Why Is Roof Ventilation Important? (Analyzed)

Proper roof ventilation is essential for prolonging the life of your roof, reducing energy costs, and keeping your home comfortable. This is achieved through a combination of ridge vents and power fans, ensuring a constant flow of air movement through your attic space.

Ventilation allows hot air to escape, allowing cooler air to move in. It also balances snow accumulation, preventing the formation of ice dams.

Protects Your Roof

Roof ventilation removes moisture from your attic, preventing mold and wood rot that can cause health issues and costly repairs. It also prevents heat from escaping your home through the attic, reducing energy costs and making your house more comfortable throughout the year.

An attic without proper ventilation can become super-heated, causing shingles to curl or lose their protective granules. This ruins the performance of your asphalt shingles and reduces their lifespan, costing you more money in the long run. When you have a properly functioning venting system, hot air is exhausted at the top of your roof via ridge vents, louvers or powered vents and cooler fresh air is allowed to enter the attic at the eaves and soffits.

Moisture trapped in your attic can lead to rot and mold that affects the entire structure of your house. The spores from these organisms can be inhaled and cause respiratory problems for your family, so it’s crucial to keep them out of your living spaces. A ventilated crawl space can help with this, but it’s equally important to have proper venting in your attic.

When warm air gets trapped in your attic it creates pressure that can force it down through your living space and into your ceilings, soaking your insulation and ruining your walls and floors. When you have a well-functioning roof venting system, this pressure is balanced by the wind effect and the stack effect, which allow hot air to escape at the top of your attic through exhaust vents and cooler air to enter through intake vents at the soffits and eaves.

If you have any signs of an inadequate roof venting system, it’s time to call a roofing professional. Excessive heat in certain parts of the house during the summer, ice dams in winter or moisture problems in the attic can all indicate an issue with your ventilation system. Luckily, there are easy ways to test your attic’s ventilation, so you can schedule an inspection to fix the problem before it becomes worse. A roofing expert can advise you on the best system for your house and recommend the right type of exhaust or intake vents to suit your needs.

Prevents Moisture Buildup

A well-ventilated roof allows heat to escape during summer while bringing in cool air, thus preventing excessive moisture build-up in the attic. This is a key step in avoiding costly and unpleasant home repairs like mold, mildew, sagging roof decking, rotting walls, shortened shingle lifespan, and ice dam formation.

Without proper ventilation, moisture can infiltrate the building structure, causing structural damage and deterioration of materials like framing members, wall insulation, wood flooring, and even drywall. Moisture in the attic space also creates a breeding ground for harmful insects and rodents.

Moisture can also leak into living spaces, causing water damage and other problems, including health risks to the occupants of the property. In some cases, this can lead to the formation of mold and mildew and a musty smell in the property.

The main cause of moisture damage in a home is poor roof ventilation. Without a balanced system of intake and exhaust ventilation, warm air trapped in the attic can become saturated with humidity as it rises to the ceiling. When the warm moist air comes into contact with the much cooler roof surface, it will condense into liquid water droplets. This will eventually seep down through the ceiling and into the living spaces below.

Inadequate roof venting can also contribute to higher energy bills. When hot air is allowed to accumulate in the attic, it forces the air conditioner to work overtime to keep the indoor temperature comfortable. This can significantly increase your energy costs.

During winter, inadequate roof ventilation may also result in the formation of ice dams and icicles along gutters. This is because when snow melts on the warmer surfaces of the roof, it refreezes once it reaches the colder areas near the eaves. The resulting ice dams can lead to water penetration, which may cause damage to your roof structure and your home’s exterior.

Roof ventilation is a crucial part of maintaining your home’s comfort, durability, and value. Whether you are building a new home or considering a roof replacement, an efficient and properly functioning ventilation system is a must. Contact the professionals like these dayton roofers for more information on how to get started with a proper roof and attic ventilation system today!

Prevents Icicles & Ice Dams

The sight of large, glistening icicles along the eaves of your roof may be beautiful in winter, but their formation is an indicator that your house’s ventilation system is not working properly. These icy ridges of ice prevent melting snow (water) from draining off the roof as it should, leading to moisture entering the home. Moisture can cause rot, mold, mildew, and other serious problems.

Icicles and ice dams form in cooler climates during the winter when attic heat leaks through poorly ventilated attics, warming the underside of the roof surface. The resulting melt-and-refreeze cycle can eventually lead to water backing up under roof shingles and behind fascia boards. This can saturate insulation, ruin ceilings, damage interior and exterior walls, and cause roof and gutter leaks.

When the ice dam forms, it creates a barrier that prevents melting snow and rainwater from draining off the roof as it should. The resulting moisture can back up through the shingles and gutters, soak insulation and wood framing, rot siding and drywall, and destroy paint.

The best way to prevent ice dams is by installing proper roof ventilation. This is achieved by establishing a consistent attic temperature through the use of intake and exhaust vents located in the soffit and ridge. Intake vents pull in cold air from outside, while exhaust vents expel warm attic air to the atmosphere. A continuous soffit and ridge vent system is recommended to ensure that your attic’s temperature is as close to the outdoor air temperature as possible.

If you notice signs of a failing roof ventilation system, such as the presence of icicles or a constant drip from the gutters, you should act quickly to correct the problem. Other indicators of poor ventilation include hot and cold areas in the living spaces and high utility bills. Correcting the ventilation problem can save you thousands of dollars in energy costs, protect your roof and prevent moisture and other damage to your home.

Keeps Your Attic Cool

A well-ventilated attic allows hot air to escape and cool air to enter during every season. This regulates the temperature of the home and saves energy. It also helps prevent ice dams, mold growth, and energy bills that skyrocket during the summer when stagnant air in your attic causes your AC to work overtime.

Without proper ventilation, your attic can reach temperatures of up to 170°F during the day which will cause your upstairs rooms to feel uncomfortably warm. Without a functioning venting system, your attic may also be at such a high temperature that you can’t use the space at all until night falls and the heat dissipates.

With a functional roof ventilation system, the hot air can be vented out through exhaust vents at the highest points of your attic while gable and soffit vents allow cool air to flow into your attic from below. This creates a circulation that relies on the stack effect and wind to keep your attic at a reasonable temperature throughout the day.

If you are noticing that your home is prone to ice dams during winter, it could be a sign that you have a problem with your ventilation system. Poor attic ventilation can cause the bottom layer of snow on your roof to melt during the day due to built-up attic heat, then refreeze at night. This freeze-thaw cycle can result in a pool of water that backs up under shingles, soaks fascia boards, damages exterior and interior walls, and peels paint from ceilings.

A poorly ventilated attic can also be a breeding ground for pests. Critters like insects and squirrels can easily crawl in through vents or scuttle under insulation when there is a breach in your attic’s protective barrier. These critters will then nest in the attic and can wreak havoc on your home and your wallet.

A lack of attic ventilation can be a major problem that leads to serious damage and higher utility costs for homeowners. The most effective ventilation systems are a combination of passive and active vents that utilize natural and mechanical forces to circulate air and protect the attic and home from costly problems. Passive vents are a vital part of your home’s ventilation system and should always be kept clean and free from blockage to ensure the attic is ventilated properly.

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Are Pest Control Services Safe? (Demystified)

Pest control companies use various methods to treat pest infestations. These treatments include chemical sprays and fumigation. These chemicals vary in toxicity and can be harmful to people, pets, plants, or other non-target organisms. Fortunately, there are safe alternatives to pesticides, such as natural, mechanical, or environmental methods.

Preventative measures include removing clutter that can attract pests. Additionally, you should remove your pets from the house during the treatment process and follow instructions on staying away for an appropriate amount of time.

Health Risks

Pests can affect our health in a number of ways. They can spread toxins, disrupt our sleep, cause property damage and even make us ill. The best way to avoid these problems is by keeping pests away through regular pest control services.

Pest control companies use a variety of products and methods to get rid of pests, including sprays, traps and baits. Some of these products can be toxic if inhaled, swallowed or come into contact with the skin. It is therefore important to read product labels and follow safety recommendations carefully when using pest control products. Children, pregnant women and people with respiratory issues are at a greater risk of experiencing adverse effects from pesticide exposure. Taking steps to minimize exposure to pesticides, such as leaving the home while treatments are underway or wearing masks and gloves when applying DIY pest control products, can help reduce the risks.

It is also important to keep in mind that pests such as rodents and flies can carry diseases and germs, which they then transmit when they bite or sting humans. This can lead to a range of health problems, such as allergies, infections and even serious diseases like malaria or yellow fever. Pest control services are essential to stop pests from spreading these germs and prevent them from entering our homes.

Besides the direct health hazards that pests pose, they can also contaminate food and surfaces with bacteria. This can be a major problem in restaurants and food manufacturing facilities, where the presence of pests can disrupt production and cause costly losses. Regular pest control services will help to protect these areas from infestations and ensure a safe work environment for employees.

