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Water Retention and Creatine

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water-retention-vs-bloating

Creatine is an alpha-amino acid that provides our body with energy and helps in gaining muscle mass. It is formed from three essential amino acids – L-arginine, glycine, and L-arginine and makes around 1% of the total human blood volume. The human body generally produces around 1 gram of creatine in a day. Excess creatine is stored in muscle and brain for later use by the liver, kidney, and pancreas.

Creatine plays an important role in building muscle mass and is therefore often consumed by athletes as a supplement. Since it is released in increased muscle mass, it is supported along with some additional weight gain which is often misread as fat gain. Therefore it becomes important to understand the whole concept behind the additional weight gain.

People experience extra weight after taking creatine supplements due to water retention or fluid retention. The main constituent of the human body is water, occupying around 70% of the space. It is an essential component of the human body because it helps in the functioning of various biological processes. However, when there is an excess of water in the body than the required percentage and the body fails to eliminate the extra accumulated water, it results in a condition called water or fluid retention. This usually occurs when one of the body mechanisms faces problems while maintaining the body’s fluid levels.

Creatine is osmotic, therefore it fills water in your muscle tissues that results in water retention and hence the additional swelling and bloating around parts of your body which might seem as gained weight referred to as water weight. With an increased Creatine level, it also pulls in the extracellular and intracellular water, resulting in the rise of water levels inside and outside the cell. While storing water inside the cell makes you look bigger in terms of muscle mass, extracellular water leads to minor bloating effects that might be misconceived as fat gain. Many people experience this during the starting phase of their supplement intake.


Although it is not prominent or permanent and some people do not even experience so, there are a few things that one can do to reduce water retention by creatine. An increased magnesium intake is often suggested accompanied by a reduced sodium intake as excess sodium causes the body to retain the fluid. Additionally, the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is advised. High processed carbs also result in storing water in the body, therefore one should consume as many carbs as needed for energy production.

What Is Citrulline?

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Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid, whose name is derived from the Latin word “Citrullus”, meaning watermelon from where it was first extracted. Amino acids are often regarded as the building blocks of life and are of two types, essential and non-essential.

Essential amino acids are required to be consumed from dietary sources, whereas non-essential amino acids are produced biologically in the body. L-citrulline is an alpha-amino acid, also known as citrulline, citrulline malate (a combination of citrulline and malate, which is important for energy production), and chemical name 2- amino-5-(carbamoylamino)pentanoic acid.

Although it is an amino acid, it is not as effective as other amino acids for building muscles. This amino acid is essentially responsible for producing nitric oxide in the body. The kidney breaks the L-citrulline into L-arginine thus producing nitric oxide which relaxes and widens the arteries and therefore, helps in improving the blood flow. It also promotes the synthesis of certain ingredients that are essential for producing proteins.

Although produced naturally in the body, L-citrulline can also be consumed via diet meals. Foods like watermelon, from where it was first extracted are the best source of L-citrulline. Other foods like pumpkins, cucumbers, and gourds are also known to contain some traces of citrulline. L-citrulline is manufactured both as an over-the-counter version, i.e., dietary supplement and pharmaceutical drug. Medically it is used for treating various diseases like cardiovascular, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, and physical problems like fatigue and weakness. L-citrulline is also known to be effective in treating genetic disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Since it is known to improve blood flow in the body, an elevated amount of oxygen is thus received by the muscle which makes L-citrulline to be consumed as a supplement by athletes for bodybuilding and improved performing abilities, endurance and metabolism. The amount of supplement to be consumed usually varies around 3-6 grams, however, it depends on the individual purpose and training schedule.

Since L-citrulline promotes the production of nitric oxide in the body, researchers see a high potential in it to be used to treat various other rare diseases and disorders. L-citrulline is produced naturally in the body and therefore is not believed to be harmful as a supplement. Thus, it might do not have serious side effects. However, the researchers are still not sure about its consumption for pregnant or nursing women. In a nutshell, citrulline is a safe supplement to be included in the diet and improve athletic performance. One can definitely give it a try as the next possible supplement.

When Should We Take Citrulline?

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L-citrulline or citrulline is a non-essential alpha-amino acid produced naturally in our body. It was first extracted from watermelon in the year 1930. L-citrulline is produced in our body via a process called urea cycle using another amino acid, orthenine. Citrulline promotes the production of nitric oxide in our body, which is essential for our body. It helps widens the arteries resulting in improved blood and oxygen flow to the muscles and various other parts of the body. Nitric oxide is proven to be a vasodilator, that is it helps in lowering the chances of cardiovascular problems like blood pressure.

