Muscle Marketing USA Super Anti-Ox Serum for Females, Grape
Phosphatidylserine-based cortisol-control powder
With vitamin B6
Helps prevent muscle breakdown and improve memory
Suppresses Cortisol and Prevents Muscle-Tissue Cannibalization. Cort-Bloc is the first supplement medically proven to suppress workout-related cortisol. Elevated cortisol breaks down muscle and blocks protein synthesis, while slowing glucose utilization. Cort-Bloc contains phosphatidylserine, a highly effective cortisol antagonists that works via different pathways to suppress cortisol up to 33%. Lowered cortisol levels enables greater amino acid uptake for enhanced nitrogen retention, acceleratred glucose utilization/glycogen synthesis and increased protein synthesis.
In recent clinical studies when PS (Phosphatidylserine), the primary ingredient in Cort-Bloc, was administered to strength athletes, cortisol levels were reduced by an astounding 30%. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes the body to cannibalize muscle, so by controlling cortisol you increase your body's capacity to build more muscle tissue. PS has also been shown to improve memory and focus.
(from Ironman Magazine, January 1998)
by Jerry Brainum
While you may not be aware of it, a struggle for biochemical domination is occurring within you. The victor of this war ultimately determines whether you make muscular gains or lose muscle and even get fat. The two combating armies are collectively called anabolic and catabolic hormones. The most familiar of them from a bodybuilding perspective are testosterone (anabolic), growth hormone (anabolic), insulin (anabolic) and cortisol (catabolic).
Anabolic refers to the metabolic building processes. The actions of anabolic hormones involve either an increase in muscle protein synthesis or a decreased breakdown of muscle protein. Increased breakdown of muscle is the chief characteristic of catabolic reactions. You would think that since cortisol, the body's primary catabolic hormone, is so outnumbered by the anabolic forces, it would be more or less an ineffectual player in the hormonal battle between anabolic and catabolic reactions, but that isn't the case.
Since cortisol, a product of the adrenal gland cortex, is a primary stress hormone, it's activated by any type of stress the higher brain centers that govern its release perceive. Since stress is ubiquitous, the body is constantly secreting cortisol, with peaks in the early morning hours and a low during the initial stages of deep sleep.
While cortisol has gotten a bad reputation among bodybuilders due to its potent catabolic activity and tendency to promote bodyfat accretion, the fact remains that it's also essential to life. During stress reactions it's the first line of defense in, among other functions, maintaining energy levels and blood pressure. While such reactions can be lifesaving under certain circumstances, when you're resting or after you exercise, the results are hardly desirable. They include muscle loss, mineral excretion, sodium retention and other enemies of the bodybuilding progress.
For natural bodybuilders, meaning people who eschew all forms of pharmaceutical bodybuilding assistance, controlling cortisol is vital for muscle gains. Note the use of the word controlling. You don't want to totally eliminate cortisol activity in your body, as that would be a life-threatening condition.
The key is to control the catabolic reactions induced by cortisol while emphasizing the anabolic processes that promote increased muscle growth. You do that by upping your body's production of the endogenous anabolic hormones mentioned above by both following a sensible training program and using certain specific nutritional substances and diet techniques.
Let's get one thing straight, however. No natural food or supplement can match the power of drugs such as anabolic steroids. Such steroids promote muscle gains through two primary mechanisms: 1) increased muscle protein synthesis and 2) decreased catabolic reactions in muscle. The first mechanism involves a genetic alteration of certain protein synthesizing enzymes that simply can't be duplicated by any known food supplement; however, the second process, anticatabolism, can be manipulated without drugs.
Research concerning the mechanisms of anabolic steroids shows that most of their effects come from their anticatabolic activity. The upgraded protein synthesis is relatively ephemeral, lasting only a few weeks at best. After that it's all anticatabolic, as the steroids somehow counteract the actions of cortisol in muscle.
Exactly how they accomplish this anticatabolic activity is still subject to debate. While some people say that steroids block cellular cortisol receptors in a manner similar to the way another drug, Nolvadex, blocks estrogen cell receptors, that doesn't add up. For one thing, muscle tissue contains at least 50 times more cortisol receptors than androgen receptors, the receptors anabolic steroids interact with. A more plausible explanation is that such steroids can interfere with cortisol activity in muscle, most likely at the gene level.
