Every Bodybuilder's Secret: Nutrient Partitioning
Nutrient partitioning isn't a new concept. It happens whether you want it to or not. Whether you're a bodybuilder or a gamer. Your body naturally partitions nutrients through hormonal and neural signals when food is consumed. The idea for athletes and bodybuilders is if there is a way to make it even better. Before we dive into whether or not you should be using a nutrient partitioner (probably should be), let's dive into what some of the common ingredients used actually do.
Nutrient Partitioning Ingredients
Berberine is a Chinese herb extract and is one of the most, if not the most
common ingredient. Berberine is known for it's anti-diabetic properties to help alleviate insulin resistance by lowering blood sugar and moderating type 2 diabetes mellitus (1). For athletes, berberine can aid in enhanced insulin receptor expressions with improved cellular glucose consumption in the presence of insulin (2).
- Banaba Leaf, also known as Lagerstroemia Speciosa, is another traditional anti-diabetic herb that aids in increasing insulin sensitivity and improving hyperglycemia (3). Banaba leaf exhibits an insulin-like glucose transport (3).
- Gymnema Sylvestre Extract is a medicinal plant that has shown promise on lipids and glucose levels. When studied, they found that gymnema sylvestre had helped with body weight, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity in subjects with metabolic syndrome (4). This ingredient works without changing the body's insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
- R-alpha-lipoic-acid is an antioxidant used to improve insulin sensitivity. Exercise mixed with R-ALA significantly increases peak oxygen levels (7). Studies show that insulin resistant objects had better results with R-ALA than those who were already insulin sensitive.
Supplements aren't the only glucose disposal agent though. Resistance training is the most profound way to increase your body's nutrient partitioning capabilities. Studies show a single session of exercise and increase insulin sensitivity for up to 16 hours post workout in healthy adults (5). High insulin sensitivity helps decrease fat storage and gain muscle in both men and women athletes.
Improving insulin sensitivity will help reduce energy stored as fat and enhance muscle growth and for athletes, what more could you ask for? Now that you know what the goals are, lets build a plan of execution.
- Resistance Train - Since insulin sensitivity is increased for 16 hours post workout, working out 4-5 days per week is ideal. The longer physical training occurs, the more long-lasting the insulin sensitivity is (6).
- Avoid junk food. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and fat will make it difficult for the body to transport the nutrients to build new muscle tissue. Complex carbohydrates will give the body more time to transport the nutrients to muscle cells.
- Use herbs when dieting and bulking. When bulking you're consuming an
excess of food and forcing the body to grow. Often times insulin sensitivity will decrease and result in an increase in body fat. If you manage this, you can reduce fat cells but keeping your body sensitive to carbohydrates. Herbs can help with the partitioning and control of blood sugar. For larger meals, complete glucose disposal agents (or nutrient partitioners) can be used. For everyday use or multiple times a day, singular herbs should be used so the results/affects are measurable.
Those who have excess bodyfat, may be insulin resistant to the foods they're consuming and a nutrient partitioner mixed with resistance training may increase their insulin sensitivity and health markers.
(1) Li C, He JZ, Zhou XD, Xu X. [Berberine regulates type 2 diabetes mellitus related with insulin resistance]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2017 Jun;42(12):2254-2260. Chinese. doi: 10.19540/j.cnki.cjcmm.20170307.014. PMID: 28822177.
(2) Kong WJ, Zhang H, Song DQ, Xue R, Zhao W, Wei J, Wang YM, Shan N, Zhou ZX, Yang P, You XF, Li ZR, Si SY, Zhao LX, Pan HN, Jiang JD. Berberine reduces insulin resistance through protein kinase C-dependent up-regulation of insulin receptor expression. Metabolism. 2009 Jan;58(1):109-19. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.08.013. PMID: 19059538.
(3). Park MY, Lee KS, Sung MK. Effects of dietary mulberry, Korean red ginseng, and banaba on glucose homeostasis in relation to PPAR-alpha, PPAR-gamma, and LPL mRNA expressions. Life Sci. 2005 Nov 12;77(26):3344-54. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2005.05.043. Epub 2005 Jun 23. PMID: 15979095.
(4) Zuñiga LY, González-Ortiz M, Martínez-Abundis E. Effect of Gymnema sylvestre Administration on Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Sensitivity, and Insulin Secretion. J Med Food. 2017 Aug;20(8):750-754. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0001. Epub 2017 May 1. PMID: 28459647.
(5) Borghouts LB, Keizer HA. Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review. Int J Sports Med. 2000 Jan;21(1):1-12. doi: 10.1055/s-2000-8847. PMID: 10683091.
(6) Wojtaszewski JF, Richter EA. Effects of acute exercise and training on insulin action and sensitivity: focus on molecular mechanisms in muscle. Essays Biochem. 2006;42:31-46. doi: 10.1042/bse0420031. PMID: 17144878.
(7) Saengsirisuwan V, Perez FR, Kinnick TR, Henriksen EJ. Effects of exercise training and antioxidant R-ALA on glucose transport in insulin-sensitive rat skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Jan;92(1):50-8. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.000617.2001. PMID: 11744642.