Pest control services like Chattanooga pest control are not only important for homeowners, but they are also vital for businesses and public institutions. These services can eliminate the risk of disease-causing pests in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, preventing them from spreading infection and maintaining hygiene standards in our public spaces. They can also save money for business owners, as pests can lead to property damage and loss of revenue.

Environmental Impact

Pest infestations threaten not only homes, but also businesses and public institutions like hospitals and restaurants. Many pests carry diseases that can be transmitted to people, such as rabies (spread by fleas), Hantavirus, and Lyme disease (spread by ticks) – and many of these diseases have serious and sometimes fatal health consequences. For this reason, pest control services are vital in preserving human health and maintaining food safety guidelines in restaurants and other public places.

Besides spreading diseases, pests, including rodents and insects, can cause damage to buildings, furniture, and other personal belongings. Rodents and insects can chew through wires, pipes, and insulation, while termites, carpenter ants, and silverfish feed on wood and other organic material. Their presence in homes and other structures often leads to costly repairs and can trigger respiratory problems for those with asthma or allergies.

While traditional pest control methods used harmful chemicals and pesticides, modern companies prioritize the use of eco-friendly techniques that pose less harm to the environment and the health of their clients. These include conducting thorough inspections to identify pest entry points and habitat modifications, limiting treatments to the least invasive options, and using low-toxicity products whenever possible.

In addition, pest control services should consider the environmental impact of their entire operations. This includes evaluating the raw materials and energy used to produce and run pesticides, as well as their end-of-life disposal. In a world with increasing climate change and deforestation, pest control professionals should strive to find ways to reduce their environmental footprint.

Safety Measures

As a result of their work, pest control workers are exposed to various hazards. These include pesticide poisoning, physical hazards, and infectious diseases. To mitigate these risks, the pest control manufacturing industry should prioritize occupational safety and health. In addition, employers should provide adequate training and personal protective equipment to their employees. They should also ensure that workers follow safe work practices and report any issues to their supervisors.

Pesticides can be dangerous for people, pets, and the environment. They can cause skin, eye, and respiratory problems. Additionally, they can contaminate food, water, and soil. They can even make asthma and allergies worse. They can also cling to carpets and furniture. Pest control services can help reduce these hazards by using safer chemicals. They should also use baits and crack and crevice treatments instead of spraying. In addition, they should always follow the label instructions for proper application.

If you’re worried about the safety of a pest control service, ask them about their practices and methods. Ask about the types of chemicals they use, their application method, and any precautions that you should take during treatment. Also, discuss any other methods that they can suggest to prevent or minimize pesticide use. Open communication between you and your service technician can significantly decrease any potential health risks.

If you are concerned about the safety of a pest control company, first express your concerns to the technician who performed the treatment. If you are not satisfied with their response, contact the company and ask to speak with a manager. If you still feel unsafe, you may want to look into other pest control options. Many pests can be controlled without pesticides, and there are natural solutions that are far less harmful to humans, pets, and the environment than chemical treatments.

Cost

Pest control services can cost a lot of money depending on the type and extent of pest infestation. However, there are a few ways that you can save on these services. First, make sure that you get a full inspection before paying for any service. This way, you can be sure that the company is actually going to treat your home or business for the pests you are concerned about.

Second, try to eliminate the pest problem using non-chemical methods. This may include things like removing the source of pests, such as food or water. This can also include removing rotting wood or other materials that might be attractive to rodents and other pests. You can also use natural repellents such as lemon oil, rosemary, or eucalyptus.

Third, you can use more natural means of pest control such as using baits or traps to kill or deter pests. While these are not as effective as a pesticide, they are much safer for the environment. Finally, you can use homemade remedies such as coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon to help keep pests away from your property.

If you do choose to use pesticides, be aware of the environmental impact. Some pesticides can remain in the soil for a long time and could end up contaminating waterways. Make sure to follow all of the label directions when using these products. In addition, if possible, only use ready-to-use pesticides that do not require any mixing.

For large homes or businesses, it is important to hire a pest control service that will provide regular treatments. This is especially true during the winter when ants, earwigs, and spiders seek warmth in the home or business. If you do not have regular pest control, these pests can cause serious damage to the structure of your building and lead to costly repairs. In addition, a pest infestation can damage your reputation among customers or clients. This can be difficult to repair and can lead to lost sales or customer loyalty. A professional pest control company will be able to detect any problem early on and provide the appropriate treatment to avoid such problems.

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Fat Burners and Alcohol: Do They Mix?

Fat burner drugs are available either over the counter or in the form of a prescription drug consumed beneath medical supervision, with both types of fat burners being used for the purposes of aiding in an individual’s weight loss.

Like all clinically significant substances, however, the compounds found in fat burner drugs are capable of interacting with other substances intaken by the individual, one among which is famous for interacting with medications – that of alcohol.

Naturally, the majority of compounds found in fat burners will either interact negatively with alcohol due to their unique pharmacokinetics or because of an inhibitory characteristic of either substance, resulting in one canceling the other out.

What are Fat Burners?

Fat burners are a subsection of supplements and drugs that generally increase an individual’s caloric energy expenditure by a variety of methods depending on what particular compounds are present in the mixture, the most common of which is thermogenesis.

example fat burner
Example of a fat burner

Generally, fat burners make use of both stimulant compounds and vasodilating herbal extracts that have the net effect of acting directly on the central nervous system, circulatory system and digestive system so as to increase the individual’s net calorie usage over the course of the day, or to increase their capacity to burn calories through exercise.

Certain brands of fat burners even claim to alter an individual’s ability to absorb certain types of macronutrients, supposedly allowing them to eat the same types of food during a weight loss regimen while still maintaining a net energy deficit.

Another characteristic benefit of fat burner usage is the reduction in an individual’s appetite, with such an effect varying in a case by case basis due to the difference between hunger perception and hormone function between different people.

Are Fat Burners the Same as Weight Loss Drugs?

In the majority of cases and in casual nomenclature, there is no difference between the term fat burners and that of weight loss drugs.

However, the term fat burner does not quite apply to certain types of regulated and prescription only medications prescribed by licensed medical professionals for the purposes of regulating a chronically ill patient’s body fat, the majority of which take the form of amphetamine salts or compounds of a similar drug class.

As such, for the purposes of clarity, the contents of this article are meant to refer to the sort of fat burner products that one can purchase at any sports supplement or herbal store without the need for a prescription.

Why do People Take Fat Burners?

Most fitness inclined individuals find themselves taking fat burning supplements so as to speed up the admittedly rather unpleasant process of reducing their body fat percentage, usually in combination with a calorically restrictive diet and an adequate amount of exercise.

The side effects of using fat burners, if any are present, are usually offset by the proper health management and fitness of those who take it, with only a rare few taking enough or being in a position wherein the side effects of fat burners may be harmful to the individual themselves.

Strangely, though, the sort of individuals whom choose to take fat burners so as to improve their capacity to lose weight are also the sort to intake a higher volume of alcohol than their less athletic counterparts, at the least according to one study performed by researchers of the Cooper Institute of Dallas, Texas.

With such a correlation of behavior found between two seemingly opposing characteristics, it is of vital importance that individuals planning to consume alcohol or fat burners understand the risks involved in doing both simultaneously.

Can You Consume Fat Burners and Alcohol Together?

Generally, it is a bad idea to mix fat burners with ethanol alcohol consumption, all the more so in a simultaneous manner wherein their effects may cancel out each other or worsen the risk of any potential side effects occurring.

In the majority of fat burner supplements, central nervous system focused stimulants are a mainstay, both for their appetite suppressing nature as well as the minor increase in caloric energy expenditure that these particular compounds have, compounds that act on biochemical pathways in direct opposition to alcohol itself.

As such, the potential adverse effects from consuming alcohol while under the influence of fat burners, or fat burners while under the influence of alcohol, can be rather unpleasant or even harmful to one’s health in the long term.

What Ingredients Cause Fat Burners to be Incompatible with Alcohol?

Generally, central nervous system acting stimulant compounds such as caffeine or certain amphetamine derivatives will have a counteracting effect to the otherwise central nervous system depressing effects of alcohol.

This can result in such side effects like nausea, dizziness, impaired motor control, a higher risk of injury as the individual fails to realize the extent of their inebriation, and even circulatory system strain.

Such a combination is especially deadly in individuals with impaired or at risk cardiovascular organs, as the combination of both a depressant and a stimulant can result in rapidly increased heart rate and blood pressure, potentially exacerbating any conditions present in the drinker.

Other compounds found in fat burners such as supposed blood sugar altering drugs that either impair the absorption of carbohydrates or alter the manner in which the body processes them can also have a counteracting effect with alcohol, though in a far more dangerous manner due to the nature of hypoglycemia.

Most fat burning supplements make use of a variety of herbal extracts that may or may not have clinically significant effects and interactions with alcohol, and as such it is important for an individual to first consult with a licensed medical professional prior to starting a new brand of fat burners.

What Happens When Fat Burners are Taken With Alcohol?