How Cortisol Breaks Down Muscle
Understanding cortisol's catabolic activity in muscle provides some insight into the way certain food supplements may help spare muscle by inhibiting it. Cortisol is known to reduce body protein stores in all tissues except for the liver. It does that through several mechanisms, including a reduction in the synthesis of cellular RNA, which is essential for protein synthesis. Since anabolic steroids promote muscle protein synthesis by increasing RNA, cortisol has exactly the opposite effect.
Cortisol mobilizes amino acids from muscle for transport to the liver, where they undergo a process called gluconeogenesis that results in increased glucose production. While this is vital for a rapid source of energy during severe stress, it also results in muscle breakdown. Insulin opposes cortisol in the action, but high stress activity promotes cortisol domination over insulin.
Recent studies show that consuming carbohydrates and protein immediately following a workout both increases insulin release and potently blunts cortisol. The dosage of carbs required for this effect is one gram per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight taken immediately after training and again one hour later. In addition, including at least 50 grams of protein helps maximize insulin release.
Cortisol appears to promote the synthesis of a protein-degrading substance called ubiquitin that rapidly breaks down muscle. Interestingly, a drug called clenbuterol that's favored by some bodybuilders may work by inhibiting ubiquitin synthesis in muscle, thereby exerting an anticatabolic effect. Other hormones, such as growth hormone and insulinlike growth factor 1 (IGF-1), appear to inhibit the ubiquitin system as well.
Cortisol also works by stimulating the exit of the amino acid glutamine from muscle. When that occurs, rapid muscle catabolism follows. Several studies show that taking supplemental glutamine may block much of the catabolic effects of cortisol in muscle. The problem is, many of the studies that show an anticatabolic effect of glutamine used intravenous solutions containing a stable dipeptide-up to 40 grams of glutamine in a complex with another amino acid, alanine.
If you attempted to take that quantity of glutamine orally, most of it would not reach your blood or muscle. Intestinal cells, which are replaced about every three days as they slough off during the process of food movement through the gut, use glutamine as fuel. When you take it orally, about 85 percent of a dose of glutamine goes to the intestinal cells. Even if it were somehow to survive the intestinal hijacking, the liver has enzymes just waiting to degrade the rest of it.
Nevertheless, a study conducted about two years ago showed that as little as two grams of oral glutamine significantly increased growth hormone release. That alone would give you an anticatabolic effect, since growth hormone opposes the actions of cortisol in muscle. In fact, studies indicate that decreasing cortisol release in the body results in an upgraded growth hormone response.
Some preliminary studies show that vitamin C may also inhibit the catabolic actions of cortisol; however, the evidence is not particularly impressive. More likely, substances like branched-chain amino acids and even dietary fat are the nutritional cortisol inhibitors.
A new study reported at the 1997 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine found that one of the branched-chain amino acids, leucine, successfully reduced the catabolic effects of cortisol in rat muscle without affecting muscle glutamine levels. That's interesting because past studies showed that BCAAs work by either increasing muscle glutamine synthesis or preventing its release under the influence of cortisol.
Another study, reported at the Experimental Biology 97 meeting in New Orleans, examined the effects of dietary fats on plasma hormones in runners. The study compared three levels of fat composition in the diets of the runners: 17 percent, 32 percent and 41 percent. The results showed that the 32 percent fat diet significantly reduced cortisol levels in the runners compared to the 17 percent fat diet. Under the 42 percent, or high-fat, diet, cortisol levels increased only marginally. The diet lowest in fat produced the highest cortisol levels.
The authors of this study suggest that higher fat diets may help eliminate some of the excess cortisol release through an upgraded prostaglandin synthesis. Prostaglandins are hormonelike substances made from dietary fat that, among other actions, influence hormonal secretions. They were recently popularized by the best-selling diet book Enter the Zone, by Barry Sears.
Another possible explanation for the way a high-fat diet dilutes cortisol involves increased testosterone production. Testosterone has an inverse relationship to cortisol; that is, when testosterone is elevated in the blood, cortisol is depressed and vice versa. When testosterone is elevated, anabolic muscle reactions occur.
