Also known as a nootropic and a sports supplement, acetyl-L-carnitine has become increasingly popular in recent years – here’s why.
Firstly, acetyl-l-carnitine helps the body to use fatty acids as an energy source. This is especially important if you’re looking to lose weight, or if you are a long distance athlete; The more your body can tap into fat stores, the longer and harder you can exercise without fatigue.
Furthermore, acetyl-l-carnitine has been shown to retain glucose in the muscles. (I) This means, that when using this amino acid, your body can hold glucose for when you really need it, such as the final sprint effort at the end of a race.
As for focus and mental alertness, acetyl-l-carnitine has been proven to help stimulate the mind. Thus giving you a sharper focus and more mental clarity. This allows you to work and study for longer periods of time without the need for as many breaks.
Adaptogens, such as ashwagandha have been around for hundreds of years, where they’ve been used to treat a number of illnesses. Such as; erectile dysfunction, stress, weight loss, energy production, and insomnia.
Using ashwagandha helps to lower cortisol levels, which in turn helps the body to regulate its own natural rhythm of hormone production. Furthermore, ashwagandha has been linked to an increase in serum testosterone production – helping you to increase your libido and your strength/stamina. (II)
Ashwagandha has also been shown to help with endurance. It increases your ability to improve VO2 Max. And, it can also help some people heal faster post-chemotherapy treatment.
If you’ve wondered how your body breaks down certain foods to be created into energy, you may want to look into how B vitamins work. They increase the digestion/absorption of the foods you eat, to be turned into usable energy. This metabolism is especially important if you’re looking to improve your sports performance, recovery time, or even muscle building, and weight loss. (III)
B-vitamins are also responsible for increased cellular recovery, and hormone production. Not only that, B vitamins can protect your central nervous system, as it covers the sheath coat surrounding nerve fibres.
Beet juice (also known as the vegetable beetroot) is packed full of antioxidants and flavonoids which heal and protect the body against free-radicals. Furthermore, beetroot contains healthy amounts of nitric oxide. It’s nitric oxides’ job to help transport food substrates and oxygen around the body.
The nitric oxide found in beet juice will also increase vascularity in your veins, along with a feeling of muscle fullness. (IV) Furthermore, it will help your body to recover quicker post-exercise while supplying more energy to your working muscles. Overall, beet juice is a great addition to anyone’s diet, not only those who are looking for sports or physical improvements.
Boron has been shown to increase testosterone in men, while also balancing women’s hormones – thus highlighting boron’s capabilities at improving weight management, muscle building, and the libido in both men and women. (V)
Furthermore, boron has also been shown to heal bones at a much quicker rate. This is thanks to the way boron born reduces the loss of magnesium. Therefore, if you exercise frequently, then chances are you may have experienced twitching muscles or restless legs at night. This is because your magnesium levels are low.
By taking boron, you can offset the loss of magnesium in the body, which helps to maintain a strong skeletal system. And also, the ability to contract muscles effectively. This is because calcium helps your muscles to contract when taking part in any type of exercise.
Coconut isn’t just a tropical ‘droop’ – it can also be turned into a sports supplement that generally restores lost electrolytes while increasing levels of hydration and performance. (VI)
When you pair coconut with magnesium and sodium, it will boost your ability to recover, while also enhancing your workout capacity. This is because electrolytes are needed for the transportation of nutrients around the body which help to fuel and repair your muscles.
Coenzyme Q10 (a.k.a CQ10) is a vital enzyme that’s also referred to as a vitamin. It plays an important role in healing the body while increasing energy production, producing more adenosine trisphosphate – ATP. (VII) In fact, the majority of the body’s energy is created using CQ10.
CQ10 is especially important for those of you who are looking to reduce physical fatigue while improving power output. Overall, low levels of CQ10 can cause fatigue and general tiredness. Furthermore, CQ10 can also reduce inflammation.
Creatine is potentially the most powerful, and one of the most well-studied sports supplement on the planet. It can increase your strength by huge percentages and enhance energy production via the mitochondria supplying more adenosine trisphosphate. (VIII)
Furthermore, creatine has also been shown to improve levels of endurance. And lastly, creatine can also increase lean muscle mass when taking part in resistance training programs. In some cases, up to 1.3kg after several weeks of supplementation.