Due to its sufficient natural production, an excess amount of citrulline is not required by the body, however, some bodybuilders and athletes might take L-citrulline malate supplements to increase their performing abilities, due to citrulline’s ability to elevate the oxygen supply in the body. Research has also shown a lot of benefits of L-citrulline as a supplement. It is known to improve your metabolic process and enhanced blood flow is known to cause faster recovery of tissue and muscle injuries. A regular intake of citrulline also improves your endurance and helps you keep energized throughout the day.

Approximate 4-6 grams of citrulline is required by the human body in a single day. Regular and a little high intake of around 8 grams has shown improvements in endurance and lactic acid metabolism and reduced fatigue and weakness in various studies conducted. High yet safe dosages also show improved aerobic performance in some men. Since citrulline is often regarded as a supplement, no certain dosage or timings are prescribed. Rough 4-10 grams can be taken in a 24-hour period. However, it is advised to consume citrulline around 30 minutes before the exercise workout, which results in boosted energy production and improved performance in strenuous activities over time. Citrulline is known to be a fast reactor, and visible results can be seen after a few days of consumption. The dose can also be split into 2-3 times in a day, one of them being before the workout.

Although it is considered safe for consumption, it might prove a little harmful for people suffering from kidney-related issues. Therefore, one should always consult a doctor before the intake of citrulline supplements to be sure of any negative side effects and make sure to take the prescribed dosage only.

Is Creatine Natural or Not?

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creatine-in-a-scoop

Creatine is a nitrogen-based compound composed of three essential amino acids- glycine, arginine, and methionine. The three amino acids biologically form a chemical methyl guanidino acetic acid which is converted to creatine and phosphocreatine. The process takes place in the kidney and liver and the product formed is stored mainly in muscles via the blood. Creatine elevates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by donating its phosphate molecules to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) which is converted to ATP. Therefore, it can initially be inferred that creatine is a naturally produced source of energy. Besides its production in the body, creatine can also be consumed externally via food sources like meat or fish.

The daily requirement of creatine is around 2-3 grams in an individual. However, since creatine is also equally excreted in small amounts on daily basis, our daily intake of creatine might not meet the body requirements. Therefore, it also becomes important to found for alternatives to natural creatine to make up to the required mark. This has led to the development of synthetic or laboratory produces creatine which is similar to the natural creatine produced in our body.

Let us take a look at how synthetic creatine is made. The artificial supplement is produced using two chemical compounds namely, sarcosine and cyanamide. Sarcosine is a sodium-based salt while cyanamide is a white-colored amide. Individually they are not considered safe for human consumption, however, when mixed together they are consumable. The production of creatine takes place in a reactor that is heated and pressurized to a certain temperature and pressure respectively. Both the compounds are blended together in the reactor with some catalysts to form creatine crystals. Any unwanted residual particles are later removed while vacuum drying the product. The final product is ground into a fine powder to enhance its solubility in
liquids.

Creatine is an important nutrient required by the body due to its various benefits. It helps in increasing the body mass, repairing injury damages, and various diseases like Parkinson’s and depression. Although creatine is often considered as a natural product due to its major production by amino acids present inside the body, it cannot be denied that creatine supplements are also commercially used which form the artificial source. However, it is also important that one consumes such supplements only when necessary.

Food Sources of Creatine

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Creatine is a natural substance produced in the human body by three essential amino acids namely- L-arginine, glycine, and L methionine. The process takes place in the kidney and liver and the produced creatine is manufactured to various parts of the body via the blood. Excess of creatine is generally stored in the muscles (around 95%) and the brain (around 5%) and makes around 1% of the total human blood.

Creatine occurs in three major forms namely- creatine monohydrate, which the natural and most essential form; micronized creatine, which is a refined form of creatine having high absorption and solvation rate; and creatine ethyl ester, which is basically monohydrate creatine with high absorption power. Our body requires approximately 2-3 grams of creatine daily half of which is synthesized in the body and the remaining half is consumed by us through our diet.

Creatine can be found in meat, vegetables, and dairy and therefore is suitable for consumption by vegetarians and vegans as well. Let us break down the food sources based on vegetarian and meat.

