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    How To Gain Weight (The Natural, Healthy Way)

    How To Gain Weight (The Natural, Healthy Way)

    Like many things in life, gaining weight is simple but not necessarily easy.

    While some of us are able to gain weight with little effort, there are those who just can’t seem to do it no matter how hard they try.

    If you’re struggling to gain weight, despite “doing everything right”, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

    Bad news first?  Okay…

    • The bad news is that you’re actually not “doing everything right”.
    • The good news is that it’s not that hard once you know what you should be doing.

    Once you take the time to understand the underlying factors that dictate your body composition, you can easily manipulate them in your favor and gain as much weight as you want.

    There is no such thing as “hard-gainers”.  There are people who know how to gain weight and people who don’t.  That’s all.

    By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to gain weight.

    So let’s get started…

    Why You Can’t Seem To Gain Weight

    Why You Can't Gain Weight

    I’ve heard all the excuses for not being able to gain weight:

    • “It’s genetic.”
    • “I’m a hard-gainer.”
    • “I have a fast metabolism.”

    The list goes on, but the reality is most of these excuses are nonsense.

    If you have some kind of condition characterized by weight-loss (like cancer or hypothyroidism), then you’re going to be at a disadvantage trying to gain weight.

    But if you’re just skinny and you want to put on muscle, it’s not that hard.

    In order to gain weight, you need to consistently eat more calories than you burn.

    In other words...

    It is physically impossible for you to NOT GAIN WEIGHT if you are consistently consuming more calories (energy) than you are burning (energy expenditure).

    This is called energy balance.

    It's not just a workout principle or even a fitness principal.

    It's a physical law.

    Understanding Energy Balance (The Science)

    Calories In Vs Calories Out

    Energy Balance is simply another way of saying calories in vs calories out.

    It’s the relationship between how much you take in (in the form of calories from food) and how much you burn off (total calories burned).

    Energy Balance

    When you take in more than you burn off, you’re in a positive energy balance.

    When you burn off more than you take in, you’re in a negative energy balance.

    You take in calories from the food you eat:

    • Protein (4 calories/gram
    • Fat (9 calories/gram)
    • Carbs (4 calories/gram)

    You burn calories a few ways:

    • Exercise
    • Daily Activities
    • Resting Metabolism

    The term resting metabolism simply refers to the normal bodily functions that you’re body performs on it’s own.

    Everything you do–even things you don’t think about like breathing or making your heart beat–burns calories.

    Now, if you want to gain weight, you need to consistently achieve a positive energy balance.

    That is, you need to eat more calories than you burn, consistently over time.

    If you Google around for a while, you’ll find a bunch of virtual “calorie calculators” that ballpark how many calories you’re probably burning a day, based on a few inputs that you provide.

    Some of these are fairly accurate, but there’s also a much easier way to tell how may calories you’re burning each day.

    Simply track your calories on a daily basis by looking at the nutrition facts on the food you eat.  Even if you eat out, a lot of restaurants put the amount of calories on the menu these days.

    If your body weight remains the same, you know you’re burning the same amount of calories as you’re taking in.

    So, if you’re eating 2500 calories a day for say, 2 weeks, and you’re body weight hasn’t fluctuated, you know you’re burning about 2500 calories a day in total.

    It’s really that simple…

    How To Gain Weight, No Matter What

    How To Gain Weight No Matter What

    Now that we’ve gone over energy balance and established the fact that you cannot gain weight unless you eat more calories than you burn, let’s talk about how to actually do that.

    Gaining weight boils down to 3 things:

    • Eating More
    • Training Smarter
    • Rest

    If you execute on all 3, you’ll be able to gain as much weight (and muscle) as you want, guaranteed.

    Even if you just do 2 of these things diligently, you’ll make some progress.  Of course, it’s best to try your best to maximize all 3.

    So let’s go through each of these aspects and discuss how exactly to optimize them for weight gain.

    Eating For Maximum Weight Gain

    We’ve already established that you need to eat more if you want to gain weight.

    “But Matt, I already eat as much as a want and I still can’t gain weight”

    You’re lying…

    Maybe think you eat a lot, but if you’re not gaining weight, clearly you’re not eating as much as you think.

    You need to place yourself in a positive energy balance to gain weight. The more calories you consume, the more weight you'll gain.

    If you don’t want to get fat, however, you don’t want to suddenly increase your caloric intake too much.