Natural bodybuilders seeking to key in to the anticatabolic effects of testosterone without using synthetic versions, such as anabolic steroids, often resort to purported testosterone precursors. These over-the-counter products fall into a gray area of legality due to the Food Supplement Act of 1994. Consequently, they are freely available and legal, at least for now.
One example of a reputed testosterone precursor is the adrenal hormone DHEA, which is produced in the pathway that begins with cholesterol and results in testosterone. That's could be a problem, however, as DHEA, in some instances, may take divergent pathways, winding up as either an undesirable by-product of testosterone metabolism called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or, even worse, estrogen. DHT is linked to male pattern baldness, prostate enlargement and acne, while estrogen, in males, leads to gynecomastia, increased fat deposition under the skin and water retention.
Those over age 40 will probably get the most benefit from DHEA. At that point in people's lives DHEA synthesis generally undergoes a precipitous drop, in which case conservative doses of 50 milligrams a day may take the desirable testosterone pathway by converting to the immediate precursor to testosterone, androstenedione.
Recently, androstenedione itself became available as an oral supplement. Some studies show that a liver enzyme can convert androstenedione directly into testosterone, which can increase plasma testosterone levels up to 300 percent over baseline for about two hours; however, it can also be converted by another enzyme, aromatase, into estrogen. In addition, no one has figured out how long an oral supplement of androstenedione continues to remain effective-assuming that it is effective for testosterone-raising purposes.
Still another over-the-counter hormone that has been suggested as a cortisol blocker is melatonin, a hormone synthesized in the pineal gland of the brain from the amino acid tryptophan. While melatonin is undoubtedly an effective soporific, meaning it puts you to sleep, several studies show it has a negligible effect on cortisol release.
Tribestan is a trade name for an herbal-derived supplement imported from Bulgaria. Virtually all the studies on this enigmatic substance were done in the former Eastern-bloc countries and India, so until recently, it was ignored in Western countries. Tribestan allegedly works by increasing the response of luteinizing hormone in the pituitary gland, which controls testosterone synthesis in the Leydig cells of the testes. The main problem with Tribestan is getting it and getting it at a good price.
Of the available cortisol-inhibiting supplements, the most controversial is a fatlike substance called phosphatidylserine (PS). PS is found naturally in the body, where it's incorporated into cell membranes. Studies show that it increases cognition, or brain function, in older people and may preserve optimal brain function in younger people. As for its effect on cortisol, two published studies show it blunts ACTH release by the pituitary gland. That would decrease cortisol because ACTH travels in the blood to the adrenal glands, where it dictates cortisol release.
The apparent effective dosage of PS for this purpose is 800 milligrams a day. Since the average single pill dose of PS is 100 milligrams, that would entail taking a minimal eight capsules a day. In contrast, the effective dose for so-called smart drug purposes is only 300 milligrams a day. The controversy about PS involves the dearth of studies attesting to its cortisol-blocking actions and the source of the substance itself.
Many of the studies showing the efficacy of PS used a form derived from bovine sources, including the two exercise studies that indicated a decreased cortisol response. Unfortunately, bovine-derived sources strike fear in many people because of an association with the so-called mad cow disease, which is usually fatal. While there is absolutely no evidence linking bovine-derived supplements with the onset of that disease, most of the PS sold today is derived from soybeans.
Some people, especially those at companies that still sell the bovine variety, say soy-derived PS is different due to its slightly varied fatty acid configuration. Animal studies show, however, that the soy version is just as effective as the bovine version in terms of brain-boosting activity. The real question is, Does PS actually have any anticatabolic effects in hard-training natural bodybuilders?
A study that's looking at this question is now under way at California State University, Chico. The results may show once and for all if PS does have value for those interested in promoting bodybuilding progress in a safe, effective and natural manner.