Unless the individual possesses certain health conditions or takes other medications that interact with alcohol or fat burners, it is unlikely that the interaction between fat burner’s active constituents and alcohol will be of a lethal nature.

That is not to say that taking fat burners and alcohol at the same time will not result in potentially dangerous and unpleasant side effects, however, and it is best to generally avoid doing so entirely.

Though fat burners tend to differ in terms of their active ingredients and the concentration of said ingredients, the majority generally make use of such compounds like caffeine, an intestinal absorption drug called orlistat, dandelion extract, green tea extract as well as conjugated linoleic acid.

These compounds native to most brands of fat burners can all exacerbate the various side effects one would only experience in moderation while consuming alcohol, especially in regards to one’s blood pressure, heart rate and sense of malaise.

How Long After Stopping Fat Burners can You Drink Alcohol?

Considering the fact that fat burners generally utilize different ingredients in differing concentration strengths, it is rather hard to predict how long the average fat burner will remain chemically active in an individual’s body, and as such it is best to err on the safe side in regards to alcohol consumption.

This may be done by simply waiting two to three days after the last dose of a fat burning supplement so as to ensure that the body has entirely eliminated any trace of it via ordinary cellular metabolic processes.

How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can You Take Fat Burners?

The average individual without hepatic impairment can process approximately one international standard alcoholic drink per hour, that is to say approximately 350 ml of a 5% beer, 43ml of a high proof alcohol like vodka or tequila, and approximately 140ml of a wine at 12% alcohol by volume percentage strength.

As such, depending on the volume and percentage of whatever alcohol type the individual has consumed, it is important for them to calculate the length of time in which their body will still be processing alcohol, and to avoid taking fat burners accordingly.

References

  • Jeukendrup AE, Randell R. Fat burners: nutrition supplements that increase fat metabolism. Obes Rev. 2011 Oct;12(10):841-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00908.x. PMID: 21951331.
  • Campbell BI, Colquhoun RJ, Zito G, Martinez N, Kendall K, Buchanan L, Lehn M, Johnson M, St Louis C, Smith Y, Cloer B. The effects of a fat loss supplement on resting metabolic rate and hemodynamic variables in resistance trained males: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Apr 1;13:14. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0125-z. PMID: 27042166; PMCID: PMC4818444.
  • Clark JE, Welch S. Comparing effectiveness of fat burners and thermogenic supplements to diet and exercise for weight loss and cardiometabolic health: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition and Health. 2021;27(4):445-459. doi:10.1177/026010602098236
  • Tinsley GM, Urbina S, Mullins J, Outlaw J, Hayward S, Stone M, Foster C, Wilborn C, Taylor L. Influence of A Thermogenic Dietary Supplement on Safety Markers, Body Composition, Energy Expenditure, Muscular Performance and Hormone Concentrations: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial. J Sports Sci Med. 2017 Dec 1;16(4):459-467. PMID: 29238244; PMCID: PMC5721174.
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Alcohol and Protein Synthesis: Interaction Explained

Though it may seem counterintuitive, certain studies have shown that individuals with a particular inclination towards exercise and otherwise taking up athletic training can also have a certain proclivity towards alcohol consumption, especially in comparison to their peers.

However, it is likely that they only continue to do so because they are unaware of the effects excessive alcohol consumption can have on muscle building, protein synthesis, and general bodily function pertaining to athletic endeavors or exercise.

Alcohol has been demonstrated to cause a significant impact to not only the protein synthesis taking place within an exerciser’s body but also a host of other effects that can dampen or slow down the development of one’s musculature and other physiologic athletic functions, making its consumption detrimental to general health and capacity for exercise.

What is Protein Synthesis?

The biochemical process of protein synthesis refers to an organism producing amino acids through certain pathways classified beneath transcription, translation and post translation.

protein synthesis

At a larger and more fitness focused level, protein synthesis is a blanket term that encompasses the body’s ability to initiate and complete repairs of muscle fibers damaged during intense bouts of exercise, such as in the case of resistance training or sprinting.

This particular effect occurs post-exercise for up to two days, and generally requires that the individual support its function by way of proper rest and diet so as to maximize the total physiological growth and protein synthesis that is gained.

The process of protein synthesis is highly complex, and will usually begin at extracellular stimuli brought on by a bout of exercise – of which is otherwise known as a hypertrophy stimulus, with the opposite effect being known as an atrophy stimulus.

When sufficient hypertrophic stimulus is induced in the skeletal muscles, subsequent recovery will begin with the Phosphoinositide 3 kinase pathway, prior to proceeding to the now upregulated AKT and mTOR pathway, initiating the function of several protein signal enzymes and thereby instigating muscle protein synthesis at a cellular level.

How Does Alcohol Affect Akt/mTOR?

Though rather niche in application, a variety of studies from multiple differing sources have managed to identify a rather concerning side effect of ethanol alcohol consumption – that is, a night of heavy drinking appears to have significant detrimental effects to the protein synthesis of skeletal muscle cells.

The exact mechanism of this muscle protein synthesis decrease is in the initiation of protein synthesis translation, especially in the case of phosphorylation towards eukaryotic translation initiation factor binding proteins.

One among these altered or dampened protein synthesis pathways is that of mTOR, of which also requires sufficient phosphorylation when functioning at a basal level.

As such, in simpler terms, alcohol appeared to have a direct chemical, enzymatic and hormonal impact on skeletal muscle growth induced from hypertrophic stimulus such as what Cone would accrue from proper exercise.

Why is Protein Synthesis Important to Athletes and Bodybuilders?

The term anabolic has become synonymous with the sort of fitness supplements and workout routines one would find high level athletes and bodybuilders making use of on a day to day basis.

However, the term anabolism is in fact simply another word for protein synthesis – and in this particular context, that of skeletal muscle protein synthesis, usually stimulated by exercise so as to cause hypertrophic growth of one’s musculature.

When a bodybuilder or athlete completes their exercise routine, small tears and other forms of damage will have collected along the fibers of their skeletal muscles, an entirely ordinary consequence of intense training that is nothing to be alarmed about.

It is these microscopic instances of damage that are the main reason muscle protein synthesis is so important for bodybuilders and athletes, as subsequent repair or muscular hypertrophy requires the presence and nominal function of said muscle protein synthesis in order to be possible.

Should Bodybuilders and Athletes Drink Alcohol?

As can be surmised from the previous section of this article, it is best for bodybuilders and athletes to entirely avoid the consumption of alcohol, especially if they do not or cannot retain a moderate level of consumption.

Bright Future Recovery goes on to say that this is in combination with a host of other factors are detrimental to physiological function and growth as a consequence of regular or excessive ethanol alcohol absorption, such as increased cortisol levels, impacted hepatic system function, altered neurological function and a difficulty in dieting due to the amount of calories in most alcoholic beverages.

Entirely abstaining from drinking alcohol is one way for an athlete or bodybuilder to maximize the possible muscle growth they can achieve – but this is not to say that any consumption of alcohol will entirely ruin the benefits of their training earlier in the day.

Generally, one or two drinks a few times a week should have negligible to no impact on a bodybuilder or athlete’s performance and training, especially if every other aspect of their fitness is in check, such as intaking a sufficient enough volume of protein and training in the correct manner.

Can Drinking Protein Supplements Counteract Alcohol’s Effects on Protein Synthesis?

While alcohol doubtless can play a significant role in the function of muscle protein synthesis and its ability to repair muscle fiber damage in a post exercise capacity, the primary building blocks of such a process are in the shape of amino acids, building blocks that make up a large portion of the cellular structures found in the skeletal musculature.

The primary way many bodybuilders, athletes and regular gym goers receive their required intake of protein is through the consumption of protein rich foods as a major portion of their diet – though it is also considered common practice to make use of protein supplements such as powdered branch chain amino acid supplements and whey protein shakes so as to provide the body with sufficient protein synthesis materials.

Despite this, however, the mechanism at which alcohol may impact or alter protein synthesis is only tangentially related to the macronutrient intake of the individual, and as such increasing their protein intake or altering what sort of protein source they are consuming will not have a very significant impact on alcohol’s protein synthesis effects.

This, of course, is not applicable in the case of an individual who is already suffering from a lack of macro nutritive protein or amino acids, as such a condition is only worsened by the various catabolic and hormonal effects of alcohol consumption.

How Should an Athlete or Bodybuilder Train While Maintaining Their Drinking Habits?

What can be inferred from the research and studies made into the particular effects of an impacted level of muscle protein synthesis is that athletes or bodybuilders should generally avoid alcohol in order to maximize their training gains.

However, if said athlete or bodybuilder instead wishes to continue their ordinary consumption of alcohol despite this detriment to their fitness, it is best for them to plan their workout intensity and volume around days where they intend to drink or events where they will be consuming excess amounts of alcohol so as to minimize its impact on their training.

To do so, it is advisable for the athlete or bodybuilder to generally choose lower volume workouts that make use of a lower level of resistance than they would normally perform – in short, less intense workouts for days where their recovery may be impaired by the effects of alcohol consumption. 