    Upping your calorie intake by around 10%-20% is a great way to steadily gain more weight without getting too fat and giving your body a fair chance to build some muscle.

    Next, you’ll need to structure you’re diet in a way that supports muscle growth.

    That mean:

    1. High Protein
    2. High Carbs

    Fat is definitely you’re friend if you want to gain weight, but research shows that the amount of fat you eat doesn’t have as much of an impact on muscle growth as the amount of protein and/or carbs you eat.

    That’s why you should structure your diet around protein and carbs, taking in a normal amount of fat, but not way too much.

    Although there is no one optimal macronutrient profile for gaining weight, you do want to structure your diet so that it’s conducive to muscle growth.

    For example:

    • Carbs: 55-60%
    • Protein: 25-30%
    • Fat: 15-20%

    If you really don’t care about maximizing muscle growth and just want to get huge, there’s nothing wrong with eating a bunch of fatty foods.

    It’s just that a high fat diet isn’t as conducive to gaining muscle as a high protein diet or high carb diet, so there’s no point.

    When it comes to bulking, protein and carbs are your friend.

    If you want to gain as much muscle as possible (which you do if you want to gain weight), you should shoot for around 1.-1.4 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

    (If your on steroids, you should shoot for more like 2g/lb to maximize muscle growth because your body’s ability to absorb and synthesize muscle protein is significantly increased.

    So, if you’re 150 pounds, you would shoot for around 150-200 grams of protein per day, or 600-800 calories from protein.

    As far as carbs, go crazy.  Again, carbs are your friend when you’re bulking.

     

    Training For Maximum Weight Gain

    If gaining weight is your primary goal, you may think of exercise as counter-productive.

    While it’s definitely true that too much exercise is not conducive to losing weight, building muscle is the best way to gain weight.

    So you need to lift.

    Sit around eating all day and you’ll surely get fat.  Add regular exercise into the mix and you’ll just get bigger and stronger.

    What type of exercise you’re doing is probably the most important factor here.

    Too much cardio will impede muscle growth.  Stick with heavy, compound weight-lifting.

    That means:

    These kinds of movements incorporate more muscle groups than isolated movements like curls and extensions.

    Compound exercises are ideal for muscle growth, and if you want to gain weight, you want to maximize muscle growth.

    The aim of your training should be to increase strength.

    The stronger you get, the more muscular you get.  The more muscular you get, the bigger you’ll be.

    Of course, lifting heavy weights also has two other benefits that make it worthwhile.

    1. It increases the amount of fat you burn even when you’re not in exercising
    2. It increases your appetite so you’ll naturally be able to eat more calories.

    In fact, research shows that heavy resistance training can increase resting energy expenditure for up to 22 hours after your workout!  That means you can train hard for a hour or so and be burning excess fat around the clock.

    An increase in appetite is also beneficial if you’re trying to gain weight.

    If you’re used to eating the same amount of calories everyday, you’ll probably have a hard time trying to eat more.

    Throw some heavy compound weight-lifting in there though, and you’ll be hungry enough to hit your calorie intake goals.

    Resting For Maximum Weight Gain

    Okay so weight lifting is important.  We’ve established that.  But you know what’s equally important when it comes to gaining weight?

    Rest!

    There are two kinds of rest that you should be concerned with:

    1. Sleep
    2. Off Days

    You don’t build muscle in the gym.  You build it when you’re not in the gym.

    When you lift weights, you break down muscle tissue.  It’s not until after you leave the gym, eat a meal, and rest that you begin to repair and rebuild.

    While the amount of sleep you require depends on a lot of factors, research has proven that 7-8 hours is ideal for most people.  Maybe even 9.

    If you’re lifting weights regularly, you need to do your best to ensure you’re sleeping the right amount.

    Of course, off days also offer an opportunity to rest, even while you’re awake.

    You’ve probably heard that you need to lift weights almost every day if you want to gain muscle.  While it’s definitely try that lifting weights on a regular basis is essential for building muscle over time, lifting every day can actually be counter-productive.

    Ideally, you should workout 5 days a week with 2 off days.

    Less than 3 days, and you’ll have a hard time building muscle.

    More than 5 days and the problem is two-fold:

    1. You won’t be getting enough rest and repair time
    2. You may be burning too many calories

    If you’re trying to gain weight, rest is you’re friend.  It’s the third piece of the puzzle, right up there with diet and exercise.  Unfortunately, rest is what most people tend to neglect.

