Before we proceed, I would like to explain what insulin is and what it does. Beta cells in the pancreas make a hormone called insulin, which helps transport the glucose that enters the bloodstream after a carbohydrate containing meal (fats and protein spike insulin too, but not as much) into the body’s tissue, especially liver and muscles. Insulin ensures that our body either uses or stores this glucose, helping manage blood sugar levels.
Why do we need glucose? For proper cognitive function (memory, perception and cognition), a constant supply of glucose to the brain is required. Low levels of glucose can negatively impact your cognitive function and mood, which is why if we go without carbohydrates for too long, we start to feel down. Outside of the brain, glucose is important for muscle performance, where it is stored intramuscular (inside the muscle) as glycogen, to be used as energy when we need it.
But, we can get too much glucose. When glucose starts to build up in the blood stream and is not utilised fast of efficient enough, it can cause diabetes complication.
Besides that, excessive insulin also leads to fat gain, driving most cells to preferentially oxidise carbohydrates instead of fatty acids, indirectly stimulating fat gain.
So we know about insulin's effect on carbohydrates, and in fats, but what about protein? Insulin wouldn't be called "the most anabolic hormone" if it didn't effect protein synthesis. Insulin increases protein synthesis by increasing the amount of amino acids transported into the cells (this will make more sense further down as you read on). Insulin also reduces protein catabolism and inhibits the generation of amino acids into glucose. The absence of insulin leads to increased protein catabolism (muscle wastage) and depletion of protein stores, leading to an increase in plasma amino acids, stopping protein synthesis.
Now that I’ve got the basics of insulin out the way, onto Applied Nutrition I Drive itself!
GLUCOSE DISPOSAL AGENT
Applied Nutrition I Drive is a natural non-hormonal product that has been on the market now for a few years. I will be breaking down to explain just why I believe no matter what your goals are, I Drive can help increase the benefits and decrease the time span of seeing results.
A glucose disposal agent is a product that enhances the update of nutrients, making sure you utilise the carbohydrate nutrient especially, to its full potential.
How does it do these? Let’s take a closer look at the compounds found in Applied Nutrition I Drive.
Vitamin C is vital for consumption due to our bodies not being able to produce in naturally due to the absence of the enzyme to create it known as L-gulonolactone oxidase. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, helping the body remove toxins.
So why is Vitamin C vital? Because it plays an important role in the formation and repair of bone, muscle tissue, collagen, skin, cartilage, your teeth, blood vessels, and aiding with your immune system.
Normally, high blood sugar inhibits the abortion of Vitamin C which is why people with hyperglycemia usually supplement with higher Vitamin C doses. I thought to myself “why would Applied Nutrition I Drive require it for that reason, if it’s supposed to help normalise blood sugar?” It was then I had a flashback to when I was researching a medication my mother started taking (she has Type 2 Diabetes), by the name of Metformin. Contrary to popular belief, Metformin is not oral insulin, so let’s just nip that in the bud while I am here.
Why the parallel of Applied Nutrition I Drive and Metformin? One of the actions of Metformin is increasing the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin – sound familiar? So naturally a light bulb popped on and reminded me of another reason Vitamin C is included in Applied Nutrition I Drive. Vitamin C when combined with a GDA has shown to help further reduce blood glucose levels and improve Glycosylated Haemoglobin count.
Hermoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that is responsible for transporting oxygen, and in long term high blood sugar levels, often a sugar (glucose) attaches itself to the hermoglobin which then becomes Glycosylated Haemoglobin. Reducing Glycosylated Haemoglobin count is a long term benefit since the attached glucose stays with the red blood cell for the remainder of its life (usually 120 days). So to myself it makes sense why Vitamin C is included.
Vitamin B6 and basically all the B vitamins are great for athletes, helping with their energy levels. This is why you’ll see B vitamins far above the 100% minimum required dosage when you look at sports specific specialisation.
Diabetics and people with poor blood sugar control almost always have a Vitamin B6 deficiency, which is important for glucose tolerance and healthy insulin and glucagon secretion. We’ve all heard of insulin and how it helps lower blood sugar, well glucagon helps increase it and in healthy individuals they work in harmony to balance blood sugar levels. But it is the latter which is the key point, glucose tolerance.
What do we do after taking a dose of Applied Nutrition I Drive? We eat carbs! But I don’t eat glucose, I eat complex carbs I hear you say. It doesn’t matter, all carbohydrates form glucose when digested. Now if your body can’t deal with that glucose, especially high amounts of it during the bulking period, you will suffer with gastric stress, bloat, fatigue and brain fog, and no one wants that. So better safe than sorry, let’s make sure your body is able to accept them macros!
