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Explainer: Tongkat Ali and other natural performance enhancers

<p>Herbal power</p>
by Gelo Gonzales | Apr 5, 2011
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Life really was simpler when we were kids. [firstpara]

We went to school in the mornings. We played outside in the afternoons. And the only cartoon that really mattered was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Most of all, our idea of bodily nutrition was lined up neatly in three different categories: grow, glow, and go foods. And that was it.

It was only growing up that we found out all about the Omega 3’s, and the L-Carnitine’s of the world.

Boom. Suddenly, the world was more complicated.

So how about we take a crash course, and get ourselves educated about some of these things? We were going to call them “substances,” but that makes them sound illegal.

So we’ll stick to “things.” Let’s focus on this new daily supplement that pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao is currently endorsing: Nitro. Its ingredients: L-Arginine, Ginseng, Pyconogenol, and Tongkat Ali.

What’s L-Arginine?
It’s a naturally occurring amino acid in your body whose main functions are to assist in the process of making the waste product, urea, and also to help the body manufacture creatine, a protein that aids in building muscle mass.

Ailments such as trauma or liver disease can inhibit your body from producing L-Arginine, thus necessitating supplements.

What are its benefits to me?
Apart from the ones mentioned above, studies have also shown that L-Arginine also aids in improving recovery speed after surgery, erectile dysfunction, and decreases chest pain. At this point though, there have been no studies that prove that the amino acid helps improve athletic performance.

Natural sources of this amino acid include nuts, legumes, and many meat and dairy products.

How about ginseng then?
The centuries-old herbal magic root has been taken as an aphrodisiac, and an alternative medicine for sexual dysfunction and Type II diabetes treatment as it lowers blood glucose levels. A study has also shown ginseng’s revitalizing qualities with its anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.

Does Tongkat-Ali fare any better?
Tongkat-Ali is essentially Malaysia’s answer to China’s ginseng.

Continue reading below ↓

It has also gained a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. The root is said to increase sexual desire, libido, sexual performance, and treat erectile dysfunction as it increases your body’s testosterone levels. Due to its testosterone-enhancing properties, the root has also gained popularity among bodybuilders hoping to increase muscle mass and strength.

And last but not the least, we have Pycnogenol.
Pycnogenol is taken from the bark of French maritime pine trees. Its main function is to act as an antioxidant that cleanses your body of free radicals, a byproduct of bodily stress. Without these free radicals that damage the cells, you’ll feel more youthful and vibrant. It also helps the immune system, and protects collagen which keeps your skin looking tight and smooth.

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