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Intra-workout Performance Essential Amino Acids and Recovery Fuel
Every time you begin to train you are presented with a unique opportunity. Under normal circumstances you have relatively little blood flow going to your muscles. But once you start to train, blood flow increases exponentially to the exact thing you’re trying to change, your muscles.
So why, would you send the blood empty? To do so would be to miss a huge window of opportunity to supply nutrients to the muscles. You wouldn’t send a plane from LAX to Sydney without passengers, right? Amino Matrix takes full advantage of this opportunity and sends a fully loaded plane.
Amino Matrix represents a blend of meticulously curated EAA’s and other synergists to maximize protein synthesis, decrease muscle breakdown, provide energy substrates and increase blood flow. Taken together these ingredients will drastically increase your ability to sustain performance and reduce post-workout soreness.
“I wouldn’t dream of working out without Amino Matrix.”
Terrell Suggs – Pro Bowl NFL Outside Linebacker
“I have to order so much because all of my teammates come to my locker to get fired up for game day.”
Antoine Bethea – Pro Bowl NFL Safety
Recover and Promote an Anabolic State with the Most Advanced Essential Amino Acid Blend on the Market
You just read about the intra-workout window and the need to send a full plane. Now let's examine in more detail the passengers on the plane.
First, we have a carefully curated blend of EAA’s. That is a leucine-rich blend of ALL of the essential amino acids in an optimized ratio. The dietary supplement industry has erroneously promoted leucine and BCAA (Leucine, isoleucine, Valine) as an effective method to promote protein synthesis. However, this approach is not based on science.
Many amino acids have important metabolic signaling or triggering properties that make them important beyond their value as a building block of proteins. Leucine is one such an amino acid. In addition to its role as a substrate, it can trigger the mechanisms involved in turning on the process of protein synthesis. For this reason, leucine is often thought of as a master signaling molecule and some have attributed drug-like effects to it.
You can think of this as a trigger on a gun. It’s the most important part and nothing happens until you pull the trigger. However, without ammo, you will quickly discover that pulling the trigger has little utility. All the other EAA acting in concert is what constitutes the ammo. Continually pulling the trigger on the gun with the chamber empty does one no good. This is analogous to flooding the body with leucine and or BCAA. It is also interesting to note that Leucine does not exist anywhere in nature by itself.
Amino Matrix is the intelligent approach to maximizing gains. By having a leucine-rich mixture along with all the necessary substrates, we ensure that the trigger is being pulled and all the ammo is supplied.
Optimum EFX has never subscribed to the use or produced BCAA supplements. Since 2008 we have used only EAA. Unlike some of our competitors who are new to the EAA concept, they sell both EAA and BCAA. We find this to be disingenuous once you know the facts about EAA metabolism.
As discussed above we want to take full advantage of the hyperemia effect or the increased blood flow. By delivering the right amount of EAA at this time we take full advantage of them. But in addition to that, we have added other synergistic nutrients to maximize this effect.
The importance of taking the EAAs during the workout can be explained by an example of a balance scale. The body is in a constant state of protein turnover and is, therefore, alternating between an anabolic and catabolic state. Think of this as two sides to the balance scale. The net breakdown of muscle protein during the workout will be prevented if have the EAAs present. In part, this is because the increase in blood flow to the muscle during the exercise will deliver the ingested amino acids to the muscle. By increasing the blood concentrations of EAAs, the concentration gradients will drive EAAs into the muscle cells instead of out, which is the case without EAA supplementation! When you consume Amino Matrix You tip the scale to the side of anabolism. But that’s not all. Resistance exercise itself is a trigger or signal to stimulate protein synthesis. Research has shown that there is a synergistic effect. In other words, the total effect of stimulating protein synthesis via EAAs and exercise is greater than the total of their individual contributions.
Another key passenger on the plane is Citrulline Malate. It helps to increase blood flow, boost physical output and reduce muscle soreness. As we perform intense exercise our ammonia levels increase. This increase in ammonia acts as a signal for muscle fatigue and decreases the muscles ability to create energy. The urea cycle is what our bodies use to eliminate this toxic ammonia and excretes it in our urine. This is one area where citrulline malate plays a vital role. In the urea cycle, excess nitrogen is converted to a series of products that combine with ornithine to make citrulline. This continuous process recycles ornithine and citrulline, however, ornithine is the limiting factor. But in practice taking citrulline increases arginine levels which in turn increases ornithine far better than taking those amnions themselves. This is due to citrulline’s far superior bioavailability.
