Nanox Androx Q12 T-Amplifier

Any bodybuilder who is wanting to increase testosterone levels without the use of drugs should take a good look at Nanox Nutriceuticals new (well, it’s been out for a year or so at this point) testosterone boosting formula Androx Q12.

This is a complex formula consisting of testosterone precursors such as Nanox’ own concoction Testofen, a testosterone support formula (which they refer to as a «ZMA» complex – we’ll deal with that later), as well as anti-DHT conversion agents and a general adaptogen. While you’re going to have to wait for a proper review from yours truly, I will tell you that I’m quite optimistic about the possible effects of this supplement. From what I’ve heard from others and read online, this formula actually seems to work like it should – as opposed to a lot of the products out there whose claims are rarely backed up by real world results. Let’s take a look at why that might be so.

Testosterone precursors in Androx Q12, including Testofen®, Avena Sativa and Ecdysones from spinach leaves

Testofen – an extract from Fenugreek – is something Nanox have come up with themselves.Testofen is – according to Nanox – «a standardized extract of a proprieraty and well defined mix of Fenugreek saponins» that they claim will have a better effect than other fenugreek extracts. Nanox claim that a in randomised, double blind, placeo controlled study on 60 humans, Testofen promoted a boost in free testosterone levels of 98%, promoted healthy muscle mass and helped regulat BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) levels, signifying a regulatory effect on protein catabolism. This is obviously the stuff you want if increases in muscle mass is your goal.

Nanox Androx Q12 also contains a dose of Avena Sativa and β-ecdyson from spinach leaves, both of which may have a positive effect on endogenous testosterone production.

Anti DHT-agents in Androx Q12

Like Universal Nutrition’s Animal Stak, Nanox Androx Q12 aims not only to increase endogenous testosterone production, but also decrease the conversion of testosterone into DHT (DiHydroTestosterone). This formula contains not one, but two of these anti-DHT agents: extracs of Stinging Nettle, and Saw Palmetto. The addition of these substances certainly gets our approval, but is of course no guarantee against more testosterone being converted into DHT than you would want to.

ZMA complex and B12

Androx Q12 contains what Nanox refers to as a ZMA complex, that is, a dose of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. ZMA has been shown to increase testosterone, as has megadoses of zinc alone.

In my opinion, referring to the combination of zinc, magnesium and B6 as a “ZMA” complex is a bit of a stretch, though. The name ZMA refers to a patent pending, highly specific combination of these nutrients developed by Victor Conte at SNAC, and Androx Q12′s ZMA complex is nothing like SNAC’s ZMA. What’s different? Most importantly, it’s the fact that Androx Q12′s zinc is in the citrate form, and not in the monomethionine aspartate form that it should be. This has to do with uptake, and is pretty crucial in my opinion. Also, a daily recommended dose of ZMA has 30 mg of zinc, 450 mgs of magnesium, and 10,5 mgs of vitamin B6. The dose here is much lower: 15 mgs of zinc, 150 mgs of magnesium, and a measly 2 mgs of vitamin B6. Nevertheless, the addition of these substances is a valuable one, and the dosage here may be enough to support natural testosterone production in case of a deficiency. Studies on these substances and how they may affect testsoterone productions have generally used much higher doses, however.

Nanox Androx Q12 also contains a dose of vitamin B12.

Siberian Ginseng

A dose of Siberian Ginseng – the classic adaptogen – has also found it’s way into Androx. Siberian Ginseng may have several potential positive effects for any active person, of which increases in testosterone are the most interesting here.

Nanox Androx Q12 complete list of ingredients:

Fenugreek extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum L, Testofen ®); cellullose (mantle capsule) saw palmetto extract (Serenoa repens (Bartram) J.K.Small); magnesium oxide; stinging nettle extract (root) (Urtica dioica L.); Oat extract (Avena sativa L.); spinach leaves extract (Spinacia oleracea L.); microcristalline cellullose (filler); Siberian Ginseng extract (Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr & Maxim) Maxim); zinc citrate; titanium dioxide (colorant); magnesium stearate (anticlotting agent); silicium dioxide (anticlotting agent); ferrous roxide (colorant); Lactobacillus cassei-immunitas; black pepper extract (Piper nigrum L.); pyridoxine hydrochloride (vit B6); cyanocobalamine (vit B12)

Bottom line: will it do what it says on the tin?

