When I first discovered nutrient partitioning (a.k.a carbohydrate partitioning, carbohydrate metabolism, or glucose disposal) it was almost like a light switch had just been turned on.
Nutrient partitioning, as I’m sure you’re aware, is the process of using carbohydrates (proteins and fats) for fueling muscular performance, growth and repair – or to be stored as fat on the body. We obviously want the former.
For the friend you know who’s always lean. Or the gym-goer that you love to hate, who walks around at 10% body fat all year round, with above-average muscle definition. There’s a chance they’re genetically gifted, where their bodies partition macronutrients efficiently – allowing them to eat a bunch of carbs and not get fat, so to peak.
Or perhaps it’s not their genetics at all! Perhaps they’ve understood all-along the benefits of nutrient (carbohydrate) partitioning. So, how can we achieve the same results? First, we need to look at our diet. And to speed things up, we can use supplements. Which is the hot topic of this article.
Continue reading to learn which supplements are best for nutrient partitioning:
What Is Nutrient Partitioning?
Nutrition partitioning (a.k.a carbohydrate partitioning) is the process where your body stores calories as fat, or uses foods to fuel and repair muscle – improving body composition. Having better insulin sensitivity, healthy thyroids, and the right diet can improve nutrition partitioning.
Before I dive into this article on supplements and diet for nutrient partitioning, it’s worth mentioning that while proteins and fats play an important role in muscle tissue repair and hormone production, it’s carbohydrate manipulation that has the biggest impact on lean body mass results.
What most people wish to achieve with nutrition partitioning is better muscle growth and reduced-fat mass. Therefore, I’ll focus solely on carbohydrates in the diet section, where I’ll discuss how eating the right type of carbohydrates (and when) can increase fat loss.
Nutrient Partitioning Diet Manipulation
Most of your nutrition choices will boil down to personal preference and nutrition beliefs. And because of this, I’ve discussed carbohydrates sources in reference to their glycemic index to improve carbohydrate partitioning.
There are 3 main elements required by humans to maintain optimum health – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They are classified as Macronutrients. These; “are the nutrients we need in larger quantities that provide us with energy”. (I)
In other words, macros are the elements we need most of in our diet to fuel our working muscles, build new muscle fibres, and to balance our hormones.
For now, let’s forget about proteins and fats, and let’s assume you already know the importance of both. And how much your body needs per day for your specific goals. Now we can focus on the glycemic index.
Glycemic Index Explained:
The glycemic index is a registering scale of how certain foods (mainly carbohydrates) affect our blood sugar levels. The lower the number, the less it affects our insulin levels. And the higher, the more insulin is secreted. It’s the role of our pancreas to secrete insulin. (II)
An example of a high glycemic carb is white rice, with a scale of 85. And a medium glycemic carb is whole wheat bread at 60, and low glycemic carb such as lentils at 55 or less.
When we eat carbs, insulin is released which then shuttles glucose (converted from carbs) into the bloodstream. From there, blood sugar is either used to fuel muscular activity, brain function, or repair muscle fibres – or to be stored as fat. We obviously want muscle fueling and repair, not fat storage.
How To Manipulating Carbs For Muscle Growth and Fat Loss:
TIP: Eat complex carbohydrates 1-2 hours prior to training and simple sugars (fruits) 30 minutes before, during and after training to see the best results. Read my review of Performance Lab Carb – an intelligent carb formula.
In a nutshell, this above information is the trick to improving nutrient partitioning. By consuming lower glycemic carbohydrates throughout the times you are not taking part in intense workouts, then your body will start tapping into fat stores to be used as energy.
Then, when you take part in HIIT, or intense resistance training, eating higher glycemic carbs will quickly shuttle more sugars, amino acids and oxygen into your bloodstream, fuelling muscle activity – allowing you to perform at your peak without the fear of gaining additional fat. (III)
To help your body adapt to the process of nutrient partitioning, here are the supplements I use on a most frequent basis which have shown great results. Not to mention the studies which back up their claims in energy metabolism and nutrient delivery.
Best Supplements For Nutrient Partitioning
This amino acid helps the body to convert fats to be used as a fuel source. However, there’s a trick to make this work. The studies show that using acetyl-l-carnitine in a fasted state improves the process of stored fat energy conversion.
Furthermore, when using acetyl-l-carnitine in a fasted state, it not only shuttles more fat cells to fuel your muscles. But it also retains more glucose in the muscle for when it’s really needed. Such as during anaerobic sprints.
Therefore, this highlights how acetyl-l-carnitine can be used effectively as a nutrition partitioning supplement. Due to the way that it helps the body in food and stored energy conversion.
R-Lipoic Acid has been shown to work in a very similar way to the above acetyl-l-carnitine. But instead of releasing fats to be used as an energy source. Instead, it sends glucose directly into the muscles to fuel and builds new muscle fibres.
When carbohydrates are eaten, they can be used to fuel muscle activity and repair, or they can be stored as fat on the body. This is due to the way insulin is secreted from the pancreas when carbohydrates are eaten.
Therefore, when using R-Lipoic Acid, it’s been shown to make the transportation of carbohydrates more efficient within the body.
Forskolin acts directly on the adenylate cyclase. This is an enzyme that triggers Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) in fat cells. It’s the job of cAMP to break-down stored fats to be used as energy.
Not only that, but cAMP also regulates the body’s thermogenic response of the foods you eat. Therefore, this means that using Forskolin can increase our metabolic rate while speeding up energy use from stored fats on the body.
#04 Vitamin K
Vitamin K is present in the pancreatic β-cell proliferation, along with improving insulin sensitivity. The more insulin sensitive we are, the better we can use carbohydrates as a fuel source rather than fat storage.
