What is Zenko: Boost?
Zenko: Boost (Strawberry Grapefruit) post-workout, recovery blend was formulated to provide natural ingredients that work synergistically with one another (and with the body’s own biochemistry) to reduce pain, muscle damage, and inflammation, and to boost brain function and promote faster recovery after intense training. †
The Performance Enhancer
TMG, also known as Betaine, is a beetroot component and an active metabolite of Choline in the body. TMG is an osmoregulator, similar to creatine, and increasing intracellular concentrations of TMG promotes cellular hydration and resilience to stressors (R). Betaine primarily functions as a methyl donor, where it directly donates a methyl group to reduce homocysteine into L-methionine, a cardioprotective molecule required for the body’s synthesis of creatine (R). In conjunction with osmoregulation, data suggests that TMG supplementation improves physical performance. In one study investigating the effects of TMG supplementation on strength and power performance, 12 men with 3 months of resistance training who took 1.25g of TMG twice daily showed improvements in power output while slightly increasing workout volume and endurance (R, R). In a similar study, betaine supplementation “significantly improved muscle endurance in a lower body workouts by increasing the number of repetitions performed in the squat exercise, as well as improve the quality of the workout by improving the number of repetitions performed at 90% of the subject's maximal mean and peak power outputs.” (R). This was demonstrated again in a cycling/sprint performance study with TMG supplementation. All participants had a 6.4% increase in average peak power, a 5.7% maximum peak power increase, and similar increase percentages in average mean power and maximum mean power (R). †
In all studies, TMG supplementation demonstrated physical performance increases after one week, meaning consistent supplementation is necessary as Betaine requires bioaccumulation. Along with increasing power and endurance, Betaine supplementation has been shown to significantly increase IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1), an anabolic derivative of growth hormone thought to mediate cell growth and muscle protein synthesis, i.e. promote muscle growth) and also decrease cortisol, the stress hormone (R). Lastly, evidence suggests that TMG can improve physical performance secondary to that of nitric oxide (R). †
Betaine supplementation can also yield cognitive benefits and can help with bone health. Increased levels of blood betaine are positively associated with better performance of construction, reaction speed, and decision making. Also, one study demonstrated that participants with high betaine concentrations displayed slightly higher memory performance compared to those without it (R).
In human bone cells, TMG treatment activated pathways that increased osteoblast (bone forming cells) production by increasing the expression of genes (RUNX2, OSX, and SOD2) involved in producing proteins that increase bone formation and protects bone cells from stress. Betaine stimulates bone cell formation by means of activating ERK (a key osteoblastogenesis pathway) and calcium signaling. Like Vitamin D3, Betaine can activate L-type calcium channels, stimulating a calcium influx required for bone formation and modulating the uptake of calcium by bone cells. Together, ERK activation, IFG-1 production, and a calcium influx may work synergistically to help in bone cell production, and bone growth (R, R).†
Brain (and Body) Boosters
Choline is a natural, essential, vitamin-like nutrient necessary for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. In the body, it is converted to neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. In the muscles, acetylcholine is the messenger associated with muscle contraction and movement. In the brain, acetylcholine (also known as “the learning neurotransmitter”) supports memory and synaptic plasticity and promotes brain health and focus. In one study with Alzheimer’s patients, supplementation of choline “was related to better cognitive performance (R)." Improved cognition means improved memory and recall, mental clarity, and logical thinking (R, R). For all athletes, supplementing with choline is important because “strenuous and prolonged physical activity appears sufficient to significantly decrease circulating choline stores,” therefore, “oral choline supplementation might only increase endurance performance in activities that reduce circulating choline levels below normal (R)." †
Life continues after the gym. Replenish your mental alertness with this natural, nootropic stimulant without the jittery effects of caffeine. “L-Carnitine, in the form of ALCAR, is anecdotally reported as a stimulant, but effects are less than of other known stimulants (such as caffeine)” For biohackers, Acetyl-L- Carnitine (ALCAR) is often used as a natural brain booster, as it has been shown to increase alertness and restore
mitochondrial functionality while supporting neurons (R, R). In a study with centenarians (people over the age of 100) who received L-Carnitine supplementation, participants had “a reduction of total fat mass, increases total muscular mass, and facilitates an increased capacity for physical and cognitive activity by reducing fatigue and improving cognitive functions (R)." In another study with elderly participants, data showed administration of ALCAR potentially reduced physical and mental fatigue in participants and improved both the cognitive status and physical functions. ALCAR supplementation also has demonstrated an increase in attention, concentration and a decrease in mental fatigue (R). This was supported by research involving children with ADHD. The evidence suggests that treatment with carnitine can significantly decrease their attention problems (R). †
A Partnership of Anti-Inflammatories & Antioxidants:
Before diving into antioxidants, it’s important to understand their counterparts, free radicals. Free radicals are a natural, essential part of biological life, a byproduct of basic cellular oxidation processes. Evidence suggests that they play an important role in the body’s ability to adapt to training. But in excess, free radicals are harmful to the body at the cellular level. Intense training and physical activity is dependent on the increased use of oxygen, consequently increasing of highly reactive free radicals through oxidation. Adequate antioxidant intake is required to prevent oxidative stress from excess free radicals that can damage lipids, proteins and DNA. †
How do free radicals help? Cherry antioxidants, for instance, can increase the amount of time until fatigue sets in and can promote muscle recovery by reducing oxidative damage induced by muscle damaging exercise (R). And eating blue berries reduces oxidative stress and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines (R). The antioxidants in Zenko: Boost function the same way in conjunction with their anti-inflammatory effects. †
Acai Berry Extract:
Acai berry is a “super fruit” well known for its antioxidant, weight loss, anti-aging properties, but it is also rich in anthocyanidins, proanthocyanidins and flavonoids. While these antioxidants work together to benefit the body in numerous ways, Acai’s compound of interest for Zenko: Boost is the flavonoid with powerful anti-inflammatory effects, velutin. Velutin is by far the most potent flavonoid in Acai. In one study, velutin effectively inhibited the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines,” performing better than the other flavonoids tested in the study (R). †
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is well-known as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound with evidence supporting its ability to reduce muscle soreness following exercise and slightly reduce fatigue(R, R). In the same vein, MSM also reduces non-muscular pain and also appears to improve physical function in everyday activities (R). In a study involving healthy young men and exercise induced muscle damage, “10-day supplementation with MSM resulted in decreased muscle damage (R)". MSM is also a micronutrient commonly used in the treatment of joint pain. Clinical trials involving arthritis patients suggests that MSM is effective in reducing arthritic joint pain (R). †
† This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About the Author: Dennis Thompson is the President of Zenko Nutrition. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biology and has more than 2 years of experience working in a cGMP Pharmaceutical testing laboratory.