This is a more complex formula aimed at testsoterone production that we usually see, and I think it looks very, very promising. As I said to begin with, I have not had a chance to give this supplement a test run myself, at least not yet. I have however ordered a three month supply (along with a couple of other products from Nanox that we’ll be talking about here), so I’ll get started on it as soon as my schedule permits. In the meantime, I’ve talked to two lifters who have tried it, and had a look at a couple of internet message boards, and the accounts of classic signs of increases in testosterone as well as measurable improvements in both strength and muscle mass have left me pretty darn excited about this supplements and what I may expect when using it. If you’ve tried Nanox Androx Q12 yourself, please share your results in the comment section – I’m pretty sure plenty of readers here are interested in hearing about it!

Whey Protein Improves Blood Sugar Control and Decreases Appetite

Here’s a useful tip for controlling both food intake and blood sugar when you’re looking to lose some body fat: Use a whey protein supplement. You see, a study conducted at the university of Toronto last year found that taking whey protein before a meal both decreased food intake and reduced post-meal blood sugar and release of insulin from the pancreas. For many people, this will translate to easier fat loss.

The study was conducted by feeding people 10-40 grams of whey protein half an hour before and all-you-can-eat pizza lunch. The researchers found that all dosages increased food intake, but the more whey protein the study participants had, the less pizza they ate.

Considering how whey protein reduces appetite and controls blood sugar, I’d happily recommend using a whey protein supplement to any non-vegan looking to lose weight, and it may also be a useful supplement when working to reverse insulin resistance (although – as always – you will have to talk to your doctor about that, as we really do not give medical advice on this site!)

If you’re new to whey protein supplementation and looking for a high quality, great tasting and healthy whey protein product, consider the popular Jay Robb Whey Protein, which we use ourselves from time to time. If you’re looking for something more cost effective, Ultimate Nutrition’s Prostar Whey is easy to recommend. Also make sure you read our guide on how to pick a good whey protein powder.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91:966-75, 2010

Raw Vegan Bodybuilding: Here’s How!

Photo by Lisa Clarke

The popularity of the raw food lifestyle has absolutely exploded in recent years. It’s perhaps the most radical diet fad we’ve ever seen (if we can call it a fad, that is – I personally think it’s something much, much bigger and longer lasting than a mere “fad”), but not only does it seem to make sense – at least from a health point of view – it also seems to work darn well. Hordes of converts are expressing its virtues online and elsewhere, and after having experimented with this form of eating off and on myself I’ve definitely had to throw most of my own skepticism away. I used to be a rather harsh critic of vegans and their way of looking at nutrition, but after having experimented the amazing benefits myself (and, most importantly, read the research), I’ve given in. The vegan lifestyle – especially the raw vegan lifestyle – may be the healthiest way of eating there is.

Health matters aside, though: is raw food the ideal bodybuilding diet? Maybe, maybe not. I think it’s way too early to tell. I’ve personally seen an increase in both muscle mass and athletic performance when “going raw,” my energy levels have gone through the roof, and I know that’s the case with others as well. However, there are certain challenges that come with a raw vegan bodybuilding diet that many may find difficult to overcome. We’ll adress the main ones here. Not every bodybuilder who has tried to eat this way has been successful, but then there are those who’ve built very impressive physiques because of – not in spite of - their vegan diets.

No matter what: Whether the raw food diet is the ultimate bodybuilding diet or not, more and more bodybuilders seem to be switching to it. They may have several reasons for eating this way, and place greater importance on their health than their muscle growth – or, in fact, feel that muscle growth is comes easier when shunning meat and all other animal products along with cooked plant foods. While we know of no professional bodybuilders who are raw vegan, Swede Andreas Cahling became one of the top bodybuilders on the planet during the latter part of “The Golden Era of Bodybuilding” in the eighties.