    If you’re having trouble gaining weight, try getting a good nights sleep every night and see if that doesn’t help your situation.

    Clean Bulking Vs Doing Whatever It Takes

    When it comes to gaining weight, you have two options:

    1. Clean Bulk Method – You want to gain muscle without getting too fat.
    2. Dirty Bulk – You don’t care whether it’s muscle or fat.  You just want to gain weight.

    If you choose to go with more of a clean bulk, you won’t gain as much weight but the weight you do gain will be mostly muscle.

    If you go the other route–eating as much as you can of whatever–you’ll gain weight a lot faster but you’ll pack on some fat.

    Which method you should choose really depends on your personal priorities…

    If you care about staying relatively lean, you should go clean.  If you just want to gain weight and get as strong as possible, then don’t worry about keeping it clean.

    You can always cut fat later, once you have all that muscle you’re trying to gain.

    In my personal experience, dirty bulking is easier.  You just eat whatever you want.

    When I was younger (around 16-17), I decided I wanted to get as big as possible, so that’s what I did.  I just ate everything I could.  I would eat every meal until I was so full I thought I would throw up, and then I’d drink a bunch of milk just to top it off.

    And it worked.  I went from a little 150 lb teenager to 205.  And yeah, I was a little chubby, but it gave me something to work with.  Over the years, I chiseled away at my physique, getting leaner and leaner, without ever dropping below 200 lbs.

    These days, I would have to literally starve myself or take some type of drugs to drop below 200 lbs and it’s all because I stuffed my face at every meal for a year when I was 16.

    So, you can try to be clean about it, but if you’re a long term thinker, you may just want to go all out and worry about losing fat later.  Totally up to you…just saying.

    Are There Supplements That can help you gain weight?

    Supplements For Gaining Weight

    Here’s the thing…

    Supplements won’t help you build muscle or size if you don’t first take care of diet and exercise.

    When I was building SuppWithThat.com, I received a ton of emails from people who were frustrated because they just bought some expensive weight-gainer or mass-builder and it didn’t work.

    Most of the time, I’d come to find out that these people weren’t eating enough.  Some of them weren’t even working out!

    The truth is, you can take all the supplements in the world, but if your diet sucks and you don’t work out correctly, you’ll never be able to put on muscle and size.

    There is no magic pill that will make you gain weight without eating or exercising.  Even on steroids, you can’t physically gain weight if you don’t eat more than you take in and do at least some kind of exercise.

    The laws of energy balance are insurmountable.

    That said, there are some supplements which can help give you an edge when it comes to gaining muscle and size.

    Creatine

    Creatine is one of the oldest bodybuilding supplements, and for good reason.  Literally hundreds of studies have looked out the impact of Creatine on muscle-building and the results have been pretty unanimous.

    Creatine has been proven to:

    • Increase strength, power, and endurance
    • Increase muscle mass
    • Enhance recovery from exercise

    It works by increases the availability of ATP (cellular energy) during exercise.  This directly increases muscular strength and endurance.

    Creatine also acts as an Osmolyte, meaning it draws water into cells and quickly increase muscle size.

    The clinical dose for Creatine is around 5g/day.  It doesn’t really matter when you take it, but post-workout may be slightly favorable.  Taking your Creatine with carbs will maximize absorption as well.

    That’s why many people toss some Creatine in their post-workout shake with some protein and simple carbs.

    Leucine

    Leucine is one of the 3 branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), but it’s actually the only one which has any kind of direct impact on muscle protein synthesis.  In fact, Leucine isn’t just the most important BCAA for building muscle.  It’s the most important amino acid, period.

    Leucine directly stimulates mTOR, a signaling molecule which tells the body to start synthesizing proteins.  Of course, you still need all 20 proteinogenic amino acids to build muscle, but Leucine is the undisputed muscle-building king.

    A common criticism of Leucine is that you don’t need to supplement with it if you’re already getting enough protein.  That’s definitely true, but ask yourself…

    Are you getting enough protein?

    If you’re having trouble building muscle and gaining weight, it’s pretty likely that you’re not getting enough protein.  If that’s the case, supplementing with Leucine can definitely help you build muscle.

    Supplementing with Leucine isn’t going to miraculously make up for a poor diet, but it can definitely help.