When is the Best Time to Drink Alcohol for Bodybuilders?

Generally, in terms of optimal muscle protein synthesis as a route of recovery post-workout, it is best for bodybuilders or similar athletically inclined individuals to drink the day after a workout or athletic event, wherein the muscle protein synthesis is already partially complete and no longer at a highly elevated level.

If speaking in terms of hours instead, it is most advisable to instead consume alcoholic beverages after a workout for the obvious reason that performing intense exercise while inebriated can be quite dangerous, placing more at risk than just one’s protein synthesis capacity.

References

  • Barnes, M.J., Mündel, T. & Stannard, S.R. Post-exercise alcohol ingestion exacerbates eccentric-exercise induced losses in performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 108, 1009–1014 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-009-1311-3
  • Laufenberg, L.J.; Crowell, K.T.; Lang, C.H. Alcohol Acutely Antagonizes Refeeding-Induced Alterations in the Rag GTPase-Ragulator Complex in Skeletal Muscle. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1236. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13041236
  • Lang, C.H., Pruznak, A.M., Deshpande, N., Palopoli, M.M., Frost, R.A. and Vary, T.C. (2004), Alcohol Intoxication Impairs Phosphorylation of S6K1 and S6 in Skeletal Muscle Independently of Ethanol Metabolism. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 28: 1758-1767. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000145787.66405.59
  • GF-I/IGFBP-3 ameliorates alterations in protein synthesis, eIF4E availability, and myostatin in alcohol-fed rats Charles H. Lang, Robert A. Frost, Elisabeth Svanberg, and Thomas C. Vary American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 2004 286:6, E916-E926
  • Vary, T.C., Nairn, A.C. and Lang, C.H. (2004), Restoration of Protein Synthesis in Heart and Skeletal Muscle After Withdrawal of Alcohol. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 28: 517-525. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000121653.80502.54
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Make Your Own Pre-Workout: Ingredients to Use (Efficacy Explained)

A pre-workout is a great way to maximize a gym session or any kind of workout. Mixed with a wide array of ingredients, a pre-workout aims to increase endurance, energy, and focus which induces the body to be more receptive to the exercise.

While there are a great number of commercially available pre-workouts in the market, some individuals prefer to make their own pre-workout. Making homemade pre-workouts can save money and provide people with the peace of mind as they know the exact ingredients they are putting in their body.

There are numerous ingredients that people can put into a pre-workout. However, a list of the most common ingredients include beta-alanine, caffeine, citrulline, tyrosine, taurine, creatine, niacin, and arginine.

What is a Pre-Workout?

pre workout supplement

A pre-workout is a supplement aimed to enhance physical performance. As the name suggests, it is a supplement that is consumed before a workout.

Usually, the recommended time is 20-30 minutes before a workout. The time allotted is to make sure that all the necessary ingredients that are supposed to confer specific benefits have been appropriately distributed around the body.

Pre-workouts are generally regarded as safe, especially if all ingredients listed have been extensively studied – which most usually are. A 2018 brief review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition discusses the safety implications of pre-workout supplements. While most studies investigating the safety of pre-workouts take place in shorter time periods, most studies unanimously agree that pre-workouts are generally safe.

Pre-Workout Ingredients to Use

pre-workout ingredients

There are hundreds of commercially available pre-workouts, each having different formulations and ingredients. For the purpose of practicality, this article will list the most common ingredients used.

A 2019 study published in Nutrients analyzed the top 100 commercially available pre-workout products and analyzed their lists of ingredients. Despite most of these products refusing to disclose their list of ingredients as a part of their proprietary blend, these are the most common: beta-alanine, caffeine, citrulline, tyrosine, taurine, creatine, niacin, and arginine.

Note: This article does not provide dosages, nor does it address allergen information or individual sensitives. It simply outlines common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is a non-essential acid which means that the body naturally produces it – unlike essential amino acids that are needed by the body but only accessible through certain food sources.

While amino acids are functional building blocks to create the wide array of proteins that the body needs, beta-alanine is specifically used to combine with histidine. The combination produces carnosine which is stored in the body’s skeletal muscles.

During strenuous exercise, the muscles use up glycogen stores (in a process called glycolysis) which produces lactic acid as a by-product. While glycolysis provides the muscles with extra glucose for energy production, the lactic acid buildup increases the acidity in the muscles. Enough acidity stops glycolysis and begins to induce muscle fatigue.

Carnosine acts as an excellent physiochemical buffer. The body naturally contains a high amount of histidine. Consuming beta-alanine supplements can increase an individual’s carnosine levels which can then help neutralize the acidity that lactic acid induces.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant naturally found in several plants like coffee and tea. Caffeine has several modes of action in the body, but it notably acts as an antagonist to adenosine – effectively blocking the neurotransmitter responsible for making people feel tired and relaxed. Statistically, it is the most consumed psychoactive compound.

A 2016 review published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews elaborates on the numerous benefits that caffeine consumption can provide. From 40-400 milligrams, caffeine has been observed to improve cognitive performance – especially in alertness, vigilance, attention, and reaction time.

Doses greater than 200 milligrams have been observed to improve physical performance. Numerous studies have investigated the improvement in time-to-exhaustion, time-trial, muscle strength, and endurance through caffeine consumption.

Citrulline

Similar to beta-alanine, citrulline is another non-essential amino acid that is not primarily used by the body for protein assembly. However, while beta-alanine has one primary function (i.e., serve as a pre-cursor to carnosine), citrulline has been studied to confer several benefits toward physical performance.

Essentially, citrulline has one major effect on the body – it acts as a natural vasodilator which means that it helps widen the blood vessels. Vasodilation has numerous benefits for physical performance because wider blood vessels equates to better circulation in the body – better circulation also means better distribution of nutrients around the body (e.g., vitamins, minerals, oxygen, etc.).

Tyrosine

Produced from phenylalanine, tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is frequently used in pre-workouts. Tyrosine is an efficient molecule as it serves as precursors to several other molecules in the body that can improve both cognitive and physical performance.

Namely, tyrosine serves as precursors to dopamine (the neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s reward centers, memory, and motor skills.), adrenaline and noradrenaline (fight-or-flight hormones), thyroid hormones (responsible for regulating metabolism), and melanin (pigmentation).

Serving as precursors to several neurotransmitters and hormones, tyrosine supplementation has been thoroughly investigated. A 1999 study published in the Brain Research Bulletin looked into the effects of tyrosine supplementation in military cadets. Observing a group of 21 cadets, the study found that tyrosine supplementation improved cognitive performance and reduced blood pressure after a week of a combat training course.

Taurine

Taurine is another non-essential amino acid and is a popular ingredient not only in pre-workouts but in a wide array of health supplements. Concentrated in certain body parts such as the brain, heart, eyes, and muscles, the reason why taurine is so popular in health supplements is that it provides a number of benefits.

Taurine plays several roles in the body: maintains hydration and electrolyte balance, forms bile salts, regulates minerals, supports the central nervous system, and regulates the immune system.

A 2004 study published in Amino Acids investigated the effects of taurine supplementation in exercise-induced oxidative stress. Observing 11 healthy young men, the study found that seven-day taurine supplementation increased several physical parameters (e.g., VO2 max, exercise time to exhaustion, maximal workload, etc.).

Creatine

creatine supplement

Among gym-goers and athletes, creatine is one of the most popular supplements. An organic compound with a chemical structure similar to that of an amino acid, creatine is a naturally occurring substance that is typically concentrated in the muscles.

When muscles use energy to work, they convert ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). This means that muscles are limited by the amount of ATP they can utilize. Creatine functions by recycling ADP back into ATP, thus replenishing the ATP pool in the muscles.

Creatine is one of the most studied health supplements, hundreds of studies have been conducted to prove the safety and efficacy of creatine. Not only does creatine enhance physical performance, but it has also been studied to increase muscle mass and strength.

Niacin

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is another common ingredient in several different health supplements. As a vitamin, niacin has several health benefits such as the improvement of the blood lipid profile (i.e., increase “good” HDL cholesterol, decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides), prevention of heart disease, treatment of type 1 diabetes, improvement of skin function, reduction of symptoms of arthritis, and the enhancement of cognitive function.

As an appropriate ingredient in pre-workouts, niacin also serves as a sufficient vasodilator. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science investigated the effects of niacin on resting heart rate and blood pressure of college-aged males. With a total of 30 participants and 1000 milligrams of niacin supplementation, the study found that niacin was able to significantly lower resting heart rate and blood pressure in the participants.

Arginine

Unlike the other amino acids listed in this article, arginine is an essential amino acid which means the body can only acquire arginine through certain food sources.

Found in a wide variety of food such as red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, leafy vegetables, and fruits, arginine is an important compound for cardiovascular health. Particularly, arginine serves as a precursor to nitric oxide which is a natural vasodilator produced by the body.

References

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BCAA vs Protein: What is the Difference?

