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L-Carnitine is vitamin-like substance formed in the body from several amino acids. It’s naturally present in meat (particularly red meat) and dairy and has been linked by many researchers to the increased metabolism of fat. L-Carnitine is not available through vegetable sources, so supplementation with this product perhaps has particular relevance to Vegetarians and Vegans?
Research suggests that a 1-4 gram daily dose of L-Carnitine increases the maximum use of oxygen (V02 max) and increases endurance (time to fatigue). This occurs because L-Carnitine is linked to the mobilization of Fat. Fat is unusable in its Triglyceride form and needs to be converted to a Free Fatty Acid (FFA) in order for it to be metabolised as a fuel and L-Carnitine helps with this process. A supplement that increases fat burning has huge implications for endurance athletes in terms of increasing aerobic power, sparing muscle glycogen and therefore prolonging time to exhaustion.
L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, in a large part because it is needed a lot by the brain, intestines, kidneys, lungs and immune system and also because you can manufacture your own. It is actually termed a 'non-essential amino acid', but this can be misleading, because under times of high training stress, if you leave your body to produce its own supply, it will break down muscle tissue in order to make it available.
Logic dictates that this is not desirable when you are a training athlete. Therefore, supplementation with L-Glutamine immediately after exercise stops the body scavenging for an alternative supply and eating into your well-earned muscle. It also ensures that plenty of L-Glutamine is available to fuel the immune system. Numerous studies have considered the effects of L-Glutamine supplementation on immune function and although the findings are mixed, there appears to be enough evidence to support its worth4. Couple the benefits of L-Glutamine with HMB and it's clear that there are huge gains to be achieved by supplementing with both of these compounds.
HMB (Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate) is a metabolite of the amino acid Leucine. This means that it is a natural bi-product of the breakdown of leucine, a constituent of normal dietary protein. Small amounts of HMB are found in certain foods like catfish, alfalfa and it is a natural component of mother’s milk, but generally speaking it’s pretty scarce in the average diet. HMB was first discovered in the 1950’s and has been studied for several decades, but only really became popular as a sporting supplement in the mid 90’s.
HMB has been found to slow down the degradation of muscle protein as well as enhance muscle gain, which means that it possesses both anti-catabolic and anabolic qualities. Early research has demonstrated that HMB supplementation lowers cholesterol and helps strengthen the immune system too.
Ribose is present within every living cell of the body and is used to manufacture ATP (the energy currency of the cell) from scratch. Whilst the body can manufacture its own ribose from glucose, this requires energy and is a very slow process. Research into ribose supplementation has proven that taking as little as 3-5grams per day will return cellular levels of ATP to normal within 6-22 hours of exhaustive exercise. Without supplementation, this is likely to take between 26 and 93 hours.
Ribose is found naturally in every living cell of the body and is synthesised from glucose, but this is slow, complicated and requires energy. Supplemental ribose is able to bypass this process, quickly re-building cellular ATP and returning muscle energy levels to normal. Again, research has shown that ribose supplementation increases the manufacture of ATP in skeletal muscle by 340 to 430 percent. It has also demonstrated that ribose improves the cell's ability to salvage and re-use ADP and AMP by as much as 700 percent (these are the nucleotides that are usually lost from the cell for good). These are not 'slight' benefits - they are highly significant.
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