Vitamin D and D3 (Cholecalciferol) – Read This or Be Forever in the Dark!

Vitamin D is essential to our survival, that’s why it’s called a Vitamin – the “vita” part is taken from Latin, and means ‘life’.

Most people know that – it’s no secret – but what many people don’t know about are the health benefits of Vitamin D supplementation, rather than the simple avoidance of disease.

Sure, you won’t get rickets if you grow up with the minimum daily amount, but there is far more to the “sunshine vitamin” than staying alive and avoiding bowed legs.

Vitamin D

What’s even less understood by people about Vitamin D is the quantity you need on a daily basis to really get the benefits from it. It shouldn’t be taken lightly either, because it can make difference between happiness and depression, strength and perpetual fatigue, sexual health and limp libido…and yes, the difference between a long life and premature death.

Vitamin D – The Benefits

Clinical trials and other scientific studies have fairly well nailed down Vitamin D’s health effects:

  • Strengthens Bones and reduces fracture risk
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Boosts Testosterone
  • Reduces Fat Mass
  • Improves Cognitive Function. Mood, Emotional Stability and Brain Health
  • Encourages Life Longevity and improves general functionality of the elderly
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Decreases risk of Asthma Attacks
  • Reduces incidences of Type-1 Diabetes
  • Improves Insulin Sensitivity (anti-diabetic inc. Type II)
  • Reduces risk of CardioVascular Disease
  • Reduces risk of Colorectal and Pancreatic Cancer
  • Reduces risk of Multiple Sclerosis (and reduces symptoms if already suffering)

Got all that?

Good…let’s move on.

Vitamin D – A Global Insufficiency

The majority of people are not deficient in Vitamin D, but they do have an insufficient amount in their system.

The fine line between those two terms: deficient and insufficient is that a deficiency will cause dramatic health problems, whereas as insufficiency will cause more subtle health problems that are nonetheless negative on both a physical and mental (cognitive and emotional) front.

37th Parallel

Reason 1 – Lack of Sunlight

Girl in the sunshineVitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin or sunlight vitamin because it is synthesized in our bodies when the Sun’s radiation hits our skin.

There are several reasons why you might not get enough sunlight to synthesize an adequate amount of Vitamin D but one very large factor is your geographical location.

People who live above the 37th parallel (line of latitude) do not see enough sunshine throughout the year to make sufficient Vitamin D. Summer, perhaps, but even then, much of that is spent indoors working.

By the way, there is a lot of the globe above the 37th – just check it out. Most of North America for one thing.

And we mentioned another reason above; a LOT of people work in offices, warehouses, shops, workshops etc. without getting much real sunlight.

Reason 2 – Diet

Glass of MilkIt’s hard to get enough Vitamin D from your diet, and most of us don’t eat the right things anyway.
Oily fish is one of the best sources, but even then you’d have to eat like a seal to get what you need in Vitamin D.

In the case of Vitamin D, your diet should almost be viewed as a bonus to the primary collection method – the Sun. Read above: Reason 1 to see the problem there.

Vitamin D “fortified” foods give somewhat of a false sense of security as well. They generally contain a token amount (100 IU) which isn’t much to write home about, especially if the price tag is bumped up because of it.

Reason 3 – Old Health Data and Ridiculous Governments

Woman Doctor

Ignore government health advice. We have science.

Would you believe us if we told you that government health agencies are stupid? Yes, yes, you probably would.

Well, it’s true. The Recommended Daily Allowance in most developed countries is still pathetically low. Oh, you might not die if you get as much as they advise, but you sure as hell aren’t going to be at your peak.

It’s almost as if they want a weak and sickly population. And then they complain about the burden on the hospitals and care givers. It’s infuriating.

Canada, for example, is a country well and truly above the 37th Parallel. Hell, it’s above a country that is mostly above it!!

…and they recommend that adults over 50 take a daily supplement of 400 IU Vitamin D. And as if that doesn’t suck enough, they say men and women between 19 and 50 should aim for 600 IU a day from their diet AND supplements.

To cap it off, they advise the safe upper limit is 4000 IU per day!

Idiots!

A New World Order – At Least 2000 IU a Day!

DoctorWhat hope do we have, seriously, if governments are useless, nature is mean, and living anywhere but near the equator isn’t sunny enough?

We have science, that’s what.

Thankfully, there are ongoing studies in the field of nutrition and supplements, and the researchers don’t just stick with information from the mid ‘90s when they are considering the necessities of human health.

What we should be looking at is a minimum daily intake of 2000 IU (an International Unit – 1000 IU = 25 micrograms).

Most governments think 4000 IU is the ceiling, above which you should not go, but there are plenty of people taking more than this quantity per day, and only getting positive effects from it.

There are cases of much higher doses but from our perspective we would probably say that between 2000 and 4000 IU in the form of supplementation is good enough for rock and roll.

Types of Supplements and D3

There’s a few types of supplement, from capsules to softgels, liquid and tablets, but if you remember the general rule that Vitamin D is soluble in fat – and therefore should be taken with food (inc. a source of fat) – then you can’t really go wrong.

