We’ve been told time and time again that carbohydrates are a barrier to losing weight, that if we want to lose fat and build muscle, then they have to be avoided. But isn’t there a way to eat the carbohydrate-rich foods you love while working towards a better body?
Yes: Glucose Disposal Agents. Glucose Disposal Agents (GDAs), also known as insulin mimetic or nutrition partitioning agents are dietary supplements that can tweak the systems by which fat is stored on your body, and encourage them instead to allow you to build more muscle.
What Are Glucose Disposal Agents?
Glucose Disposal Agents help regulate insulin, which is the hormone in your body responsible for shuttling glycogen. Insulin plays a major role in building new muscle, but it also is responsible for fat storage.
When you eat carbohydrates, you’re increasing the amount of glucose in your, which is a simple monosaccharide. When you have glucose in your body, it will be turned into glycogen to be stored in your body as, among other things, either muscle or fat.
GDAs work in cooperation with the insulin in your body to increase the amount of glycogen to be stored in the muscle tissue—this results in both thicker muscles and a leaner build because it allows the glycogen that would’ve been working against you (adding layers of fat tissue) to work with you (building your muscle)!
Insulin Sensitivity & Body Fat Storage
Insulin plays a key role in what your body does with the carbohydrates you ingest. Carbohydrates are broken down in the small intestine, and then converted to glucose which is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the glucose is either used as an energy source or it is converted into glycogen to be stored in the body (this process is directed by the insulin hormone).
In ideal circumstances (i.e., in an “insulin-sensitive” body), there is only a small, healthy amount of insulin in the blood—this allows much of the glucose ingested to be stored in muscle and liver tissue and insulin to stimulate the uptake of glucose into fat (adipose) cells only once the muscle and liver cells are “topped up.”
Under these conditions, the insulin-signalling machinery is maximally sensitive and a small amount of insulin will have a great effect. The negligible amount of glucose that is taken up by fat tissue gets converted into glycerol and returned to the liver where it can be used to create additional glucose.
Unfortunately, not all bodies are optimally insulin-sensitive. For a variety of reasons (unfavorable genetics, poor diet, an excess of empty carbohydrates, etc.), many people become “insulin-resistant,” meaning that their insulin signalling machinery becomes less responsive to the effects of insulin, necessitating the production of more insulin to achieve the same regulatory effect in the bloodstream.
The problem is, the higher levels of insulin in the blood cause a greater proportion of the glucose to be stored as body fat. At moments when a person’s insulin level is usually high, as it is just after a meal, an insulin-resistant person’s insulin levels rise high enough to restrict glucose uptake in muscle tissue, which means that the body has to store much more of the glucose ingested during the meal as fat tissue.
While some of the effects of insulin sensitivity are, as mentioned, hereditary, we can make changes to raise our insulin sensitivity such that we need to produce less of the hormone. Cutting down on excess body fat by increasing physical activity and reducing caloric intake will increase our sensitivity to insulin.
However, for some this isn’t enough. For people with a genetic predisposition to weight gain, people suffering with obesity, or all those people with relatively healthy insulin levels who want to achieve a truly optimal body with low body fat, GDA's can be life-changing.
The best GDA's can allow us to significantly increase insulin sensitivity, causing more of the glucose we ingest in our diet to wind up in our muscle tissue rather than in the visceral fat cells around our abdomen.
The effects of the best GDA's have a snowball effect: they reduce levels of body fat, which increases insulin sensitivity, which in turn further reduces body fat! GDA's can help you build the momentum you need to truly transform your body.
What Are The Benefits?
If you’re hitting the gym, you’re trying to gain muscle, and you’re also (very likely) trying to lose fat. To do both of those things well, though, on a more practical level, you’re going to need energy.
This is where the dilemma comes in—a pre-workout meal that’s rich with carbohydrates will provide you with the energy you need, but it’ll also pump plenty of glucose into your system, much of which will end up as glycogen stored as fat. This is where GDA's help.
If you take a glucose disposal agent supplement with your pre-workout meal, it increases your insulin sensitivity and shuttles more carbohydrates into your muscles rather than being stored as fat. When you have more glycogen (from carbs) in your muscles, you'll be stronger, you'll have better performance and increased volume, giving you a fuller pump.
Glucose Disposal Agents help lower blood sugar and lower the amount of insulin your body needs to produce. When your body doesn't need to produce as much insulin, your fat metabolization increases and you can access your stored body fat for fuel.
GDA's also play a large role with cheat meals. If you decide to have a cheat meal, your insulin spike is going to be larger than normal as your body is not used to the increased glycogen intake. GDA's will help utilize those carbs to be stored as energy in your muscle rather than fat.
