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Muscle Coach’s top 5 most underrated supplements. We’ve talked to our customers and found out that a lot of them don’t know about some really amazing products that can do wonders for the body. These products in the past have been used solely by people who are in the know in the fitness industry but we want to reveal these to everyone so that more people can get the best from their supplementation. In turn we believe this will result in getting the most out of your training and diet and therefore result in bigger and better gains!
See our top 5 most underrated supplements below. Tell us if you agree or if you have any others that you believe more people could benefit from.
5 Most Underrated Supplements
Citrulline Malate is a well-researched amino acid that is involved in the body’s conversion of Arginine into Nitric Oxide (NO). It is formed when Ornithine combines with Carbamoyl Phosphate and has the ability improve athletic performance and improve cardiovascular health.
As a sport supplement, it is more commonly known for its ability to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) in the body. It does this by converting into Arginine through digestion, which is later turned into NO. NO is an important molecule that acts as a vasodilator, helping shuttle blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and to your muscles, increasing muscular pump. Citrulline supplementation also helps speed up the removal process of built up ammonia, caused by trained muscles and it can increase muscle contraction efficiency, resulting in less ATP utilisation. These processes enhance performance by helping fight fatigue, improving endurance and accelerating recovery.
Other benefits see Citrulline aiding in lowering blood pressure and circulatory health.
Why not just take L-Arginine? Research favours supplementing with Citrulline over L-Arginine as it increases Arginine plasma levels in the blood for longer durations.
How to take: For best results take 6-8g 30-60 minutes before training.
Sleep is one the most important functions in everyday life. It greatly affects our mental and physical health in both positive and negative ways, depending on the quality and the duration of sleep.
Sleep aids are excellent for those who consider themselves light sleepers or find themselves consistently having low energy levels, decreased motivation or prolonged muscle soreness. These sorts of products aim put provide ingredients and nutrients so the body can allow itself to achieve quality rest. Achieving optimal sleep will not only enhance mood and energy, it will support immune and cognitive function, metabolism and recovery.
In regards to training, these products also aim to try and maximise the amount of Growth Hormone (GH) released during the night. The body naturally releases GH by the brain into the blood stream, which is essential for restoration of bodily functions during sleep. Sleep aids are also packed with other important ingredients that further assist the body in trying to minimise restlessness and relax overnight to enhance muscle growth and repair.
How to take: Read the label of the product before consumption to get the best results from that specific sleep product.
Diindoylymethane (DIM) is an indole phytochemical that is a natural metabolite of compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. It is a powerful oestrogen metaboliser that, instead of reducing hormone levels, aims to keep the body in balance by ensuring large changes in oestrogen do not occur. Oestrogen is broken down into many metabolites, which all affect the body in different ways. These metabolites can carry low estrogenic properties that provide health benefits for the body, while others are highly estrogenic, offering more negative side effects. DIM supplementation favours the ability to increase the low estrogenic metabolites while negating the high ones, this also helps support an adequate ratio between testosterone and oestrogen. Due to this, supplementing with DIM has many benefits, including increased metabolism, supporting lean muscle growth, reducing inflammation, improving general well-bring by maintaining tryptophan levels and is a natural antioxidant. Essentially, DIM is an excellent option that fights against the negative side effect of oestrogen while enhancing the positive functions. On top of this research has shown DIM to provide anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) effects, which strongly ads to its healthy supplement profile.
How to take:
Women: 100mg 1-2 times a day.
Men: 200mg 1-2 a day.
Note: Taking too much can work in the opposite way, causing adverse effects.
4. Beta Alanine
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid, although when it comes to improving performance, many believe its must-have! Beta-alanine is considered as non-proteinogenic, meaning it is not used in the building of proteins. It is a widely studied amino and is a component of the naturally occurring peptides, Carnosine and Anserine, as well as of Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). During digestion, Beta-alanine enters the bloodstream and is taken up into skeletal muscle. This is where it then joins with L-histidine to form Carnosine. Carnosine is limited by the amount of available Beta-alanine, meaning supplementing with Beta-alanine has a direct correlation to an increased concentration of Carnosine in muscles and the brain.
What’s the importance of carnosine?
When we perform any type of training, especially at high intensities, our bodies naturally releases large amounts of Hydrogen (H+) ions, which in turn, negatively affects enzyme function and causes drops in muscle pH levels i.e. becomes more acidic. This has a direct effect on the muscles ability to contract forcibly, decreasing strength, on setting fatigue more quickly. Carnosine however, is able to stabilise muscle pH levels by soaking up H+ ions that are released during exercise by utilising many buffering systems. Our muscles function best in a specific pH range and these buffers work towards achieving this. So, by increasing Carnosine levels by supplementing Beta-alanine, we can keep type 2 muscle fibres in an adequate pH range, delaying the onset of fatigue, which provides increases in muscular strength and endurance during workouts.
How to take:
Consume 3-5g of Beta-alanine a day to boost Carnosine levels and improve performance. Supplementing with Beta-alanine has been shown to raise intramuscular levels of Carnosine by up to 64% after 4 weeks and 80% after 10 weeks.
Casein is a dairy protein that is derived from milk. It makes up approximately 80% of milk protein, with the other component being whey. It delivers slow digesting properties, making it a popular night-time option. Not only this, due to its thicker consistency, many reach for caseins as they tend to offer a more satiating feeling, keeping individuals feeling fuller for longer.
Casein protein, unlike its whey counterpart, is insoluble, meaning it forms micelles, or globules, causing it for form a gelatinous material in the stomach. This is what gives it a slower, more sustained release of amino acids. This benefits trainers as it provides more anti-catabolic effects because it reduces muscle protein breakdown. Net protein balance is also shown to be more positive in casein protein when compared with whey (positive net protein balance is important for building lean muscle). In fact, studies show that after ingesting casein protein, plasma amino acid levels remain elevated for up to 7 hours longer than increases caused by whey. Many dieters benefit from casein as it stabilise hunger levels and helps maintain more muscle mass.
Casein is commonly taken before bedtime as it provides ‘slow release’ properties. This is to enhance the growth and repair of trained muscles overnight. It is also highly regarded as an excellent meal replacement option. Due to caseins naturally hydroscopic nature, it is noticeably thicker than other protein powders, leaving individuals with a fuller feeling after consumption. Finally, casein is generally cheaper than many whey options, meaning you are able to get adequate protein intake and all the benefits it carries, without dipping to far into the bank account.
How to take:
Post workout: Add 10-20g of casein, in the form of micellar casein to your whey protein post-workout shake.
Before bed: Take 20-40g of micellar casein right before going to bed each night.
Between meals: Use 30-40g of micellar casein between meals for extra uptake if required.
We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any suggestions or tips we’d love to hear from you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Nick Hickey – Lawnton Store Manager and Video Presenter Extraordinaire.