    Take around 5g of Leucine before you workout or toss some in your post-workout shake to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

    Clinically-Dosed Pre-Workout

    Pre-Workouts are often packed with stimulants, but the right ingredients can give you the upper hand in the gym that--over time--can make an actual different in terms of muscle and size.

    Citrulline Malate - proven to improve muscular endurance and boost nitric oxide levels.

    L-Carnitine L-Tartrate - proven to reduce muscle damage and improve recovery.

    Beta-Alanine - proven to reduce lactic acid build-up in working muscle tissue, thereby allowing more muscular endurance (more reps, more sets, etc.)

    Alpha GPC - Still in the early stages of research but has so far been shown to increase muscular power output with just one dose.  More research is necessary, but looks promising across an even wider range of benefits, from potentially helping burn fat to being used as a nootropic (brain enhancer)

    Caffeine - Again, Caffeine burns fat but it does far more than just that.  It not only provides the mental energy and focus to help you acheive you're goals in the gym, but it has been proven to physically make you stronger.

    The ultimate Weight Gain Checklist

    Weight Gain Checklist

    Gaining weight boils down to eating more calories than you burn off, but if that seems vague, this checklist will help you out.

    If you’re doing every single one of these things (or even just most of them), you should have no problem gaining weight.  Go through this list, item by item, and ask yourself if you’re really doing each one.

     Track Calorie Intake – Figure out how many calories you burn in a day by tracking your calorie intake at a set body weight.

     Increase Calorie Intake – Once you know how much you burn, increase your intake by 10% or so.

     High Protein/High Carb Diet – Make sure you’re eating at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight and plenty of carbs

     Mostly Whole Foods – Make sure the majority of your calories come from nutritious whole foods, as opposed to those that are highly processed.

     Workout 3-5 Days A Week – Make sure you’re working out enough to build muscle but not so much that it becomes counter-productive.

     Heavy Compound Weight-Lifting – Do exercises like deadlifts, squats, and presses, rather than isolated movements, and go heavy!

     7-8 Hours Of Sleep Every Night – Don’t neglect your sleep.  Get a good night’s sleep every night, not just some nights.

     Take Rest Days From The Gym – Take at least a couple off days a week from lifting.  Just rest and eat.

     Supplement Smart – Only use supplements that actually work and keep in mind that diet and exercise are far more important.

    If you’re doing each one of these things (correctly), then congratulations, you’re going to gain weight!

    If you’re reading this article though, you’re probably missing a few of them.  In order to gain weight safely and efficiently, you’ll have to make some changes.

    The Bottom Line On Gaining Weight

    The Bottom Line On Gaining Weight

    If you’re having trouble gaining weight, don’t worry.  It’s actually not that hard.  All you need to do is:

    • Eat More
    • Exercise Smart
    • Rest

    And you’ll be able to gain as much weight as you want.  You can sit around and make excuses for why you’re not big and strong, but guess what?  Nobody is born big and strong!

    Remember…Even that 300 lb bodybuilder at your gym was 150 lbs at some point in his life.

    Have anything to SHARE about gaining weight or building muscle?  Comment below…

    3 Supplements Scientifically Proven To Lower Blood Sugar, Improve Insulin Sensitivity, And Contribute to Weight Loss

    3 Supplements Scientifically Proven To Lower Blood Sugar, Improve Insulin Sensitivity, And Contribute to Weight Loss

    If you’re diabetic, you’re already well aware of just how vital Insulin is within the human body, but let’s brush up a little, just in case…

    Insulin is a peptide hormone, comprised of over 50 amino acids in a specific sequence, secreted by your Pancreas in response to food consumption.  

    It’s primary job is to drive glucose (sugar) into your muscle cell, fat cells, and liver.

    Insulin

    Additionally, Insulin triggers the body to stop burning fat and instead start storing it.  This makes intuitive sense if you think about it for a moment…

    Body fat is simply stored energy so, when you eat, your body has no reason to burn it…so it stores it for later.  This goes back to the evolution of man, when meals weren't promised and storing fat is what kept us alive during hard times.

    Well, fast-forward a few thousand years and someone we're in the midst of an Obesity epidemic that seems to be getting worse and worse.

    Most people are unaware that Insulin triggers fat storage but, in all honesty, the reason why so many people (in America and certain other countries) are so fat these day has amuch to do with poor Insulin Sensitivity.

    Guzzling sugary drinks and eating way more carbs than necessary all day every day keeps our Insulin levels high, resulting in fat storage over time.

