These substances can fuel activity and be stored for energy later on.
What are Glucose Disposal Agents?
Glucose disposal agents (GDAs) are substances that aid the uptake of glucose from the blood stream into muscle tissue where it can be used immediately to fuel activity or can be stored as glycogen to provide energy when needed later.
How do Glucose Disposal Agents Work?
When you consume carbohydrates, there is a natural rise in blood glucose levels. There is an upper limit to how much your body will allow blood glucose concentrations to rise in the blood stream. This is done to prevent a condition called hyperglycemia. One of the most powerful tools your body has in order to prevent this is a hormone called insulin – a hormone that causes glucose to be shuttled into cells so that it can be removed from the bloodstream. Glucose enters cells through GLUT transporters. Think of insulin like the mail man and GLUT transporters as a doorman that holds the door open for glucose and allows it to enter cells. GLUT4 is the main glucose transporter in skeletal muscle, where most of the body’s glycogen is stored.
Claims and Evidence
GDAs claim to be able to cause glucose to be preferentially shuttled to muscle tissue instead of fat tissue or other sites. Essentially, they claim that they will improve “nutrient partitioning”, meaning that the nutrients consumed will be used to fuel muscle growth and recovery rather than contributing to fat mass.
Proponents of GDAs claim that these are useful supplements in hypercaloric phases (bulking, gaining, etc.) or when consuming a large amount of carbohydrates in one sitting as they will allow you to use the caloric surplus to gain muscle and not gain fat. The most effective GDA supplements are not one ingredient, but rather a combination of ingredients put into a supplement. This article will review the literature on the most common ingredients in GDAs such as berberine, cinnamon extract, chromium, alpha lipoic acid and bitter melon extract.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that improves insulin sensitivity and enhances protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. Chromium supplementation has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes .
Berberine is an alkaloid naturally found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree turmeric. Berberine activates an enzyme called Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) while inhibiting Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), thus increasing insulin sensitivity . A study done for the Journal of Metabolism saw significant decreases in hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood glucose, postprandial blood glucose and plasma triglycerides when participants were given Berberine .
Bitter Melon Extract
Bitter melon is a tropical vine that belongs to the gourd family and is closely related to zucchini, squash, pumpkin, and cucumber. Bitter melon has been shown to improve several markers of long-term blood sugar control, including levels of fructosamine and hemoglobin A1c .
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful polyphenol antioxidants. In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano . In addition, studies show that this spice has potent anti-inflammatory properties .
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic acid is an organic compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. A meta-analysis of 12 studies found that people who took alpha-lipoic acid lost an average of 2.8 pounds (1.27 kg) more than those taking a placebo . Another meta-analysis reported that alpha lipoic acid supplementation improved blood glucose management and lipid profiles .
The above ingredient list are the main active ingredients that should be constituents of any ‘good’ GDA. Another important thing to look for is the dosage of ingredients used. The most common GDAs are using ingredients backed by science, the dosage just isn’t high enough. Let me give you a real-world analogy. We all know the importance of protein after a hard workout. Now imagine taking only a teaspoon of protein powder after your workout. It’s the right idea and you’re doing what is backed by science, it’s just the dosage isn’t high enough.
That’s where most GDAs fail.
The GDA I personally recommend is SLIN, sold by Enhanced Labs. SLIN contains 11 all-natural science backed ingredients in full clinical dosages. These ingredients work together to prevent weight gain, reverse metabolic syndrome, promote glucose disposal, and speed up the metabolism. By doing this, SLIN partitions your carbs – disposing of them by placing them as energy for muscle use instead of fat (adipose) cells. SLIN is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to manage their blood sugar levels, metabolic health, and weight. By adding SLIN to your diet, health, and fitness program, you can accelerate your results.
How to Use Glucose Disposal Agents
It’s recommended to take a GDA any time a meal containing 50g+ carbs is consumed. If wanting to yield performance benefits, one of those servings should certainly be positioned pre-workout and/or post-workout.
A glucose disposal agent could even be implemented when consuming a cheat meal or refeeds to prevent unwanted blood sugar spikes, shuttle glycogen into muscle tissue and limiting the potential for acute fat gain.
The Bottom Line
Glucose Disposal Agents can do a lot of good for your body composition and help your performance in the gym by allowing your body to divert nutrients to your muscles rather than fat. But do your research because not all GDAs are created equal. Look for a GDA that contains multiple science backed ingredients in full clinical dosages.
If you are looking for a fail-safe option, SLIN by Enhanced Labs is the GDA I personally use and recommend.
If you have any questions about SLIN or any of the other Enhanced Labs products, reach out to the Enhanced Labs Chemical Engineer Trevor Kouritzin by emailing [email protected]
*Images courtesy of Enhanced Labs