Glucose Disposal Agent Ingredients
Berberine - Berberine—a chemical which is extracted from natural materials like barberry, Oregon grapes, tree turmeric, Phellodendron, and goldenseal, among others—is an insulin mimicker, and it is the most common ingredient found in GDAs. It’s heavily tested, and studies have found that it beneficially affects glucose metabolism in diabetics. It contains an alkaloid powerful in reducing blood sugar.
Cinnamon Extract - Cinnamon extract is a favourite GDA ingredient of professional bodybuilders thanks to its ability to reduce blood sugar. Before you go running to the kitchen pantry, though, you should know that we’re talking about cinnamon extract (a highly concentrated form of cinnamon). You’d need a ludicrous amount of regular ground cinnamon to have any significant effect, so don’t bother.
Chromium - Chromium can be added to GDAs in different forms, but it’s most common forms are chromium picolinate and chromium chelate. When chromium is present alongside insulin in the body, it boosts the signal sent by that insulin to nearby receptors, and thus allows less insulin to produce a greater effect in the body. It’s also been associated with a reduction in blood glucose in fasting individuals.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) - ALA is an amino acid that occurs naturally in meat, various animal products, and even some vegetable and plant products. It has been studied for its ability to lower blood glucose, and as an antioxidant. It’s a key ingredient in improving insulin sensitivity and shuttling glucose into your muscles.
Banaba Leaf Extract - Banaba (known as the “Pride of India”) is commonly included in GDAs because it is touted as an insulin agonist, which means that it has the ability to bind to insulin receptors and exert actions in the body similar to those exerted by the real hormone.
African Mango - Many GDAs contain extracts from the seeds of a plant native to the west of Africa: the African mango tree. The African mango offers a plethora of powerful nutrients, including essential fatty acids, amino acids, fibre, and minerals. It’s also lauded for reducing blood sugar spikes and improving levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), both of which make it a particularly desirable ingredient in any GDA.
How much of a given Glucose Disposal Agent you’ll take depends on what product you buy, and from which brand. In all cases, follow the instructions on the label for the best results. In terms of general practice, though, there are a couple of ways to utilize GDAs effectively.
When To Take A Glucose Disposal Agent Supplement
If your main goal is cutting down on body fat, then take your dose 5-10 minutes before your most carbohydrate-dense meal of the day. If you’re looking to use your Nutrition Partitioner agents or GDA's in bodybuilding and to achieve a heavier pump and more dramatic muscle gains, then take your dose 5-10 minutes before your pre-workout meal.
Now, let’s talk specifics. In descending order, here are our favourite Glucose Disposal Agent products!
The Best Glucose Disposal Agent SupplementsHere is our list of the best glucose disposal agent supplements for bodybuilding:
GDA+, unlike Glycophase, has a wide variety of ingredients, but with moderate doses! It's packed with almost every ingredient that helps with insulin and glucose! It comes in 45 servings for $46.95, a little more expensive then Glycophase. There are just a few reviews for GDA+, though, and (conspicuously) they’re all 5 stars.
Props to Redcon1 for creating a great product with a wicked name to boot. The supplements ingredients list and dosages look great, and the product page features an informational video, a list of FAQs, and a 225 reviews from verified buyers: 204 of them rank the product 5 stars!
Blackstone labs has created a quality product with GlycoLog, and everything you’ll need to know is listed right there on the website. The sleek black-and-white bottle and golden cap will impress friends who go snooping into your pantry for snacks, which will give you a chance to bring up the benefits of GDAs. If they don’t believe you, just flex.
Topping our list is SLIN, by Enhanced Athlete. It’s an outstanding, trustworthy product, made in an FDA Inspected Facility. The reason why it stands out compared to the rest, is because it not only helps lower the amount of carbs you store as fat, but it helps shuttle those carbs into your muscles! So it's very beneficial for people who either want to lose fat or build muscle as it utilizes each carbohydrate to it's fullest potential.
Enhanced Athlete is entirely transparent about the blend: there’s no artificial junk, just high-quality ingredients at full clinical dosages. Perhaps even better, SLIN delivers its benefits without relying on hormones or stimulants, so it’s safe to use year-round (there’s no need to cycle off the product).
Our Favorite Choice
We strive to carry the best products on the market, which is why we now carry SLIN, our favourite GDA product (and as far as we can tell, the highest quality GDA product available). We understand that buying a product online for the first time can be daunting, but if you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of GDAs while running minimal financial risk in case they aren’t your thing (don’t worry, they will be!), we want to help you out.
Currently, we’re offering 20% off bottles of SLIN, as well as our unrivalled 90-day satisfaction guarantee: if you have second thoughts about your purchase, no matter the reason, we’ll give you a full refund! Hopefully, these measures will give you peace of mind so you can give yourself the chance to turn your body into a muscle-building machine. Place your order for SLIN here!