Ranking the best energy drinks of 2017 (review)

Feeling drained by your lunch break? Yeah, me too.

Before you go straight for the coffee, consider a more potent beverage, the energy drink. They’re tasty, refreshing, and will get you more wired than any double expresso shot drink you can think of.

First, we’ll review the 10 best energy drinks on the market.  Then, we’ll dive deeper into how they work to help you feel energized and focused.

1.  SK Energy Shot

sk-energySK Energy shot follows the familiar formula for shot-style energy supplements: 210 mg of caffeine per bottle, plus several B vitamins in a high dose and a proprietary energy blend, which includes amino acids and green tea extract.  As is often the case, the exact ratios of the ingredients in the energy blend are not disclosed on the label, so it’s hard to compare brand to brand.

The balance of the contents of SK Energy Shot are made up of natural flavors the synthetic sweetener sucralose, and a few preservatives.

In cases like this, personal experience may be your best barometer.  If you decide to use energy shots, you might need to “shop around” and try a few different brands to see how each of them affects you.  Reading reviews online can only help so much; you need to remember that the same supplement can affect different people in different ways.

Like some of its competitors, SK Energy Shot contains 30 mg of niacin per bottle, so if you want to avoid itching, flushing, and tingling, avoid taking it with any other supplement that contains niacin. [click to continue…]


Ranking the best creatine supplements of 2017 (review)

Do you want to add muscle and gain power? Look no further than creatine.

And no, it’s not just for body building.

First, we’ll review the 10 best creatine supplements on the market.  Then, we’ll dive deeper into how creatine works and how to take the supplement.

1. Integrated Supplements 100% Creapure

integratedAs the name suggests, the creatine supplement manufactured by Integrated Supplements has only one ingredient, and that’s creatine monohydrate.

Like some of its competitors, it is micronized, meaning it’s ground into a very fine powder that makes it easier to mix into liquids (but, unfortunately, also easier to make a huge mess if you spill it on the floor).

Integrated Supplements 100% Creapure also carries the distinction of holding a Labdoor “Tested for Sport” certification, meaning the product was purchased through a normal retail channel, then sent to an advanced biochemistry lab to test for any traces of contaminants or adulterants that could trigger a positive on a doping test.

This is valuable for anybody who competes in sports that may involve doping tests, like NCAA athletes, high-level triathletes, weight lifters, and natural body builders.

In the past, some supplements from less-than-scrupulous manufactures have been tainted with prohibited substances like steroid precursors which have triggered a positive drug test, so if this is a concern for you, definitely consider the Integrated Supplements creatine offering (1).

As with other simple, minimalistic creatine supplements, the cost per serving of 100% Creapure is quite low, so it’s hard to go wrong with this choice. [click to continue…]


Ranking the best CoQ10 supplements of 2017 (review)

Do you want to tune up the energy level of your heart and muscles?

That’s what is promised by a supplement called Coenzyme Q10, or  CoQ10 for short.

Part 1 reviews the best CoQ10 supplements on the market. Part 2 is a CoQ10 guide that breaks down what the supplement is and how you should take it.

Here we go:

1.  Qunol Ultra CoQ10

qunolQunol’s CoQ10 makes some aggressive claims about their product: they claim their formulation is better-absorbed than other CoQ10 supplements and is the top brand recommended by cardiologists.

Thing is: they’re kinda right.

The gelatin capsules provide 100 mg of CoQ10 alongside 150 IUs of vitamin E.  The purity is fair, with each capsule containing a 5.7% excess of CoQ10 than what is reported on the label.  Ingredient-wise, it includes the usual mix of oils, triglycerides, and emulsifiers.

Like many other CoQ10 supplements, it contains soy, so if you have an allergy, be aware of that.  The claims of better absorption seem to be centered around the use of vitamin E, which also protects tissue from oxidizing damage (1), along with a more effective use of emulsifiers like hydroxylated lecithin, which helps the CoQ10 intermingle with oil and water, instead of separating out into different layers and not dissolving.

This supplement is a top 300 health supplement on Amazon for a reason.

2.  Nature’s Bounty Extra Strength CoQ10

Nature’s Bounty is a brand you’re apt to find at your local pharmacy, drug store, or big-box retailer.  The “extra strength” formulation contains 200 mg of coenzyme Q10 per capsule, so if you are looking for a higher dose (especially if you’d rather not split it into two separate capsules), it’s a good choice.

It’s fairly simplistic: it does not contain any other herbal extracts for flavoring or absorption-boosting purposes, and aside from the CoQ10 in each tablet, the only other ingredients are rice bran oil (a solvent to dissolve the fat-soluble CoQ10), gelatin and vegetable glycerin for the capsule, and soy lecithin and titanium dioxide for use as an emulsifier and colorant, respectively.

None of these ingredients should raise any alarm bells unless you are a vegetarian or vegan, in which case you’re SOL—gelatin is animal-based.

Purity-wise, it scores quite well: analytical testing determined that each capsule contains within three percent of the 200 mg stated dose.  For whatever reason, the top CoQ10 supplements seem to score better on quality ratings than other supplement offerings, even from respectable brands.
[click to continue…]


Ranking the best calcium supplements of 2017 (review)

Just drink milk for strong bones, right? Sometimes it’s not quite that simple.

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in your diet.  If you want a better shot at strong bones, check out the following calcium supplement rankings.

