Welcome to a double dose of supplement knowledge in our special two-part episode, “Lowdown on Supplements”! In the first part, I teamed up with the brilliant Dr. Taylor Brueseke, my husband, to explore the vital topic of research. Together, we uncover the power of conducting your own investigations and developing a critical mindset when it comes to supplements. Say goodbye to blindly following influencers and hello to becoming an informed decision-maker! But that's not all—I also unveil the secrets of the “Big Three” supplements, unraveling their incredible benefits and shedding light on why they're the go-to choices for fitness enthusiasts. Prepare your notepads because we're about to embark on an enlightening supplement journey together!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/285
- Peer Reviewed Research (06:14, 06:47, 08:15)
- Randomized controlled placebo, double-blind placebo (11:25, 12:19, 13:10)
- Meta-Analysis (14:44, 15:38)
- Supplements are not regulated by the FDA (22:22)
- Legion Supplements and why I highly recommend them (25:51)
- The “Big Three” Supplements (32:59)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 285.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Hey, hey, hey. Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, and today's podcast is going to be, it's going to be a big one. It's going to be a big topic because we are talking about a large topic which is supplements. And I mean we could do multiple hours on this topic because there are a lot of supplements out there and there are a lot of brands wanting to buy their supplements. And so my goal is to make this a more condensed, easily consumable, don't have to have a Science degree to be able to get the gist of some of the most common supplements that people are taking in their fitness journey, and if it's really worth spending your hard earned cash on these supplements. Now, I will say that I recorded two podcast episodes about supplements back in the day. So, Episode 60 and 61. I did a Part One and a Part Two of supplements, but I wanted to rerecord this episode and kind of update it a little bit and there's a couple reasons for that. One, research changes and I think it's good to always to be on the up and up with the most current research. Number two is even, you know, while to say I change and my understanding and my experience with clients changes. And so I don't have some of the same opinions that I had, you know, several years ago and I think we as humans should be evolving in our understanding of things and so I wanted to rerecord this episode kind of give you the most up-to-date information on supplements, what I'm recommending, what I'm not recommending, what the research says. Also special for this episode, we have created a free supplement download, so I'm going to be talking about a lot of things in this episode and it's easy to get overwhelmed. And so I wanted to make a concise document that you could download that would kind of summarize everything that I'm going to say in a document. So if you want that document, you can either go to bicepsafterbabies.com/285. That's the show notes for this episode. Or you can go to bicepsafterbabies.com/supplements. Either way will take you to be able to get that free download. And we have a very special segment. I am inviting a very special guest on for this episode and that very special guest is none other than my gorgeous, amazing, talented, super smart, super sciency husband, Taylor Brueseke, Dr. Taylor Brueseke.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 03:24
Wow! Ah, there, oh there, that's me, that’s me.
Amber B 03:26
There it is. So, OK, let me give you a little bit of back story, when I was going, I created a whole notes and I did a lot of research for this podcast episode. And as I was doing that and I was going through and reading some of the literature and some of the meta analysis and the information that is out there right now on supplements. I took a step back and I said, you know what, I want people to not get a degree in science, not have to be able to, you know, be able to read research. But I want the layperson to be able to understand a little bit more about research because I think for a lot of people who are not in the science field reading peer reviewed research is very intimidating and people don't understand it. And so when somebody says to you online and I see this a lot of times when people will say the words. Well, the research says, or research suggests, and you're like, OK, but we can actually check that we can actually go and see what the research says. But I think a lot of people just hear the words research says, and they just immediately assume that that person is being honest and, you know, communicating what research actually says. And I don't think that you have to do that. I don't think that you have to take somebody's opinion online as gospel truth. I think you as a consumer can go out and learn a lot your own without having to get a degree in science, I guess it was my point. So, anyway, let’s wrap that story up. I wanted to start this conversation about supplements with just a small, little, just a little bit of talk about research. And so as I was going through and making my outline, I kept coming back to, you know, who was going to be the best person to describe this and talk about this? My husband.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 05:15
Have the great research for a little while.
Amber B 05:16
Because while I have read research and I learned how to read research in nursing school and I feel somewhat confident in being able to read through a research project and paper, is nowhere near the level that my husband's at. Ask somebody, if you go search his name on PubMed, how many published pieces you have?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 05:39
Oh, I don't, I don't know, maybe 25 or something like that.
Amber B 05:43
OK, so if you go look up our last name, there's a lot of research that is published on PubMed that has been published in journals that you're the author on. So, to say that you understand research, you've done research, you've written research papers, you have do a lot of peer review for other research papers, right? There's always like, journals reaching out to you to do peer review of their articles.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 06:06
Amber B 06:08
You are the person that we're going to come to.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 06:10
Oh man, I'm feeling the pressure here, it is, I'm gonna have to like, step on my game.
