When it comes to supplements, there are the mainstream choices such as whey protein powders, BCAAs, fish oils, creatine monohydrate and multivitamins. However, there are so many other supplements out there that many people have never heard of. When combined with a good nutritious diet, some of the supplements I’m about to review have some amazing benefits from both a health and performance perspective.
Citrulline malate is an ergogenic aid and is found in nearly all pre-workout supplements. This is due to its powerful effects on exercise performance. However, the benefits of this supplement continue long after leaving the gym. Citrulline Malate has been shown to increase the amount of the amino acid arginine found in the blood stream. This has significant implications as an increased profile of arginine results in increased levels of nitric oxide production.
Nitric oxide is a chemical compound that increases blood flow to the working muscles by relaxing the walls of the blood vessels. This is beneficial in a number of ways. Firstly, an increased blood flow means enhanced nutrient delivery to the muscles, meaning they can last longer under stress and are better equipped to kick start the recovery process. An increased blood flow also increases the muscles buffering capacity, due to enhanced ammonia clearance. This means there is a delayed increase in muscle acidity and therefore the muscle can work at higher thresholds for a prolonged period of time. Furthermore, enhanced levels of arginine from citrulline malate supplementation has also been shown to enhance levels of protein synthesis following resistance training, meaning it is beneficial for growth and recovery.
Why Not Just Supplement With L-Arginine?
Firstly, there have been many reported detrimental effects of L-Arginine supplementation on the digestive system. Furthermore, L-Arginine is broken down much faster than citrulline malate, meaning the effects are not as long lasting.
Who Is It For?
Citrulline malate is for anybody looking to enhance their training limits and therefore their physiological capacity.
Creatine Ethyl Ester
Creatine Ethyl Ester is creatine monohydrate with an ester attached. The effectiveness of taking creatine depends entirely on your body’s ability to use it. In order for the body to utilise creatine, it has to enter the cells in which it acts upon. Creatine enters the cells by a process called passive permeation, this is when a substance moves through a cell membrane and enters the cell. Passive permeation requires the substance to use lipids (fats) as their transport mechanism.
Standard creatine monohydrate is semi-lipophilic, meaning it doesn’t combine with fats very well. This means it inefficiently uses fats as a transport mechanism into the cells and therefore regular creatine monohydrate is harder for the body to utilise. Esters are found in the fat tissue of animals and when added to a substance, increase its ability to combine with fats. Therefore the esterification of creatine monohydrate means it becomes more efficient at entering the cells and therefore increases the body’s ability to use it. This means creatine ethyl ester is required in smaller doses and is better suited to be used by the body.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Creatine Ethyl Ester?
Taking creatine enhances the body’s ability to perform high-intensity work and therefore assists with muscular hypertrophy and performance. Creatine is stored in muscle cells (as creatine phosphate) and supplies our fasted and most powerful muscle fibers with an immediate energy supply. However, stores are very limited and are used within a matter of seconds and therefore during high-intensity exercise, these fibers fatigue quickly. Supplementing with creatine increases the amount of creatine phosphate that is stored and delays fatigue of these powerful fibers. Therefore it helps us perform a few more reps or sprint faster before fatiguing. As previously discussed, supplementing with Creatine Ethyl Ester makes it easier for the creatine to move inside the muscle cells and be utilised during high-intensity activity.
Who Is Creatine Ethyl Ester For?
Anybody looking to enhance their performance capacity or build muscle tissue.
L-Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide (formed of two amino acids). It is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants on the market, meaning it has many amazing benefits on our health. However, not many people have heard of it or use it. Free radicals are unstable molecular species that are produced by the body. Certain lifestyle and environmental factors contribute to their production, including exercise, smoking, poor diet and radiation. If free radical production exceeds the body’s ability to deal with them over a prolonged period of time, this leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to many degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
Anti-oxidants such as L-Carnosine neutralize free radicals and therefore help prevent oxidative stress and the associated detrimental health implications. Furthermore, keeping oxidative stress to a minimum helps prolong the ageing process. Supplementing with L-Carnosine is a great way to ensure your body is equipped to stay free of oxidative stress and maintain a prolonged healthy living environment.
Who Is It For?
L-Carnosine supplementation is suitable for anybody who wants to improve or maintain their health.
Peptopro (Casein Hydrolysate)
Peptopro is a form of protein powder designed to aid repair and recovery from exercise. But how does it differ from the traditional whey protein powder?
What Is Hydrolysate?
Hydrolysate is simply the product of hydrolysis, the process where a substance is broken down into smaller units. Protein hydrolysate is where a protein is broken down into smaller chains of amino acids. The amino acid profile and nutritional value of protein hydrolysate are equivalent to that of the protein in which it originates from. As the protein has already been broken down, consuming a hydrolyzed protein supplement means it is more readily digested and therefore absorbed faster. This has significant implications for anybody looking to maximize the post workout protein synthesis window. In order to build muscle tissue, protein synthesis must outweigh protein degradation. Both of these processes occur all the time, but it’s important to ensure protein synthesis happens more than degradation if building muscle is the goal.
Following a workout where muscles have been stimulated for growth, the potential for muscle protein synthesis is elevated, providing there is an adequate pool of amino acids readily available. This is why taking a protein hydrolysate provides an extra advantage. During this post workout window where protein synthesis is elevated, protein hydrolysate provides the building blocks to form new muscle proteins faster when compared to a standard whey protein.
Casein vs. Whey
Casein protein is traditionally recommended to be consumed before sleep as due to its prolonged digestion rate. Whereas whey is traditionally recommended for post work out consumption as it’s digested faster. So why casein hydrolysate over whey post workout? Casein protein that has been hydrolyzed isn’t the same as traditional casein powder. The molecules that cause prolonged digestion of regular casein are broken down during hydrolysis.
What makes casein hydrolysate an extra benefit is that some of the amino acids found in the supplement can be converted to glucose and therefore cause an increase in insulin levels. Insulin is a major anabolic hormone. It increases the rates of protein synthesis and also increases carbohydrate uptake in the muscles, meaning glycogen stores are replenished and recovery is optimal.
The Bottom Line
There are many amazing supplements that support our health and performance. A lot of them get lost in the noise of the more common ones. I hope this article has got you thinking about how you may be able to get that extra edge and look into some of these amazing products. Always read the label before taking them to ensure they are suited to you.