If you happen to be interested in giving raw food and bodybuilding a chance yourself, we decided to put together something we though would be a useful guide for you. While Viking Bodybuilding is not purely a Raw Vegan Bodybuilding site (most of our readers are probably heavy meat eaters), we acknowledge the fact that raw vegan diets can lead to amazing health, and that a raw vegan diet may be a highly suitable diet for all kinds of athletes – even bodybuilders, with their specific nutritional needs. In the future, bodybuilding on a raw vegan diet may be a lot more common than it is today.

The main nutritional challenge on a raw vegan bodybuilding diet

Contrary to popular belief, the real challenge when on a raw food diet is not getting enough protein. Anyone who tells you that plant foods don’t contain useful amounts of protein just doesn’t know the very basics of nutrition. For instance, calorie per calorie, a tomato contains about the same amount of protein as  ham, and broccoli contains almost twice as much protein as sirloin steak. Broccoli, in other words, is a much purer source of protein than steak – with its high fat content – can ever be. Granted, per weight, those meats contain more protein, but not per calorie. And we measure our food intake in calories, not weight, after all.

So the challenge is not really getting enough protein. It’s getting enough calories that can be difficult. Why do you think weight loss is super easy when you start replacing crap foods and energy dense foods like meat with vegetables? Because vegetables are so low in energy (at least, this is the primary reasons – there are also more complex mechanisms at work here, but that’s something we’ll leave for another article).

How to get enough calories on a raw vegan diet

Do what bodybuilders bulking up have been doing for decades: train yourself to eat more. Yes, it really does take practice. And make sure you eat more meals per day – not just bigger ones. Contrary to popular opinion (now refuted by science), eating five-six-seven meals per day will not make you lose weight or speed up your metabolism by itself. It will instead help you consume more food, which is crucial if you’re going to build muscle on a raw vegan diet. Now, a persons metabolism does speed up somewhat when more food is consumed, but increase is obviously not that substantial.

Also, eat less low calorie foods and focus more on high calorie foods. Raw vegan high calorie foods include nuts and seeds, avocado, coconut and even some fruits like bananas, which are relatively high in calories (although I wouldn’t go as far as some low carb enthusists seem to do and label them as “fattening” – in my experience, fruit is never fattening for healthy people). Don’t avoid the typical dieters food like spinach leaves and lettuce just because they’re low in calories, though. These foods contain nutrients that are highly important in terms of both health and muscle building.

Juicing fruit is a great way to help you get more calories on a raw vegan diet. All the otherwise beneficial fruit fiber gets left in the juicer, making it easier for you to ingest large amounts of calories (and this is one reason I’d never advise anyone looking to lose weight to consume fruit juice). Don’t juice all your fruit, though.

Lastly, using oils is an incredibly effective way to boost your calorie intake. A good dash of flaxseed oil with your SunWarrior Protein-enriched green smoothie will dramatically increase the calories of that meal, as will using oils in juices and salads. I also love the taste of extra virgin coconut oil, which often finds its way into my green smoothies and fruit shakes. Olive oil can also be used sparingly, and I’d definitely recommend you check out the ever popular oil supplement product Udo’s Choice if you haven’t already.

Common nutritional deficiencies on vegan and vegetarian diets

Unfortunately, while a properly planned vegan or vegetarian diet is nutritionally adequate for a healthy person (and usually an unhealthy person too), many people do develop deficiencies from time to time when eating this way. Here are some of the more common ones:

  • Iron deficiencies. Iron is most easily absorbed from animal products, which contain heme iron as opposed to the non-heme iron found in plants. Not eating any cooked foods can make it even more difficult to get enough iron, as some of the plant foods that countain larger amounts of iron need to be cooked. To ensure you get enough iron on a raw vegan diet make sure you consume ample quantities of spinach, broccoli, figs, prunes, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and other iron rich plant foods that you can eat raw.
  • Zinc deficiencies. Many people today are zinc deficient, due in part to the fact that we eat vast quantities of processed, nutrient void foods, but also because crops in many places are actually deficient in zinc as well as other minerals. Eating plenty of nuts will probably be the best way to guard yourself against a zinc deficiency as a raw vegan, unless you choose to use a zinc supplement, which may actually be a very good idea.
  • Vitamin B12. This is then one that tends to come to mind first, of course. As stated below, we recommend that you have a doctor look at your B12 status. Any B12 deficiency should be dealt with swiftly.