Amber B 06:14
To make this easy, so again we're not, this is going to be a short segment and then you can sign off and then I'll finish out the podcast episode, but I do want to have anybody who's listening to podcast episode leave feeling a little bit more comfortable that they understand when people talk about peer reviewed research or they say the research suggests this about a supplement, what the heck are we talking about and why does it matter? So are we cool with that? Are you?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 06:38
Sounds awesome. Yeah, that sounds great.
Amber B 06:39
Are you ready to share some of your wisdom?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 06:41
Oh man. Love it, love that.
Amber B 06:42
And your knowledge? OK. OK, where do you want to start?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 06:47
Well, I'm gonna just respond. I mean, just respond to what you said about what's the “research says”, like, I think one thing is really important to understand about research is that there's no one answer, you know, we like to think that research comes out and says, this is the answer. And you can put everything else out, but if you think about science in general, we're constantly learning, constantly evolving and you kind of alluded to this early or earlier, but I think about gravity. It's still a theory, theory of gravity. Even though every time I drop my bag on the floor, it hits the ground. It's still called the theory, because maybe, maybe someday we'll understand it better. So I think that's probably where I would start is that research means that we're trying to get better at understanding something. It doesn't mean, yes, I know exactly what is going on now, and I can paint every hand I ever had on that nail because we know it to be true.
Amber B 07:37
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 07:37
Amber B 07:37
I think it's really. Yeah, that's really important to understand. And that kind of leads us into the levels of research to. So maybe you want to start there and just talk about, because if I will say you can find “research to support” like any position that you want to take. I'm sure that there is a. There is a research paper out there that can support almost anything that you want to say. But that doesn't mean that it is the highest quality. It doesn't mean it is the most peer reviewed. It doesn't mean it is like the thing that we should be taking as our best understanding of that, I don't know, that aspect.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 08:15
Right. Yeah, that's a good way, that's a good way of putting it like, what's our best understanding of this topic today. And so you know that gets us down into like, talking about different types of research, so some research is what we would call observational. That means that we kind of just took a look around and we saw what was happening and somebody who was scientific enough about it to like, take detailed notes and come up with very, you know, clear explanations of things. But this is not the best type of research, right? A stronger type of research would be something that was controlled, something that was prospective and so let me give you 2 examples. So an observational study tends to be retrospective. It doesn't have to be, but tends to be looking backwards in time. So, for example, if I wanted to do a study on, you know, does sunburn, does sunscreen prevent a sunburn? An observational way of doing that would be to look back in time and say, oh you five people who got sunburns, how many of you wear sunscreen? and then just see how many of them you know got burned versus didn't get burned. And that's what's called an observational study, because you know it happened, and now we have to look back and just kind of keep an eye on it. And and that's what happened. We're just trying to figure out what it was, whereas the controlled study would be generally speaking proactive cost effective. I'm going to take these 50 people, they are all going to go out in the sun. Half of them are going to get sunscreen. Half of them are not going to get sunscreen and then we're going to see how many of these people burn and at the end of the study, we'll all be pretty darn confident already that the people that wear sunscreen aren't going to burn, and so we can come to this conclusion that says the sunscreen keeps us from having sunburns. But if you wrote that from the observational perspective and you just asked the people that got sunburned, how many of you wear sunscreen? well, what if they didn't reapply after an hour or what if they didn't wait for 30 minutes. You're supposed to, you know, go, you know, stay dry before you got in the sun.
Amber B 10:08
Or they didn't use enough.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 10:09
So that. Or they didn’t use enough. Yeah, exactly.
Amber B 10:10
Or they thought they put it on themselves, but they actually put it on their kids and like.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 10:14
Right. And then they like missed the back or something like that because nobody told them that you had to put it everywhere and you know, whatever. So, that's what we call bias and observational studies have a lot of potential bias. Randomized controlled trials prospective studies minimize that bias, and we want good research as the least amount of bias that that's possible. There are other types of studies out there. Correlational studies, like for example, how many people that smoke end up getting lung cancer, so you can't really like, randomize. You are going to smoke and you are not going to smoke and see how many people end up getting, you know, lung cancer down the line. But you can look at a bunch of people that have lung cancer and a bunch of people that don't. Bunch of people that smoke and a bunch of people that don't and you can draw correlations between the two. Cross-sectional studies. So there's different types of research I guess is the key take away point to just kind of boil it down and some of them have a higher risk of bias and consequently some of them have a stronger ability to say yes, I really believe this. Yes, this really makes sense. Yes, this group of people really represents myself or the group of people that I care about.