Here are a few meat sources to meet the daily requirement of creatine by the human body.

  • Red meat

Red meat includes beef, pork, and sheep meat and is high in its iron content as compared to chicken or fish. It is a profound dietary source of creatine as well as protein due to its complete amino acid profile. Additionally, it is also rich in various other nutrients like vitamins A, B12 and minerals like zinc.

  • Pork

Pork contains around 0.6-grams creatine per 100-gram consumption. Creatine is also found in combination with various vitamins and minerals as well. Pork is a rich source of protein that helps improve strength and muscle recovery. With such high content of creatine, pork is often considered the favorite source for bodybuilders and athletes.

  • Salmon

Salmon is an oily pink fish that has an equally high content of creatine, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. It contains around 0.45-gram creatine per 100-gram consumption and adequate intake is capable of meeting the body requirement.

For the vegetarians out there, here’s a list of food sources that you can include in your regular diet to make up for the required amount of creatine.

  • Milk

Dairy products make up the maximum portion of creatine food sources in the vegetarian diet. Milk, for example, contains sufficient amounts of arginine and methionine to help in the production of creatine in our body. Parmesan cheese is known to contain the highest amount of creatine that is around 2.70 grams. Moreover, poultry products like eggs are rich in methionine and enhance the
natural production of creatine in our body.

  • Almonds

Nuts like almonds are highly packed with creatine alongside being rich in proteins. Additionally, they also contain healthy fats which play an important role in reducing body mass index (BMI) and hence help in losing weight.

  • Pumpkin seeds

Seeds and nuts also form a major portion of the vegan diet. Thus, they are a good source of creatine for vegans. Seeds like pumpkin and flax are rich in arginine and glycine, thus produce high amounts of creatine. Moreover, they also contain a good amount of methionine to boost the creatine manufacturing process.

How does IFBB Pro Scoring works?

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Bodybuilding-Competition

All the young bodybuilders who start bodybuilding aspire to participate in the world’s biggest competitions. When you start exploring the world of competition you come across various federations like NPC, IFBB, WBFF, etc. however NPC and IFBB are the most recognized ones out of which IFBB is the bigger league. Often called the IFBB Pro League, this fancy acronym stands for International Federation of Body Building and Fitness and dates back to 1946. The IFBB professional league is a sanctioned committee for bodybuilding awards and recognitions through a series of contests like Mr. Olympia, bodybuilding super bowl, and IFBB Legion sports fests. The scoring is different from that of other federations, this article will help aspiring bodybuilders to understand the apparent scoring system.

The IFBB scoring system

Since it is a world-recognized federation, judging, qualifications, and scoring are much more difficult and complex structures in a set of procedures. The scoring starts with two sets of prejudging rounds unlike in NPC. The judges are basically supposed to score on the overall physique of the builder as per the new guidelines. Every aspect of the bodybuilder is judged in the three rounds that take place during the competition with around 3 participants at a time. Let us briefly describe all the three rounds that the participants go through.

Round One

The first round is called the “symmetry round”. This involves the participant standing in a relaxed posture without flexing or posing, which does not cover up their physique faults and tends to highlight the overall shape and proportion of their body. All the features of the body are covered and judged in this round. They defined whose presence is strongly felt and has a great stage impact while standing still.

Round Two

With Round 2 bodybuilders start flexing and posing to impress the judges with their built physique. The second round also includes the overall structure and posture of the body while posing or flexing the muscles. However, this round does not implies showing off one’s muscularity, although it does impact the results a little bit the judges also keep into consideration other weak points of the participant.

Round Three

The third round usually works in the favor of the competitor. It is more like a presentation round; the participant can show off their muscle and physique in a way they want to present it by maximizing their specialization and minimizing their weak points. However, much of the poses are similar to those in the second round which are already seen by the judges, therefore unless you have something unique to display, you should not expect anything high out of it. This round is beneficial for those people who do not look impressive in certain postures due to genetics however nail some other poses.

Conclusion

The three rounds are often referred to as the “symmetry”, “muscularity” and “posing” round respectively in local terms, therefore unwillingly and unintentionally the judges might end up focusing on particularly isolated areas in each round even though they are supposed to judge according to the overall physique. This might also cause a few controversies and some bodybuilders might not get what they actually deserve. However, the judges are constantly being reminded of the scoring criteria at regular intervals now. Once the three rounds are over, the final judgment is announced based on the total of the three rounds, finalizing three competitors who then have an additional opportunity to impress the judges to choose them as the ultimate winner.