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and protein are popular supplements. While BCAAs and proteins are relatively similar to each other from a macronutrient point of view, there are subtle differences between the two supplements.

The primary purpose of supplementary protein and BCAAs is to provide the body with building blocks (amino acids) upon which muscle can be repaired and developed. While supplementary protein is made up of almost all amino acids, supplementary BCAAs only contain the amino acids that are primarily used for muscle growth (leucine, isoleucine, and valine).

What is Protein?

whey protein

Protein is one of the major macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats. As a macronutrient, it provides the body with energy in the form of calories. Protein provides the body with the building blocks to create the thousands of different proteins and enzymes that the body needs to function properly.

Protein is a complex structure composed of simple building blocks; These are called amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids and while the body can naturally produce 11 of these (called nonessential amino acids), the other nine can only be obtained through diet (called essential amino acids).

The nonessential amino acids include alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cystine, glutamic acid, glycine, ornithine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. The essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Protein can be naturally found in foods such as meat, fish, legumes, and dairy. However, different food sources can have different quality proteins. These qualities can be in the form of amino acid availability, absorption, and bioavailability.

In fitness, supplementary protein is typically in the form of whey protein. Whey is one of the proteins in milk (the other being casein) and it is a byproduct of the cheese-making process as it is the liquid that remains after straining curdled milk.

Whey is an excellent protein source as it is a complete protein, or a protein source that contains all essential amino acids. Compared to food sources that are incomplete proteins because they only contain some of the essential amino acids.

Aside from containing all of the essential amino acids, whey also has among the highest bioavailability and digestibility making it extremely readily available for the body to utilize.

Benefits of Protein Supplements

As mentioned, protein can naturally be found in the diet, but there have been numerous benefits associated with protein supplements.

A review paper published in 2015 in the Journal of Food Science briefly summarizes the benefits of supplemental protein and high-protein diets in general. These benefits include (1) promoting muscle gain, (2) sparing muscle loss during weight loss, (3) slowing down muscle loss that comes with aging.

In terms of muscle growth, a 2014 paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports compared the muscle growth (in terms of cross-sectional area of the quadriceps and the patellar tendon) between volunteers subjected to a protein supplement treatment and a carbohydrate placebo. Accompanied with resistance training, the study lasted for 12 weeks and concluded that resistance training with protein supplements increased muscular growth.

For sparing muscle loss in weight loss, a 2008 paper published in Nutrition and Metabolism showed researchers conduct an experiment where obese people were given a whey-protein supplement in addition to their diets. The study found that the treatment group and the control group lost relatively the same amount of weight. However, the treatment group tended to lose more body fat and retain more lean muscle. This study shows that protein supplements can encourage the body to retain muscle while losing fat in weight loss regimens.

Lastly, protein supplementation has also been studied to battle sarcopenia – age-related decrease in muscle mass and performance. A 2019 paper published in Aging and Disease neatly summarizes how whey protein and resistance training can prevent and treat sarcopenia. Protein supplements and resistance training have been shown time and time again to induce muscle protein synthesis in mammals and have also been studied to do so in the elderly.

What are BCAAs?

bcaa supplement

As their name suggests, BCAAs are amino acids classified due to their chemical structure. There are only three amino acids that are considered to be BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

In terms of promoting muscle mass gain, leucine is very important. Leucine acts as a signal that plays a role in protein synthesis. Muscle protein synthesis is a product of numerous enzymes signaling one another in an enzymatic cascade with leucine as one of the integral activators.

Benefits of BCAAs

There is no reason to believe that BCAAs will not confer the same benefits as stated for protein supplements since BCAAs are simply amino acids themselves. Especially since the three BCAAs have been observed to make up a significant portion of muscle proteins – up to 35%. However, BCAAs can provide a specific set of advantages.

Unlike most amino acids, these three BCAAs have been observed to break down in the skeletal muscles, and not in the liver. This is catalyzed by the branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKDH) complex. This phenomenon leads scientists to believe that these BCAAs are possibly involved in energy production in the muscles.

BCAAs also aid in regulating blood sugar levels in the body. These branched-chain amino acids encourage the skeletal muscles to utilize glucose from the blood instead of utilizing carbohydrate reserves in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. This phenomenon is primarily attributed to isoleucine and valine. Meanwhile, leucine is more associated with muscle protein synthesis. This is why BCAAs often come in 2:1:1 ratios (leucine:isoleucine:valine).

Furthermore, supplementary BCAAs are being investigated as treatments for various medical ailments such as hyperammonemic states (liver cirrhosis and urea cycle disorders), traumatic brain injury, heart diseases (ischaemic heart disease and myocardial infarction), and hepatic encephalopathy.

BCAA vs Protein

There are only a handful of differences between BCAAs and protein that an individual has to consider when choosing between the two supplements.

The first difference a person can see is the supplement form. Supplementary protein typically comes in powdered form. This form is intended to be mixed with water or juice and should be consumed within the day.

However, BCAAs are already concentrated and are simply composed of the three amino acids so their form differs. These supplements typically come in the form of capsules/pills as well as powders.

Second, the price value of BCAAs and protein supplements differ. BCAAs are relatively more difficult to synthesize and manufacture and as a result, they cost more; BCAAs can cost almost twice the amount of protein powder. While $20 can be used to get a kilogram of protein powder, the same amount of money can also be used for only around 500 grams of BCAAs.

Final Thoughts

Deciding between BCAAs and protein highly depends on the fitness goal of the individual. For most people, protein should be more than enough as it is cheaper and already contains all the amino acids that the body needs. BCAAs are ideal for people with calorie-restricted diets because they will be consuming the amino acids necessary for muscle growth without any additional calories that can be typically found in protein supplements.

References

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Protein Bioavailability: Absorption Explained

As a macronutrient, the human body requires a significant percent of protein for development, growth, and repair. However, the quality of proteins in food sources can differ by the extent that the body can effectively use it.

Protein bioavailability is the degree by which the body can utilize dietary protein, break it down into amino acids, and utilize those amino acids for protein synthesis in the body. This differs among different protein food sources such as meat, eggs, soy, and dairy products.

This article will discuss protein bioavailability, what the difference between bioavailability and absorption is, types of proteins, and the bioavailability of protein in common protein food sources.

Bioavailability vs Absorption

Bioavailability and absorption are often used used synonymously. However, there are key differences between the two terms.

Bioavailability is amount of a substance being consumed that can be used by the body. In terms of protein, bioavailability is the amount of protein that can be broken down into usable amino acids.

Absorption refers to movement of nutrients and is related to digestion. When food is digested, it is broken down into smaller units that can then travel from the digestive tract to the bloodstream where the nutrients can be carried all over the body.

protein enzyme breakdown

In terms of protein, protein food sources are digested and broken down into smaller forms such as tripeptides, dipeptides, or amino acids. These smaller units are then transported to various parts of the body and are used for further protein synthesis.

Bioavailability and absorption can be quantified in a number of ways. For this article, bioavailability will be stated as a biological value (%) while absorption will be stated in the form of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS).

Types of Proteins

Structurally, proteins can take the form of various shapes and sizes. However, all proteins are made of the same structural units: amino acids.

There are 20 different amino acids, and they make up all of the proteins in the body. While the body can produce most of these amino acids (called non-essential amino acids), there are amino acids that the body cannot produce. These are called essential amino acids.

Non-essential amino acids include: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

Essential amino acids include: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

In terms of food containing these essential amino acids, dietary protein can be divided into three categories: complete, incomplete, and complementary proteins.

Complete proteins include all essential amino acids. Examples include beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and cheese.

In contrast, incomplete proteins are those that lack one or more of the essential amino acids. Plant-based sources are often incomplete with only a few key exceptions. Plant-based proteins sources that are considered complete include quinoa, soy, and chia seeds.

Complementary proteins are the combination of various incomplete protein sources to encompass all the essential amino acids. For example, the combination of legumes and grains represents a good example of complementary proteins.

High Protein Food Sources That are Digestible

Here are several food items that are considered as good sources of protein and their protein bioavailability and digestibility.

Whey

whey protein

Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process as it is the liquid that remains after straining curdled milk. It is used in most protein supplements as whey is a complete protein source and has among the highest protein bioavailability compared to other protein food sources.

The protein bioavailability of whey is almost absolute, approximately at a hundred percent (100%). The digestibility of whey protein is also incredibly high, with the highest possible PDCAAS of 1.0.

Egg Whites

egg whites

Egg whites are the clear liquid that surrounds the yolk inside an egg. It serves to protect and nourish the growing embryo.

Egg whites are a popular protein source because in terms of macronutrients, it is almost pure protein. While egg whites are mostly made of water (90%), the remaining percent is almost completely protein.

Like whey, the protein bioavailability of egg whites is almost absolute, at around a hundred percent (100%). Egg whites also score the highest in digestibility with a PDCAAS of 1.0.