Vitamin D3 – aka Cholecalciferol is more bioavailable than its D2 cousin, so if you have the choice, which you will, take the D3.

Final Thoughts

ApprovedMagnesium is a mineral that is often undervalued and under-dosed. You can read about magnesium here.

If you are taking a multi-vitamin, it might be an idea to replace it with more specific supplements, like a separate Vit D3 and a Magnesium. Multi-Vitamins tend to include the bare minimum, which is why you’ll probably find the 400 – 800 IU Vitamin D dose on the label.

The other option you have is to take a supplement which is geared towards physical performance, such as Prime Male (read the review here).

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are getting enough of this essential Vitamin.

Amino Lean (AminoLean) RSP Nutrition – Our Review

Amino Lean from RSPAminoLean is RSP’s answer to the torrent of BCAA and amino acid based workout supplements which have bludgeoned the bodybuilding and sports supplement market in recent years.

BCAAs and amino acids have been popular with athletes, gym goers, sportsmen and sportswomen for a long time due to the fact that were scientifically proven ergogenic supplements (those which improves physical performance/physique) in the early days of such science.

It’s simple really, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissue…you’ve heard it all countless times before.

The difference is that BCAAs have been studied continually since the good old days and there’s nothing supplement companies like more than ingredients which proven themselves time and time again, and become more versatile with it.

These days, said companies can add claims like – “Leucine triggers mTOR signalling for anabolic muscle growth” or “Valine competes with tryptophan in the brain and wins, which reduces fatigue during exercise” or “Isoleucine promotes fat burning and prevents fat storage.”

All of these claims have some weight to a certain extent, but for us there’s no real need to keep up the hard-sell where BCAAs are concerned – we know they work and they are good for several reasons (which we’ll get to) but it’s whether they are included in the supplement at effective quantities, and furthermore, what additional ingredients are paired with them to make the product more powerful or diverse.

Those are the real points to consider when you are looking at one of these workout supplements.

Let’s see if RSP have got it right with AminoLean…

Or…Do This

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Promised Benefits of AminoLean

AminoLean is intended to help the user:

  • Build Muscle
  • Boost Energy Levels
  • Burn Fat

Bench Man Woman SpottingIt’s essentially an all-round workout formula – like most supplements in the same category – and a change from the usual stimulant riddled pre-workout drink mixes that are also available.

BCAAs are a prominent feature of the formula because they have roles to play in all of the above advertised benefits. What makes BCAAs unique in the amino acid group is their structure, which allows them to be used directly inside muscle tissue as a source of fuel for contraction force and repetition endurance.

Leucine is famous for its ability to stimulate the mTOR pathway in the muscle growth process. In short: it triggers protein synthesis, thereby helping you grow muscle from your resistance training and stemming the flow of catabolism.

Isoleucine, another BCAA, has been shown (in early research) to promote the usage of stored fat as fuel. Additionally, it may prevent the storage of new dietary fat.

Valine has a unique and different effect when supplemented. During exercise, we experience the effects of increasing serotonin levels, which ultimately makes us tired. Valine actually competes with tryptophan – the fatigue hormone that serotonin increases – in the brain, and more often than not wins. This victory means that tryptophan is blocked from having its effect. Thus, Valine can be viewed as having an anti-fatigue effect.

AminoLean actually contains the full spectrum of essential amino acids, the effects of which range from increased blood flow to improved cognitive function. All good benefits during a workout.

On top of this, there is a dedicated “Weight Management Blend” that includes ingredients associated with a reduction in body fat.

Finally there’s an energy and focus element in caffeine, sourced from the green tea (in the weight management blend) and Theobromine.

Key Ingredients and Formula Potential

The following equate to 7.8g of AminoLean (2 scoops / 1 serving).

Amino Acid Blend – 5,000mg (5 grams)

  • L-Taurine, Beta Alanine, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, L-Glutamine, L-Citrulline, L-Arginine, L-Tyrosine, L-Histidine, L-Lysine Hydrochloride, L-Phenylalanine, L-Threonine, L-Methionine

Weight Management Blend – 1,500 mg (1.5 grams)

  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, Green Tea Extract, Green Coffee Extract

Natural Energy and Focus Blend

  • Caffeine (from green tea above) and Theobromine

Important to Note: There are 30 servings per container. A single serving is 2 scoops. RSP warn users against exceeding 8 scoops in a 24 hour period OR 6 scoops in a 4 hour period.

We have no problem with the Amino Acid Blend. There’s not much you can do different than what RSP have here.

The Weight Management Blend has a couple of good ingredients in L-Carnitine and Green Tea but they are more useful to us here as energy providers than fat burners.

Side Effects and Health Considerations

doctorThis supplement should only be used by adults who exercise on a regular basis.

Those who should not use AminoLean are Pregnant and Breastfeeding women, Children, Elderly people and those suffering from a medical condition which precludes the use of such supplements (check with your doctor), and those who are on prescription meds (again, check with your doc).