Recommended supplements for raw vegan bodybuilders

You’re not likely to run into more nutritional deficiencies on a proper vegan diet than on the Standard American Diet, but some supplements may help you stay healthy and reach your bodybuilding goals faster (and easier):

  • If you want to increase your protein intake (something that has been seen to be clearly beneficial to a lot of bodybuilders and other athletes) use a raw vegan protein supplement like SunWarrior Protein. SunWarrior protein is a high quality protein made from rice, and a product we happily recommend to all bodybuilders, not just the vegan lot. If you’re not a 100% raw vegan, even the ubiquitous whey protein powder – the most commonly used bodybuilding supplement around – may be something for you. These products represent an easy and inexpensive way to increase your protein intake (but are of course not raw vegan). Many raw vegan athletes seem to do very well on lower protein diets, though, so do not automatically assume that you have to use a protein supplement on a diet like this.
  • Zinc supplementation may be beneficial if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diets. Zinc is an extremely important mineral to consume adequate amounts of both for athletes and inactive people.  Vegan bodybuilders may find that taking a zinc supplement helps them increase testosterone and perhaps even improve immunity. For “regular people” I’m a huge fan of ZMA supplements, but vegans on a properly constructed diet tend to easily get enough magnesium and vitamin B6 without supplementation, so a straight up quality zinc supplement without these added nutrients really should do the trick.
  • As previously mentioned, B12 deficiency – for various reasons – is a danger for both vegans and meat eaters alike. Have your B12 levels checked regularly, and use a supplement if they’re low. If supplements aren’t working for you (a lot of people have problems with B12 uptake – read up on intrinsic factor) talk to your doctor about having B12 shots administered. B12 shots seems to be a good idea for many people – meat eaters included.
  • Iron supplemens may be a good idea for all vegans, and particularly those who eat no cooked food.
  • Vitamin D supplements. Taking a Vitamin D3 supplement (the only form of the vitamin that is going to do something for you, so take note of that and avoid being scammed by buying a different form of this hormone-like vitamin) is a great idea for most people in my opionion. Why? Because we stay indoors too much, and just don’t get enough. Food has never been a good source of vitamin D, and if you’re a vegan you’re going to get even less vitamin D(not that the difference is great). Get some sunshine (but avoid getting sunburned – skin cancer is a very real and very dangerous threat to sun worshippers) and take supplements as well if you have any reason to think you might not be getting enough.

Should you train less on a vegan or vegetarian diet?

Some people seem to think that a vegan won’t be able to tolerate the training loads or training intensity of a typical non-vegan. In our experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people who switch to vegan and vegetarian diets find that they in fact recover faster from training than they used to, even if they’re consuming less protein. But then, protein isn’t everything, contrary to what a lot of bodybuilders seem to think. And if you had to reduce your training load on a diet like this, we’d think twice about publishing this article here, frankly. As long as you eat a balanced, energy rich raw vegan diet, you should be able to train as much or more than you did on a cooked foods diet.

Beginning Bodybuilding on a Raw Vegan Diet

If you’re already a raw vegan and want to begin bodybuilding, understand that you have a lot to learn. Successful bodybuilders are invariably rather knowledgeable about what is needed with regards to training, diet and lifestyle to get great results. We obviously suggest that you continue to visit Viking Bodybuilding (well, of course! :) ), and find other sources to learn from as well (some of them you will find recommendations for on this site). To begin with, you can check out our popular article on bodybuilding tips for beginners, and then just take it from there.

Good luck! As a raw foodist you’re probably doing not just yourself, but the planet that we’re living on, a whole lot of good! And there’s no reason you can’t be a successful bodybuilder on this diet – provided you do it right! We hope these few words on the subject have been helpful.

Big thanks to Lisa Clarke for the photo used in this article!