, which entails consuming multiple 3-5 gram servings daily for around a week followed by a maintenance phase of one 3-5 gram serving daily was the accepted method. Current research is suggesting that just one 3-5 gram serving daily is enough to optimally saturate muscles and obtain the benefits creatine supplementation offers.
Creatine can be supplemented with in a variety of ways. A powder form can often be found in multiple flavors or even flavorless to easily mix into any drink. Pills and protein bars containing creatine monohydrate are available for a quick and convenient way to consume creatine on the go. A few of the products sold at MFN containing creatine monohydrate are:
-Bang Creatine Bar by VPX
-Creatine by Dymatize
ZMA is a vitamin and mineral supplement composed of zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B-6. ZMA helps replace zinc and magnesium that is often deficient in athletes. The vitamin B-6 in ZMA helps the body properly absorb both zinc and magnesium. Thought to be one of the safest supplements on the market; ZMA has been shown to have multiple benefits for athletes including increased muscle mass, testosterone, and improved sleep.
Zinc and magnesium are frequently below optimal levels in athletes. Lost through sweat or testosterone supplementation a deficiency in both minerals leads to reduced endurance and strength. The USDA reports that more than 68% of people lack adequate amounts of Zinc, and 39% consume less than two thirds of the recommended magnesium amount in their diets.
Another possible benefit of ZMA supplementation is improved sleep. Any serious athlete recognizes the importance of rest as part of an effective workout program. After you break down muscle in the weight room, sleep is prime time for the body to rebuild and grow. If an athlete isn’t getting enough sleep, they can be preventing themselves from reaching their physical potential. By properly resting and recovering the athlete can ensure that each workout is as efficient as possible.
Not only can ZMA help prevent fatigue and improve sleep, it has also been shown to naturally increase testosterone and IGF-1 levels in the body. For males this can be especially important since testosterone leads to increases in strength, muscle mass, libido, and also improves the ability to loss body fat. IGF-1 is a substance similar to insulin that is also produced in the pancreas. It plays a role in repairing and building muscle in adults. ZMA can be a natural way to increase both testosterone and IGF-1 in athletes competing in drug tested sports. While ZMA doesn’t have enormous amounts of studies completed on it, the major studies on ZMA have been performed with college and professional football athletes. Since few people train harder than professional athletes these studies show that the positive effects found can be directly translated to hard training athletes of all types.
Sources and Dosage
Zinc is found in red meats and fortified cereals while magnesium is found in leafy green vegetables, some nuts, and quinoa. With some diligence an athlete can get enough zinc and magnesium through his or her normal diet. For hard training athletes, or people not able to consume enough of these foods, a ZMA supplement is a great alternative to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to perform at its best. ZMA is often taken before bed due to its potential effects on sleep.
Some ZMA products here at MFN are:
-Cyclin GF by MHP
-ZMA Max by Muscle Pharm
Brilla, L., & Conte, V. (n.d.). Effects of a novel zinc-magnesium formulation on hormones and strength. Retrieved from http://www.nutrabio.com/Products/zma_references.htm
Food sources for vitamins and minerals. (2012, October 6). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamins-and-minerals-good-food-sources
Quinn, E. (2011, September 18). What is igf-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1). Retrieved from http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/performanceenhancingdrugs/a/Igf-1.htm
Zma. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.exrx.net/Nutrition/Supplements/ZMA.html
1-Androsterone is a metabolite of DHEA that, after two conversions, becomes testosterone in the body. If used correctly 1-Androsterone can lead to several benefits for male athletes including improved blood flow and increases in muscle size and strength.
An attractive benefit 1-Androsterone may have for athletes looking to increase muscle mass and strength is the non-estrogenic effect it has on the body when converted to testosterone. Unlike other prohormones, 1-Androsterone use doesn’t include the risk of gynecomastia. This means athletes can reach their physique goals faster and more effectively without some of the unwanted side effects of other supplements.
Not only can the use of 1-Androsterone directly improve muscle mass and strength, it can also improve blood flow. This in turn leads to even more gains for the athlete. Cellular swelling such as the pump had during a high rep set of bicep curls has been suggested to lead to muscular hypertrophy due to factors including cellular adaption to the increase of fluid and an increase in amino acid transportation.
Sources and Dosage
Since 1-Androsterone is a hormone and can’t be consumed through diet, buying a supplement containing this ingredient would be necessary for athletes looking to improve their efforts toward reaching their physique goals. Typical dosage is around 100-200mg per day. Like most prohormones supplements it is common to run a cycle for several weeks, and then take several weeks off to allow your body to readjust properly. A few products sold at MFN containing this ingredient are:
- 4AD Xtreme Tren Stack by NRG-X
- 1,4 Andro MAXX by NRG-X
Schoenfeld, B. (2010). The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. National Strength and Conditioning Association, 24(20), 2857-2872.
