This article is divided into three supplement categories: ergogenic aids, protein meal replacements, and thermogenic aids. A conclusion follows about good manufacturing practices (GMP), if any, regarding a note on buying supplements.
Muscle Gain or Ergogenic Aids
Ergogenic Aids or Muscle Building supplements has shown to increase an individual's performance, strength, muscle mass, recovery and overall sense of well-being.
Androstene(diol) (muscle & strength aid) also known as 4-Androstenediol, Androdiol or 4-AD, is a naturally occurring androgen metabolite that is a direct precursor to testosterone, which optimizes the body's natural testosterone production. Optimal levels of Androstenediol has shown to increase energy, performance, enhance muscle growth, recovery and repair after exercise. Androstenediol has a less conversion enzyme rate to estrogen than other androgen supplementation.
The lozenge form of androgen supplementation allows for a great uptake of the active ingredients compared to other preparations. This delivery form allows the androgens to be readily absorbed via the sublingual plexus and buccal cavity directly into the bloodstream. Other androgens first enter the portal blood and then travel to the liver, where much of them may be destroyed. The buccal form has been shown to raise testosterone levels more than other forms.
Androstenediol is recommended for athletes or advanced fitness enthusiasts in their mid-30s and over. It is NOT necessary and therefore NOT recommended for beginners or for advanced fitness enthusiasts under 35.
Recommendation: Pinnacle Androstat 150-Cyclo Poppers.
Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs (muscle recovery aid) prevent muscle loss, to increase energy, to delay muscle fatigue and to enhance recovery for muscle building. Take 30-15 minutes before and immediately after an intense workout or professional endurance sport activity.
Recommendation: Twin Lab Amino Fuel 1500. Based on this brand's effective ingredients and amounts I suggest taking 7-9 tablets that is split before and after exercise or 1 tablet for every 22 pounds of lean body mass weight.
Creatine Monohydrate Phosphate or CMP (muscle & strength aid) delays the onset of muscular fatigue, increases energy production and enhances strength performance. Creatine is nothing new to the body. You will simply be supplying the body with more. Most of the creatine in the body is stored in the muscles as creatine or in a form called phosphocreatine. Creatine can increase anaerobic endurance and cell volume. This means you will be able to achieve 2 to 3 extra repetitions from using creatine. Proponents of creatine have called it nature's muscle builder. They have compared its effectiveness to steroids. But unlike steroids, creatine is natural.
Creatine is found in lean meats. But to get only 5 grams of creatine from lean meat you would have to eat at least 10 pounds of it! Creatine helps without the added bulk and calories from meat. Creatine does three physiological things in the body: (1) provides energy for movements that are quick and explosive, (2) minimizes the production of lactic acid, so you can train harder (intensity) and longer (increased repetitions), and (3) enhances the body's ability to make contractile proteins within the muscle, which increases muscle mass and the ability to do muscular work. CMP recycles ATP and balances the salts in the body for maintaining a positive nitrogen balance.
Take 2 grams of creatine for every 60 pounds of lean body mass weight. At least 2 grams of the daily dosage should be taken before each workout, with the remaining dose split throughout the day. Creatine is best taken with carbohydrates, especially with a protein meal replacement drink 30 minutes before a workout. Some evidence suggests creatine taken with fruit juice may enhance the effect of creatine.
Recommendation: Pinnacle Super Crea-Glutide 2400.
Meal replacement protein powder drinks are a healthy and convenient "fast low-calorie food snack" that provides your body essential nutrients without additional calories you would otherwise get from the fast "high-fat" food restaurants. They are effective for building muscle or losing fat. For best results, take a protein powder meal replacement drink an hour before a workout or an hour before going to bed, since it is easy to digest and assimilate in the body.
Protein Meal Replacements or "Protein Powder"
Meal replacement protein powder drinks are healthy and convenient "fast low-calorie food snacks" that provide your body with essential nutrients without additional calories you would otherwise get from the fast "high-fat" food restaurants. They are effective for building muscle or losing fat. For best results, take a protein powder meal replacement drink an hour before a workout or an hour before going to bed, since it is low in calories and fat, easy to digest and assimilate in the body.
Whey Protein (muscle & fat loss aid), unlike soy protein, comes from milk and has the highest ratio of the essential amino acids (AAs) or high biological value (BV). It provides the body with the necessary building blocks to produce amino acids that are used for building muscle tissue. Studies have been conducted that compare whey protein to other sources. Both hormonal and cellular responses seem to be greatly enhanced with supplementation of whey protein. Not to mention the benefits whey protein has on the body's immune system according to documented scientific research.
Whey protein also plays a role as an antioxidant and an immune system builder. Most importantly, consistent whey protein intake coupled with exercise will result in consistent muscle building.
Soy Protein (muscle & fat loss aid) is a good meat substitute for those who are lactose intolerant. It is generally very low in or free of fat, and cholesterol. Soy protein is a complete protein, but has comparatively low ratio of essential AAs, most notably methionine. Thus, to get a comparable amount of those AAs, you must eat many more grams of soy, and that increases calorie and fiber intake.
However, soy protein provides a healthy way to get non-animal protein into your diet. It is ideal for high protein/low carb diets. Its valuable constituents include saponins, phytosterols, and isoflavones. For women, there is some very good research showing that some components of soy can reduce PMS symptoms and relieve some of the negative side effects of menopause.
Recommendation: Optimum Soy Protein.
Fat Loss or Thermogenic Aids
Thermogenic aids or fat loss supplements are potent supplements that increases 24-hour energy expenditure contributing to more calories burned throughout the day, thus, aiding in fat loss. Two common "fat burners" are provided below from the most to the least useful: Pyruvate and Ephedra or ECA Stacks.