Amber B 11:25
And there, there's a reason for each of these types of research, we're not saying that, like all you know, retrospective studies are a waste of time. Oftentimes, research gets started as some sort of retrospect study is, hey, we're kind of noticing this pattern, let's do a more prospective study. Let's control for as many factors as possible. And see if that actually plays out in a controlled study. So there's a place for all of these. All of these types of research, however, when we're talking about how ironclad they are or how much we should buy in and take the results as meaning something, we're really looking for those more prospective, those more randomized controlled. You'll hear these words like randomized controlled placebo, double-blind placebo. Will you explain all of those words so that, so people know what those words all mean?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 12:19
Yeah. So randomized means that you're, you know, if you have 100 people that you're going to give this supplement to. So you're going to randomize half of them to get or it's generally 50/50, but you're going to having them to get the supplement and have them not. That means if you decided to enroll in this study, somebody would essentially flip a coin, and if it was heads, you got the supplement it was tails, you did not get the supplement, you probably got a placebo, so placebo is a sugar pill. It's something that doesn't actively have, actually have an active ingredient, so that's sort of randomized. Controlled trial plus randomized controlled placebo trial is the control just means like I control for it. I told you, you had to take the medicine, you know, at 8:00 o'clock every day. And this kind of a format, you know, so that we could actually measure and follow out what happened afterwards.
Amber B 13:08
And then double-blind.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 13:10
Doble-blinding refers to whether the person that's making the observation, meaning the research coordinator. That's like reporting, you know, the outcome is aware of what intervention the person got, so that's a lot of words. So let me break down. So like, let's say I'm taking a supplement that's supposed to make me get stronger, you know, really makes me get stronger. Right. And so I get this medicine, and Amber gets a placebo and we both enroll the study. The person that's watching me do my squats, you know, six weeks later or whatever it is that's measuring how strong I am can't know what whether I got the placebo or the real pill because she knows that I got the real pill and she might look at me and be like, yeah, that looks like that's what went all the way to depth. Yeah, definitely went all the way to depth, right. Because there's a little bit of subjectivity.
Amber B 14:04
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 14:06
That’s right. There's subjectivity in the assessment, always, even in the most, you know, well designed studies. And so the blinding means the person is writing down the outcome. Figuring out whether it worked or didn't work, doesn't know whether the person got the thing that they were supposed to get or not.
Amber B 14:19
It's really good. So when I'm looking for and reading research, right when I go and do research for a podcast episode like this or recommendations, I'm going to recommend to my clients when I'm going to reading research, I'm trying to look for what you know, TJ saying is like I'm trying to look for randomized control trials. I'm trying to look for large population, large like NN of
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 14:44
Amber B 14:44
Sample size, thank you. So the smaller the sample size and a lot of research project will start out this. They'll start with the sample size of like 13 people, you know, let's test this on 13 people and see if we get any correlation and then because it costs a lot of money to do research. So let's try it on 13 people, see if we see anything and if so, we'll do a bigger sample size and a bigger sample size. And a bigger sample size. And some of these like behemoth, you know, research like 10 year long research projects will have like 50,000 people in it. And when you have a sample size at large, you're able to see a lot more than a sample size of just 13 people, so I'm always looking at what is the sample size. Is it a randomized control trial? And you know, the more it's randomized, the more it has a bigger sample size, the more I'm believing what it says and then another thing I'm looking for our meta analysis, so will you explain what a meta analysis is?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 15:38
Yeah, I'll do it well, I also want to add to that about sample size. One of the values of sample size is that you are more likely to be reflected in the study population. Meaning you want this drug or whatever it is you're experimenting to apply to you, right? Like it's really helpful for me, if I'm trying to decide whether to take something, you know, if it's been studied in other 42 year old males, then it is, they know there's only ever been trialed in, you know, girls or women or something that don't have the same kind of hormonal makeup that I do right. And so the larger sample size tends to help you reduce that chance that you're going to be reading that something that doesn't have something to do with you, but if you want to take it just a half step further, what you're really going to want to look at is the demographics of the people that are in the study. How old, really in general, did they have? Were they menopausal or not? Were they mostly men? Were they mostly women? And is that reflects the type of person that you are so that you can see it? That stuff applies to you. So a meta analysis is a collection of studies, right? So we've talked so far about observational studies, we talked about controlled studies and these are just one study, right. Like I decided as a researcher I was going to go try to answer this single question. And I just went out into my one study and I published my results. Might interviewed 10,000 people, but it was still just one study. The meta analysis is the combination of a bunch of studies, right? And so this is like, you know, it's like if somebody took like let's say you're trying to go to a restaurant, you're trying to figure out who's got the best tacos in town? If somebody went to Yelp and pulled like all of the reviews of all the different Taco places and gave you like, a summary statement. That said, like, of all the Taco places in Orange County, these are the way these other things like stack up because each restaurant has 150 reviews about it, right and so there's a, there's like a combination of large amounts of data from multiple sources. And that's going to provide the highest level of evidence that we have. Any one study no matter how well designed might have bias in it. Might have a population that doesn't necessarily exactly apply to you. Might have you know a different version of the drug or something like that in it. Whereas a meta analysis is going to try to, you know, sit through all that stuff and combine all those, you know, informations into one place so that you can get a high level summary of the data.