1-androstene-3b-ol,17-one (1-androsterone). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://prohormonedb.com/view-ingredients.asp?n=1-Androstene-3b-ol,17-one 1-Androsterone&i=75
1-ad (1-androstene-3b-ol, 17-one). (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nutri-verse.com/1-ad/
Milk Thistle otherwise known as silybum marianum, holy thistle, silybum or lady’s thistle is a herb in the daisy family abundant in North Africa and the Middle East. Used for over 2,000 years, milk thistle has been suggested to help people with liver problems, bad cholesterol and some cancers.
A key benefit milk thistle may have for athletes is its ability to treat and prevent several liver problems. Athletes that decide to use performance enhancing drugs to gain muscle and strength increase their risk for several health problems. Two common liver injuries steroid users may face are acute cholestasis and tumors. Supplementing with milk thistle can help prevent these health issues for athletes that decide to maximize their genetic potential.
Milk thistle has also been shown to help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. While this may not seem like an attractive benefit for a supplement, having good health can ensure a long career for hard training athletes. Milk thistle has also been shown to have slight positive effects on the reduction of some types of cancers cells. Supplements containing milk thistle can be a natural and extremely safe way to help ensure proper health while still working toward new physical limits as an athlete.
Sources and Dosage
Several parts of the milk thistle plant can be prepared and eaten. Roots can be boiled or eaten raw, leaves can be trimmed and boiled and eaten like spinach, and the stems can be stewed. Although milk thistle is a common herb, it may be easier for an athlete to simply buy a supplement containing milk thistle. Some supplements containing milk thistle here at MFN are:
-Liver Matrix by Pro Science Labs
-Life Support by AI Sports Supplements
Of all the vegetables people have disliked since childhood, beets may be the least desirable. Often said to be an “acquired taste,” beets are easy to overlook when an athlete is planning how to get their daily vitamins and minerals. At one time the black sheep of the vegetable family, beets may be making a comeback with evidence of numerous healthy benefits.
Beet roots, more specifically beet roots, have continued to gain popularity in the fitness industry due to their many positive effects on the human body. A benefit that may be interesting to a lot of bodybuilders is the detox effect beetroots have on the body. Consuming beet roots has been shown to improve and support proper liver function. This can be important for bodybuilders that decide to run cycles of supplements that can cause liver damage.
Like several other supplements at MFN, beet root extract has been shown to promote increases in both stamina and power output. Whether you want to improve on sets of high rep squats or reach a new marathon PR, beetroot’s energy enhancing effects can help make sure you have the energy to push through those grueling workouts.
Beet root supplementation also improves blood flow in the body. Nitrates that are abundant in beet roots will ultimately convert into nitric oxide inside the body. Nitric oxide facilitates blood vessel dilation, leading to increased blood flow and oxygen uptake. By allowing for a better pump during weight training workouts an athlete can optimally increase muscle growth.
Less likely to gain the interest of serious athletes but just as important, beet root extract has multiple other health benefits. Consuming beetroot products can improve blood pressure, prevent and reduce malignant cell growth, improve brain function in the elderly, and has even been thought by ancient Romans to be a natural aphrodisiac. On top of all these benefits, beets are full of vitamins and minerals. Not matter what an athlete trains for it is always important to not only focus on sports performance but also ensuring proper heath.
Sources and Dosage
The most obvious way to gain the benefits of beetroot is to prepare and eat an actual beet. The unique taste of beets, and the time it takes to prepare them may make supplementation of beetroot extract more attractive to athletes. Beet root extract can be found as powder form in some pre workouts, in a pill or in liquid such as beet juice. A few of the products at MFN that contain beetroot extract are:
-PREWOD by Nutri Force Sports
-CellMass by BSN
Coleman, E. (2012, February ). Reap the benefits of beetroot juice — evidence suggests it improves heart health and athletic performance. Toda'ys Dietitian , 14(2), 48. Retrieved from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/020612p48.shtml
Produced in the liver, glucuronolactone is a substance that results from the metabolism of glucose. Known also as DGL or D-glucoronic acid, it is an ingredient common in many energy drinks and has been suggested to increase energy and protect connective tissue in the body.
As stated above, DGL is contained in several energy drinks. This is because of DGL’s energy enhancing effects on the body. With the task of balancing work, a family, and physique goals it may be hard at times to find the energy to hit the gym after a long day. Products that contain DGL can be used to make sure that an athlete is able to hit the gym hard every session and put in the necessary work to reach their goals.
DGL is also important in connective tissue throughout the body. Any serious athlete realizes the importance of maintaining healthy tendons and ligaments. Continuous pounding of feet on pavement or heavy weight training can wear down joints and connective tissue over time. Supplementing with DGL can help maintain strong connective tissue and in turn ensure a long and enjoyable career in whatever sport an athlete trains for.
Sources and dosage
Glucuronolactone, being a metabolite from glucose, can arise in the body through normal consumption of carbohydrates. While you will likely consume enough DGL for a healthy life through normal die, extra supplementation will be needed in order to get the increase in vitality similar to an energy drink. While dose suggestions remain up for debate, one recommendation of safe use is around 1000mg per kilogram of bodyweight. The important thing to remember is to follow the directions specific to whichever product you decide to use. A few examples of products containing glucuronolactone at MFN are:
-Voltagen by Alpha Helix
-Fast Twitch by Cytosport