Are Fat Burner Pills Effective?

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white and blue medication pills
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com


A fat burner is described as any supplement that claims to increase metabolism and encourage weight loss and impair fat metabolism. A fat burner can occur naturally in few food products or can be taken as pills. Fat burners are known to work by speeding up the metabolism as well as suppressing the appetite. They can be also be categorized according to their “fat-burning” action in the human body. Namely – thermogenesis, lipolysis, and appetite suppression.

To briefly define each of their working, thermogenesis works simultaneously as a part of the metabolic process. It is basically the dissipation of energy that intends to boost metabolism and increase the fat-burning process. Lipolysis is defined as the breaking down of fat cells called lipids. This procedure works with the help of enzymes and water. Lipolysis works on the excess fat-storing tissue that is used as a fuel by the body in case of a shortage of glucose, thus resulting in fat burning. Lastly, appetite suppression supplements work by decreasing our appetite and limiting our consumption of calorie-containing foods.

Besides natural occurring compounds like green tea, caffeine, or L-arginine a lot of fat-burning pills are also gaining popularity. However, one thing to ponder upon is how effective can these fat-burning pills be. An individual should not totally rely on them for magical results. It is important to take care of your health and diet as well to actually make these pills effective. Merely depending on these pills might not give the desired result as you expect, although they do support the process of fat burning but cannot completely eliminate anything or alter biological processes of fat-storing. Moreover, many fat-burning pills are known to cause side effects as well, therefore it is also recommended that one should consult a doctor or dietitian before starting the course.

A fat burner can help you and support your body in this journey of weight loss, however, it cannot fix your unhealthy habits that have resulted in the storage of excess fat. An individual should not have high expectations from any sort of supplements. They need to realize that they should start with reasonable expectations and set a rational weight target if they plan on using fat burners as supplements. You must start with low doses first and let your body adapt to its changing environment. A high dose during the very starting of the course might be harmful to your health. Keep a regular check on your intake and monitor your daily progress. It seems like using fat burners might actually give you success over a defined period of time, however, it is your duty to make sure that you consume them responsibly

Why Egg Yolk is not eaten much?

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egg-yolk

There’s still an ongoing debate on eggs and which parts of eggs should be consumed for acquiring their health benefits. Some people consider including a whole egg as a part of the meal plan, while others usually tend to discard the yolk to only include the egg whites. Eggs are believed to be popular sources of protein because of the egg whites, however, the yolk is often ignored by people. But why is it so? This article aims to clear the myths and misconceptions revolving around this topic.

A whole egg consists of two components, the egg white, and the egg yolk. The egg white is the outer white layer of the egg famous for its protein content, while egg yolk is the innermost yellowish-orange part known to be rich in various other nutrients. The popular belief in discarding the yolk is due to its apparent high cholesterol content, which is considered unhealthy for consumption. Chemically cholesterol is a waxy substance found in various processed and fried foods and is linked to numerous heart diseases. An excess of cholesterol can restrict blood flow and result in high blood pressure, and hence various heart-related diseases.

On average a single yolk is known to contain 200-210 milligrams of cholesterol. However, studies suggest that regular consumption of eggs is known to decrease the levels of bad cholesterol simultaneously increasing the amount of good cholesterol. Although an egg yolk might contain slightly higher amounts of cholesterol, it is also known to have a higher nutrition-to-fat ratio, various vitamins, and fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, around 300 milligrams is the maximum limit of cholesterol intake for a normal person and 200 milligrams for people suffering from heart disease or diabetes. Therefore, if consumed in appropriate amounts, eggs do not raise your cholesterol levels, rather provide you with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like iron, potassium, folate, choline, and vitamins like A, E, and B.

There are still many people divided on the opinion of consuming egg yolks. However, not scientifically proven yolks do not tend to harm your body in any way. Additionally, the benefits of the eggs are worth only if one consumes them as a whole, discarding the yolk might make you lose out on some essential nutrients. Therefore, we suggest you consume the whole eggs to receive their maximum benefits.

What is Cupping Therapy?

