Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Kratom: Does it releive pain and is it safe? BY Jerry Brainum

Kratom is a popular natural pain remedy that is controversial for a number of reasons, as explained in this video. For the most in depth information about nutrition, exercise science, supplements, anti-aging research, fat-loss techniques that work, ergogenic aids, hormonal therapy, women's health and fitness, and much more, subscribe today to Jerry Brainum's Applied Metabolics Newsletter (

Monday, May 13, 2019


There's no big secret to gaining weight; just eat more. For many bodybuilders, however, it's not that simple. For those who have a "fast metabolism," gaining weight is often a slow, arduous process. Such people don't really have a speeding metabolism, but they do have a tendency to turn excess calories into heat. People who have a tendency to become obese have the opposite problem: a metabolism that turns calories into fat faster than you can say "Roseanne Barr."

Thin people who want to pack on some pounds have trouble eating enough to support weight gain. While it's easy to talk about eating six or more times a day, in practice that's usually unrealistic advice. Little things like work and family often interfere with meals. Of course, you can always carry premade meals packed in Tupperware, the way Mike Ashley does.

  A better solution is to supply your extra calories in liquid form. Weight-gain drinks are easy and quick to make, and there is a great variety of products. When food supplements first became popular years ago, you didn't have much choice with respect to the weight-gain versions. The few that appeared on the market had names like "Crash-wieght."

The problem with the early products was their poor quality. The protein source usually consisted of something cheap, such as powdered milk. Sugar and flavorings rounded out the ingredients. Vitamins and other nutrients were rarely included in the brew. If you consumed enough of these products, you would gain weight -- but not the right kind of weight. The high-re-fined-sugar content often resulted in increased blubber rather than muscle.

Since then weight-gain supplements have evolved considerably. Today's high-tech powders offer a veritable cornucopia of high-quality protein or amino acids and exotic nutrients. Well take a closer look at some of the features of these products later. First, we must discern exactly what it takes to gain weight.

Weight-gain Dynamics


   As the amount of potential energy in a pound of muscle is about 2,500 calories, many nutrition experts say that to gain weight you must consume at least 2,500 calories more than what your're currently eating. This should result in a gain of one pound of muscle.


That figure is simplistic, however. Because of the high thermionic ( calories into heat ) capacity of many underweight people, some folks may need to take in more than 2,500 calories. Many factors come into play here: how efficiently you use calories, your size, your body composition, and the way you exercise. In order to find the optimal amount of calories you need to take in in order to support weight gain, you will have to experiment. 


Your added calories should come from nurtient-dense foods. These are foods containing substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein, as well as calories. Low-nutrient-density foods are like those old weight-gain drinks: high in sugar and fat but low in nutrients. 


This is an important point because what you want to gain is muscle--not fat. The best way to do this is to eat a diet that's high in protein and in complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables and pasta. Research shows that calories derived from fat tend to convert to fat on your body. This is unfortunate because at nine per gram fat is the most concentrated source of calories (compared to four for both protein and carbohydrate). 


 Vince Taylor has the type of muscle density and incredible proportions that neophyte bodybuilders crave. 



Another important consideration is how fast you should gain weight. Experts say that one to two pounds per week is best. If you're putting on any more than this, it usually means that you're either holding water or gaining fat. This figure assumes that you want to look like a bodybuilder, not a sumo wrestler. 


The Effective Weight-gain Supplement 

Today's bodybuilder has a plethora of weight-gain products to choose from. The problem is in knowing how to pick a high-quality product. You must also consider taste; for example, you wouldn't want to partake of a product that has a flavor derived from animal glands. If you're going to use the product as often as you need to for it to do you any good, it has to taste good. 
Since you will most likely take the supplement in addition to your regular meals, nutrient content is vitally important. You want it to be well-balanced--high in protein and carbohydrates and low in fat. Vitamins and minerals are also important, since these nutrients are synergistic with protein and carbs. 

The protein should come from a top-quality source, such as milk or eggs. Some newer soybean-derived proteins are fortified with added amino acids, which greatly improves their biological value. For mixability and taste, however, a milk-and-egg source is usually best.

Some manufacturers tout the fact that the protein content is predigested, or broken down into amino acids, in their products, but for weight-gain purposes this offers no real  advantage. Consider this to be a sales gimmick that's  neither bad nor especially advantageous. A faster-absorbed protein doesn't speed up muscle protein synthesis.