The best type of creatine to use of creatine monohydrates. This is because it’s the most well-studied. And also, we know how it reacts with the body, therefore it shows no side effects when using it in the long-term.
D-Aspartic Acid has been shown to increase testosterone levels, sperm quality, strength and performance. And it can also enhance your learning capabilities. It does this by increasing the function of the N-methyl-D-aspartates receptors – which are linked to improved memory and learning. (IX)
One of the ways in which DAA works is by stimulating the endocrine glands to release hormones that are responsible for a number of bodily mechanisms. Such as weight loss and muscle building etc. So, if your goals are to increase testosterone levels naturally while improving your cognitive abilities, DAA is for you.
Fenugreek can improve testosterone production, while also reducing inflammation (X) and insulin sensitivity. Not only that, but fenugreek can also induce labour in women while improving the release of milk for breastfeeding.
However, it’s warned that using too much fenugreek while pregnant may cause birth complications. Therefore, always speak to your doctor if using new supplements/foods for the first time – especially while pregnant.
Furthermore, while fenugreek can improve testosterone production. It’s worth bearing in mind that it can also cause hair loss. And it can also cause the body to produce more pungent bodily odours, including in the urine.
Inulin is a powerful probiotic that’s found in plant starches. It helps to feed the good bacteria in your intestines, thus helping you to absorb more of the foods you eat. (XI) Furthermore, taking a supplement such as inulin will help to boost your immune system.
This is especially important if you exercise regularly. This is because your immune system becomes weaker as it has to work twice as hard to heal your body post-exercise. Therefore, using inulin can help your body to heal at a quicker rate while improving the immune functions – fighting off diseases and general illnesses.
Iron can be overlooked at times, but its importance in supplying the body with energy makes it one of the most vital minerals needed for the body. Especially when higher levels of activity are required. (XII) This is because of the way iron increases haemoglobin levels. Hemaboloblin transports oxygen around the body in the blood. It also removes waste products such as carbon dioxide.
Furthermore, iron will deliver nutrients (such as carbs, fats, and proteins) into the working muscles and brain. Ultimately, it will help to increase your performance, mental focus, and workout recovery. This makes iron a ‘must have’ in anyone’s diet or supplement program. Especially if you’re serious about improving both your health and workout/performance results.
L-carnosine is a very popular sports supplement that can increase energy output, thus improving strength and stamina. (XIII) L-carnosine is a water-soluble organic compound that’s made up of amino acids. This means, that the body can quickly absorb and utilise it for a rapid performance output when needed.
Furthermore, carnosine can so support the mitochondria in creating more energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate. This makes l-carnosine a viable, and highly successful sports ergogenic (physical performance enhancer).
L-citrulline is an amino acid that can improve physical performance. It also helps the body with the urea-cycle (expelling of toxins within the body). This amino acid is produced as a byproduct when nitric oxide is created. It’s taken from the amino acid arginine, and then it’s catalyzed by nitric oxide synthase.
All of this means is that l-citrulline can be used to create nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a powerful gas in the body used to transport nutrients and oxygen into the working muscles. (XIV)
This is potentially one of the most important supplement for anyone who’s looking to build strength and muscle mass. L-leucine is the highest regarded amino acid that’s linked to muscular growth, thus improving muscle protein synthesis – the use of amino acids to build muscle. (XV)
Furthermore, l-leucine can also be converted into ketone bodies when glucose isn’t available. This means that when you have enough leucine available, you can feed the muscles and brain with ketones for heightened performance dance.
Mainly found in tea, l-theanine can help to calm and relax the body and mind. It can also improve energy levels. L-theanine has been shown to improve Alpha brain waves and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). This means that it can enhance mood, lower depression, while generally, helping the mind to function better – lowering anxiety and fearfulness. (XVI)
L-tryptophan is a powerful sleep aid and mood booster. Low levels of tryptophan in the diet can lead to irregular sleeping patterns, depression, and anxiety to name a few. Therefore, by using a supplement containing tryptophan or eating more foods with this amino acid for several weeks, means you’ll quickly begin to notice a difference in how you sleep, and how you feel day-to-day. (XVII)
L-valine is an essential amino acid that regulates how much glucose and nitrogen are sent into your muscles, thus helping you to perform better. Glucose is vital for any type of exercise, especially for the final sprint finish, or any type of competitive sport. Furthermore, it also regulates muscle protein synthesis MPS for increased muscle growth. (XVIII)
Furthermore, l-valine has been shown to heal the body in certain areas, such as in the liver. A lack of valine in the diet has been linked to fatty liver build up, which prevents the body from working efficiently – such as glucose retention for exercise, or even weight loss.
