As someone who gains fat and water weight (and muscle, thankfully!) very easily, over the years I’ve used my fair share of glucose disposal agents (GDAs). For years bodybuilders have used particular ingredients (mainly Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Chromium) to help with insulin sensitivity and the uptake of glucose into muscle cells.
I’m not going to get all scientific in this. I’m not intelligent enough for starters, but also with how knowledge and research develop and progresses this article may be out of date and I’d be looking like I was talking rubbish within 6 months of it being published.
What I am going to do is talk about how I use GDAs, the benefits I find and also a quick run through of each individual ingredient within CNP’s new Pro GDA product.
I first got introduced to the ALA and Chromium when getting ready for my second ever bodybuilding competition in 2012, specifically when “filling up” during the last week leading into the show, and afterwards I used them with meals to help insulin sensitivity.
Ok GDAs… tell me more!
So how do GDAs help? Well in two scenarios…
- During the last few days when “filling up” the increased carb intake will be more effective if insulin sensitivity is high.
- And basically any other time when you want to keep blood sugar under control by having good insulin sensitivity.
… So not two scenarios at all – they just help ALL THE TIME!
A GDA will simply help increase sensitivity, and we want insulin sensitivity to be high because we want to be able to uptake glucose from the blood stream (from carbohydrates, although the liver will release glucose if needed too) as efficiently as possible. Lower blood sugars mean less insulin being secreted and consequently there’s less chance of glucose being converted in adipose tissue (fat).
It just makes your body able to utilise glucose better and more efficiently.
DNA – the fork in the road between having washboard abs or cheeks like a hamster…
As with pretty much everything with sports and physique science, a LOT of it is genetic and down to what your parents gave you in your DNA.
Remember when you were at school and there was always that one kid in your class who could eat more rubbish than a skip and was always lean, like they were about to star in Bay Watch, and yet if you were like me, you’d only have to smell the canteen at lunch time and look like a hippo?
Genetics are a bitch!!!
But seriously, when someone is seemingly able to eat whatever they want and they still look in great shape, this is most likely due to them either being extremely high level athletes (which of course they weren’t – they were in school, like you were), or genetically they were handed a faster metabolic rate and just had superior insulin sensitivity.
And (if you were like me) you didn’t, and you just didn’t understand why.
So this will defy my genetics, make me #Shredz 24/7, whilst eating whatever I want?
No. I wish.
Nothing defies the law of thermodynamics.
But, it will help. If you’re eating for your training goals (i.e. surplus or deficit) and are training hard, a GDA will help with glycogen retention and performance, but also things like not feeling so sluggish after carbohydrate meals when your pancreas would normally dump a load of insulin out to “mop up” that glucose because insulin sensitivity is rubbish.
How do I use it then?
It will vary from person to person based on their eating, their training and their lifestyle.
In articles, I don’t like being too specific because you could be anyone from anywhere, and without knowing you properly and your lifestyle, training and diet it might not be best suited to you.
However, generically speaking – unless you’re like me and test your blood glucose several times a day and can best gauge when they’re needed (it’s a bit of a habit, but its useful information to know to spot patterns, but believe me you don’t need to go to this extreme!) I would use them with your 2-3 highest carb-content meals and either increase or decrease from there based on your own needs. However, if you spread carbohydrates out evenly through the day (this will generally be during an offseason phase) I’d personally suggest 20-30mins before your first meal of the day and also 20-30mins before your pre-workout meal.
Disclaimer bumf and nonsense
I just want to say – be careful and do more research than just what I’m saying here in this article. It’s always wise to anyway but especially with a more “specialist” product like a GDA.
Although it’s rare with GDAs, some people have been known to go a bit hypoglycaemic from their use. Nothing as drastic as what a diabetic would experience and it’s easily fixed by consuming sugars to increase blood glucose, but it’s not a nice experience and one you don’t want.
Ingredients in Pro GDA and a bit about them
- Banaba Leaf 1000mg
Rich in corosolic acid, which is a substance found to possess blood-sugar-lowering, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cinnamon Extract 1000mg
Reduces the rate at which glucose enters the body. Over time, cinnamon can reduce fasting blood glucose, and potentially cholesterol levels as well.
- Berberine 500mg
Berberine has the rather cool ability to increase an enzyme called Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK), while also inhibiting Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B). When AMPK is stimulated, glucose uptake in muscle cells increases via the GLUT-4 transporter. GLUT-4 enzyme is sometimes referred to as a “metabolic master switch”.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid 300mg
It may not remain in the body as long as certain other antioxidants, but ALA has a spectacular way of reducing oxidation, including in the all-important mitochondria. Can be taken on an empty stomach or with food because it’s both water and fat soluble.
- Vitamin C 250mg
Found to reduce fasting blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C also helps with absorption.
- BioPerine 5mg
The active ingredient in black pepper that contributes to that unique spice taste. BioPerine increases nutrient absorption by increasing your metabolism by improving thermogenesis – essentially makes your body hotter which requires calories which means a higher metabolic rate.
- Chromium 250ug
Can help enhance the role of insulin, the critical hormone that controls blood sugar and helps bring glucose into cells where it’s used for bodily energy.
The best advice I can give you is, if you are new to the GDA game and interested in the potential benefits I have covered then this is the product you want to try first on the market.