    Unfortunately, the negative impact of secreting a bunch of Insulin doesn’t end with an increased likelihood of fat accumulation.  It gets a lot worse…

    INSULIN RESISTANCE/SENSITIVITY

    Insulin Resistance occurs when the Pancreas is forced to produce more and more Insulin.  Generally speaking, this is diet-induced.  

    If you eat bags of chips and drink soda all day, even if you don’t think you’re consuming many calories, you could be massively spiking your Insulin levels by simply consuming too many sugars (carbs).

    The magnitude and the frequency of those Insulin spikes will determine your Insulin Sensitivity.  The more Insulin you force your body to produce, the more resistance you become.

    In other words: Insulin Sensitivity is simply the opposite of Insulin Resistance.  

    The more sensitive your are to Insulin, the less Insulin your body is required to produce.  Most of those guys (or girls) you see in the gym who are freakishly cut have great Insulin Sensitivity.

    Human beings are genetically predisposed to different levels of Insulin Resistance, but anyone can reduce Insulin Resistance and improve Insulin Sensitivity in a few ways:

    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
    • Supplements

    Diabetes is a widely misunderstood condition by those who don’t suffer from it.

     

    Perhaps if more people were aware just how easy to it to slip into a state of increasing Insulin Resistance, eventually resulting in Adult Onset Diabetes, they might make some lifestyle changes early on to avoid it.

    Lucky for you, not only are we going to talk to about what it means to be Insulin Resistance, overweight, and potentially Diabetic, but we'll also talk about ways to reverse these conditions.

    So, if you value your health, by all means, read on...

    DIABETES

    Generally speaking, a person is Diabetic when the ability of the Pancreas to produce Insulin is severely reduced or completely non-existent.

    Although the progression of Diabetes varies from person to person and generally takes time to develop.

    It’s not simple “contracted” like other diseases, but make no mistake, it is a serious, deadly disease and must be treated accordingly.

    TYPE 1 DIABETES

    Type 1 Diabetes is when, for reasons unknown, the body’s immune system destroys/damages the Pancreatic beta-cells that traditionally produce Insulin, rendering the body unable to produce Insulin or only able to produce a tiny amount.  Insulin injections are typically required to compensate.

    About 5-10% of Diabetics are Type 1.  It usually develops in childhood or young adulthood but can happen at any time, technically.

    TYPE 2 DIABETES

    Type 2 Diabetes, sometimes referred to as “Adult Onset Diabetes” makes up the other 90% of Diabetics.  Just like Type 1, Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by an inability of Insulin to do its job, but for a different reason.  

    The Pancreas is able to secrete Insulin, but the body is unable to use it efficiently.  Most of the time, Insulin injections are required although the amount needed differs significantly..

    There are also several oral drugs and supplements which lower blood glucose or augment Insulin signaling, but we’ll discuss those later.

    First, let's talk about exercise and how it impact blood sugar.

    EXERCISE AND BLOOD SUGAR

    When you exercise, you increase the demand for energy, your body’s preferred source of which is Glucose (sugar), of course.

    One of Insulin’s primary roles (it does have many others) is to drive Glucose into muscle tissue, fat tissue, and the liver.  

    Without it, you’re ability to handle the nutrients (carbs and protein) you’re eating would be severely hindered.  

    As if that's not bad enough, If you’re blood sugar gets too high (hyperglycemic) or drops too low (hypoglycemic), a multitude of complications can occur, from ridiculously frequent urination to death.

    Exercise has been proven time and time again to have a beneficial impact on blood Glucose levels and Insulin sensitivity.

    Nutrition and Supplements aside…

    Exercising regularly is the single most effective thing you can do to avoid developing Diabetes later in life.

    This is simply because when you exercise you burn carbs and fat which would otherwise just build up over time.

    NUTRITION

    It should come as no surprise that early human beings—the one’s that spent 12 hours a day running and hunting—had virtually no likelihood of developing Diabetes. 

    It probably happened randomly (Type 1 can be pretty random), but for the most part, our modern diet is what has caused this dramatic spike in Diabetes rates.

    Much of the childhood Obesity epidemic—which is of course directly correlated with the childhood Diabetes epidemic—is believed to be due to the ridiculous amount of sugary drinks and snacks consumed by children regularly

    It’s gotten to the point where kids don’t even want water anymore unless it's sweet!

