[ Q ] I am 59 years old and weigh 210lbs. I would like to lose body fat, but am not really willing to make a serious commitment. I workout three times per week and I take an excellent multivitamin, in addition to taking whey protein isolate after my workout sessions. Sometimes I will also eat a protein bar when I'm on the run and can't access real food.
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[ A ] Thanks for your question.
It's my view that creatine monohydrate is an excellent dietary supplement for almost everyone, with the exceptions being for infants and for people in poor or fragile health. Provided that you are generally healthy, creatine monohydrate is a great supplement that is both economical and highly beneficial.
Creatine is without question the most researched dietary supplement on the planet, and the research shows that it's beneficial - especially as you age. The research shows that for people in your age range (50-69), creatine monohydrate can exert neuroprotective effects and support memory, cognition and overall brain function.1
Additionally, and when it comes to muscle function and range of motion, the research on creatine monohydrate shows that creatine improves these functions as well.
Glutamine has always been a hotly debated supplement ingredient, with some experts claiming that glutamine is useless and others claiming that it is absolutely essential. From my perspective, and from the existing research and real-world experience of countless bodybuilders worldwide, glutamine is a fantastic supplement that should be used by everyone - especially by people in your age range.
Derek Beast Charlebois
In your age range, glutamine is shown to dramatically increase growth hormone production and circulation. Human growth hormone plays a critical role in aging, as well as in determining your body composition. By increasing your levels of circulating growth hormone, glutamine may help you achieve dramatic body composition changes.
Additionally, glutamine is absolutely essential for intestinal health and immune system function. In fact, glutamine plays such an essential role in your body that is the most abundant amino acid and is the amino acid of choice for glucose manufacture when your body is under stress and in need of immediate energy.
So My Answer Is Clear: these two supplements (creatine and glutamine) have a proven benefit for people in your age range and you may benefit from using them - even if you're not a hardcore bodybuilder.
[ Q ] Hi! I am currently taking Gamma-O, and it is working quite well. But, in my muscle gain, I have also noticed that I am putting on a little more fat than I had anticipated. I was thinking about taking something with evodiamine in it. Do you think it would do me any good?
- Support testosterone production.
- Can trigger fat loss.
- Support immune system function.
[ A ] Gamma-O is a highly popular fatty-acid supplement that has come into wide use with bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts in the past several years. The stated benefits of this product are that it may:
By doing some basic research, you will find that these are common claims for virtually all fatty acid supplements. What does the research say?
It is well-established that your body uses fatty acids to support endocrine hormone function - human research into the effects of special fatty acids on hormone production in excess of natural limits is still pending.
Furthermore, and with respect to the issue of fat loss, while fatty acids may promote fat loss, they do so only under specific conditions of decreased energy intake. The research is clear that fatty acids do not trigger statistically significant weight loss during times of adequate or high energy intake.
In other words, fatty acids generally help you lose weight only when you're not eating enough; otherwise, they don't have much of an effect for weight loss. On this issue there seems to be a disconnect between the scientific community and the marketing departments of various supplement manufacturers.
While many claims about fatty acid benefits are still being investigated, we know for sure that fatty acids are vitally important for the immune system and can support good brain function and good moods. However, by using these supplements you can run the risk of gaining weight - as you have - just because the fatty acids are energy dense macronutrients that increase your total daily calorie intake.
In the case of Gamma-O, each serving provides 130 calories - a number that, depending on your body size, can represent a significant percentage of your per-meal calorie intake limit.
So, my suggestion to you is this: reduce your calorie intake while using Gamma-O and monitor the changes that you see in your body for a period of one week. If you find that you stop gaining weight or even lose weight, then the addition of evodamine to your supplement plan is unnecessary.
While evodiamine has a generally good safety profile, and while it has been used to thousands of years in natural health systems for weight control and temperature problems, I suggest that you first see if you can remedy the problem of weight gain by following the directions above. After all, you don't want to have to take one supplement to counteract the effects of the other and possibly risk side-effects if you don't have to.
