When it comes to getting lean while dieting or trying to stay lean while building muscle, manipulating your carbohydrate intake usually plays a major role in your success. Unless you are part of the 1% of the population with exceptional genetics, odds are you will have to pay attention to your carbohydrate intake to avoid getting fat. With recent advancements in supplement technology, glucose disposal agents (gda) were created to help your body optimally process carbohydrates so that they will be more likely to be used as fuel instead of being stored as fat. In this article we will discuss the effect carbohydrates have on the body, and how glucose disposal agents can help you get lean, or stay lean while eating more carbs.
Carbohydrates Effects On The Body
Before we get into what glucose disposal agents are, and what they do, let’s talk a little but about the effect carbohydrates have on the body. Once you have this understanding you’ll see why there is a need for glucose disposal agents and why they work they way they do.
While carbohydrates are considered to be the primary source of fuel for our bodies, they are actually not needed for survival. Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that are non essential. This means that we can survive on zero carbs because our body will use other sources as fuel. We would die if we tried to eat zero protein or zero fat.
Even though carbohydrates are non essential, our bodies will still turn to them first for fuel if we consume them. When we consume carbohydrates they are digested and turned into glucose. Glucose is essentially a simple sugar. Glucose then enters the blood stream where it can be used by the body. The glycemic index of the carbohydrate will determine how fast the carbohydrate is turned into glucose. The faster that this process happens the faster our blood sugar levels rise. When our body recognizes this spike in blood sugar our body will tigger the pancreas to release insulin to shuttle this sugar around and bring our blood sugar levels back down to normal. Excess carbohydrates are stored as glycogen, which is a fuel reserve, in the muscles and liver. If there is too much excess, and it cannot be stored as glycogen, it will either be stored as fat or excreted from the body.
Excess Carbs And Insulin Resistance
In the previous section we briefly touched on the fact that when we eat carbohydrates we cause a spike in blood sugar which causes our body to release insulin. Insulin’s job is to bring our blood sugar levels back down.
A couple of problems arise when we continually eat an excessive amount of carbohydrates. When we constantly have elevated blood sugar levels we will constantly have insulin in our blood stream. Once insulin is introduced to the blood stream our body goes from fat burning mode to fat storing mode. Another problem is that if our body will eventually build up a resistance to all of this insulin. This means that over time your body will need more and more insulin to bring your blood sugar back down. This can lead to a number of health issues like diabetes as well as making it extremely difficult for you to lose weight. Ever hear somebody say they they’re not eating that much and don’t know why they’re not losing weight? Odds are they have built up a tolerance to insulin and don’t even know it.
Glucose Disposal Agents To The Rescue
Glucose Disposal Agents are supplements that help your body digest carbs and direct them towards muscle glycogen storage. They enhance the power of insulin by improving insulin sensitivity in muscle cells, ensuring the carbs you do eat go towards replenishing glycogen and supporting muscle growth rather than building up your fat stores. In a sense, GDAs enhance your body’s response to exercise, thereby supporting better performance, recovery, and body composition.
GDAs contain a wide assortment of compounds that support glucose disposal. GDAs not only help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin release, but they also optimize nutrient partitioning (how your body stores nutrients). Some of the most effective being alpha lipoic acid (ALA), berberine, banaba leaf, bitter melon, chromium, and gymnema.
Common Glucose Disposal Agent Ingredients
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
ALA is a fatty acid present in your cell mitochondria that function as important cofactors in energy production. ALA research has been shown to improve glycogen storage and lowers blood sugar due to its interaction with GLUT-4, one of the primary glucose transporters in the body.(1,2)
Leaves from the banaba plant contain a compound called corosolic acid. This compound has been shown to be a potent insulin mimetic which helps drive glucose and other essential nutrients required for muscle growth (like EAA’s) into your muscle.(3) Banaba does this independent of actually releasing insulin in the body.
Berberine is an alkaloid naturally-occurring in a number of plants shown to stimulate Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) while at the same time inhibiting Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B).(4)\
Increased AMPK activity supports better insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake into muscle cells, while also reducing the amount of glucose generated by the liver.(5,6)
Present in dark-colored fruits, C3G increases GLUT4 expression translocation, promoting enhanced glucose uptake by your muscles, as well as PPARγ expression/activity. Greater PPARγ activity leads to better insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, further ensuring the carbs you do eat are shuttled into your muscles cells, thereby avoiding the unwanted spikes in blood sugar.thereby helping you store those carbs more efficiently and avoiding unnecessary spikes in blood sugar levels.(7,8)
Eating too many carbohydrates can cause our bodies to store unwanted, excess fat. Glucose Disposal Agents were designed specifically to combat this from happening. They will help with regulating your blood sugar levels and will help with nutrient partitioning which can have a direct impact on helping you build muscle and burn fat. GDA’s should not be considered some kind of magic pill that will just burn of all of your excess carbs. They should be used as a tool in conjunction with a healthy diet to help you achieve your desired goal. I have personally tried them and they seem to work well for me. I did this by testing my blood glucose levels with a blood glucose meter and these supplements help to keep my blood sugar levels in a normal range even after consuming an ample amount of carbs. If you are looking to lean out or stay on the lean side while bulking then you should definitely give them a try.