When I was doing research for my book, “Are You A Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks-How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely”, I was disappointed over learning what guarana does.
Book Excerpt of the Week
Everything guarana can do, caffeine can do better.
Guarana is a natural source of caffeine, and many time getting caffeine from a natural source is preferable. We’ve reviewed a few energy drinks with guarana.
But unlike green tea extract, guarana doesn’t come with its own unique set of benefits.
Guarana is supposed to increase fat metabolism. So does caffeine, and a caffeine-free guarana extract didn’t show the same fat-metabolism effects.
Glucuronolactone is fun to say, in my opinion. Once you’ve got it down, it’s a musical mouthful. When doing research for my book, I remember being most intrigued by this energy drink ingredient because it was such a mystery ingredient. It’s certainly not a star player as far as effective ingredients go — if energy drink ingredients were football players, you definitely wouldn’t want to draft this one before the fourth round for your fantasy lineup.
For last week’s book excerpt, we talked about what glucuronolactone is. For this week’s Book Excerpt from “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star”, we consider one theory behind what glucuronolactone does and why it might be useful in energy drinks. Read more →
Vitamin B12 is the Ultimate Wingman! In this week’s book excerpt, we’ll discuss how B12 helps both folate and boring-basic-biotin, and why this makes B12 a good energy drink ingredient.
B12 as Folate’s Wingman
Remember when we talked about what folate does? Cells that rely on folate for growth and maturation also depend on B12 because it recycles folate, restoring it for the next round of DNA synthesis. Without B12, folate gets used up and stuck with a single carbon group. That’s like trying to take a cup of coffee from someone when you’re already holding a cup of water in each hand. To make sure sells get enough DNA to mature and divide, B12 and folate have to work as a team.
But that’s not the only vitamin B12 assists:
B12 as a side-kick to Boring Basic Biotin
One molecule of fat has three fatty acids, like a three-pronged fork. Each fatty acid is a chain of carbons. Each chain gets oxidized (broken down) two carbons at a time. This becomes a problem when there’s only thee left, so a special reaction takes place for the last three in the chain.
For the science nerds: That reaction is the transformation of a 3-carbon molecule (methylmalonyl CoA) to a 4-carbon molecule (succinyl CoA). CoA is short for coenzyme A.
Vitamin B12 helps Boring Basic Biotin handle these odd numbered units so they can get metabolized into energy through the Krebs cycle.
Why B12 makes a good energy drink ingredient
The Krebs cycle is a giant wheel of reactions that leads to massive amount of energy per turn. Since B12 helps fats get “into shape” (as in, from odd-to-even numbered) to enter the Krebs cycle, B12 is facilitating the production of energy. It may not be as boring as biotin or as amazing as niacin (my favorite B-vitamin), but B12 gets the award for the best team player.
To learn more about B12 and the other B-vitamins, stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide (now on Audible!!!).
How does caffeine affect weight loss and physical activity? Caffeine encourages several small metabolic changes, and all these changes encourage the use of fat for fuel instead of glucose. But how does caffeine trigger all these small changes? The answer has to do with adenosine’s throne.
Okay, so let’s say that adenosine has a throne that only adenosine can fit into. When adenosine sits on its throne, it can send signals to make us sleepy. Fortunately for us, caffeine is similar enough in size to fit adenosine’s special throne. When that happens, caffeine blocks adenosine, preventing those sleepy signals from being sent. But adenosine has more than one throne. In fact, we have adenosine receptors all over the body. Interacting with all those adenosine receptors is how caffeine is able to trigger these small metabolic changes that encourage fat-burning over glucose-burning for fuel.
This fat-burning boost sounds awesome! But there is one more thing about caffeine and physical activity we need to consider: the effect on blood pressure. This brings us to the Excerpt of the Week:
Both caffeine and exercise raise heart rate and blood pressure, so combining them can have a scary, additive effect. In general, 200 mg caffeine per “sitting” or occasion is considered safe by multiple sources, including the EFSA. But if you’ve never consumed a pre-workout supplement or other source of caffeine before a workout before, start small.
We’ll talk MUCH MORE about caffeine and fat metabolism/weight-loss when we get to the GREEN TEA section of this book. For now, let me just say that no one should expect an energy drink to be a safe or effective weight-loss method. If an energy drink helps you make it to your workout, that’s a different story. Remember – caffeine is not a miracle weight loss tool!
When is the last time you saw a story or post about someone who lost weight because they started drinking Product X? Unless it comes with a diet and exercise regime, you can ignore that story.
An energy drink may give you wings, but it will not make you lighter all by itself.
You can get your copy of “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star-A Guide to Energy Drinks: How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
💥 💚📚 http://amzn.to/2bjHRbk
Stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt, as we continue to move page-by-page through the Energy Drink Guide.