The actual role on Vitamin D and glucose is poorly understood, but the theory is that is plays a role in glucose homeostasis and a Vitamin D deficiency leads to poor insulin secretion, impaired glucose metabolism (glycosylated haemoglobin) and insulin resistance.
Vitamin D also plays an important role in the regulation of calcium, which helps to control the release of insulin. A deficiency in Calcium may hinder normal insulin release. But where is the calcium in Applied Nutrition I Drive? It’s not needed, as the average person (let along a high protein diet fed athlete) already obtains enough from food, but we do not get enough Vitamin D.
Chromium is an important mineral the body requires to process macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein). It is a necessity for glucose metabolism but has very poor bioavailability (the body can’t absorb most of it). Supplementing with Chromium significantly improvises glucose metabolism, helps reduce body fat and promotes lean muscle growth.
A few of the ways Chromium does this is by increasing insulin’s ability to bind to cells, increases insulin receptor numbers on cells, and improves insulin’s ability to detect glucose molecules in the blood. As you can see, it “supercharges” insulin, but how do you enhance its absorption to reap these benefits? You use chromium picolinate which has been clinically shown to be better absorbed.
In the modern western diet, most individuals eat far too much sugar, which over time creates long term blood sugar imbalances, leading to a deficiency in copper. The addition of copper here is to simply assure you are not deficient, as a deficiency in copper seriously weakens the body’s immune system. Of course this improves the smarter you eat, as complex carbohydrates protect against the morbidity and mortality of copper deficiency. Of course that would be in an ideal world where sugars are avoided.
One of the main active ingredients in gymnema sylvestre is gymnemic acid. The structure of gymnemic acid is very similar to that of glucose, but it does not affect the body in the same way. One way it affects the body is by decreasing our desire, our need to eat sugar (by suppressing taste sensitivity to sweetness) when consumed before ingesting simple carbohydrates. Basically it stops the sweet tooth in its tracts.
The main role however is how Gymnema sylvestre regulates carbohydrate abortion and glucose utilisation. Gymnema sylvestre effects the digestive tract by inhibiting the secretion of glucose-stimulated gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP). The result is inhibition of intestinal glucose absorption, which lowers blood sugar levels. Basically it decreases sugar absorption, allowing your body to reach a healthier blood sugar level.
While doing that though, Gymnemic Acids help regenerate islet beta cells within the pancreas, whose primary function is to store and release insulin, promoting greater insulin release. This, as discussed earlier, promotes blood glucose to enter muscle tissues (glycogen) rather than be stored as fat.
NA (SODIUM)-R-ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
NA-R-Ala is a powerful antioxidant that has been used for years to help treat insulin resistance. NA-R-Ala is a more bioavailable form of alpha lipoic acid that can enter cells and do its work at the mitochondria level. Think of a cell and inside that cell there are many different components, much smaller in size. The main role for the mitochondria is the production of ATP, our body’s energy production.
When our cells sense high blood sugar levels, they decrease their insulin usage so they are not flooded with glucose. By keeping glucose out, the cells prevents burning more glucose than their antioxidant systems can safely manage, as doing so would produce large amounts of free radicals that could damage the DNA and outer membrane of the cell, stopping the cell working properly or even killing.
This causes the cells to become insulin resistant over time when we intake too much sugar, and because our cells stop using as much glucose, our blood sugar levels rise. Because of NA-R-Ala is such a great antioxidant, it allows our cells to safety burn off more glucose once it enters their mitochondria, safely reversing insulin insensitivity and by proxy reduces blood sugar levels.
BITTER MELON EXTRACT
Bitter Melon extract has been used for centuries in Asia to help treat diabetes. Bitter Melon extract contains four main actives known as bitters, with anti-diabetic properties, including charantin which has been confirmed to have a blood sugar lowering effect, vicine and an insulin-like bitter known as polypeptide-p. Bitter Melon also contains lectin which lowers blood sugar by suppressing the appetite. Lectin is thought to be the major factor in Bitter Melons hypoglycemic effect that happens after ingesting the compound due to this action.
Now let’s look at the four actives as a whole and how they work. Once your body absorbs Bitter Melon extract, they release an enzyme called AMPK that is responsible for transporting glucose from the blood and drive it into the cells, which we learned above is then burned as energy. This happens during exercise as well without Bitter Melon extract, as the very same enzyme, AMPK, is released. To put it into layman’s terms, Bitter Melon extract stimulates the very same glucose burning chain of events as exercise! Now just think, if you take Bitter Melon extract, combine it with exercise and doubling the amount of AMPK released and you can in theory eat high carb meals after taking Applied Nutrition I Drive and get leaner!