Amber B 18:10
That's great. So yeah, I'm often looking for what is the, what is the meta analysis, what is the compilation of all the research about this one supplement? And we're taking, they're taking all of it and they're looking at it all together. What is that say, because that's pointing us. Again, like you said at the beginning, we can't ever say definitively that this is the way it is. Where it will never change, but we can say in our general understanding of it as of now is pointing us into this direction and the meta analysis really helps you to be able to know where science is pointing currently.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 18:44
Yeah, I like this. It's like research is a conversation and meta analysis is like the Cliff Notes of the conversation.
Amber B 18:51
Yeah, right now.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 18:51
Right. It's like somebody's kind of taking a big summary of where we're at today and so this is the best we got.
Amber B 18:57
And so one of the things that I want to offer to people again, I want to make research a little less scary so that people feel empowered, that when somebody says something online that you have maybe like you're scratching your head and wondering if that's true, that you can do a little bit of your own research to kind of either debunk it or back it up. And so one of the websites that I like to use a lot that's free and available to everybody is Google Scholar, it is a compilation of a lot of research studies. You can't read them all because some of them are behind firewalls. But a lot of them, at least the abstract or the overview of the article is not behind a firewall. And you can put any keywords into Google Scholar and it will pull up the research articles that are about that topic. You've been the one that you like a lot?
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 19:45
Well, pubmed.org is where you know most of my stuff lands, but it just kind of depends on what you're trying to study because there are different, you know, places for different types of research. But PubMed is really great for biomedical research which most of the people that are listening to this podcast would be interested in, and Google Scholar is a great one, too.
Amber B 20:03
So it doesn't have to be complex, but even just going on Google Scholar and typing in creatine and hitting go, you'll see a bunch of research articles that will pop up. And again, we're looking for large sample size. We're looking for meta analysis. We're looking for randomized control trials and you can click on them and it will show you at least the abstract, which is again, is the overview of the abstract is going to give you the overview of the research project and you can learn a lot from just reading those and so by clicking on a few of those articles you're going to get a sense again looking for those keywords that I said you're going to get a kind of a sense of what is the research pointing to right now when it comes to creatine.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 20:44
Yeah. And I think my take away, you know, you know summary statement to folks that might not be researchers or have any particular inclination and really getting deep into the weeds. Is it's like the 80/20 rule, right? Like if you just put in a little bit of work, a little bit of looking, a little bit of research you get you know 80% of what you need, you certainly don't need to dive deep into the weeds. If that's not your interest. But it is worth I think a little bit of time to just kind of educate yourself if you're trying to figure things out instead just take other people who works for it.
Amber B 21:13
That's awesome. All right. Well thanks Hon. Thanks for coming in helping us learn to be a little bit better at search.
Dr. Taylor Brueseke 21:16
Yes, that's fun.
Amber B 21:18
OK, so I just made an executive decision. When I finished with my husband and I decided that I'm gonna break this into two episodes. Like it's just going to get too long if we don't do it that way. So, this episode we're going to talk about. We talked about research. We're going to talk a little bit about the FDA regulations when it comes to supplements, because that's really important to understand. It's not boring, I promise, we'll make it exciting. And then I'm going to talk about the top three well supported supplements that I 100% recommend. So we'll do that today in this podcast episode. Next week, we will talk about some of the more like ancillary supplements that you hear a lot about or you hear, you know, recommended to people or you see when you go to the supplement store, we'll talk more about those other types of supplements in next week's podcast episode. It's just going to get too long if we try to do it all together, so that's we're going to do, executive decision made.
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA 22:22
So, we talked about research. Hopefully you're feeling a little bit you at least understand research a little bit more because I feel like people say oh, I read the research or I know about research or the research says again that like, research isn't a model with there's a lot of aspects to research. And I think just having a little bit more understanding of the field of research, what it means, the different terminology that you'll hear tossed around, can be really helpful to helping you feel a little bit more empowered when you're making these decisions about where to spend your money. Again, this is it. Supplements cost money and so I don't know about you, but I want a return on my investment if I'm gonna spend money on something, I want to make sure that it's going to actually do something for me. I don't want to be, you know, wasting money on things that aren't actually supported in the research that they're gonna actually do anything for my body. And unfortunately, and this is where we get into regulations, unfortunately a lot of supplements don't do squat for your body and you may be well then, how can they sell them Amber? Well, here's the thing, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so the Food and Drug Administration we hear that we think ohh, they make sure that our food is safe. They make sure that our drugs work and that they do what they're supposed to do, so that should include supplements. But it actually doesn't. Supplements are outside of FDA regulations, meaning a supplement company doesn't have to prove anything to anybody in order to slap a label on a supplement bottle and sell it to you. They don't have to do any research studies. They don't have to prove anything. They don't even have to prove that what they say on the label is what's in the bottle, which is a little scary if you ask me. Like they can literally say ABC is in the bottle and they can put XYZ in the bottle. It's just not regulated. There's no oversight. There's no regulation when it comes to the the supplement world. And so as a consumer, you have to be aware of that and recognize that if you want to spend your money on something, you want to make sure that it's one, it's going to do something for your body that the research supports, it actually does something. And two, that you're getting what the brand says that you're getting.
