Natural Products Insider

JUL-AUG 2018

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22 INSIDER July/August 2018 complete proteins or EAAs are present, insulin can stimulate MPS; whereas in a low-EAA status, insulin inhibits MPB. Protein synthesis stimulates production of insulin, thereby increasing glucose levels in muscles—insulin's primary job is to store glucose in muscle or fat. Increased insulin improves amino acid uptake in muscles. The mineral chromium is well-known for its ability to improve insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity in cells. A chromium- amylopectin combination (as Velositol™, from Nutrition 21) paired with whey protein supplementation and resistance exercise can boost post-workout MPS better—as much as two times—than whey alone, according to recently published research. 4 The researchers noted amylopectin's role is as a transporter. In addition to impacting insulin sensitivity, chromium might also enhance myokines (e.g., musclin and fractalkine), signaling molecules released in muscles that promote increased MPS from exercise. 5 Growth factors, including hormones such as insulin growth factor (IGF), stimulate repair of damaged muscles. Exercise prompts the release of growth factors, which regulate activities of muscle satellite cells that mature or differentiate into new muscle proteins. IGF-1 is a well-known trigger of mTOR signaling in muscle. This drove companies to offer synthetic IGF as sports supplements, which was not legal. However, IGF-1 is found naturally in deer antler velvet, where it promotes growth of the animal's antlers. Research on the muscle development benefi ts of deer antler supplementation in humans has been limited and offered mixed results. IGF-1 in humans increases when human growth hormone (HGH) increases. Where IGF stimulates muscle growth, HGH primarily stimulates bone and connective tissue growth. IGF synergistically interacts with testosterone to stimulate MPS. 6 Testosterone is a steroid hormone that can affect numerous parts of the body including the heart and skeletal muscles, as well as metabolism. Low testosterone encourages weight gain and glucose/insulin problems, but increased levels of testosterone can make muscles grow. This steroid hormone is anabolic, directly stimulating MPS by increasing the presence of muscle satellite cells and inhibiting hormones that promote MPB. The body makes testosterone, but levels wane after a peak in the early 20s. Testosterone is a controlled drug in the United States and other countries, and is banned by sporting bodies around the world. However, natural ingredients have shown promise as testosterone boosters, catching the eye of many in the sports nutrition market. Steroidal phytochemicals in the seeds of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-groecum L.) are thought to boost testosterone and glucose metabolism, respectively. Fenugreek supplementation (as Testofen ® , from Gencor Pacifi c) has increased both total serum testosterone and free testosterone in healthy men (43 years and older), compared to placebo. 7 This action may increase muscle strength and promote anabolic activity. 8 Driving Muscles MPS and mTOR signaling cannot make better muscles without adequate delivery of nutrients and adequate muscle function during exercise. Resistance exercise is typically anaerobic. Fuel for anaerobic exercise comes from stored, readily available ATP (adenosine triphosphate)—breaking the phosphate bonds of this molecule transfers energy to cells. Phosphocreatine stored in muscles can be used to quickly restore ATP and fuel short periods of anaerobic exercise, such as weightlifting. Supplemental creatine boosts muscle levels of phosphocreatine and can extend this period of anaerobic energy, potentially leading to more reps. By improving muscle endurance, creatine can increase lean muscle mass and strength. Sports Nutrition: Muscle Building A Note About SARMs Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) became the big muscle-building category after the U.S. Congress effectively rid the market of prohormones in 2014. The allure of SARMs was the promise of exploding muscle growth via anabolic activation—with less of the androgenic side effects often experienced with anabolic steroid use, including testosterone. SARMs have been under development by several pharmaceutical companies for specifi c disease or medical uses such as muscle and bone loss, prostate enlargement and birth control. FDA has advised SARMs are not legal dietary ingredients and, therefore, cannot legally be sold as dietary supplements. The agency sent warning letters to several sports nutrition companies selling SARMs as supplements, and has raided at least one major sports nutrition company selling SARMs online via many different sites, including research chemicals. "Life-threatening reactions, including liver toxicity, have occurred in people taking products containing SARMs," FDA stated, in a press release. "SARMs also have the potential to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and the long-term effects on the body are unknown." One sports nutrition company, Nutrition Distribution, fi led Lanham Act lawsuits against supplement companies selling SARMs, alleging unfair competition. However, hardcore bodybuilders and biohackers have sworn by SARMs and continue to take them, and there continue to be online sources of SARMs, some from overseas— China is considered a primary source of SARMs ingredients. The SARMs originally developed for pharmaceutical targets is the form primarily sold to muscle-building consumers, and are not from plant origin, but were made by tweaking testosterone. Later, nonsteroidal SARMs were chemically developed. However, there have been attempts to sell sports supplements claiming to contain plant-based "SARMs" (called pSARMs or phytoSARMs). The focus of these products is on DHEA-derived prohormones and bark extracts that are claimed to have SARM-like actions.

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