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Restoring Your Liver
It's a well-known fact that bodybuilders drink alcohol - and this is especially true for younger lifters. It's also a well-known fact that alcohol consumption is one of the best ways to cripple muscle growth and trigger system-wide inflammation damage. Drinking also damages your liver.
New research has shown that there is hope - by using supplements, it may be possible to reverse some of the liver damage caused by drinking.
South Korean researchers combined the supplement ingredient taurine with beta-cyclodextrin and fed the mixture to mice that had previously been given ethanol. The researchers also had a control group of mice that did not receive anything, and a group of mice that exclusively received only ethanol. The aim of the study was to examine the effects of the mixture on lipid metabolism and hepatic cell damage in the mice.
| What Are Hepatic Veins?
In human anatomy, the hepatic veins are the blood vessels that drain de-oxygenated blood from the liver and blood cleaned by the liver (from the stomach, pancreas, small intestine and colon) into the inferior vena cava.
[ wikipedia.org ]
The researchers gave the mixture to mice for 6 months, via their drinking water, and measured their levels of serum lipids, serum enzymes and degree of hepatic damage. Not surprisingly, researchers found that the ethanol-only group had high levels of cholesterol and liver damage, while the group that received neither ethanol nor the supplement mixed were unchanged.
In the group that was treated with ethanol followed up with treatment by the taurine and beta-cyclodextrin mixture, researchers found that there were significant decreases in overall cholesterol levels, and a dramatic reduction in hepatic marker levels - meaning that their livers were healthier.
Researchers concluded that the mixture of taurine and beta-cyclodextrin was successful in repairing the liver damage caused by the ethanol alcohol.
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This is an important study for bodybuilders - especially those who drink - because while it's not been proven that these results can translate into human subject, animal studies often do - meaning that a taurine supplement combination may be helpful in reducing or possibly repairing human liver damage caused by alcohol consumption. Further research is needed, but paying attention to the health of your liver and possibly protecting it and nursing it back to health is a worthy goal.
- Kwan Seob Shim, et al. Supplementation of taurine and b-cyclodextrin to mice administered ethanol restores lipid metabolism and damaged liver. Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 241- 244.
Cranberries... They're Not Just For Thanksgiving
If you're like most people, you probably last ate cranberries at Christmas or Thanksgiving, along with Turkey and generous amounts of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. If you don't currently eat cranberries on a regular basis, new research suggests you should.
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Cranberries are a rich source of special phytochemicals including benzoic, hydroxycinnamic and ellagic acids, and various flavonoids. And these phytochemicals can do some pretty amazing things, like protecting you from cardiovascular disease, decreasing your risk of good cholesterol (HDL) oxidation and reducing your blood pressure. Cranberries can also help keep you in the gym, by exerting powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and antimicrobial effects.
In short, you should eat them - not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but every day if possible - to reap their benefits. They can keep you well, reduce your cardiovascular disease risk and help you recover faster from exercise.
- Diane L. McKay, et al. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. November 2007: 490-502. 2007 International Life Sciences Institute.
Nitric Oxide - The Bottom Line On Exercise Performance
Nitric oxide supplements are a corner-stone of the serious bodybuilders supplement arsenal. While early detractors of nitric oxide supplementation denounced them, the real-world results of bodybuilders and the subsequent scientific evidence is clear: nitric oxide is critical, and nitric oxide boosting supplements work.
Now, new scientific evidence has re-examined the role that nitric oxide plays in exercise performance, and has reached a startling conclusion: nitric oxide is the final word on exercise performance.
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Nitric oxide is a small colorless, odorless gas that oxidizes in plasma, resulting in nitrite. Researchers aimed to examine whether the ability of the body to produce nitrite is associated with exercise performance.
To examine this, researchers had 55 subjects undergo a variety of tests both before and after exercise. In a selected manipulation group, researchers tested the subjects before and after exercise following the administration of a NOS inhibitor - a drug that inhibits nitric oxide synthase.
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Researchers found that nitrite production was associated with good exercise performance, while reduced nitrite production was associated with poor exercise performance. They speculate that the NOS inhibitor altered the activity of blood plasma and that limiting your ability to produce nitrite will reduce exercise capacity.
So there you have it: simply by limiting nitric oxide synthase, researchers limited nitrite production and caused a decrease in exercise ability - even while all other factors remained unchanged.
This study demonstrates the powerful role that nitric oxide plays in exercise performance. If you're a serious bodybuilder, here is more evidence that a nitric oxide supplement should be a cornerstone in your supplement arsenal.
- Tienush Rassaf, et al. Nitric oxide synthase-derived plasma nitrite predicts exercise Capacity. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:669-673.
Working Out In The Heat
We've all been there: a hot gym on a hot day, when the air conditioning has broken down and all we have to cool us is a bottle of water and a towel. Whether you're on the treadmill or in the powerlifting pit, the heat is tough. Researchers want to help fix that.
German researchers conducted a study in which they examined the effects of several different temperature regulation methods on exercise performance and endurance in the heat.
To test the effects of the pre-exercise and warm-up techniques on exercise performance and endurance, researchers had 20 male participants run on a treadmill until exhaustion a total of three times, with 5 days between each bout. During these sessions, subjects either warmed-up prior to the test, or cooled down their temperatures by wearing a cooling vest for 20 minutes while sitting still.
Researchers found that the overall exercise performance and endurance of the study subjects who wore the cooling vest were dramatically superior to those who warmed-up prior to the exercise test.
This is a potentially breakthrough study for bodybuilders, because it shows clearly that cooling your core body temperature prior to exercise instead of warming up can dramatically increase your performance and endurance, letting you work harder, longer and with more intensity.
- Sandra Uckert, et al. Effects of warm-up and precooling on endurance performance in the heat. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:380-384.
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