So then how can we as consumers empower ourselves to be able to make those decisions? Well, one, we can understand the research, which is what we going to talk about here, we can understand what is well supported with research and what has very little to no research that people are still trying to sell. But that research doesn't support that it does anything. And then two, I really like the company and I'm not affiliated with them in any way. But the company Labdoor. So Labdoor is a third party testing site. Basically what they do is supplements, their third party meeting. They're not associated with any supplement company, but companies can pay to have them test their supplements and then Labdoor post all of their ratings and reviews online for people to see. So you can go to labdoor.com and you can type in a supplement, a brand, a product of a certain brand and Labdoor has done their own third party testing and review of that and they'll tell you is the dosage that the supplement company says is in this product, is it actually the accurate dosage, are they accurately reporting that, are the ingredients that they say are in this product, are they actually in the product? And so I like to use Labdoor a lot when I'm trying to decide about supplements to buy and which brands to be able to trust. I go to Labdoor because at least I'm getting some sort of third party testing to know what it is that I'm getting.
Legion Supplements and why I highly recommend them 25:51
Now, when we're talking about conflicts of interest, whenever you do a research project, you're always supposed to announce whatever things could be like, a conflict of interest for you. So, it is really important for me to share with you that I am a affiliate for Legion supplements and I did not come by this willy nilly. Many of you know that for years I was an affiliate for Ideal Lean and I loved their products. And I was with them for years and years, but recently their business has been shutting down. They aren't selling as many products. And I've had a lot of people come to me being like, what's the deal? I can't even get protein from them anymore. So this has led me on about a year search of trying different supplements, trying different brands, trying different companies to find a supplement brand that I feel really good standing behind and sharing with my followers and with my clients, and that is Legion. I've actually used Legion supplements, so it's about 2017, I found their pre workout back in 2017 and I have used it religiously since then so I am familiar with the brand. I've used it since 2017, but I did my due diligence. I didn't just say, oh, I'm just going to hop to Legion, I tried a bunch of different protein supplements. I tried a bunch of different brands and I came back to Legion. And I came back to Legion for a couple of reasons.
Reason number one is that they taste phenomenal and I know that there's a lot of things that we need to be thinking about when it comes to supplements, and there are other important things I'm gonna talk about. But for me, like if it doesn't taste good, I'm not going to use it. And that's one of the reasons that I loved Ideal Lean so much as their protein powder was delicious and I wanted to find a brand that I that just tasted just as good and had a lot of other features. But I mean, it has to taste good. If I'm going to actually use it and I like. I can hands down vouch for all of the flavors that I have tried have been delicious. Their protein powder is delicious. It mixes up really well. The flavors are balm. I haven't had a flavor that I don't like yet.
And the second thing that I really love about their product and this is what led me to Legion back in 2017, as I was doing research about supplements and figuring out what pre workout I wanted to take, is that they do not have any proprietary supplements of proprietary blends. So remember how I mentioned how the FDA has no oversight when it comes to supplements, so one of the things, one of the tricky things that supplement companies will do is they will kind of obfuscate what is in their supplements, so they will give you a pre-workout and they will, when you read the ingredients, it will say proprietary blend and they won't tell you what's in that proprietary blend. And so you don't know how much caffeine is in there. I mean, oftentimes I'll tell you the caffeine, but like things like, beta alanine, things like L-citrulline, like these other ingredients. They'll say that maybe it's in the product, but they won't tell you how much is in the product. Because they can hide behind this like “proprietary blend”, it's proprietary information. We can't tell you how much is in because people are going to copy it. And that's a bunch of BS because what happens is supplement companies tend to underdose the more expensive supplements, so certain supplements, like, let's say creatine is not a very expensive supplement. But beta alanine gets pricey, and so supplements will say, hey, we have beta alanine in our product. But it's under this proprietary blend, so you don't know how much beta alanine is in there and they will actually have a substandard amount, a substandard dose of beta alanine. So they can say we have beta alanine in our product. We're not telling you how much and what they do is they then under dose because what happens is that saves them money as a supplement company and they can make more money because they have to spend as much money on the beta alanine. Anyway, it's a big problem in the supplement industry. I will never buy anything that has any proprietary blend because as a consumer, I think I deserve to know what is in my supplement and I deserve to know the dosage that is in my supplement, so I say stay far away from anything with a proprietary blend and one of the things I love about Legion is there's no proprietary blends. They tell you exactly what are in their supplements and each of the dosages are research back dosages, meaning again, some supplements will under dose, things like beta alanine in order to save money. Legion doesn't do that. They give a standard dose, a research supported dose, right, because there’s been research done on how much beta alanine is good. You know, where do we get to the point where it's enough beta alanine. Where do we get to the point that's too much beta alanine. Where do we get the point that it's not enough? And research, there's been a lot of research that shows a good dose of beta alanine to get the maximum effect and Legion make sure to put the research supported dose into the product and that to me is really important. Again, it costs a little bit more for the supplement company to do that. But I want, if I'm going to be taking beta alanine, why would I want to take less than the recommended count, right? doesn't make any sense.