[ Q ] I must first say that you've been a huge help. Because of you and what you've written, I've lost 54 lbs. Thank you!
My question is: A company called Maximum Human Performance markets a product called Secretagogue. Do you think this product is good to take, or is it just a scam? The description of how it works is beyond my comprehension.
[ A ] First, I want to congratulate you on your tremendous progress - you did great! Secondly, I want to thank you for allowing me to help you change your life - it is truly my honor. Let's get to your question.
Secretagogue, made by MHP has been around for over a decade - almost an eternity by industry standards. Looking back, I can remember seeing advertisements in magazines for this product when I first became involved in the industry.
While longevity in the industry can be a sign that a company or a product has the trust of the bodybuilding public, this isn't always the case as we all know that bad companies and products can hang around in the industry for years while good companies and good products can disappear for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with company reputation or product efficacy.
On the whole, MHP is known for making fairly good products that work as advertised. My personal experience with this company is limited to only one product: 5+1 Whey - their discount protein powder.
When I tried this product I thought that it was of very poor quality - even for a discount protein product. Of course, that was several years ago when money was tight, and I have not since tried the product again. Perhaps they've made changes and improvements to this product of which I am not aware. I once tried a sample of their professional-grade pro-formula protein and I found the taste and ease of use to be excellent.
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I Found The Taste & Ease Of Use Of Their
Professional-Grade Pro-Formula Protein To Be Excellent.
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The science behind growth hormone products shows that these products are effective at supporting growth hormone production in people over the age of 40, while producing almost no benefit to people under this age. To their credit, every advertisement for Secretagogue that I have seen has featured someone over the age of 40 years, and I'm not aware of any marketing activities by MHP that claims this product to be effective for younger people. So, on the whole, MHP seems to fairly and honestly represent this product in their marketing materials.
While I do not know anyone who has personally used this product, the fact that it has been around for so long and is featured prominently at bodybuilding shows suggests that people like this product, are buying this product and that this product works. I suggest that you research this product on various message boards and forums to gauge public sentiment about this product and its effectiveness.
When doing product research online, it is important that you are aware that supplement companies have politicized message boards and forums by hiring representatives to answer questions about their products and, in some cases, post promotional materials. This does not mean that these companies are being dishonest - just that they have a particular message that they want to deliver.
With this in mind, be aware that some of the postings that you find will be biased, so be sure to get as much information on this product as you possibly can from as many different sources as you possibly can. Once you have collected your information (both good and bad), evaluate the information before you and reach your own conclusion. Only in this way can you make a sound purchase.
You might want to try requesting samples from this company, or perhaps even conducting a product review. While doing a product review will require extensive amount of work on your part, it will save you the cost of spending money on a supplement just to find out if it will work for you.
Not only that, but a product review that is complete with photos, a workout log and nutritional journal can be posted online to help other people who have the same question. Save your cash and do a review that will help you and everyone else - that's my advice. Good luck.
Check Out The Product Review Section Of The Forums Here.
[ Q ] I'm writing to you about St. John's Wort. It seems that there are conflicting views about whether St. John Wort actually works. I can't make sense of them. What do you think? What does the science say? Currently, I take the medicines fluoxetine and clonazepam for certain health problems. Please help.
[ A ] St. John's Wort is a plant that's been surrounded in controversy. As you point out, some people claim that it's totally useless, while others claim it's the "natural alternative" to certain medicines for what ails you. The real truth is somewhere in between these two extreme positions.
In the rest of the world St. John's Wort has been used to counteract the poison from reptile bites and sooth skin wounds, and much more. It's only once St. John Wort came to North America that it found it's present use.
St. John's Wort is rich in flavonoids and a chemical called hyperforin. While experts used to think that the effects of St. John's Wort was due to the MAO inhibitors2 in the plant, hyperforin has been isolated as the ingredient that produces effect.