This guide comes in two parts, a top-10 review and a guide to using calcium supplements.

Let’s go:

1.  Citracal with Vitamin D Slow Release

citracalCitracal is a rare bird among supplements: it’s cost-effective, lab-verified, and simple.

Citracal’s slow release formula means you can take one tablet per day.  Other calcium supplements need to be divided up into smaller doses throughout the day; otherwise, the calcium passes through your body too quickly and not all of it is absorbed.

The slow release formulation obviates this problem.

The supplement uses a binder called hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose to achieve this slow release effect.  Though it’s a long and technical chemical name, it’s a nontoxic plant-derived compound that forms a gel when it comes into contact with water.

This slows the rate at which calcium is released from the tablet into your digestive tract.

Citracal uses a blend of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate to provide the mineral source of calcium, and also provides 1000 IU of vitamin D per capsule alongside 80 mg of magnesium, which makes up 20% of your recommended daily intake.

Laboratory testing reveals that the supplement actually contains 1350 mg of calcium per tablet (the label reports 1200 mg) and almost exactly 1000 IU of vitamin D.  It also contains no heavy metals or toxic contaminants, and the lack of “extra” ingredients is a boon for anyone looking for a straightforward, no-nonsense calcium supplement to take daily. [click to continue…]


Reviewing the best BCAAs of 2017

Want to get the most out of your next gym session?

Branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs for short, are a key building block for muscle.

A no-brainer supplementation for putting on muscle.

This guide is two parts: Part 1 ranks the top 10 BCAA supplements, Part 2 dives deeper into the science.

Here we go:

1. BulkSupplements Pure BCAA 2:1:1


The BCAA offering from BulkSupplements is about as simple and straightforward as they come.

There are only three ingredients: leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the three branched chain amino acids that we use to build muscle.

There’s no sugar, flavoring, preservatives, or stabilizers to worry about it.  The supplement comes with 750 mg of leucine, 375 mg of isoleucine, and 375 mg of valine per serving, for a branched chain amino acid ratio of 2:1:1.

It’s a best-seller at Amazon, and rightfully so.

The actual values of the amino acid contents as determined by laboratory testing differ only slightly—there’s an excess of about 50mg of leucine and a deficit of about 100 mg of isoleucine.  These differences are trifling, and probably vary a bit from batch to batch.

According to lab testing, Bulk Supplements Pure BCAA contains 96% amino acids, and is not contaminated with any significant amounts of heavy metals or prohibited ingredients.

The absence of any fillers, stabilizers, emulsifiers, sweeteners, or flavoring agents make Bulk Supplements BCAA a great choice if you want absolute control over what you’re putting in your body. [click to continue…]


The benefits and side effects of l-arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid and is considered to be one of the essential building blocks of protein. It is most commonly used by trainers and fitness experts as a dietary supplement in an attempt to induce training performance, particularly with regards to gaining higher energy and overcoming muscle fatigue.

The benefits of l-arginine largely relate to the increase in the concentration of nitric oxide, which is a compound developed by the endothelium of the blood vessels that is known for expanding blood vessels.

Additionally, l-arginine is also used for improving cardiovascular health by dilating clogged arteries and increasing proper blood flow to the body.

Other uses for l-arginine include treating wounds, improve liver function, and foster an efficient number of hormones in the body.

The following is a detailed guide to l-arginine and how you should use it for best results.

L-Arginine, or arginine, is developed naturally inside the human body. [click to continue…]


The benefits and side effects of DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine)

1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is a synthetically produced neural stimulant used as a key ingredient in dietary supplements to improve athletic performance and provide increased energy. In terms of chemical structure, it is similar to Ephedrine.

It is also known as methylhexanamine and can be traded under the names Forthane and Geranamine.

Although originally introduced as a nasal decongestant, it is now used for a variety of reasons including as a supplement for enhancing athletic performance, weight loss, and attention deficit-hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Some bodybuilders use DMAA as a pre-workout stimulant as well.

Not much is known about 1,3-dimethylamylamine. And this problem is further exacerbated with the shortage of research data and dubious claims by certain manufacturers.

Dosage instructions for 1,3-dimethylamylamine

Before using DMAA to stimulate increase in mental energy and focus, it is important to read the dosage recommendations by the manufacturer. Its overuse may lead to adverse effects. [click to continue…]


The side effects and benefits of alpha-lipoic acid

alpha-lipoic-acidImage Source: superfoodsrx

Alpha-lipoic acid is one of the fatty acids from the mitochondrial family of fatty acids hat fights against inflammation and oxidation. It is one of the finest fatty acids when it comes to energy metabolism. Synthesized in the human body, you can consume alpha-lipoic acid by eating meat and also some vegetables and fruits [1].

Alpha-lipoic acid is also found in supplement form. As a supplement it has shown great benefits when it comes to fighting against inflammation and oxidation. There are also added benefits of the supplement that help in protection of the body against liver diseases, heart disease, neurological decline that tends to happen with age and diabetes.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an anti oxidant compound. The fatty acids work with the natural anti oxidant defenses of the body and mitochondria. It is also a great anti aging compound and can be helpful in reversing the aging effects caused by oxidant damage.

Alpha-lipoic Acid is also known as thioctic acid. It can be found in some vegetables and fruits and in meats, especially organ tissues. If you are looking for food items that have an ample amount of alpha-lipoic acid in them, consider taking the following: [click to continue…]