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cupping-therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient traditional Chinese form of medicinal practice used to treat numerous medical conditions in the past. It is one of the oldest medical practices mentioned in the books of middle eastern and Egyptian countries. Cupping therapy involved the use of pressure and suction by using special cups on the affected areas. The practitioner puts a cap on the affected area of the skin which then creates suction and pulls out the toxins against the person’s skin. The suction enhances the blood flow and extracts the impurities from the neighboring tissues or organs reaching the surface of the body for elimination. Nowadays it is being used for various other purposes like improving blood flow, relaxation, help ease pain and inflammation, or merely just as a form of deep-tissue massage. The cups used in this procedure are usually made of glass, bamboo, or earthenware. With time This method also became popular as hijama or vacuum cupping.

Cupping therapy or simply cupping can be of two types- dry and wet. Dry cupping is simply performed using the cups and pump thus creating a suction to draw out the blood and fluids from the affected area of the skin. It can be performed at any time for a duration of about 10-12 minutes to relieve the tensions of any body parts. Wet cupping or hijama, involves making small scratches on the surface of the skin with a sterile blade around 3-4 minutes after the dry cupping procedure. Cupping is then re-applied for suction and the pressure difference created results in the extraction of a small amount of blood. It is important to know that wet cupping is best to perform an empty stomach and any form of intensive physical exercise is often recommended to be avoided after the treatment. However, one thing that is common in both the cupping procedures is the use of a flammable substance like alcohol or paper inside the cup that is set to fire. As soon as the fire goes out, the cup is placed on the skin. This can be scientifically explained as the cooling of the cup after getting hot due to the fire and putting down on the skin creates the pressure difference and vacuum which causes the skin to redden and rise which expands your blood vessels for an effective treatment.

With evolving methods and technology, cupping therapy has shown various benefits to its consumers ranging from reduced pain and inflammation to improved blood flow. It is increasingly being used to treat blood disorders like anemia and skin problems like acne. Besides medical treatment, it has also gained huge popularity as a form of massage for relaxation and strengthening the immune system improving the healing process of the body.

However, alongside any such treatments are its associated side effects. Although cupping is an ancient therapy and is considered low-risk, it might result in dizziness or nausea in some people. Various other physical side effects like skin burns, bruising, itching, or irritation are also known. Since not much has been scientifically researching on this therapy, there are chances that various other side effects might not be known. However, one should avoid trying therapy on areas with deep cuts or injuries, as there are chances that it might result in skin infections or worsening of the wound.

Aerobics for Beginners: Explained

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Aerobics

Aerobic exercise falls under the category of cardio training. Scientifically meaning “with oxygen” aerobic exercises work on your cardiovascular system and improves the functioning of your heart and lungs through simple activities like running, walking, or cycling.

Aerobics range from high intensity to low intensity, therefore a beginner can start with low intensity and gradually reach high-intensity workouts. Although aerobics is not as difficult as it may sound, this article provides you with a few tips and exercises if you are planning on starting aerobics.

Since you are starting with a new form of exercise you need to give your body time to adapt to this change. Therefore one should start off slow and not overburden the body. Later you can gradually accelerate your pace and intensity. Light warm-up exercises like stretching and spot jogging extremely influence how the aerobics exercise builds up, you should make sure you warm your body enough before starting intensive exercises to avoid cramping. A beginner often tends to feel tired on the very first day and thinks of quitting or skipping the next day, avoid that as far as possible. You need to be consistent with your routine even if you have just started.

A few aerobic exercises one can begin with are listed below.

1. Jump rope

All you need is a simple skipping or jumping rope. It should be according to your height else you might fear tripping. A jump rope is one the easiest activity to follow and helps in better body awareness and coordination and improves agility. A beginner can start with a 10-minute session around 3-4 times a week and extend up to 25 minutes.

2. Running or brisk walking

It is the most effective activity that comes under aerobic exercise. Running improves your heart health and helps in burning calories. A 20 minute run for about 2-3 times a week is considered enough for a beginner. You must stretch a little bit in between running to avoid any kind of injuries or cramps.

3. Swimming

Swimming is considered a good exercise for those who have suffered from injuries and are planning to come back to physical activities. It helps in improving your endurance and build muscle strength eventually resulting in a toned body as well. A beginner can start with a freestyle with around 10-15 minutes for 2 days in a week and gradually add 5 minutes each week to increase the intensity.

There are various other activities one can adopt in aerobics. You should start slow and easy and add on pace slowly while simultaneously increasing the intensity. Aerobics is considered as one the best form of physical training to improve your overall health and reduce weight. It is recommended that everyone should at least try it once.