Core 4 Your Health
By: Mack Currey
Strolling into a supplement shop for the first time can be confusing, if not downright daunting. Bottles of pills, powders and liquids line the shelves, often bearing esoteric names and boasting seemingly limitless and sometimes overlapping benefits.
So where to start? The interested novice could ask that very question and get 10 more in return. But, much like for a contractor starting the process of constructing a house, a well-drawn blueprint guides the process from the beginning, and Max Muscle has devised just such a blueprint for getting started. Max Muscle calls that blueprint Core 4, a moniker meant to describe the supplement strategy’s four intrinsic elements that represent a first step for the uninitiated – or a quick fix for those whose supplement strategies have gaping holes.
“These are going to be the cornerstones, the basic four essentials,” said Dr. Phil Harvey, Max Muscle’s chief science officer. “If you look at each one, they are very basic elements. Together, they hit all the bases.”
MAX GOURMET PROTEIN
The foundation of any supplement strategy is a multi-source protein, and Max Gourmet Protein serves that role for Core 4, Dr. Harvey said.
Coming in three flavors, the powder features 35 grams (80 percent of RDA) of multi-source protein, in a range of amino acid chain lengths, and just 15 grams (5 percent of RDA) of carbohydrate. Numerous studies have shown that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet form the backbone of muscle growth, but there are benefits for those attempting to achieve all manner of fitness results, said Scott LeCates, a certified sports nutrition specialist, natural bodybuilder and owner of a Max Muscle franchise in Glendale, Ariz. “The biggest myth surrounding protein is that it’s just for bodybuilders, but that could not be further from the truth,” LeCates said. When someone tries to lose weight, LeCates went on, “without adequate amounts of protein, the first thing your body will use for energy is muscle tissue. When we lose muscle tissue, our metabolism slows and energy requirements are reduced. I have seen many individuals who have lost weight, but are in worse shape, healthwise.” In addition to its raw proteins, Max Gourmet Protein contains creatine precursors and colostrum, a protein source found in mother’s milk that is believed to help with immune function.
“Any female mammal will produce it,” Harvey said. “There are compounds in there that help get the infant off to a good start, immune-wise.”
The next Core 4 pillar is Gluta-Matrix, a Max Muscle supplement containing four sources of glutamine, an amino acid widely accepted as essential for normal brain, gastrointestinal and immune function, and is depleted under extreme bodily stress. While that stress may take the form of wound healing or disease, it can also occur with extreme fitness training. “Glutamine is the most widely used amino acid for a very good reason – it works,” LeCates said. “Recovery is greater, fat loss is quicker, digestive health is unbelievable.”
That last benefit LeCates has seen firsthand. For years his wife Tammy suffered from acid reflux, until she began taking 10 to 20 grams of glutamine daily. “She no longer uses medication and has not for over two years. It’s that effective,” said LeCates. Gluta-Matrix employs a quartet of delivery methods and bodily targets. Glutamine, the simple, free-form compound not unlike that from natural sources like meats and some vegetables, crosses through the lining of the digestive tract in a relatively routine manner. Glutamine peptide, a short-chain component of the complete glutamine protein, is absorbed even more readily. Acetyl-L-Glutamine targets neuro-transmitters, while Glutamine Ethyl Ester is reputed to assist in absorption into cells.
Timing, LeCates says, is everything.
“Glutamine also has the ability to increase growth hormone levels when taken on an empty stomach, so I recommend that individuals use this product either during a workout, 30 minutes before their protein/carb recovery drink or between meals to maximize not only recovery and repair, but GH levels as well,” LeCates said.
The role of essential fatty acids, or EFAs, in proper body function has been understood in the medical community for more than half a century, but that doesn’t mean they make their way into the average diet. Some estimates have only one in five Americans taking in enough EFAs in their diet, despite the benefits and buzz.
According to the American Heart Association, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can lower levels of LDL (a.k.a. “bad”) cholesterol, and increase levels of HDL. The two EFAs are derived naturally from a variety of food sources including fish, some leafy vegetables, walnuts and several plant-based oils.
Max EFA – the third Core 4 component – provides Omega-3 and -6 EFAs from flaxseed oil and wheat germ oil, and tops them off with Omega-9 and two other variants of the Omega-3 acid. The fats can play a role in appetite suppression as well. When a small amount of fats are introduced to the digestive tract immediately before eating, appetite is moderated.
“We recommend taking EFAs two times per day, prior to lunch and dinner, which are the two meals people typically eat a lot of hidden calories due to eating out,” LeCates said.
And that means that the fourth Core 4 pillar, a vitamin supplement, can’t be far behind. “In addition, eating fats is necessary for the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E and K,” LeCates added. “So taking vitamins at the same time can be helpful.”
But not all vitamins are created equal. Vitamins are useless unless they make their way into the bloodstream, and some estimates have put absorption of vitamins in pill form – with their concentrations cut by fillers, binders, preservatives and, in the case of some child vitamins, artificial flavors – at rates as low as 30 percent.
“Many of today’s vitamins in tablet form have been compressed so hard that the body never breaks it down to absorb,” LeCates said. “On top of that, many of these vitamins are synthetic, which makes it harder for the body to recognize as a macronutrient.” The innovation of Max Vit-Acell comes with a patented liquid delivery system dubbed Emusol Micellized. Micellization refers to reconfiguring normally waterinsoluble molecules to have a strongly polar “head” and a nonpolar “tail.” By itself, the tail element of the molecule – in the case of Max Vit-Acell, the beneficial vitamin compound – would normally precipitate out of solution. But because of the addition at the molecular level of the polar head, tiny globules form with the tails in the center.
The micelles, their water-attracting polar heads all facing outward, remain in solution, and some studies have put absorption of liquid-state vitamins at as high as 90 percent.
But Max Vit-Acell doesn’t stop there. The product also contains antioxidants from green tea and grape seeds, as well as ginkgo biloba and Korean ginseng.
“Vit-Acell is so much more than a vitamin that people who try it stay with it for life,” LeCates said. “It works so well you feel the energy the very first day.” MS&F