In this edition of Cutting Edge, we’re going to look at some fairly new and promising stuff and a combo that is severely overlooked in my opinion. In the quest for muscle you want to use anything you have at your disposal. I am of the belief that knowledge is power, and so I bring to you pure textual power.
L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate– This guy has gotten some recognition lately because of an interesting little property specific to him. A lot of you guys hear carnitine and probably think about the L-carnitine supplements sold back in the day to “boost metabolism” and “slim your belly” that never did anything. Well, this is not that. Like tribulus, you can’t shoot it down just because it has a similar name.
LCLT is not supposed to slim you up, because as it turns out, it’s really hard to get carnitine into the mitochondria to work its magic, at least if you take it orally. But LCLT does do something else that’s pretty cool, it increases androgen receptor density. So we’ve been looking at a lot of testosterone boosters recently that are all kind of working through a similar mechanism. Well, if you take them together, you’re just going to overrun the pathway and waste your time and money once you max out. However if you use things which have the potential to act synergistically, you’re working smart, not hard.
So something like: LCLT + Fadogia + PS + Aromatase Inhibitor
is going to do a whole lot more for you than: Fadogia +Bulbine + Tribulus Alatus + Longjack
and, LCLT is a fairly cheap add on. The active dose in one study in resistance trained men was 2g/daily for 3 weeks. It’s also been shown to have some benefit in facilitating recovery from anaerobic exercise (weightlifting). It may have effects on IGF-1 levels, though the research is not clear enough for me to even give it a semi-endorsement in that aspect.
Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine (A-GPC), & Phospholipids: Alright to be honest with you, I don’t know how I haven’t told you about these guys yet. They are pretty “up there” on my supplement pyramid. First off, they are essential for something called phospholipids. It’s not super important for you to know just what phospholipids are now but they are essential to the functioning of every cell in the body.
Additionally, all of these chemicals contain choline, a b-vitamin and a precursor to acetylcholine. AcetylCholine is a neurotransmitter associated with all kinds of stuff in the body, one of the functions most interesting to us is that acetylcholine is essential in muscle contraction. Some have anecdotally used choline sources (especially with -acetams) for a brain boosting (nootropic) effect. But that’s not gonna get you jacked, so why am I telling you this?
Well, one of the principal phospholipids is phosphatidylserine (PS). PS has been shown in a recent study at a dose of 600mg/day over ten days to significantly effect the testosterone:cortisol ratio during exercise. The T:C ratio is pretty important because normally both hormones see a big spike during a workout, they sort of tend to neutralize eachother. But if we can shift the balance in our favor, we can theoretically make working out that much more anabolic. Anyway the group taking PC saw a 78% increase in test over the placebo group and no increase in cortisol. This is pretty promising, the testosterone thing is cool but transient, but if the supplement can completely block exercise induced cortisol release, that might be something to look into.
Now, I hope you’ve learned at this point that cortisol, like all other hormones, needs to be kept in a certain balance, decimating it is just as bad as jacking it through the roof. But we’ve not actually lowered cortisol here, we’ve simply prevented it from rising at an acutely catabolic time.
PS also has some research suggesting that it may increase testosterone production by increasing testicular sensitivity to LH. It may do this by optimizing testicular health, though that is not entirely clear. What is clear is that it does not pose a significant threat and it does have a significant benefit.
And let’s not forget alpha GPC. PS is a gem, but A-GPC is the icing on the cake. In a study, a 600 mg dose of A GPC in resistance trained men produced a 68% greater rise in GH post workout than the placebo group. If you don’t know how I feel about GH, let’s just say this result does not make me crap my pants in excitement (though they get a little bit crappy when you add in the increased testosterone and decreased cortisol, creating a potent anabolic environment). But something that is worth noticing is that the subject had a 14% increase in bench press force after just one dose, that could lead to serious gains over time.
The very smart among you may be thinking “if it’s (kind of) a vitamin won’t I only see gains from correcting insufficiency?” Well yes, you smart, critical thinking, bastard you. But luckily rough numbers tell us that an average american gets less then 120 mg/day of PS & A-GPC combined.
So go forth and get it. One slight drawback is cost. It’s not as cheap as creatine, but that’s why creatine is creatine. And if you shop around you can scrounge it up for a decent price.
Creatine Nitrate: When this first came out there was a big deal made about nitrates being in our supplements. For people with very low blood pressure (endurance runners) or people taking certain pharmaceuticals (other nitrates, viagra etc.) that may be a valid concern. But for the vast majority of the American public, creatine nitrate represents the marriage of two potent ergogenic ingredients. Creatine nitrate normally comes in 1-2 gram doses, so you’re going to get your fill of nitrate with that dose, but not necessarily your fill of creatine. So it would be wise to supplement this with creatine mono.
As for the ergogenic benefits of nitrate itself, they are mainly geared towards endurance, though they also reduce oxygen cost of activities like walking and provide crazy vasodilation. This could amount to getting out a few more reps in each set, which will compound over time. I’m still not sold on the whole “vasodilation is anabolic in and of itself” deal unless you’re looking at disease states, but a sick pump is lots of fun, and may provide psychological feedback necessary for you to power through your workouts.
This is in several products now, I personally am a fan of the two SAN products which contain it. I hope to see a product in the future which combines this with agmatine and L-norvaline to work synergistically to jack up NO.
Well, that’s all for this installment, as always, please post any questions, comments, concerns below. Everything civil will be answered and/or discussed.