Powerful New Research on Phosphatidylserine
Professor Thomas Fahey of California State University, Chico, recently concluded a study that established the ability of soy-based phosphatidylserine, or PS, to reduce blood cortisol during and after bodybuilding-type workouts. This builds on prior research suggesting PS lowers cortisol produced as a result of endurance exercise. Compared to the placebo group, lifters taking in 800 milligrams of PS exhibited the following effects:
1) Markedly reduced perceived exertion
2) Largely unaltered testosterone levels
3) Blood cortisol reductions of 25 percent
Based on this and prior studies, it can now be said that PS inhibits exercise-induced cortisol production for both weight-training and endurance athletes, a veritable boon to drug-free bodybuilders whose main barrier to faster hypertrophy is the catabolism caused by high cortisol levels. This underscores the fact that PS supplements such as Muscle-Linc's Cort-Bloc should be a supplement staple of all mass-seeking bodybuilders. -Steve Holman
Water Soluble Creatine
The delivery system is everything when it comes to creatine! It can't get into your bloodstream and muscle cells unless it is dissolved and absorbed. Delivery is also absolutely critical if you want to stay away from added bodyfat, stomach discomfort, bloat, diarrhea, outrageous prices and inferior results.
Undissolved Creatine Does Nothing To Build Strength, Power Or Muscle Size.
Technology has now made it possible to dissolve creatine without the high expense of an effervescent reaction.
Proprietary effervescent delivery system
Almost 100% absorption
No stomach distress
20 packets per box
5 grams of creatine per packet
University tests indicate new Effervescent Creatine Elite is nearly three times more effective than powdered creatine. Because powdered creatine isn't water soluble, absorption is 30% or less for most people. Effervescence solves the problem by separating the creatine from its salt. This releases free-ionized creatine, which enters your bloodstream within 20 minutes and nearly 100% is absorbed with no stomach distress.
Directions: Dissolve Effervescent Creatine Elite powder by adding the contents of one packet into 16 ounces of water or an isotonic drink, let it dissolve completely and drink it within 10 minutes.
Loading Dose: Consume one packet of Effervescent Creatine Elite 4 times a day for 5 days.
Daily Maintenance Dose: Consume one packet of Effervescent Creatine Elite once a day.
This product is designed to:
Deliver creatine without causing gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea.
Be effective for anyone desiring the cell-volumizing effects of creatine monohydrate, including those individuals who do not respond well to powdered creatine.
Provide 5 grams of the highest-quality, research-grade creatine monohydrate (99.5% pure) plus dextrose.
Deliver free-ionized creatine into the bloodstream within 20 minutes.
Be absorbed nearly 100%.
Leave no residue in the glass and have no gritty taste.
(from Ironman Magazine, January 1999)
by Daniel Gwartney, M.D.
Creatine monohydrate is clearly the most effective strength- and performance-enhancing supplement ever developed. So, why has it been getting such a bad rap? That's easy. It's the same reason that so much of it gets left in your glass: Creatine doesn't dissolve well in water, and that can cause a number of problems.
Many athletic trainers and strength coaches don't allow their athletes to use creatine at all because of the associated cramping, diarrhea and dehydration that have been reported. I, along with several colleagues, have consulted and advised many athletes and teams. Sometimes these problems go away after hydration is forced on the athletes. Reducing the dose has also helped-four five-gram servings a day for five days, then one five-gram serving per day after that. We've also found that it helps to take creatine first thing in the morning rather than within an hour of an intense practice.
For some people the above may provide the full benefit of creatine supplementation; however, there are other problems. The cramping, diarrhea and dehydration are typically due to the creatine's being retained in the intestines. That causes the body to flush water through the intestines, drawing it away from the bloodstream and muscle. As you can imagine, all that water rushing into the intestines usually leads to its rushing out again. So merely providing extra water doesn't solve the problem, as many people still experience diarrhea due to the excess water in the gastrointestinal tract.
Could the addition of carbohydrates, phosphates, ATP and/or insulin mimickers help? No. Some of those agents are useful when the creatine reaches the muscle, but they do nothing to alleviate the first and worst problem-lack of absorption.The reasons that creatine doesn't dissolve in water have to do with the biochemical nature of the creatine molecule, the environment in the digestive tract and the transit time, meaning the time it takes for creatine to pass to certain parts of the G.I. tract. You can see for yourself that it doesn't dissolve. Fill a clear glass with water and dump in your five grams of creatine. Let it sit for a minute or five minutes or an hour. What do you see at the bottom? About 3.5 grams of creatine. If you think sugar helps, put a tablespoon or two in the same glass. The white mountain at the bottom of the glass will grow. Go ahead and shake it like one of those Christmas globes with the snow scenes. The creatine won't dissolve.