Fish

Fish is an importance source of protein and other nutrients. Many species of fish are commonly eaten such as salmon, tuna, tilapia, and cod. Fish meat also provides other nutritional substances such as omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish meat contains decent amounts of protein with 100 grams of cooked salmon having 22 grams of protein. Removing the wet weight, 100 grams of dried fish would have 62 grams of protein. Fish protein has a high bioavailability of 76-83%. It is highly digestible with a PDCAAS of 1.0.

Pork

pork protein

Pork is the culinary term for meat obtained from pigs. It is the most consumed meat in the world. Pork is an excellent protein source and while the meat can contain high amounts  of fat and cholesterol, pork has lean meat, and the fat can be trimmed.

Pork contains high amounts of protein with 100 grams of pork loin having 27 grams of protein. Pork protein has an average digestibility with a PDCAAS of 0.63.

Chicken

chicken protein

Chicken is the most consumed poultry and the second most consumed meat in the world.

Chicken meat contains high amounts of protein with 100 grams of chicken breast having 31 grams of protein. Chicken protein has a high bioavailability of 79%. It also has a high digestibility with a PDCAAS of 0.91.

Beef

beef protein

Beef is the culinary term for meat obtained from cows and cattle. It is the third most consumed meat in the world.

Nutritionally, many people prefer beef over pork meat because beef meat contains less fat and cholesterol. Beef is also ideal as it contains high amounts of iron and zinc – metals that are readily utilized by the body.

Beef contains high amounts of protein with 100 grams of ground beef containing 26 grams of protein. Beef protein has a high bioavailability of 80-82%. It also has a high digestibility with a PDCAAS of 0.92.

Milk and Dairy Products

dairy protein sources

Milk is a nutrient-rich secretion obtained from mammary glands and is the primary source of nutrition for infants. There are a number of available types of milks, but cow’s milk is the most consumed.

Milk and products made of milk, dairy products, are popular protein food sources. These include yogurt, cheese, butter, and cream. Aside from being excellent protein sources, milk and dairy products also contain valuable nutrients such as calcium and vitamins.

A glass of 1% fat milk can contain around eight grams of protein while a hundred grams of cheddar cheese has 25 grams of protein. It has a high protein bioavailability of 84-90% and milk protein has the highest digestibility with a PDCAAS of 1.0.

Soy

Soy, from soya beans, is a legume native to Asia. It is used in many traditional Asian dishes and is processed into numerous food items such as soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and fermented bean paste.

Soy contains high amounts of protein with 100 grams of soybeans having 36 grams of protein. Soy protein has a bioavailability of 91-96% and has the highest digestibility with a PDCAAS of 1.0

Final Thoughts

Protein bioavailability highly depends on the protein food source. There are numerous high quality and high protein food sources such as pork, beef, meat, soy, and eggs. Aside from bioavailability and digestibility, protein food sources should also be evaluated depending on whether they are complete or incomplete protein sources.

References

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When Should You Take Pre-Workout? Does Timing Matter?

Pre-workouts are popular supplements used to increase an individual’s overall output while training. The ingredients in a pre-workout have an ergogenic effect on the body – they enhance performance by increasing energy levels and allow for greater capacity in the gym. While “pre” in pre-workout defines when they are taken, the optimal time to consume them can change based on a number of factors.

Pre-workouts are generally taken 30-60 minutes before training to ensure maximum nutrient absorption. With that said, some supplements will have suggested timing detailed on their nutrition facts label. Individual stimulant sensitivities and metabolism should also be considered.

The most common mistake among people using pre-workouts is that they take them right before training. In this article, we will detail why doing so is inefficient and diminishes the potential of the supplement.

What is a Pre-Workout?

Pre-workouts are a type of fitness supplement used to increase athletic ability. The ingredients stimulate the nervous system resulting in greater physical and mental capacity.

They typically come in powdered form and are designed to be mixed with water and taken before a workout.

Common Ingredients Found in Pre-Workouts

pre-workout-ingredients

Pre-workouts consist of various ingredients and the formulas can differ from one brand to the other. However, there are certain ingredients that can be found in most of them.

Caffeine

Caffeine is the most common stimulant in pre-workouts. Due to its size and solubility, caffeine can easily pass through epithelial tissues meaning it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream through the tissues in the gastrointestinal tract: the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

Studies show caffeine can reach peak levels in the blood from 15-120 minutes, depending on the individual. However, 99% can be absorbed within 45 minutes of ingestion.

Upon entering the bloodstream, caffeine can enhance performance through several mechanisms:

  1. Act as an adenosine antagonist, thereby reducing drowsiness and increasing blood pressure.
  2. Increase fatty acid oxidation and shift energy consumption from carbohydrate stores to fat stores.
  3. Increase post-exercise carbohydrate reserves for enhanced recovery.
  4. Mobilize intracellular calcium, thus enhancing contractile force.

On average, caffeine in the bloodstream lasts about five hours. However, caffeine studies showing the wide range of elimination of 1.5 to 9.5 hours mean high variability from person to person. After which, the liver then metabolizes the caffeine in the body into paraxanthine, theophylline, and theobromine.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is an organic compound that is naturally produced in the body (specifically the liver, kidneys, and pancreas).

It is involved in one of the processes that produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the major energy currency in the body. Inside the mitochondria, a working cell uses ATP for various cellular processes and when used up, ATP is reduced into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). There are a few ways the cell can generate more ATP, but one way is to use creatine to recycle ADP back into ATP. Thus, dietary creatine can boost muscle workload, enhance muscle fiber size, increase lean body mass, and help prevent tissue damage.

Upon ingestion, five grams of dietary creatine would take around an hour to reach peak plasma levels, while it would take a little over two hours for 20 grams. From the blood, creatine can then be bound to various cells in the body, but 95% of the creatine will end up predominantly absorbed by the skeletal muscles.

The time it would take creatine to remain bound to the skeletal muscles depends on several factors:

  • Insulin levels
  • Muscle creatine levels
  • Amount of exercise.

Regardless, the half-life of creatine is only around three hours. After that, creatine is degraded into creatinine which is then filtered by the kidneys where it’s expelled via urination.

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide is a small gaseous molecule that naturally occurs in all cells of the body. Produced by a number of enzymes called nitric oxide synthases, it is a key component in cell signaling due to its high reactivity and diffusion rate.

Nitric oxide signals vascular smooth muscles to relax, effectively causing vasodilation and subsequently increasing blood flow. The molecule is also involved in oxygen consumption in the cell. When oxygen levels are high, cells prefer to use nitric oxide in energy production instead of oxygen.

Supplementary nitric oxide is a common ingredient in pre-workouts because as a vasodilator, it helps the blood carry nutrients and oxygen around the body more effectively. Additional nitric oxide in the muscle cells can also reduce oxygen consumption and reduce muscle soreness.

The half life of nitric oxide is incredibly quick – just a matter of seconds. However, this depends on the oxygen levels of the surrounding environment and in what form it is.

As an essential molecule, nitric oxide is both produced by the body and can be taken from the air. Metabolism of nitric oxide involves the conversion of nitric oxide to other nitrogenous forms (i.e., nitrite, nitrate, ammonia). Depending on the form, these are then expelled from the body through exhalation, urination, and defecation.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate is a slightly alkaline, or basic, salt. To understand how sodium bicarbonate can help the body during a workout, a few concepts must be discussed.

During intense training, muscle cells are being depleted of oxygen. This does not stop the body from moving, however the muscles produce energy from a different pathway – the anaerobic pathway.

The anaerobic pathway is less efficient than the aerobic pathway that requires oxygen. The anaerobic pathway produces lactic acid as a byproduct. The accumulation of lactic acid acidifies the muscle cells and eventually induces muscle soreness and fatigue.

Blood naturally contains a buffer solution to try and maintain the acidity in the body, but intense physical activity can eventually overwhelm this system. This is where sodium bicarbonate can help. Sodium bicarbonate acts as an additional buffer for this acidification. So even when the body begins to produce energy through the anaerobic pathway, the additional buffer that sodium bicarbonate provides can help maintain the natural acidity required, decreasing muscle soreness and fatigue.

Studies show supplementary sodium bicarbonate peak in the blood between 60-90 minutes. Sodium bicarbonate can last in the body for up to 24 hours, but it highly depends on how much sodium bicarbonate was used to counter the lactic acid produced from the workout. Once used up, sodium bicarbonate is simply broken down to carbon dioxide and water.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is a nonessential beta amino acid, meaning it is produced by the body and does not have to come from food. Unlike most amino acids, beta-alanine is not found in any major protein in the body meaning its primary function is not as a building block for proteins. However, beta-alanine has a different function. Beta-alanine interacts with histidine in the muscles, forming carnosine, and carnosine has been shown to effectively enhance physical performance.

Similar to how sodium bicarbonate works, carnosine also acts as a buffer. Countering the acidity of the lactic acid produced by intense physical activity can reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

Additionally, carnosine acts as an antioxidant – scavenging free radicals in the body that contribute to DNA damage and even aging. As a fitness supplement, an antioxidant such as carnosine helps muscles release the carbohydrate stores from glycogen, thus providing muscle cells access to glucose in order to use it for energy production.