    Ew!  Gimme Something Sweet!” says your 3 year old kid. 

    You take a look in the fridge and see some juice...

    Juice is made from fruit so it’s all good” you tell yourself.

    Well, that may be true, but the macro-nutrient content of any fruit is predominantly simple sugar (Fructose) and unless it’s an actual piece of fruit with Fiber in it to reduce the speed of absorption, all that juice is doing is spiking little Jimmy’s Insulin levels through the roof.

    That's right, juice is just as sugary and bad for you as most sodas.

    Give him his juice day after day and it’s only a matter of time until little Jimmy develops Type 2 Diabetes.

    The most important thing you can do to reduce the likelihood of you or your child from developing Type 2 Diabetes is cut out the sugary drinks throughout the day.

     All that sugar forces the Pancreas to produce more and more Insulin until finally it's all tapped out and just says “forget it, I’m done!”, and you’re suddenly you or your child is Diabetic.

    Once that happens, you’re only hope is to eat healthy and exercise regularly like you never have before. 

    What most people don’t realize is that Diabetes, especially Type 2 Diabetes, can be well-managed to the point that you can live a perfectly healthy lifestyle.

    It’s just that most pharmaceutical companies would rather sell you a bunch of Insulin and just tell you keep taking it, rather than admit there are perfectly natural ways to reduce your dependence on Insulin and control your blood sugar.

    Well, that’s what we’re here for!  Which brings us to our next area of managing Blood Sugar, Insulin Sensitivity, and Diabetes…

    Let's dive into the science of some of the most effective blood glucose-reducing supplements, some of which have actually beat Diabetes drugs in terms of efficacy in terms of clinical trials.

    3 ALL NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS THAT LOWER BLOOD SUGAR

    There’s a lot of anti-supplement propaganda out there, mostly proliferated by pharmaceutical companies who feel threatened by the fact that some supplements have been scientifically proven to given certain pharmaceutical medication a run for their money (in terms of efficacy).

    The truth is, there are supplements out there which are safe, effective, and a whole lot cheaper than their pharmaceutical counterparts.

    When it comes to controlling blood sugar, improving Insulin Sensitivity, and reducing dependence on Insulin injections, there are a few supplements which have been studied extensively and are VERY useful…

    ALPHA LIPOIC ACID

    Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), not to be confused with Alpha Linoleic Acid, is a fatty acid with anti-oxidant properties that give it a wide array of potential health benefits.

    R-Lipoic Acid

    While many of these potential benefits remain under-explored by modern science, the impact of Alpha Lipoic Acid on blood sugar has been studied fairly extensively.

    A 2012 study published in the Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that Type 2 Diabetics treated with varying doses of Alpha Lipoic Acid (300, 600, 900, 1200/day) showed dose-dependent (the more the better) reductions in fasting blood glucose, indicating an Insulin-augmenting type effect.

    An early study from 2011 published in Diabetes Care which spanned over 4 years found that Alpha Lipoic Acid treatment reduced symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy (an all-too-common side effect of Diabetes) which generally effects nerve endings in extremities, causing discomfort and sometimes, severe pain.

    This study also noted a trend toward decreases in Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c), an indication of how well diabetes is being controlled.

    When you step back and look at the research, it becomes clear that Alpha Lipoic Acid, while not a treatment for Diabetes on its own, can certainly help control blood sugar and lessen Insulin Resistance.

    SOURCES/FORMS

    ALA supplements which are just labeled “Alpha Lipoic Acid” contain a 50/50 combination of both ALA isomers, Dextrorotatory (R-ALA) and one is Levorotatory (S-ALA).

    R comes from the Latin word “rectus”, meaning Right.  S comes from the Latin term “sinister”, meaning Left.

    In chemistry, such a chemical structure is referred to as “racemic” meaning the Chiral Center of the molecule consists of just one atom (in this case Nitrogen) which connects two mirror image sides of the molecule known as enantiomers.

    When it comes to Alpha Lipoic Acid, source matters more than anything because only the Dextrorotatory (R-ALA) form is biologically active.  The Levorotatory (S-ALA) is biologically useless.

    TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR

    The R enantiomer of a any molecule can be Levorotatory and the S enantiomer can be Dextrorotary, or vice versa.  It just so happens that, when it comes to Alpha Lipoic Acid, the Dextrorotary portion is the R enantiomer which is the biologically active part that you should be interested in if supplementing with Alpha Lipoic Acid

    Realistically, when you’re taking a supplement labeled Alpha Lipoic Acid (half S isomer, half R isomer) you’re only getting half the amount of biologically active substance (R-ALA) and the rest is poorly absorbed at best and possible complete wasted.

    THE PRIMARY ISSUE WITH R-ALA

    Unfortunately, R-ALA has it’s drawbacks.  It’s extremely unstable under pretty normal (slightly hot) conditions and is prone to Polymerization.  Polymerization is simply the combining of monomers (single molecule) into polymers (chains of moers).

    If you order some R-Lipoic Acid powder and it arrives as a solid brick, you’ll immediately understand the issue of polymerization.  The jury’s still out on how polymerization impacts absorption, but logic would suggest that it certainly doesn’t help.

    Traditional Alpha Lipoic Acid (half R-ALA, half S-ALA) may be half useless, but at least it’s stable.  R-ALA is seriously annoying to work with and probably not really worth it for most people unless you keep it in a de-humidified, cold room.

    DON’T WORRY, THERE’S A SOLUTION

    It’s called Na-R-ALA, or Sodium R-Lipoic Acid.  It’s simply R-ALA bonded with Sodium, making it entirely stable, easily dissolved in water, and more importantly, well-absorbed.

    Assuming it’s quality Na-R-ALA (produced by GeroNova), Na-RALA is considerably more bioavailable than either R-Lipoic Acid or the racemic mixture (Alpha Lipoic Acid)

    Since Na-R-ALA yields 80% R-Lipoic Acid, you’ll need 250mg to achieve at 200mg (clinical) dose of R-ALA.

    BERBERINE

    Berberine is a unique molecule which can found in a variety of plants and has anti-diabetic (blood glucose lowering) effects which rival those of prescription diabetic medications.

    Berberine

    It works via activation of AMPK (with special affinity for the AMPKa1 subset), an enzyme which acts as a “master switch” by stimulating glucose uptake into muscle tissues and fatty acid oxidation as well.

    Berberine is remarkably potent! 

    It has been shown to be nearly as potent as 2,4-thiazolidinedione (a prescription diabetes drug) with regards to stimulating Glucose uptake into fat cells. 

    It has also been shown to synergistically enhance the effects of diabetic medicationsMetformin and Troglitazon

    In a 2008 pilot study published in Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, researchers sought to determine if Berberine could help with Type 2 Diabetes. 

    They enlisted 36 Type 2 Diabetic patients who were assigned into 2  groups:

    1. Metformin (prescription Diabetes drug)
    2. Berberine (supplement)

    Interestingly, Berberine was found to be just as hypoglycemic (capable of lowering blood sugar) as Metformin.

    A 2010 study published in Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental found that Berberine supplementation effectively lowered Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) and improved Insulin signaling in subjects with Type 2 Diabetes.

    The researchers in this study also pointed out that the mechanisms by which Berberine elicits these effects is not the same as the Diabetes drugs Metformin and Rosiglitazone, meaning there’s a possibility for adjunct therapy that’s more effective than either individual treatment option on it’s own.

    As if that wasn't enough proof...

    A later 2012 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that subjects with Metabolic Syndrome (Pre-Diabetes) who supplemented with 900mg Berberine per day for 12 weeks experienced a significant decrease in BMI and Leptin levels, not to mention enhanced Insulin signaling.

    Out of all the supplements on this list, Berberine is by far the most powerful, having been shown to be just as effective—on most parameters—as some prescription diabetic drugs.

    Perhaps even synergistic in some cases.

    If there's one supplement you should be taking to control blood sugar, it's Berberine, without a doubt!

    But why stop there?

    GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE

    Gymnema sylvestre is an Ayurvedic herb, known in the Hindi community as “Guarmar” which directly translates to “Sugar Killer”.

    Due to it’s widespread use throughout the ancient world it’s known by several different names, depending on the geographical region and dialect spoken there.