Complex carbohydrates are best because they promote a steadier blood glucose level. This means more energy and less chance of fat deposition in your body. Weight-gain supplements typically contain glucose polymers, which function as complex carbs, as their primary carbohydrate source. Fructose is 1 12 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar, but it causes none of the insulin surges that would result in lowered blood sugar levels. Be aware, however, that fructose does eventually convert into glucose, because glucose is the only type of sugar carried in the blood. In fact, all carbohydrates eventually convert to glucose in the body.

                                         "Weight-gain supplements have 

                                        real value for those people who 

                                       can't eat large quantities of food. 

                                           They also offer convenience,

                                 ease of preparation and 'clean' calories."


Since we now know that dietary fat rapidly turns into bodyfat, a good weight-gain supplement should be low in fat. This creates a dilemma, however, since, as noted earlier, fat is the most concentrated source of calories. 

Many food supplement companies handle this problem by using medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) as the fat source in their products. MCTs burn like carbohydrates, but they have far less of a tendency to turn into bodyfat than do other forms of fat. 

Even so, don't buy the hype that MCTs burn fat. This in nonsense. As with any other nutrient MCTs contain calories (7.3 per gram). While it's true that MCTs have less of a tendency to convert to bodyfat, any excess calories--whether from fat, protein or carbs--will convert to fat. Still, the amount of  MCTs found in most weight-gain products won't promote fat deposition. 

A good weight-gain product also should contain a well-balanced vitamin-mineral profile. Although it's true that you can take your vitamins and minerals separately, many people don't like the idea of swallowing lots of pills, and so they prefer to have these nutrients incorporated into their weight-gain drinks

Because of the intense competition in the health product field, however, many supplement companies also add nutrients of questionable value in order to charge more for their products.  These nutrients supposedly have "anabolic effects" but usually it's hard to understand why they'd be in a product designed for weight gain.                                                                                        

Take for example, L-carnitine. This is a substance that the body makes from two amino acids. Except in rare instances the body makes enough to support anyone's needs. This is good because the body uses carnitine to burn fat. When you take a weight-gain supplement, however, your main goals don't involve fat burning. Besides, the tiny amount of carnitine included in such products has no fat-burning effect. It does look good on the label though.

Some added ingredients, such as chromium, may have value in a weight-gain product. Chromium helps increase insulin effectiveness, and insulin promotes muscle protein synthesis. This is an advantage for those who are trying to increase muscular mass. Branched-chain amino acids, which are often found in weight-gain products, have a protein-sparing action that seems to offer dubious benefits for a person on a weight-gain diet that's loaded with carbohydrates and calories.       

                                 What's out there    


Believe it or not, Lee Labrada was once a skinny, frail teenager.

 Don't misconstrue the above criticisms. Weight-gain supplements have real value for those people who can't eat large quantities of food. They also offer convenience, ease of preparation and "clean" calories--those high-quality protein and carbohydrates that are absolutely vital to gaining weight. 


  Bill Grant, a former Mr. World and a top professional bodybuilder, is a strong believer in weight-gain drinks. Bill has always had problems putting on weight and said he depends on weight-gain supplements because he doesn't have the appetite to eat large amounts of food. He uses weight-gain drinks at least three times a day, usually between meals, and likes to take his last drink of the day right before bed. This practice is very effective in packing on weight, he said--weight that is all muscle.

                  The beef that Mike built: Mike Christian shows his stuff

   Whatever supplement you prefer, most companies suggest taking them between regular meals. The preferred mixing mediums are nonfat milk and water. Whole milk contains too much fat for most people--unless you're build like Mahatma Gandhi. 

 The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of old school articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 40 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Ironman, Muscular Developement, and other magazines. For Jerry’s recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at

Monday, February 18, 2019

Supplements on a budget By Jerry Brainum

Jerry Brainum discusses what he considers the most essential food supplements for the majority of those involved in bodybuilding, fitness, or sports activities. He also explains why he choose those supplements

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©,2019 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited

Have you been ripped off  by supplement makers whose products don’t work as advertised? Want to know the truth about them? Check out Jerry Brainum's book Natural Anabolics, available at


The Applied Ergogenics blog is a collection of articles written and published by Jerry Brainum over the past 20 years. These articles have appeared in Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, and other magazines. Many of the posts on the blog are original articles, having appeared here for the first time. For Jerry’s most recent articles, which are far more in depth than anything that appears on this blog site, please subscribe to his Applied Metabolics Newsletter, at This newsletter, which is more correctly referred to as a monthly e-book, since its average length is 35 to 40 pages, contains the latest findings about nutrition, exercise science, fat-loss, anti-aging, ergogenic aids, food supplements, and other topics. For 33 cents a day you get the benefit of Jerry’s 53 years of writing and intense study of all matters pertaining to fitness,health, bodybuilding, and disease prevention.


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