Pyruvate (energy expenditure aid), in the form of pyruvic acid, is created in the body during the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein. Pyruvate enhances weight loss by increasing the resting metabolic rate and results in a greater reduction of body fat in overweight adults consuming a low-fat diet. Pyruvate supplements cause calorie wasting without stimulants (no chance for addiction) and also improve exercise endurance. Pyruvate supports weight loss, obesity and athletic support.
Pyruvate has been shown to increase fat loss by 48 percent with restricted-calorie diets. It may minimize the loss of lean tissue during fat loss and increase resting metabolic rates. The advantage of pyruvate compared to an ECA stack (below) is that it is easier to maintain the fat loss because it is not an appetite control agent and not addictive. The downfall of pyruvate is that it is very expensive for some brands. A recommended dosage of 5-6 grams is taken before meals or exercise three times daily for pyruvate to take effect.
Recommendation: Higher Power Pyruvate 1500.
ECA (ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin) Stacks (energy expenditure aid) are highly effective stimulants and thermogenic, but they are potentially addictive and dangerous. ECA Stacks contain two potent ingredients: ephedra & guarana. While ephedrine is highly effective as a stimulant and thermogenic, it is potentially addictive and dangerous in large doses, especially for people who are sensitive to stimulants such as caffeine. The reason these three ingredients (ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin) are commonly combined is that the aspirin lowers the threshold for the two stimulants. In other words, in the correct ratios the amount of stimulant needed is very low because of the aspirin.
Ephedrine is a derivative of the root of the ephedra plant (the chinese name is Ma Huang). Ma Huang contains ephedrine, which has effects similar to epinephrine (adrenaline). It also yields a chemical that is a methylxanthine (as is caffeine). As such, it is a very potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Because CNS stimulants cause the release of the fight or flight hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, it makes a good bronchodilator. Thus, it can have negative short and long-term effects on non-asthmatics. In the form pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, it is a common ingredient in over the counter cold, allergy and asthma medications.
Guarana has stimulant properties due to a high content of caffeine and related alkaloids, such as theophylline and theobromine, and thus can help increase stamina for physical endurance. It also has an appetite-depressant action. Frequent use of Guarana can result in caffeine dependency, lead to dysfunctions of the central nervous system, and cause blood sugar imbalances that may lead to hypoglycemia. Moderate use is highly recommended.
Caffeine is a great thermogenic, and is inexpensive from coffee. Therefore, caffeine is a great substitute to an ephedrine supplement. Only as a last resort should an individual try an ECA because it can and does raise blood pressure and heart rate.
Most people cannot take ephedrine responsibly in the doses commonly available, whether by itself or in an ECA Stack, which is why it is under the gun so many times and why some health clubs and health food stores no longer carry it.
The maximum recommended dosage of ephedrine for a healthy adult is no more than 100mg in a 24-hour period for not more than 12 weeks. Improper use of ephedrine may be hazardous to a person's health. Also, it is contraindicated for anyone with blood pressure, heart rate, or heart condition concerns and shouldn't be taken by anyone with certain lung and breathing conditions without the advice of a doctor.
Some popular brands have as much as 150mg of ephedrine or "astronomically" more per serving of two servings daily! The FDA's maximum recommended dosage is no more than 24mg of ephedrine daily. Should you decide upon an ECA Stack, NVE Stacker 2 offers a usage of 25mg of ephedrine and 200mg of caffeine per serving (1 capsule). Should you decide upon a brand containing ONLY caffeine (without ephedra) the maximum dosage should be no more than 400mg (200mg per serving) daily.
Recommendation: ANSI Hydroxadrine.
Conclusion: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or FDA Regulated?
No supplement company can patent their product(s) because supplements are derived from nature. That is why there are so many brands of supplements out there.
When looking for a supplement, confirm its manufacturing process that is FDA regulated by a licensed pharmaceutical company. When this is the case, purity and potency is guaranteed because the manufacturing process is under the same stringent guidelines as drugs. This means the contents of the product is true to its label because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates it.
Phoenix Labs is one licensed pharmaceutical company that makes supplements for Bodyonics Pinnacle. As a matter of fact, Phoenix Labs and Bodyonics Pinnacle are synonymous terms. They are one and the same company! That is why I prefer them over any other supplement company and trust them in guaranteeing what is on the label is what I get. Not many supplement companies (maybe 1 at the most or .5 at the least out of 10) can honestly boast a pharmaceutical manufacturing process under FDA regulations!
A supplement company that cannot afford a licensed pharmaceutical company to manufacture their products for them settle for less by manufacturing their own products by complying with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and new labeling laws. Supplement production, thus, is governed by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and not governed by FDA guidelines. No matter how good it sounds GMPs do not guarantee what is on the label is in the bottle! Some have too much of one or more substances or too little or not all - even if the label says so!
Safety to what you put in or do to your body comes first. Enhanced performance comes second. What everybody should be concerned about is buying a product that has a safe ratio of the amount of the substance(s) and purchased by a company that spends their money on having a licensed pharmaceutical company manufacture their product for them (and not spending their money on advertising!) to guarantee purity, potency and delivery. What you see on the label is what you get!
To sum up, a supplement that is NOT manufactured by a licensed pharmaceutical company (the manufacturing process is NOT FDA regulated) must settle for less than what is required by the FDA. They follow a supplement production that is governed by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) ONLY. In this case, one should question its said ingredients before buying. Don't waste your money and/or put your health in danger. A supplement company can choose to manufacture supplements without applying FDA guidelines so choose safely and wisely!
The 2004 New Year's Guide.