And then the third reason that I really love them and this is, I'm not a, I don't know, this is not as big of a deal to me, but it is to some people and that is that they don't use any artificial sweeteners or any artificial ingredients. And I know one of the things when I was supporting the Ideal Lean is people didn't like the ingredients that they had, and so, all of the ingredients in Legion supplements are all natural. There are no artificial sugars or sweeteners in the products or artificial flavorings, or colors and a lot of people, that's a big deal to them.
And so again, I feel really good supporting a supplement company that tastes good, that doses their or their products well, that is backed on Labdoor. If you go check them out on Labdoor, they have really great ratings and they don't have artificial sweeteners or ingredients. And to me, it's like a win, win, win all the way around. So I am an affiliate with Legion and if you use my code BAB so B-A-B stands for Biceps After Babies, you save 20% on your first order and then you get double points after that. So Legion gives you points that you can then spend on product and you get double points after that, so I just want to get out that that out there because that is a little bit of like a conflict of interest, but I think it's important that you as a consumer know about. Now most of what I'm going to be talking about in the rest of this episode is not brand specific. So, I'm talking about creatine. I'm talking about protein powder. I'm talking about caffeine, and none of those are necessarily brand specific, but I do think it's important that you know that I am an affiliate and that I affiliate with a brand that I stand behind and that I support and if you want to, you know, try a really great brand and continue to support the podcast and what I'm doing, then feel free to use BAB at checkout when you go buy your Legion supplements and I do get a kickback from that, but I fully stand behind and support their brand because it is an amazing, an amazing brand.
Supplements are not a requirement 32:59
OK, so the rest of this podcast episode, we are going to talk about what I like to call the Big Three, these are the three supplements that are well supported, there's tons of research on them. It's very obvious that they work, that they are effective, that they are low risk. And I mean, if you're on some sort of fitness journey, adding these supplements into your regiment, if you're going to add any supplements now, of course, you do not have to add any supplements, but if you're gonna add any supplements into your regimen, these are the three, the top three that you should be adding. Now, before we go dive into which what through those are, I do want to take a step back and reiterate what I just said, which is that supplements are never necessary. They're never a requirement. They are never the make or break for somebody in their fitness journey. I like to use a pyramid and I call it the hierarchy of nutrition to describe what is most important to what is least important when it comes to the results that you're getting. A lot of times I see people relying on these little tiny rocks. They're like trying to throw these little tiny rocks into the pool to raise the level of the water, rather than focusing on the big boulders that we could throw in to raise the level of the water. So like the big boulders would be your food, your workouts, your recovery, your stress reduction, your sleep. These are big, big boulders in your journey, like they, if you can really focus on getting more sleep like, that's gonna do a ton for your results. The problem is a lot of people try to focus on things that are higher up the hierarchy of nutrition. They try to focus on things like when should I eat, what foods like meal timing or should I eat within a certain window of opportunity? Doesn't, it just doesn't matter, it doesn't matter as much as what you're eating, your nutrition that matters a ton when you eat it matters way less and supplements really fall into that category as well. As supplements aren't going to make or break you, supplements are like the little extra umph towards your goals.
I recently watched, there's a new documentary on things on Netflix about Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a three-part documentary. It talks about his bodybuilding career. It talks about his acting career and it talks about his career as a politician, as the Governor of California, which, by the way, my kids were floored. They had no idea that Arnold Schwarzenegger was prior, was previously the Governor of California, that was funny to see their faces when they heard that. But we watched the episode of his bodybuilding career, and he talks about, he talks very openly about the fact that he did steroids and he also mentions he said, you know, maybe 5% of my results came from steroids, the other 95% was I mean, there's a lot of hard work that goes into building a physique like his, whether or not you take steroids. So he recognized that yes, steroids do help. They do provide that like extra 5%, but it cannot, nor it can't ever replace the 95% of the hard work, the nutrition, the time in the gym, the reps, you know, all the rest and recovery. Everything else that he was doing so it gives you him like a little bit of a boost. And obviously when you're trying to be the best of the best, 5% boost will help, but it's never going to make or break you. And it's the same thing with supplements, is people like to drop a lot of money on supplements because, well, sometimes it's easier to spend money than it is to count your macros, just being honest, but in the long run, doing things like spending money on food or spending money on a meal service or spending money on a gym membership that you frequently use is likely going to produce a better result than dropping a bunch of money on a bunch of different, you know, fat burning supplements or whatever. So supplements can give you that extra percentage, you know one to two to maybe 5% towards your results, but it's never going to be the foundation. So I think that's really important. I never have clients add supplements until they've, they have their foundation. You're eating well, you're exercising, you're sleeping, you've worked on your stress reduction. OK, we got the foundation in place. OK, now we can play around with like adding these other supplements and seeing you know what else we can eke out. But you gotta get your foundation in order first.