CINNAMON BARK EXTRACT
Relieving indigestion is one benefit of Cinnamon Bark extract, which comes in handy for those high carb meals. The role we are looking at here though is Cinnamon Barks ability to reduce serum glucose (blood sugar), triglycerides (a type of blood fat), LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels, which is impressive from the get go!
The active component of Cinnamon that is responsible for this insulin-like activity is methylhydroxychalcone polymer, or MHCP for short. MHCP is highly effective at providing the same biological activity as insulin itself, not only in increasing the blood glucose uptake by cells (remember AMPK?), but also by stimulating glycogen synthesis (converting glucose into the muscle stored energy glycogen) thereby increasing your exercise endurance and muscle volume. You hear bodybuilders say they feel “flat”, this is because their muscles lack glycogen so they aren’t as full.
MHCP also works in synergy (compliments the actions of) insulin already in your body, by making the cells more responsive to insulin itself. This increased insulin sensitivity allows your body to better use circulating glucose as energy, decreasing the familiar glycated haemoglobin count. Just in case you are unaware, people with type 2 diabetes have terrible insulin sensitivity which is why their blood sugars are high. The body can’t use the glucose in order to stay healthy.
PRICKLY PEAR EXTRACT
An ingredient that has shown to reduce blood sugar levels by up to 46%, as well as lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. The way is lowers blood sugar is by slowing down the speed in which glucose enters the blood stream once ingested. On top of that it also accelerates cell uptake of glucose to be burned as energy. Combine slow sugar release and fast conversion to energy and in theory you can give your metabolism a great boost, allowing your body to make better use of overindulged carbohydrates after Applied Nutrition I Drive.
Fenugreek, specifically its active Hydroxyleucine, has demonstrated an ability to activate PI3K, a key signalling intermediate in leptin and insulin to drive glucose intramuscular (into the muscle) and be stored as glycogen.
Berberine, a powerful antioxidant and immune boosting ingredient that can be extracted from several plants. One big feature however is the stimulation of an enzyme we have already discussed? Any guesses on this exercise released compound? AMPK! Yes just like Bitter Melon and Cinnamon before it, Berberine is great at stimulating the release of AMPK. Earlier you might have thought to yourself, “won’t all this lower my blood sugar too much?” and the simple answer is no. The ingredients are normoglycemic, meaning they will only lower blood sugar levels if they are elevated, such as after a high carb meal.
There’s more good news too! Berberine has the ability to inhibit fat storage and enhances brown adipose tissue activity (adipose is another word for fat). Brown fat loaded with mitochondria that convert the fat directly to energy to produce heat (which is what makes it brown). Think of it as a heat-generating fat that burns energy instead of storing it. Brown fat is often located in the neck area, around blood vessels (helps keep your blood warm), and dotted in around white fat in visceral fat tissue (the type of fat we think of when we describe someone’s build). Slender people, young people and those with healthy blood sugar levels tend to have higher levels of brown fat than others.
Corosolic acid is the active in Banaba Leaf. It works by improving the sensitivity of the insulin receptor by inhibiting a protein in the body called tyrosine phosphatase. This tyrosine phosphatase reduces insulin receptor site activity, so by blocking it you get greater receptor activity. The second path of action for corosolic acid is its ability to open an entirely new insulin pathway in cells for insulin uptake.
Bioperine increases the blood flow towards the gut and also increase the absorption of many nutrients. Bioperine can also help increase thermogenesis, generating a lot of energy during the metabolism of different compounds, providing nourishment to the body’s muscles. Basically Bioperine makes sure the ingredients in Applied Nutrition I Drive are absorbed as much as your body as possible.
GINGER ROOT EXTRACT
Gingerol in Ginger Root extract is one of the primary actives that helps stimulate saliva, bile and gastric juice production, aiding in digestion which is pretty important for enhanced nutrient utilisation and reducing gastric distress after high calorie carbohydrate meals.
What have we learned about Applied Nutrition I Drive? It activates enzymes usually only released when we exercise, it inhibits the absorption of sugar, improves energy levels, increases glycogen storage, inhibits fat gain, aids in fat loss, decreases sweet cravings, improves gastric distress and digestion, normalises blood sugar and is a great antioxidant. Wow that’s a hell of a list!