Since beta-alanine is not readily used in different processes in the body, the amino acid can stay in the body for a relatively long time. Beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to increase carnosine content in muscles by 20-80%.

However, increase in carnosine may be observed after several doses of beta-alanine across a long period. A study providing participants 4-6 grams of beta-alanine per day observed 20-30% increase in carnosine after two weeks, 40-60% after four weeks, and 80% after 10 weeks.

When to Drink a Pre-Workout?

Pre-“ is a prefix meaning “before.” This means a pre-workout should be taken before a workout. Supplement manufacturers typically feature an industry standard of 30-60 minutes. This is because most pre-workouts contain caffeine and that is about enough time for the caffeine to reach peak levels as stated above.

As one might expect, manufacturer recommendations vary based on their ingredient list. If the manufacturer has a recommendation in terms of when to drink pre-workout, then their instructions should be followed. However, if nothing is stated and it contains caffeine, then 30-60 minutes is a good guideline to follow.

The problem in not taking a pre-workout as suggested is because you lose the potential of the supplement. For example, taking a pre-workout right before the workout means that you will be engaging in physical activity without the benefits of the ingredients because the time given was insufficient for the nutrients to be absorbed and circulated in the body.

Final Thoughts

Pre-workout supplements are helpful tools to maximize any workout, and they have been proven to enhance physical performance – as long as they are taken at the right time. Not only do the ingredients of a pre-workout dictate the benefits gained, but also the right time to take a pre-workout.

References

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Proctologist vs Gastroenterologist: What’s the Difference?

Digestive problems and illnesses can manifest due to the lack of a healthy and nutritious diet and an imbalance in macronutrient intake. Gastroenterologists and proctologists have overlapping and interrelated areas of expertise in this field. As such, people often get confused about which specialist to see for their digestive problem.

Gastroenterologists are specialists in internal medicine related to the normal functioning of the digestive tract. They diagnose and treat diseases of the digestive tract that require medication and monitoring. Proctologists, on the other hand, are specialists in surgery of serious diseases related to the colon, rectum, and anal canal.

This article will show the difference between gastroenterologists and proctologists, particularly in terms of diagnostic procedures, types of diseases they treat, and the treatment procedures they perform.

What is a Gastroenterologist?

Gastroenterologists are the experts in the physiology of the digestive organs and the normal function of the digestive tract. They specialize in assessing the movement of food and liquid in the stomach and intestines and in determining any irregularities in digestion and absorption of nutrients.

They also diagnose people who have problems with their bowel movement as well as other related organs including the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and the bile ducts.

They are trained in using scopes to check the condition of the digestive tract and diagnose digestive illnesses. They also provide a prescription for medication and additional assistive support and monitoring for any complication during the treatment.

tummy ache man

Diagnostic Procedures

Gastroenterologists diagnose illnesses through various procedures. Some of the most common diagnostic procedures for gastroenterologists are endoscopy and colonoscopy.

Endoscopy involves inserting a flexible, narrow tube equipped with a light and a camera called the endoscope into the throat to determine the condition of the digestive tract, from the esophagus to the duodenum or the entrance to the small intestine. The colonoscopy, on the other hand, involves inserting a tube scope called a colonoscope into the rectum to determine the condition of the colon.

Proctoscopy is also another diagnostic method where-in the doctor inserts the proctoscope or a small and hollow metal tube with a small light bulb to check the condition of the anal cavity and the sigmoid colon or the end part of the colon that leads to the rectum.

Gastroenterologists can also use capsule endoscopy for a more in-depth inspection of the digestive tract, particularly inside the small intestine. This is an effective method for inspecting the small intestine since traditional endoscopy is unable to go beyond the duodenum.

The capsule endoscopy works by swallowing a pill camera, or a camera enclosed within a vitamin-sized pill that takes thousands of images of the digestive tract and transmits the images through a device worn around the waist.

Gastroenterologists also conduct other imaging procedures including ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, and x-rays depending on the symptoms. Other diagnostic procedures that gastroenterologists conduct are gastroscopy, endoscopic ultrasounds, double-balloon enteroscopy, and sigmoidoscopies.

doctor checking xray

They can also perform liver biopsies to diagnose fibrosis or liver inflammation. Depending on the severity of the disease, the gastroenterologist can prescribe medication or refer the individual to a proctologist to determine if surgery is necessary.

Types of Diseases

Gastroenterologists specialize in providing medication for people suffering from digestive illnesses as well as more serious diseases like polyps, cancer, and ulcer. One of the most common conditions that gastroenterologists treat is heartburn or irritation of the lining of the esophagus caused by the burning sensation that occurs when acid from the stomach goes up the esophagus.

Frequent heartburn caused by acid reflux can be a sign of a more serious disease called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This disease is more common for people who are overweight or heavy smokers.

Gastroenterologists can also provide medication for inflammatory bowel disease, colon polyps, peptic ulcer, and hepatitis. They can also provide medication for people suffering from Celiac Disease or the disease where the immune system attacks and damages the small intestine when it detects gluten in the system. They conduct a biopsy to extract a small part of the small intestine to determine the extent of the damage and provide treatment recommendations.

Aside from serious illnesses, gastroenterologists can also help people with lactose intolerance. They can prescribe supplements like lactase enzymes that can help in digesting lactose. They can also provide advice for dietary changes that can help relieve symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Treatment Procedures

Gastroenterologists provide treatment through non-surgical methods. They can perform some invasive procedures for a diagnosis like an endoscopy and colonoscopy. They can also perform invasive treatment procedures like esophageal dilation to lengthen the esophagus to relieve difficulty in swallowing caused by scarring of the esophageal lining due to GERD or excess tissue.

However, gastroenterologists do not and are not trained to perform surgery. They specialize in providing daily assistance and monitoring for patients in addressing symptoms and managing the side effects of medication and providing care on a long-term basis.

rounds doctor patient advice

What is a Proctologist?

Proctologist is an outdated term that refers to doctors who diagnose and treat illnesses and disorders related to the anus and the rectum. Today, proctologists are called colon and rectal surgeons or Colorectal Surgeons.

Colorectal surgeons diagnose and treat chronic and acute diseases of the colon and rectum but are also trained in treating diseases of the digestive tract up to the anal and peri-anal area.

Colorectal surgeons start as general surgeons who perform surgery on all areas of the GI tract. Thus, they have similar training and expertise in conducting diagnostic procedures as gastroenterologists such as endoscopy and colonoscopy. For serious conditions of the rectum up to the colon, however, colorectal surgeons are the specialists for performing surgery.

Diagnostic Procedures

Colorectal surgeons perform more specific diagnostic tests than gastroenterologists due to their specialization in the colon and rectum area. They perform a wide range of diagnostic procedures that may or may not require the use of equipment.

The Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is the basic diagnostic procedure for colorectal surgeons for examining the rectum and other organs, including the prostate. This procedure involves inserting a gloved finger with lubrication in the anus and into the rectum to feel any bumps and spots as signs of abnormalities.

The anoscopy is another diagnostic procedure that involves using the anoscope, a tubular instrument made of disposable plastic or sterilizable steel, which allows the doctor to check the tissue in the anal canal and rectum. The proctoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are similar diagnostic procedures for examining tissue for abnormality.

The barium enema and the endorectal ultrasound are both imaging tests to determine abnormalities in the colon and rectum, respectively. Usually, colorectal surgeons perform imaging tests to determine any cancerous mass in the colorectal region.

surgeons inside operating room

Types of Diseases

Colorectal surgeons can treat serious cases of hemorrhoids, especially in cases where the veins inside or outside the anus are severely swollen and cannot be treated quickly with oral and topical medication. They can also operate on anal fissures or tear in the anal canal that can lead to infections known as abscess and fistulae. They can also remove anal skin tags or lumps around the surface of the anus.

Colorectal surgeons can also remove polyps or non-cancerous or pre-cancerous mass as well as other kinds of masses like diverticulitis which occurs in the lining of the digestive tract. They can also treat several types of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

Furthermore, they can also treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes.

Treatment Procedures

Polypectomy is the main procedure for removing polyps in the lining of the colon and rectum. This involves using wire loop forceps or electric current to burn and remove the pre-cancerous mass.

Other surgeries that colorectal surgeons perform are bowel obstruction repair or removing obstruction in the bowel area; colectomy or repair of the colon; colostomy or the diversion of the stool to exit through the abdomen; and colonoscopy with polypectomy or colon examination and removal of existing polyps.

Colorectal surgeons can also perform microsurgeries which involve making small incisions under a laparoscope. The pelvic laparoscopy is an example of microsurgery which is performed when repairing or removing tissue in the colon. It can also be used to repair or remove parts of the urinary tract as well as the ovaries and uterus.

