BOOSTING NITRIC OXIDE
In recent years, sports nutrition consumers have begun clamoring for products featuring ingredients that increase the body’s production of nitric oxide (NO). Elevated NO dilates blood vessels to boost blood and oxygen flow to working muscles, given them more oomph and endurance.
“During exercise and intense performance, L-arginine levels become depleted, leading to less-than-ideal nitric oxide levels and higher lactic acid buildup, fatigue and slow recovery times,” says Eng of HPI Ingredients. “Research shows that when nitric oxide in athletes’ muscles is increased, both endurance and performance improve. However, intensive physical exercise is followed by production of lactic acid waste, which attacks muscle cells and accumulates in the tissue, leading to cramps and aches that impedes muscle recovery.”
HPI’s NOMax™ optimizes nitric oxide levels to support the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscles, while at the same time neutralizing toxic exercise-induced lactic acid. This extract of Citrus bergamia Risso boasts a high concentration of multiple flavanones, particularly flavanone-O-glycosides, along with unsaturated fatty acids. In a placebo-controlled trial, 237 individuals with reduced flow-mediated vasodilatation were given either 500 or 1,000 milligrams of NOMax or a placebo for 30 days. Vasodilation improved 20 percent to 50 percent in both NOMax groups.
“Additionally, there has been enormous interest in the potential role of skeletal muscle AMPK in exercise-stimulated glucose uptake as a possible target for glucose balance,” Eng says. “Flavanones in NOMax activate AMPK and can stimulate glucose uptake by activating the glucose transporter GLUT1 in all cells and the upregulation and translocation of GLUT4 to the cell membrane in muscle cells. AMPK plays a central role in regulating healthy glucose metabolism and energy production, and AMPK activation may reduce oxidative stress.”
MORE MUSCLE SUPPORT
Another muscle-supporting ingredient is HP Ingredients’ LJ100®, the only clinically proven tongkat ali extract for sports nutrition and andropause. The root of this adaptogenic herb is concentrated into a water extract standardized to 40 percent glycosaponins and at least 22 percent eurypeptides.
“Studies on humans show that LJ100 supplementation aids in creating a favorable anabolic state (building up) while suppressing catabolic state (breaking down), which enhances performance,” Eng says. “LJ100 supplementation has been shown to increase muscle strength and size as well as endurance.”
She points to a published placebo-controlled study that looked at how 100 milligrams of LJ100, taken 30 minutes before endurance exercise, affected 30 men during a 24-hour mountain biking event. “Through its apparent ability to maintain low normal levels of cortisol and high normal levels of testosterone, LJ100 improved anabolic state during this intense endurance workout,” Eng says. Another study found that it positively impacts strength and muscle quality in middle-aged women.
Another effective joint health solution is HP Ingredients’ ParActin®, an extract of Andrographis paniculata, a medical plant used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. ParActin is standardized to 14-deoxyandrographolide, neoandrographolide and andrographolide, the active constituent behind the adaptogenic herb’s inflammatory-modulating effects.
According to Eng, ParActin inhibits NF-kB activity, which reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with joint pain, such as COX-2 and prostaglandins. Since the ingredient absorbed easily and crosses the blood-brain barrier, users can experience joint pain relief within an hour of taking 150 or 300 milligrams of ParActin. It has also been shown to ease swelling in joints. Thus, supplements containing ParActin are an attractive alternative to NSAID painkillers, which can cause upset stomach.