After that experiment you should realize the consequences of taking this supplement. As mentioned above, when the creatine sits in your gut undissolved, water floods the area in an attempt to break up the particles that are irritating the intestines. That may seem like a small problem-until you realize that it can pull in nearly two quarts of water. I don't know about you, but if I'm going for a record squat, I don't want two quarts of water in my bowels.
Even if the creatine does eventually get enough water to dissolve, that will probably occur too late. The majority of creatine absorption takes place in the first part of the intestine, the duodenum, immediately after passing through the stomach. That area is designed for maximal absorption. Unfortunately, the water gets to the intestines much farther down the G.I. tract, in your colon, right before the exit chute and far from the area of maximum absorption.
It's important for the creatine to be dissolved because only dissolved creatine can be absorbed. The absorption can take place either by active transport, which requires energy and a creatine-specific receptor, or by passive transport, which doesn't. To put it another way, creatine can either float through the gut into the bloodstream or be picked up and dragged across the gut into the bloodstream.
Traditional creatine is only about 30 percent dissolved when you swill it down, so at most only about 1.5 grams are available for delivery. Contrast that with the new effervescent creatine, which is nearly 100 percent dissolved when you drink it, and you see the obvious superiority. With effervescent creatine all five grams are available for delivery. That means no more creatine-associated dehydration, diarrhea or cramping.
Effervescent creatine is also far superior when it comes to transport across the intestinal cell membranes. Creatine has ionic regions. Parts of the molecule have electric charges, like static electricity, and those ionic regions prevent creatine from passing through the intestine without the use of energy to counteract the electrical repulsion. If the creatine molecule is electrically balanced, or neutral, it's called a Zwitterion and it can pass through the membranes of the intestine without having to use the receptors for extra energy. That's exactly what effervescent creatine accomplishes. It stabilizes the gastric environment, meaning the stomach and intestines, so the creatine molecules exist as Zwitterions.
In traditionally delivered creatine the ionic regions are intact. They create an electrical charge, which requires the use of the creatine-specific receptors. If the receptors were available in unlimited supply and never downregulated, there wouldn't be a problem. (Downregulation occurs when an excess of a hormone or other agent causes fewer receptors to be available.) Unfortunately, there's a limited supply of creatine receptors and they're downregulated during creatine supplementation. So, if creatine is delivered via active transport, as traditional creatine is, it becomes less efficiently absorbed over time. Less and less creatine is available for the muscles, which means a decrease in performance. The only options available for maintaining increased bioavailability are intravenous administration-yes, needles-or creatine delivered through passive transport. Effervescent creatine provides the majority of its creatine load through passive transport as well as by using the creatine-specific receptors. That means it gives you a greater loading effect and can provide greater performance benefits for longer periods.
Transit time is another very important issue. Effervescence decreases gastric transit time, so the creatine doesn't sit in your stomach and get chewed up by the acid there. It passes quickly to the duodenum for rapid availability.
Effervescent Creatine Elite recently proved its superiority in a study performed by Jeff Stout, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise science at Creighton University in Nebraska. I know Jeff, and I've read many of his published studies. He's one of the best researchers in the field and has a wealth of knowledge.
Jeff's study analyzed anaerobic work capacity, or AWC, in several groups of athletes. AWC is a measure of how much high-intensity work a muscle can perform without rest, and that's the type of performance creatine enhances. The groups in the study included a placebo, or control, group; a powdered-creatine group; a creatine-carbohydrate-blend group and an effervescent-creatine-carbohydrate-blend group. The results were significant-and not just by some mathematical formula.
The placebo group had no change, as would be expected, since the subjects received no active supplement. The subjects in the powdered-creatine group increased their AWCs by 10 percent, those in the creatine-plus-carbs group increased by 20 percent, and the effervescent-creatine-and-carbs group showed an almost 30 percent increase-that's like getting three extra reps on your 10-rep bench press. Based on those results, effervescent creatine provides nearly 300 percent of the benefits of powdered creatine and 150 percent of the creatine-carb blends, and its performance-enhancing effects should also last much longer due to less downregulation of the creatine receptors.
I hate to be the one to break the news to the old guard, but while creatine is still king, it's riding higher on the shoulders of effervescent delivery. Effervescent creatine is truly a breakthrough bodybuilding supplement.
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