When to See a Gastroenterologist or Proctologist?

doctor consult woman

It is best to see a gastroenterologist for problems related to the gut or gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of gut problems include stomach pain, heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, and yellowing of the skin. Serious symptoms can include rectal bleeding and frequent abdominal pains.

Conversely, it is best to seek a colorectal surgeon for problems related specifically to the colon and rectum. Symptoms of colon or rectal diseases include anal itching or pain, with serious cases accompanied by bleeding or pus discharge. Cases of anal warts and fecal incontinence are also urgent cases that must be consulted with a colorectal surgeon immediately.

Usually, it is not imperative to go directly to a colorectal surgeon for examination and diagnosis because gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons often work closely. These two professions work together to provide surgical and non-surgical treatment.

Gastroenterology is a section of internal medicine while proctology is a section of general surgery. Thus, these two fields naturally go hand-in-hand during the treatment of digestive conditions.

Conclusion

Gastroenterologists and proctologist, or colorectal surgeons, have similarities in their specialty in the human anatomy. However, they have distinct differences in the diagnostic procedures, types of diseases they treat, and treatment methods they employ. Proctologists are more specific and narrow in terms of the treatment procedure and are often more reserved for serious cases that require surgery.

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Is a Gastroenterologist Considered a Surgeon?

Gastroenterology is a field of medicine that involves a wide range of study of the functions of the digestive system and its disorders and diseases. While most of the diseases of the digestive system, particularly the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, require a change in diet and lifestyle as well as medication, some diseases are serious enough for a patient to become a candidate for surgery. However, surgery itself is a different field from the field of medicine.

Gastroenterologists specialize in the field of internal medicine and are experts in medically treating gastrointestinal diseases. However, they are not trained in performing surgery and are therefore not considered to be surgeons.

This article will explain the nature of gastroenterology and the diagnosis and treatment procedures that gastroenterologists perform to treat various gastrointestinal diseases. It will also illustrate the various GI diseases that require surgery and distinguish the treatment procedures between gastroenterologists and surgeons.

What is a Gastroenterologist?

Gastroenterology is the field of medicine that specializes in the functions of the digestive system. It also involves the understanding of the various diseases of the digestive system and medical ways to return the digestive system back to a normal state.

Dr. Kavin Nanda explains that Gastroenterologists are the experts in the proper functioning of the digestive system. They specialize in determining the condition of the GI tract in terms of how it handles food and moves materials through the digestive tract and how it removes waste from the body. They also assess the capability of the digestive system to break down and absorb nutrients from food.

Gastroenterologists diagnose and medically treat gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. They mostly conduct endoscopy and colonoscopy to check the condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

However, the field of gastroenterology is a subfield of internal medicine. As such, gastroenterologists are only trained in medically treating diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Surgery requires additional years of training as a general surgeon and several more years specializing in surgery of the GI tract.

Diagnostic and Treatment Procedures

Gastroenterologists perform several procedures in diagnosing diseases of the GI tract. The staple diagnostic procedure is endoscopy where-in a narrow tube equipped with a light and camera is inserted through the esophagus to check the condition of the GI tract. A colonoscopy involves a similar procedure when checking the condition of the colon and anal canal, but the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum.

For cases involving the middlemost parts of the GI tract, such as the small intestines, gastroenterologists can use capsule endoscopy where a small pill camera (a camera enclosed within a capsule) is ingested into the body and takes several pictures of the small intestine at high frequencies and deliver images to a receiver strapped along the patient’s waist. This procedure is especially useful because endoscopy often stops at the entrance of the small intestine or the duodenum.

For cases of inflammation and fibrosis, gastroenterologists can perform a biopsy by extracting a small tissue in the affected organ and interpreting results and making treatment recommendations. Depending on the severity of the condition, the gastroenterologist can prescribe medication or refer the patient to a surgeon for operation.

Gastroenterologists can also conduct imaging tests, especially at the beginning of the diagnostic process. Imaging tests are often conducted because it is non-invasive and can provide a comprehensive view of the status of the patient’s GI tract. This can involve X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, and MRI scans.

gastroenterologist patient diagnostics

More specific imaging tests can involve using scoping equipment to provide a visual image of the GI tract. The endoscopic ultrasound uses a transducer attached to the endoscope to emit sound waves as it travels through the GI tract, scanning the surrounding tissue of the GI tract and sending images to the computer. This imaging test works from the esophagus to the stomach.

Imaging test for the small intestine involves performing double-balloon enteroscopy. This imaging procedure involves using a special enteroscopy equipped with an overtube that contains a small balloon at its tip. The tube is inserted either through the esophagus or the rectum depending on the area of the small intestine to be examined. The balloon is inflated as it enters the area of the small intestine and the contact between the balloon and the intestinal wall provides real-time imaging of the area.

The Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), moreover, uses the endoscope to check the condition of the GI tract and also uses an X-ray for imaging. This diagnostic procedure involves inserting the endoscope through the esophagus until the duodenum.

Afterward, the gastroenterologist will insert a tube that contains a dye through the scope and injects it into the area. This dye allows the x-ray machine to provide accurate imaging of the walls of the GI tract.

For treatment, Gastroenterologists perform non-surgical treatment of the diseases of the GI tract. These treatment procedures are often minimally invasive. One of the common treatment procedures is esophageal dilation. This treatment procedure involves inserting an endoscope into the esophagus and inflating a small balloon to stretch the walls of the esophagus. The gastroenterologist can use anesthesia on the throat and provide sedatives to help the muscles relax during treatment.

Usually, however, Gastroenterologists are primarily responsible for long-term care for patients. They are responsible for managing the daily condition of the patients in terms of symptoms and side effects as well as coordinating care with surgeons for serious cases.

Diseases That Gastroenterologist Treat

Gastroenterologists treat GI tract diseases that require medication. These diseases include hepatitis, colitis, peptic ulcer, colon and pancreatic cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and reflux esophagitis.

doctor talking to patient

They can also treat frequent cases of heartburn and more serious cases like gastroesophageal reflux or GERD. They can also provide recommendations for diet and medication for people with Celiac Disease where the immune system damages the small intestine when it detects gluten in the body.

Diseases that Require Surgery

Surgery is necessary for removing cancerous and pre-cancerous mass in the lining of the GI tract as well as damaged parts of the GI tract. It can also repair parts of the digestive tract to prevent the development of more serious diseases.

Surgeons can perform transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) to manage the symptoms and treat GERD. This process will repair or reconstruct the valve at the entrance of the esophagus that prevents acid reflux from burning the walls of the esophageal lining. Late treatment of GERD can cause Barrett’s Esophagus or cancer.

For more serious cases of GERD, surgeons can perform ablation like Barrx Endoscopic Ablation to burn the injured or infected tissue and prevent further infection. HALO ablation is a type of ablation that removes the injured tissue to minimize the risks for the entire esophageal lining.

For surgery on the stomach and the intestines, the surgeon can perform open surgery or minimally invasive surgery. Open surgery involves a large opening in the body while minimally invasive surgery only requires a small incision to perform laparoscopy surgery.

Bowel resection is a type of open surgery that involves removing parts of the intestine that are inflamed or infected and inserting healthy parts into the system. Surgeons perform this operation for cases of diverticulum or formation of small pockets in the colon as well as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

Cholecystectomy is another form of open surgery that removes the bladder for people with cirrhosis and gallbladder cancer. This operation requires pushing the muscles and organs aside to reveal the gallbladder for extraction.

Minimally invasive surgical operations involve laparoscopic surgery which only involves making small incisions to insert small instruments for removing or repairing parts of the GI tract. Endoscopic surgery is also a minimally invasive surgical operation that involves inserting the endoscope through the esophagus and inserting small instruments through the scope to perform surgery.

surgical team

More advanced surgery involves using robotic, mechanical arms for holding the camera and surgical instruments. This form of minimally invasive surgery allows the surgeon to perform surgery in tight spaces while providing greater flexibility for more complex operations. Usually, robotic surgery is performed for extracting gallstones within minimal incisions.

Are Gastroenterologists Surgeons?

A gastroenterologist cannot be considered a surgeon given their focus on internal medicine. However, they remain in close coordination with surgeons, particularly colorectal surgeons.

Colorectal surgeons are specialists in surgery involving the colon and rectum area. While gastroenterologists are specialists in internal medicine, colorectal surgeons are specialists in general surgery.

Gastroenterologists can request a consultation with a colorectal surgeon for serious cases of Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. They are also often kept informed within the treatment process to manage the condition of the patient after surgery.

Gastroenterologists may not be considered surgeons, but the inherent relationship between the two disciplines and professions makes the surgical and treatment procedures interrelated. The collegial and professional relationship between gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons ensures complete and all-around care for patients with severe GI tract diseases.

Final Thoughts

Gastroenterology involves using medicine to treat gastrointestinal diseases. It also involves a wide range of patient management and care. Despite the lack of training of gastroenterologists in performing surgery, the relationship between gastroenterologists and surgeons in terms of utilizing and coordinating their specialized training ensures well-rounded treatment of patients, especially those with serious GI tract diseases.

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