Let's get straight to it: the research on the benefits of St. John's Wort isn't conclusive. In some cases, St. John's Wort works wonderfully to support an already healthy mood, while in other cases it can actually prompt the onset of negative symptoms.
The response to St. Johns Wort is highly individual and depends on many factors including location of harvest, growing conditions, manufacturing quality control, exposure of product to light, oxygen and other contaminants, as well as dosage strength and individual physiology. Side-effects can include stomach upset, fatigue, altered consciousness and memory difficulties.
So, to put it simply, it's my view that St. John's Wort is a potentially risky supplement to take, especially for people like you who are on prescription medications. It's a well established fact that MAOI substances interact with other certain types of medications - and the results are not good.
If you are considering experimenting with St. John's Wort, do so only with the consultation and supervision of your doctor. Psychiatric drugs are the most powerful class of drugs that we have and they can be lethal. While natural, St. John's Wort may produce incredibly strong side-effects if mixed with your current drug regimen.
View St. Johns Wort Products Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
[ A ] It can be confusing when you have to make a choice between two well-established companies and their respective well-known products. Let me give you some of my thoughts on your predicament and give you some direction.
If you want to lose bodyfat, it comes down to simple economics: eat slightly less than your normal calorie intake, and expropriate the calories you do consume to protein and starchy carbs while slightly decreasing your fatty acid intake and your intake of simple sugars.
Do this in conjunction with a reasonable cardiovascular and resistance training exercise schedule and you'll quickly lose body fat the healthy way - that is, you'll lose fat while preserving the muscle you have worked so hard to build.
Both BSN and Animal are well-known companies. Both produce a great line of products. This is where the similarities end. In terms of longevity - who has been around the longest - Animal wins hands-down. This company has been in the industry since the beginning and has been the company of choice for hardcore products that work since the birth of the industry.
An obvious difference between BSN and Animal is marketing activities and product cost. Whereas BSN signs athletes like Ronnie Coleman and TripleH to endorsement contracts, Animal doesn't really do this, and whereas BSN has recently started to heavily advertise in magazines, Animal's marketing campaigns are tame by comparison.
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View More Pics Of Ronnie Coleman Here.
Product costs in general are better with Animal, simply because you're not paying more for ingredients than you have to, which means you're not paying for a huge marketing and advertising budget - with Animal you're just paying for the product, their costs and their profit margins.
Many people on the message boards and the industry in general are of the view that BSN products are overpriced and that the sticker price does not reflect the fair value of the product being sold. I don't have an opinion on this particular aspect of the company, but I can see some truth in what the critics are saying.
Given that I use Animal Pak vitamins, my choice is clear: Animal is the company I would go with. It's just a fact that their multivitamin product is the best on the market and is the only vitamin in existence to give you the vitamins and minerals you need for hard-training - it's the only product that satisfies the PDI's - Performance Daily Intake requirements. This scale of daily intake values is approved by the ISSA and is the only intake guide that produces real results for hard-training athletes.
And there is one more reason why I would go with Animal - or, to be more accurate, not go with BSN - because combo products (products with several different ingredients) are often under dosed in one ingredient, are often marked-up at a price that is more costly than individual ingredients, and because I like to dose single ingredients in specific amounts.
I don't find combo products like the ones that BSN sells to offer me the flexibility that I desire. Having said that, you might like the no-hassle convenience offered by combo products - if so, go for it and have fun.
It really comes down to doing your research and developing a preference for one company or the other. Do your research. I'm not telling you to steer clear of BSN products - they're good. I'm pointing out some things for you to think about that may possibly aide your decision. Good luck and whatever choice you make, make sure it's an informed one. Good luck.
- Tarnopolsky MA. Potential benefits of creatine monohydrate supplementation in the elderly. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2000 Nov;3(6):497-502.
- Suzuki O, Katsumata Y, Oya M. Inhibition of monoamine oxidase by hypericin. Planta Med 1984;50:272-4.
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