The Benefits and Myths of Apple Cider Vinegar

ConsumerLab.com just recently updated their tests of various apple cider vinegar products (paid access only) for both liquids and pills, and I wanted to share a little about the results.

First, if you’re not a paid member of ConsumerLab.com and you work in the health industry, it’s well worth the membership costs ($2.88 per mo.). Their independent tests and reports on supplements are unbiased and thorough.

This isn’t going to be an in-depth article. I just wanted to put together a quick rundown of CL’s review so that you could decide if the benefits are something you want to look into further.

Benefits of apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tbsp before meals reduces blood sugar levels in insulin resistant people
  • 1/2 tbsp before meals has slight improvement in insulin res. in people with Type 2 Dia.
  • 1 tbsp with meals (2 tbsp. per day) modestly decreases weight
  • Diluted vinegar may help chronic ear infections using ear irrigation (3x per week for 3 weeks). But it’s very important to remove all vinegar or it can cause erosion

Unproven Benefits

  • No studies showing it improves digestion
  • No studies to show it decreases bloating
  • Not shown to reduce heartburn (may actually irritate more)
  • no evidence that it affects blood PH

Product Tests

They did a ton of tests on many different supplements, but you’ll have to become a member of theirs to see it. I’m not sure what I’m allowed to share, so I’ll just quickly mention that the brand that most of us are familiar with – Braggs Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar – passes CL’s tests for acetic acid content and for not exceeding limits of lead, cadmium, or arsenic. So I guess keep using it if you already are or start using it if not!

My Review of the Pre-Workout Formula N.O. Xplode


N.O. Xplode from BSN is designed to increase mental focus and provide a boost of energy to help you push harder during your workouts. Tons of people swear by the results and others say it hasn’t helped at all or that they’ve suffered side-effects that deem it unusable.

I’ve never used a product like N.O. Xplode before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The label says to start out with a minimum dose of 1 scoop and depending on tolerance, you can move up to 2-3 scoops. The BSN website doesn’t state how much caffeine N.O. Xplode has, but one source I found online claims that a serving has 100 mg.

I have a very low tolerance to caffeine and sometimes get anxiety from it, so I started with 1 scoop. I took it right when I woke up, about 30 min. before getting to the gym. I’m not sure when it kicked in, but I definitely had more energy than usual. I noticed higher focus levels as well.

There were a few side effects. I had a small amount of anxiety, but nothing too bad and I kept feeling the urge to pee. It wasn’t too bad, but somewhat uncomfortable while at the gym.

After that, all was well until about around 11am, about 6 hours after taking it. I guess I crashed from the caffeine, because I got a ridiculous headache that lasted until I went to sleep that night.

The next day I took a half scoop instead of a full scoop. This was much better for me. I still got a good boost of energy and focus, and this time didn’t suffer a headache. It wasn’t as big as an energy boost as the day before, but it still worked.

The third day I took a half scoop and felt no change at all. In fact I felt miserable the entire day. I think maybe I wasn’t giving my body enough rest and there really wasn’t anything that the N.O. Xplode could do for me.

I increased it to a full scoop the next day and noticed an energy boost again. I did have a slight headache for the first few hours of the day, but no other side-effects.

I continued taking one full scoop each day after that with no side-effects whatsoever. Fast-forward to 8 days after my first use and the stuff was working great. I’ve been using it for about two months now and it gives me no problems whatsoever and I feel great at the gym. It gives me tons of energy and every morning I can’t wait to start working out. I’m not sure if it’s a placebo effect, but I also seem to get some great pumps during my workout too.

At first I was worried that I would continue having side-effects of using N.O. Xplode, but I kept using it in hopes that my body would adjust, and sure enough it did. I’m glad that I decided to keep going because now I really like it.

N.O. Explode is one of the few supplements that I was worried about taking. It’s super-strong and has a lot of ingredients that I don’t know much about. You can’t even shake it up or else it’ll build pressure like a soda would. Kinda weird I think.

Despite the minor problems early on, I’d definitely recommend N.O. Xplode, at least with my experience with it so far. Oh and further research shows that it’s vegan too, so I don’t have to seek out an alternative pre-workout formula now that I’m switching to plant-based nutrition. Sweet!

Study Shows That Nitric Oxide Supplements Can Increase Endurance Up To 20%

I see ads for nitric oxide supplements in my fitness magazines all the time. You know the ones. They show huge bodybuilders with arms the size of tree trunks, muscles on top of muscles and veins popping out everywhere. They all promise EXPLOSIVE!!! results and huge gains, but I’ve always been skeptical. I’ve even received recommendations from some heavy lifting friends of mine that supplements like Force Factor work great. I was still skeptical.

Research from the University of Exeter seems to prove that nitric oxide supplements actually are helpful and can boost stamina during high-intensity workouts. They specifically tested Ark 1 from Arkworld International Limited because it contains L-arginine amino acid, which helps produce more nitric oxide in the body.

By reducing the cost of O2 use during exercise, the results suggest that someone can exercise up to 20% longer by taking supplements that boost nitric oxide in the body. The research has shown that by altering the use of oxygen during exercise, improvements of 1-2% can be seen. While this doesn’t necessarily mean much to the weekend warrior at the gym, to a professional athlete who only has seconds to spare in a race, this could be the difference between winning and losing.

Previous research from the same university has also shown that high nitrate content from beetroot juice has a similar effects of the Ark 1 supplement. Performance was measured by putting nine healthy male subjects on a stationary bicycle equipped with an ergometer to measure the amount of work performed by the person exercising. They were all tested in various levels of intensity and found that after using the supplement, endurance increased by 20%, systolic blood pressure was reduced and use of oxygen during exercise was reduced.

It seems that nitric oxide supplements do work. I’m still not sure which ones are the best to use, but I just might have to try out the free trial offer from Force Factor. Have you used nitric oxide supplements? I’d love to hear what you’ve used and your results using it.