The Big Three Supplements 37:40
OK, so that's my little side. So, let's talk about the Big Three. Now these big three are probably big enough that even if you don't have everything else zero down like there's enough evidence to support these as worthy of investment for virtually anybody who is on a fitness journey and that is pre workout, caffeine and creatine. Those are the three. And sometimes we'll combine caffeine with like pre workout but, really, it's like the caffeine in the pre workout. We're to talk about other pre workout ingredients that are common pre-workout ingredients. We'll talk about those next week, but caffeine, 100% has a performative improvement of performance, so those three again protein powder, caffeine and creatine. So let's talk about each of those individually.
Number One: Protein Powder 38:36
The first one is protein powder. Now, protein powder in supplement form is not a necessity. You can build muscle, you can lose fat, you can hit your protein goals without a protein matter, you totally can. What a protein powder does is just makes it easier and more convenient, especially if you're trying to hit a higher protein intake. It can be hard to hit 130, 140, 150. You know, some of these, like bodybuilder types or people who are trying to get really, really lean are eating 150, 160, 170 grams of protein a day and that can be really challenging, to get that much protein, especially when your carbs and fat are lower. Another aside, people often think that your protein needs to be the highest when you're trying to build muscle, like when you're in a bulk, but that's actually opposite. Protein typically needs to be the highest when you're trying to get super lean. So for people who are doing like a bodybuilding competition where they're trying to, you know, females are trying to get 14, 13, 12% body fat, which is very, very, very lean. That is when their protein intake needs to be the highest and the reason is because as you get leaner and leaner and leaner, your body starts turning to muscle for fuel, right? you don't have a lot of fat left on your body, and so your body starts turning to muscle for fuel. And so in order to stave off that muscle wasting, we're trying, we increase our protein intake really high to hopefully stave off and give our body access to the amino acids without burning through our muscle. So, protein intake is actually typically highest on someone who's in a cut, who is very lean trying to get even leaner. That's when. That's when you see women who are like getting ready for competition, like a bodybuilding competition, and they're eating 150, 160, 170 grams of protein and they're eating like 40 fat. It's really hard to only eat 40 fat. And eat 170 grams of protein without a good protein powder and so protein powder just, it makes it easier. It makes it more convenient, I love to drink protein powder just post workout. It's just like an easy way for me to get, you know, my 20 grams of protein in post workout. I don't have to eat anything. I can mix it in the car on the way home, it just makes it super convenient. I'll drink a protein shake. You know, during the day, when I'm on calls and again it's not necessarily better than eating some chicken but it only is easier and more convenient for me than sometimes having to make another protein source. So, definitely don't have to have a protein powder but a good protein powder can make it a lot easier to be able to hit your protein goals. So if you're someone who finds it challenging to hit that protein goal, you're counting macros, you're trying to build muscle, trying to lose fat, and you're struggling to hit that protein goal. A protein, a good protein powder can make it a lot easier. And like I said before. I recommend Legion protein powders. I have yet to find a flavor that I don't like. They are delicious and so for me I if I'm trying to watch my calories I'll just mix it with water, if I have some extra calories I like to do half and half water and milk. And if you want it, like really creamy and really delicious, just doing all milk and plus protein powder is it's like, it's delicious and they have a ton of flavors that are just killer and to die for. So that is my spiel on protein powder. If you like to have something fast and easy and convenient, protein powder can be that and Legion’s protein powder is bar none fantastic.
Number Two: Caffeine 42:20
OK, so the second one is caffeine. So caffeine again, research well supported, caffeine is a performance enhancer. It helps you and we know this, I don't know, if you've ever worked out with caffeine on board, it helps you to push harder. It helps you to eke out a couple more reps. It helps you to run faster. It helps you to push harder. It gives you that feeling that I can go hard. And so as a performance and performance enhancer, caffeine is well researched to be able to support that, so you can have caffeine in a pre workout. Most pre workouts, that's the big ingredient that people are taking it for is, is that caffeine or, you know, some people just like to drink a cup of coffee before they go and work out. And that's just fine, too. Like the caffeine in and of itself is what's really beneficial here. And any way that you want to get that caffeine in pre workout can be performance enhancing. Now we do have to talk about the fact that you can build up a tolerance to caffeine and that basically means that if you continue to use caffeine, your body will react to less and less and less to it over time, and so a good idea with your caffeine intake is to cycle it, meaning to use it for a period of time and then take a week to, you know, week or two to stop using caffeine, rebuild up your tolerance to caffeine, and then you'll find when you come back to it that it will work a little bit better because your body just gets used to that, which you continue to feed to it. And so it is a good idea if you're doing pre workout or if you drink a lot of coffee or caffeine to take breaks from that caffeine because you'll be able to reduce your tolerance and then it will work a lot better in the future.