If that’s all citrulline did it would still be a worthwhile supplement. But it does even more. In a separate but related biological system, the Nitric Oxide Cycle, Citrulline also gets converted into arginine to produce nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels allowing for increased blood flow (think massive pump). Due to its much high bioavailability that we previously mentioned, supplemental citrulline has a much greater impact on NO production than supplemental arginine itself. Furthermore, it sustains this increase for a much longer period of time.
What makes citrulline so incredibly effective is that it functions as both a sword and a shield! It acts as a shield to scavenge ammonia, shielding you from its fatigue-inducing effects by turning it into the much less toxic urea. It works as a sword to increase blood flow to muscles via its nitric oxide producing ability. Who doesn’t want to attach a workout with a weapon that is both a sword and a shield?
When making the above case for the inclusion of all the EAAs we discussed the concept that all actions attributed to amino acids occur simultaneously. They do not occur in a vacuum. An ideal EAA formula needs an increase in Leucine for the appropriate signaling that we need.
However, we have to be extremely mindful of what is happening in the brain. To shed further light on this, remember that the brain is so important that we have an entire fortress around it called the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). It serves to only allow specific molecules to enter. There is a dedicated gatekeeper if you will on guard 24-7 at the gates of this fortress. He is entirely responsible for letting in or transporting what is called Large Neutral Amino Acids (LNAA). These include Leucine, all the BCAAs, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, and Tryptophan. This gatekeeper has to handle all of these by himself. So the amino acid in the greatest concentration will get across more.
Why is this so important? We have utilized a leucine-rich EAA mixture for the purpose of maximally stimulating protein synthesis but in doing so we may have competitively reduced the gatekeeper’s ability to get tyrosine into the fortress.
So what? This is of critical importance because tyrosine is a precursor to a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine plays a critical role in motivation and neural drive. This problem has been long overlooked because of the classic but erroneous “sports performance” way of thinking that raising BCAA blood levels would lower tryptophan levels thereby decreasing serotonin re-uptake and decreasing fatigue. While it is true that serotonin levels in the brain parallel the tryptophan changes it also changes tyrosine and subsequently catecholamine re-uptake.
The performance effect of lowering tryptophan is negligible. However, it is well known that increasing dopamine function in the brain improves sports performance and therefore this is a key area to be addressed when using amino acids during training. The full EAA blend is a huge step forward in solving this but it may not be enough. To this end, we have added a precise dose of L-Tyrosine to our Amino Matrix formula to ensure enough is available to cross the BBB and provide the substrate for dopamine production. The end result is maximum muscle protein synthesis that also maintains optimum brain function and neural drive.
L-Aspartic Acid is a non-essential amino acid which also functions as an excitatory neurotransmitter and plays a vital role as a necessary component and step in the transport of high-energy NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) molecules from the cellular body and into the mitochondria. Supplementation with L-aspartic acid increases resistance to fatigue and allows you to sustain longer workouts at higher exercise loads. Another significant benefit of L-aspartic acid is via the role it plays in removing toxic ammonia by converting it to urea which is then excreted in urine. In fact, it complements citrulline in the same ammonia scavenging role
Carnitine plays an important role in the Amino Matrix formula in that it helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria. Fatty acids are the main fuel for the mitochondria to produce ATP. If your body doesn’t have enough carnitine, then the production of ATP from fatty acids will not occur at its maximal capacity.
In this way, carnitine supplementation optimizes how your body uses fuel allowing you to train for longer periods of time. Research has further demonstrated that muscle lactate was reduced when performing high-intensity exercise. This shows it has the ability to lower markers of metabolic stress and may contribute to less muscle soreness.
Betaine anhydrous (also known as trimethylglycine) has been shown to be lipotropic by promoting the oxidization of lipids. Betaine is a methyl donor that helps in the production of several brain chemicals and hence improves mood, energy, well being, alertness, concentration, and visual clarity. A methyl donor is simply any substance that can transfer a methyl group [a carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms (CH3)] to another substance.
Many important biochemical processes rely on methylation, including the metabolism of lipids and DNA. Betaine also has a crucial function as an osmolyte in the body. By balancing fluid levels both intra/extracellularly, it causes cells to swell by driving in water. This increases signaling for muscle growth.
Most importantly, researchers have found that betaine supplementation helped lifters complete more total reps in bench press workouts, produce more power on a cycle ergometer, and sprint for longer periods of time.
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