Have you ever wondered what the big hype surrounding magnesium is? Well, Mg is responsible for over 300 enzyme factors that regulate diverse biochemical reactions all over the body – that’s how important magnesium is.
Magnesium can help the muscles to relax, it can also help the muscles to contract, and it can also improve the delivery of key nutrients around the body. Furthermore, magnesium has been shown to lower stress levels. On top of all of that, magnesium can increase strength and endurance (XIX) while reducing muscle cramping.
Piperine, also known as black pepper, isn’t just a cooking ingredient. It can increase the absorption of the foods you eat in the intestines. This is why you’ll often find piperine in supplements. As this will help to get more of the vitamins and minerals into your body at a quicker rate as opposed to not using piperine.
Furthermore, piperine can also increase the thermogenic effect within the body (XX). Which means that your metabolism will be slightly raised – ideal for weight management. And also, piperine can help to health your gut, making it an important supplement/cooking ingredient for health and vitality.
PQQ may not be that well-known within the supplement and the sports community as other supplements such as creatine. However, it plays a big role in producing energy. PQQ can be found in kiwi, parsley, and most vegetables – it can be found mostly in foods that grow in rich, mineral dense soli.
This small molecule can increase the rate at which glucose is used to create energy in the mitochondria to form adenosine trisphosphate – ATP. (XXI) PQQ has also been shown to not only increase physical performance and energy but also, those who may be interested in enhancing brain activity – such as gamers, working professionals and students to name a few. This is because PQQ helps the brains neurons to work more efficiently.
R-lipoic acid (a.k.a ALA) is an essential coenzyme that helps to send/use glucose into the mitochondria to be converted into energy, producing adenosine trisphosphate. Furthermore, ALA protects the body against free radicals and stress, either emotional or those experience during and after exercise. (XXII)
Overall, ALA is a powerful antioxidant. One of the main antioxidants elements that are important to our health is glutathione. This belongs to the thiol group, where it’s known as the body’s main antioxidant.
Sodium is overlooked when it comes to health, energy production, and sports performance. Not only that, salt can also prevent fatalities when taking part in endurance events. (XXIII) This is because salt regulates the electrolytes within your body. If for whatever reason, you dilute your electrolytes too much while taking part in an endurance event, it could cause death or brain damage.
Making sure you have enough sodium in your diet is key to overall health and improved performance. This is because salt helps to transport nutrients around the body – making it easier for you to send nutrients into your muscles, helping you to perform at your peak.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin much like vitamin D. It improves our eyesight at night (XXIV). Strengthens our bones and teeth, along with your immune system. This fat-soluble vitamin is good for your eyes, the way it protects your DNA, and also, the way it improves the natural production of your hormones – making vitamin A an important supplement for growth and repair.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is actually a steroid hormone. (XXV) It helps to create energy within the body, it helps to fight against disease, and it also helps the body to absorb calcium into your body, preventing the formation of rickets.
This fat-soluble vitamin has also been said to help increase testosterone production. As the male reproductive tract has been identified as a tissue for vitamin D. Furthermore, vitamin D can increase physical performance in the way it helps the mitochondria to produce more energy.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that improves the way our bodies absorb and use calcium to form strong and healthy bones. Furthermore, it helps blood clotting while also preventing too much calcium deposits being built on your joints.
Zinc has been shown to prevent heart disease. It can also improve hormone production, stimulating testosterone release – leading to muscle growth and fat loss. And it can also protect and help to create a robust central nervous system. (XXVIII)
This vital mineral is key to longevity, muscle growth and repair. Overall, low levels of zinc can stunt one’s growth, it can weaken the immune system, and cause unwanted weight loss.
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