By Bob Kupniewski Athletic Xtreme
This is a topic a lot of people do not touch on and that is regarding Insulin Sensitivity and Supplements. While this may be a far stretch to why is this important? What is insulin sensitivity? There is a role behind this and a few things you can take to help improve it. Insulin Sensitivity has to stem from how we partition and transport our nutrients, and also how effectively we metabolism them. Some people that have slower metabolisms may not be able to plow through loads of calories and stay lean, while on the other hand some people who are smaller in nature can intake 4000 + calories and not gain a dime and stay very lean year round. Wish it would work that way for everyone right?
Every Body Is Different
Some people handle various loads of calories, but also different supplements can aid how we utilize nutrients and calories and also helpkeep away from fat storage (which GDA’s would be a great tool to use). A good indication you can see when insulin sensitivity starts to wear on clients or people in general comes from long term bulking or gaining phases where the amount of progress seen in the mirror starts to overtake what the scale shows. What I mean by that is you may be pushing a person to grow to a certain extent when in reality
the weight they are adding is mostly fat compared to muscle or lean body mass, and that pushing more weight is not doing them any good. This is where Insulin Sensitivity has reached it peak, and this is also a sign that it may be wiser to cut back for say 4-6 weeks (on a mini-cut) and then reverse back into a gaining phase to prime to metabolism back to growing after a long bout of being in a surplus.
That idea came to fame when layne Norton (pictured on the right) had his theory in the past of short cutting cycles paired with bulking cycles of 4-6 weeks. Personally for me I find that if you can keep a small surplus and continue to add weight to the bar and improve your training in the gym then you should not need to do mini-cuts as often because you are understanding your body, your caloric intake, and what you need to grow at a good pace and a lean rate without sacrificing yourself back into a deficit so quick.
The first supplement I want to address regarding insulin sensitivity is cinnamon. While this is something a lot of people may add to food (oatmeal for example, on top of sweet potatoes is another, and people throw it into their protein shakes for flavor). The thing is with cinnamon is that is has a glucose management (think back to what I was saying earlier) called anticlimactic. This is something that can aid the transportation of nutrients away from adipose or fat storage (like I mentioned with GDA’s). There has been some good research and a few studies broadcasted on PubMed which has shown that Cinnamon can aid in both of those departments which makes it a valid candidate not only as something we can use on our food but a “Supplement” Towards insulin sensitivity. Every little bit counts right!?
Next I want to talk about chromium, which has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and also glucose tolerance, which can help those who are diabetic. Funny thing is that if you are very deficient in chromium that you could lead yourself to type II diabetes in the long haul or over a prolonged period of time. After looking over some research regarding chromium I have found that those who study it like to give it an acronym called GTF which stands for Glucose Tolerance Factor because with doses of around 200-600 mcg per day you can be safe, but also find some positive perks regarding the transportation of vitamins/minerals.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Lets backtrack again and talk about GDA’s or a form of a GDA that is found in many out there called ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid). ALA should be dosed or utilized for heavier carb meals about 15-30 minutes prior which is found popular in products like Slin Sane, Anabolic Pump, Glycobol, and various other GDA’s on the market. You can utilize this product to increase insulin sensitivity and prevent fat gain from shuttling nutrients away from fat storage due to the transportation/insulin properties this ingredient does contain. Not only does this aid with the shuttling of nutrients, but it is also a minor form of an anti-oxidant how about that for a one-two punch? There are also two forms of ALA which is regular ALA and R-Ala which R has a bit more benefit behind it when it comes to pubmed research and studies done on the ingredient.
Cyanidin 3 Glucoside
On that subject we will continue with Cyanidin 3 Glucoside known as C3G. Even though this is an insulin sensitivity property supplement it can also aid with the forms of physiological effects due to the forms of anthocyanin. Anthocyanin can also be beneficial in things like berries (blue/straw/black) for their richness and dark color. C3G appears to show these properties to help avoiding cancer and aids anti-inflammatory effects. Not too shabby for something that could be beneficial to stack with your fish-oil to give you a double dose of anti-inflammatory. Lets break that down for a second when you as a human utilize anti-inflammatory signals on fat cells this can help improve body composition with improved glucose intolerance which aids towards insulin levels. When studied in length C3G has shown an increase in blood glucose levels of individuals and nearly dropped their overall levels 20-30 counts even in spans of 6-8 weeks of use. Not only is this great for those who have to deal with diabetic problems, but just general health levels to help increase insulin, decrease glucose levels and aid a better lifestyle.
One last product I want to talk about is vanadium which is a mineral that aids in glucose tolerance and in a product I like to use called Slin-Trol made by Jason Theobald aka ScoobySnacks (his online user name). This is a product I take right before a very high carb meal or during a high carb meal again similar to what ALA does in transporting carbs away from being stored as fat. From personal experience and using vanadyl I also noted better pumps in the gym especially when I was dieting and saw an increase in vascularity through my workouts.
With that said it was easier for myself to utilize the carbs I was in taking, improving insulin sensitivity which in the end resulted in more muscle glycogen to aid my performance in the gym. As stated for almost all supplements on the market only take that personal experience with a grain of salt just like we take science with a grain of salt on research we learn and utilize because everyone reacts differently. For some it will be a benefit, and for some it will seem like placebo. Many have found who utilize this product that 60-100mg would be more than enough to reap the benefits of using this. Again I would keep it to around your higher carb meals such as pre-workout, maybe before bed if you train in the early morning and backload your carbs, but skip using it post-workout as you want to utilize the carbs to help restore muscle glycogen from your workouts.
What does it all mean?
As we have noted in this article with different supplements and minerals we could utilize in our diets and daily lives we must look at the big picture and how most of these revolved around utilizing insulin sensitivity with carb intake. Some people can handle greater loads of carbs, and some can get fat thinking about a carbohydrate. If you are going to utilize GDA’s or various other products we talked about above know your limits and what works best for your body. Some people can get away with in taking 50-100g of carbs at multiple meals, while some need to utilize forms of a TKD/CKD (Timed Keto or Cyclical Keto Diet) to help maintain their body physique and appearance due to how their metabolism and insulin sensitivity is.
Remember as we age our insulin sensitivity will decrease just like our metabolism decreases in the amount of calories we can utilize. The younger we are the higher testosterone and metabolism levels will be. As we age the lower both of those will be and we will need to adjust our caloric intake especially our carbohydrate intake to what suits our body. Muscle gaining as we age may need longer spans of lower carbohydrate intake, or cycling your intake (carb cycling with low, medium, and high days where you can utilize these products/supplements). On higher carb days we can use things like ALA to help transport those carbs and take advantage of insulin sensitivity, and on those low-carb days from the small amount of carbs and keeping insulin at bay this can aid insulin output and maintaining lean body mass gains.