The average user should be fine with this product but we’d exercise caution and start with a single scoop (half serving) to assess tolerance.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Blackwolf Supplement TubAminoLean is a solid supplement for energy and faster recovery/growth from a workout. It’s not a dramatic difference in terms of muscle increase but the pre-workout and intra-workout effects on power levels are decent enough.

We’d prefer not to have the weight management blend in there to be honest. It seems RSP just want to put that stuff in everything but really, you just become immune to their effects if you have them in all the supplements.

The BEST workout supplements in the Amino Acid and general workout energy/muscle class are those manufactured by BLACKWOLF.

Blackwolf have dedicated their business to these types of workout products and they have the biggest and most effective (huge 30 gram scoops!!) blends of ingredients.

Follow the link below to read more about Blackwolf if you need something to fuel some hellish workouts.

Click Here to read more

Grenade AT4 Testosterone Booster – Review and Recommendations

Grenade Testosterone Booster UKAT4 is a dietary sports supplement manufactured by Grenade in the UK, although they sell their products in the UK, Europe and America.

They have the rather unique packaging of a plastic grenade which holds the capsules, instead of a regular bottle (or even a fist like the fat burner Instant Knockout).

Testosterone boosters are one of the most wide ranging categories of supplements in terms of quality. Much like diet pills and fat burners, they are mostly terrible, with a few good ones, and even fewer great ones.

We tested Grenade AT4 to find out where on the spectrum it lay. Of course, we had a fair idea what it would do from the ingredients and the feedback from both athletes and non-athletes alike.

Continue reading for the rest of the review. You can also follow the link below to bounce straight to the review of our favourite testosterone booster of all time.

CLICK Here to read about our Favourite Testosterone Booster

What Are the Possible Benefits of AT4?

Prime Male and IKO Body MusclesTestosterone boosters are of course mainly for increasing your testosterone levels, but that in itself means relatively little unless you have a grasp of the positive impacts of doing that.

Grenade AT4 is geared more towards the sportsman / athlete / gym-rat and so concentrates on muscle gain and strength.

  1. Help build and retain Muscle mass from training
  2. Increase Strength gains post workout
  3. Speed up Recovery between workouts

There’s a whole load more benefits to boosting testosterone though, like: cognitive function, mood, vitality, sexual health, heart health and more.

Optimal hormone balance can even help you lose fat and keep muscle.

Key Ingredients and Formula Potential

The ingredients in AT4 are presented below as the daily total. There are two servings a day so if you want the per-serving amounts then just halve the ingredient quantities.

  • Vitamin D3 – 25mcg (1000 IU)
  • D-Aspartic Acid – 3000mg
  • Fenurextm Fenugreek – 720mg
  • Passiflora Caerulea -147.5mg
  • Boron – 9.5mg

Vitamin D3 is essential to our survival but there is an amount which avoids death, an amount which prevents a deficiency (about 400 IU) and an amount which is sufficient for an average adult male to get all of the benefits of it, like healthy bones, testosterone and even happiness. That amount is between 1000 and 2000 IU. You can obtain some from the sun synthesis and some from diet so this 1000 IU is a pretty good start.

D-Aspartic Acid has a claim to fame where in one study it increased the free testosterone levels of some athletes by nearly 50%. It acted fast too, only 2 to 3 weeks. It needs to be cycled for best results which is why Grenade advise you on how to take it 5 days on, 2 days off and 8 weeks on and 4 weeks off.

Fenugreek is a libido enhancer, but a lot of bodybuilders and weightlifters still swear by its effect. It has mixed results in clinical trials and seems to just be something companies still use because of its reputation and not necessarily because of the facts.

Passiflora Caerulea is fairly unknown compared to the others and there isn’t much research out there to judge it on. What there is doesn’t look too promising for testosterone.

Boron looks very positive in terms of testosterone increase, and it’s effective i doses of about 5 – 10mg. A rarity in the supplement world.

Formula Potential – overall that’s a good recipe and will have a testosterone boosting effect if you are either suffering from low levels naturally (due to age for example) or have depleted levels from intense workouts.

It is not the most comprehensive formula and doesn’t have some of the most basic test-boosters in the business, like Zinc. However, what it does have is present in effective dosages and not just there for show.

Side Effects and Health Considerations

doctorDo follow the guidelines on the bottle as set out by Grenade. There is a cycle schedule which you should adhere to as it will help rather than hinder your results.

There should be no side effects for the average guy, but be sure to check with your doctor if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition.

If you are taking medication then ask them if it is suitable to be taken alongside.

Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children should not be using this supplement.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Grenade AT4 SupplementWe liked Grenade. It gets the dosages right on the D-AA, the Boron and the Vitamin D3. These are some effective ingredients.

We would however say that there could be more to the formula but it’s probably down to profit margins at that point for them.

We have tested some the best and some of the worst products available and so we can say with reasonable certainty that you would not be disappointed with Grenade AT4.

But…if you want our recommendation for the BEST product at the moment, then we would have to stick with our current top spot, which PRIME MALE gets.

We have got a full review of Prime Male which you can find by following the link below…

CLICK HERE to read the review