It’s been shown that Vitamin K helps Adiponectin to be released. Which is a protein hormone involved in regulating glucose levels. Along with the breakdown of fatty acids. This means that vitamin K is important for glucose regulation and tolerance.
Piperine, also known as the main element inside black pepper. This increases food and nutrient absorption into the bloodstream. This is a useful ingredient found in many supplements for exactly this reason.
It’s not about how much we can ingest in the diet, but how much of those foods or supplements which can be absorbed. This is why adding pepper to the foods we eat, or by consuming a supplement containing piperine can further enhance our nutrient availability and absorption.
Boron shows to increase the conversion of foods to be used as an energy source. Furthermore, boron also increases hormone production, such as testosterone. An increase in testosterone has been directly linked to increasing nutrition partitioning.
When testosterone is high, it tells the body to use the foods you eat to be used as fuel to build new muscle fibres. This is why testosterone is such a hot topic for bodybuilders who are trying to reach the leanest, yet most muscular physique possible.
Therefore, when boron is used, it works in the body as it’s a testosterone ‘raw’ material. Meaning, it can be converted directly into testosterone via T production pathways: endocrine stimulation produces more luteinizing hormone, and thus testosterone creation and release in the gonads.
And while an increase in testosterone is beneficial for nutrition (carbohydrate) partitioning, what we really want in ‘free-flowing’ testosterone. You see, the thing is that when testosterone builds up, the majority of it stays as bound testosterone.
Therefore, while this is still beneficial for growth and development, free testosterone directly stimulates muscle growth and repair. That’s where boron can help, and that’s why I use this supplement.
#07 Coenzyme Q10
When you think of energy production, you might not think of CQ10. However, the studies show that CQ10 can improve the health, amount, and efficiency of the mitochondria – the powerhouse of energy production throughout the body.
The mitochondria take the foods you eat (or stored body fat) and convert them into usable energy. So, if your mitochondria aren’t working properly, then your food conversion system might not be optimal.
Athletes spend months sometimes years, trying to improve their endurance and speed of recovery. And whilst HIIT shows to improve the amount and function of the mitochondria, CQ10 is one element that’s well-researched to protect and improve the mitochondria, without the need to do intense workouts.
Furthermore, poor mitochondrial health has been linked to degenerative diseases, poor health, and not to mention a decrease in sports performance and recovery. This is why I like to use CQ10 on a daily basis.
#08 B Vitamins
B Vitamins are vital for energy production in the body. They allow for greater food conversion into usable energy. There are numerous B Vitamins, and they all play a specific role in the body and mind to increase endurance, strength, focus and well-being.
A diet lacking in B vitamins has been shown to be related to fat gain, poor muscle recovery, and even depression in some cases. Therefore, a diet full of B vitamins (either whole foods or supplements) has been linked to improving the health and energy conversion rates in the body.
Potentially, this is the ‘boss’ of all amino acids – L-Leucine. Especially when we’re looking to increase muscular strength and recovery. L-Leucine shows to increase muscle protein synthesis just as efficiently as eating a complete protein meal prior to training.
Therefore, when we’re looking to increase the conversion of foods, such as amino acids to fuel muscle growth whilst limiting fat gain, then amino acids such as L-Leucine can be used with great success.
When we train, we use a certain amount of stress hormones (adrenaline and dopamine etc.) that help to increase endurance, speed and focus, among others. The more we use will depend on how hard we train, and our current state of stress on the body.
Using L-Tyrosine can prevent the body from using up our stress hormones quickly. This means that L-Tyrosine allows us to extend our training by boosting our endurance – allowing for a ‘bank’ of stress hormones to be held in the body.
Furthermore, as L-Tyrosine is linked to stress hormone production, which is located in our adrenal glands, it’s been said that it can increase or fat loss efforts by improving our thyroid health. Therefore, if we’re looking to increase our nutrition partitioning efforts, L-Tyrosine can assist in the fat-burning effects of our own hormonal pathways.
I wouldn’t be a sport nutrition expert if I didn’t know which supplements in the industry work better than others.
Throughout my year’s training, dieting, researching, and implementing dieting protocols with the use of sports nutrition and supplements. I’ve finally found a company who I trust 100% to deliver the best supplements money can buy.
The company I’m referring to is Performance Lab: Their supplements are ahead of any other supplement I’ve seen or used. To highlight this point, let me explain how they operate.
Performance Lab ‘lab grow’ their ingredients to mirror what nature provides.
This means, your body won’t be able to tell the difference between an organic whole food form your local health food store, or Performance Lab supplements – because they are the most organic, bioavailable, and easy to absorb and use in the body that I’ve ever come across.
The company has a variety of supplements designed to enhance human performance, along with nutrient partitioning. You’ll find these supplements under their ‘SPORT RANGE‘, this is what I recommend as the best supplements for nutrient partitioning.
Sport Nutrition Expert Recommendation?
The listed supplements above have been well-researched and studied to provide benefits for energy metabolism, improved insulin sensitivity, and nutrient partitioning.
Furthermore, when these supplements are combined with the right diet. And the timing of high glycemic carbs surrounding training, and low glycemic carbs for the rest of the time. Then fat loss and muscle building will be enhanced.
For quality assured supplements, take a look at a company called Performance Lab Sport. Their supplements are ahead of the rest when it comes to fat loss, muscle building and energy support.
For more information on diet, head over to my diet guide articles. As for supplements, you can read my supplement page here.
(I) British Heart Foundation. “What Are Macronutrients?” BHF, British Heart Foundation. (source)
(II) Harvard Health Publishing. “Glycemic Index for 60+ Foods.” Harvard Health. (source)
(III) Berg, Jeremy M. “Fuel Choice During Exercise Is Determined by Intensity and Duration of Activity.” Biochemistry. 5th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970. (source)
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