    Here are some of the most poular:

    • Meshashrunga – Bengali (Southern Asian/Indo-Aryan
    • Gudmar – Gujarati (Western India/Indo-European)
    • Madhunashine – Kannada (India)
    • Kawlj – Konkani (Indo-European)
    • Lakshmi – Oriya (East Indian)

    Fortunately for us (and you), Gymnema sylvestre has been studied to the extent that researchers have identified the compounds responsible for the hypoglycemic effects, known as Gymnemic Acids:

    Gymnema sylvestre

    This molecule may seem extremely complex.  That’s because it actually consists of several sub-components, the most important of which have been identified as:

    • Gymnemasaponin
    • Gurmarin

    In an earlier (1990) study published in Ethnopharmacology, researchers investigated the effects of GS4--a water soluble extract of Gymnema sylvestre--in Insulin-dependent Diabetic patients.

    They found that:

    GS4 therapy appears to enhance endogenous insulin, possibly by regeneration/revitalisation of the residual beta cells in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.”

    While the precise mechanism by which it works has yet to be identified, research indicates that Gymnema sylvestre (or it’s active components) works partially by blocking sugar-binding sites, thereby preventing sugar accumulation and allowing sugar (carbs) to pass through without being fully absorbed.

    In other words, you get to have your cake and eat it too!

    BE CAREFUL WITH EXTRACTS

    This is not specific to Gymnema sylvestre. 

    It should be a major concern when dealing with any sort of herbal supplement that contains unknown levels of active components.

    There are a ton of Gymnema sylvestre supplements out there which are comprised of various parts of the plant (sometimes not disclosed) which contain varying concentrations of the active components. 

    For that reason, it’s important to go with a standardized extract from a brand you can trust.

    We recommend GS4 or GS4 Plus, standardized for 25%-75% Gymnemic Acids.

    If it doesn’t say the standardization on the bottle, it’s probably not standardized, meaning it’s probably worthless.

    After all, if you had a supplement company and went through all the trouble of cultivating and extracting Gymnema sylvestre so precisely, you wouldn't you want to put that on the label as a selling point?

    No standardization, no deal!

    The Absolute Best Supplements For Controlling Blood Sugar and Improving Insulin Sensitivity

    So, we've discussed a few supplements that have been clinically proven to help with blood sugar control and even improve insulin sensitivity if taken regularly.

    Now, you could go out and buy Berberine, Gynemma, and a bunch of other supplements and dose them out yourself or...

    You could just check out GlycoShield from us here at HPS.  It contains clinically effective doses of:

    Glycoshield with Berberine

    When you compare the ingredients and dosages of those ingredients to any other 'competing product', it's pretty clear that GlycoShield is by far the best glucose disposal/nutrient partitioning agent there is.

    Not only does it contain several ingredients which are on par with Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes medication, but it also contains a handful of other carefully chosen complementary ingredients, ultimately making it the clear winner when it comes to these types of supplements.

    You can check it out here or on Amazon and the great thing about it is--because it's non-stimulant--you can literally stack it with any other weight-loss/fat-burner supplement.

    The Bottom Line On Blood-Sugar Supplements

    Most people think weight-loss/management is a combination of eating "right" and working out. 

    That's true to some degree but Insulin Sensitivity usually gets completely brushed to the side despite it being one of the most important factors when it comes to achieving a lean, cut physique.

    You can work out as much as you want, but if you don't take the steps to improve your Insulin Sensitivity, you'll never achieve the results you really want.

    The truth is, pharma companies don’t want you to be aware that there are supplements are there which are just as good (or better) for keeping blood sugar in check, require no prescription, and are WAY cheaper (not to mention completely natural and tested over thousands of years).

    That’s just the way the supplement industry is. 

    Anytime a supplement exhibits benefits on par with a prescription drug, the pharma companies that produce that drug are unhappy. 

    They don’t want people to know about these alternative treatments.

    However, when it comes to managing blood glucose, avoiding Diabetes, and getting that lean, defined look to your physique, the supplements we discussed are quite effective.

    And since the FDA is in Big Pharma’s pocket, they tend to target these types of supplements at random, depending on who’s market share is being encroached upon.

    In the case of things like Berberine and Gymnema sylvestre, they're plants, so it’ll be hard for the FDA to figure out a way to ban it, but again, the science speaks for itself. 

    These supplements work very well and--in the case of GlycoShield--they have a certain synergy between them that can't be beaten by any one drug or supplement.

    Sure, you could go out and by a bunch of single ingredients supplements like Berberine and Gynemma sylvestre and take handfuls of capsules with every meal OR...

    You could simply give GlycoShield a shot and have everything you could possible need to combat high blood sugar, diabetes, and obesity all condensed into just two capsules.

    You can check out GlycoShield and read all about each individual ingredient here.