Number Three: Creatine 44:16
All right. And the last one of the Big Three is creatine and I think creatine is one of the most mysterious ones when it comes for females, especially because a lot of people for some reason think creatine is a steroid. They think it's like illegal. It's something that, you know, only bodybuilders take. But again, there's a reason I'm mentioning these three, protein powder, caffeine, and creatine, these are the most well researched supplements that you can take and creatine is clear, it makes a difference. Specifically, creatine helps you to build muscle mass and also improve your strength. Now it can't do this in a vacuum. That's really important to understand. It's not like if you take creatine like your muscles are just going to grow. It's not actually how it works, but when you take creatine in conjunction with weight lifting and in conjunction with progressive overload, if you take creatine and progressive overload, you're going to build more muscle than if you just progressive overload without taking the creatine.
Creatine also helps to improve your anaerobic endurance. This is really important. There's a difference between your anaerobic endurance and your aerobic endurance. So aerobic means with oxygen, anaerobic means without oxygen, so anything that we're doing that is longer than like 90 seconds, like 90 seconds to two minutes, is always going to be aerobic. It means the body is producing energy with the use of oxygen. And so anytime you're going for a run or you're doing any cardio class, it's always aerobic. If it's over that like 2-minute mark, it means your body is using oxygen to be able to produce energy. Anaerobic is in that like under 2-minute range and it means that your body is producing energy without oxygen. And again, it's that quicker that, that quicker firing spurt of energy, not the long-lasting cardio. OK, so a good example is like doing a 5 Rep Max of deadlift is going to be in the anaerobic section versus going for a 400-meter run, which is going to be aerobic. So the reason I make that distinction is because creatine specifically has been shown to boost anaerobic endurance. So, creatine isn't going to do anything for a marathon runner. Like to be able to improve their marathon running time, it's not going to do anything if you're playing a basketball game. It's not gonna do anything if you're doing soccer like anything in that aerobic realm, it's not. That's not what it helps with, but it does help improve your anaerobic endurance and most of weight-lifting is in that anaerobic time frame.
Creatine is an Amino Acid 47:11
So, we know some of the benefits of creatine, but what the heck is it like if it's not a steroid? I mean, it wasn't a steroid. What is it? it's actually an amino acid. And if you don't remember back to your high school or college chemistry class, I'll remind you that a protein when we say we're eating protein. We're talking about the larger molecule and that larger molecule is made-up of smaller molecules that are called amino acids. So amino acids are the building blocks. You may not remember, this amino acids are the building blocks of protein and they are, think you know they help us to repair our muscles, help us to repair our ligaments and our tendons. And you know, we use amino acids and protein all over in our body to be able to help and repair cells. So creatine is a type of an amino acid, and it is a natural source of energy that helps with skeletal muscle contraction. OK, so it creates a supply of energy in your muscles so that they can keep working, which is why you can see that it can help increase strength and muscle. Because if the muscle can work longer and harder, you're going to be able to generate more muscle mass. If the muscle can work longer and harder, you'll be able to generate more force and more strength. And so creatine is in supplement form can help increase that. Now, you eat creatine every single day. If you eat any meat, you are eating creatine, so we get creatine normally in our diet. So then why do we need to supplement it with it, well, because basically there is an amount of creatine that our body can utilize and store and in order to optimize and get the optimal effect, we want to keep our reserves fully loaded. It's kind of like if you have a pantry, you can have a little bit of food in that pantry or you can have that pantry fully stocked. And when you go into that pantry and you take out something, you then restock it like your pantry stays fully stocked and you always have what you need. It's the same thing with creatine is if we're just relying on our food, we don't usually fully stock our creatine reserves. And we get the most benefits if we keep a fully stocked reserve of creatine. And so by supplementing with it daily, 5 grams is usually the dose, is that's the research supported dose. So 5 grams daily and this is whether or not you're working out, taking 5 grams daily, helps keep that those reserves full. You keep your pantry full of all the creatine that you need and then you're able to optimize the effects of creatine.
Myths surrounding Creatine 50:01
So why doesn't everybody just take creatine? Well, one of the concerns that a lot of people have is they've heard that creatine increases weight gain. So let's talk about that for a minute, cause I want to debunk some of these myths that are surrounding and help you to make a more educated decision about whether or not you should take creatine. Creatine is stored in the muscle and it's stored alongside water. So what happens when you take creatine and it gets stored into the muscle, is that it draws water into your muscle cells. So, can it increase your weight because you're holding on to a little bit more water? Yes, it can, but it's really important and I say this whole time in the podcast. So if you have hopefully listened to any of my other podcast episodes you already can, you already know what I'm going to say, that fat gain and weight gain are not the same thing. And so just because maybe you see a little bit of weight gain does not necessarily mean that you're getting fat. And so, yes, is there a possibility that you may see the scale go up slightly because you're putting a little bit more water into your muscle cells? Perhaps, although this is not with everybody but perhaps, but again, it's not fat gain. It's water. And the cool thing is that when there is more water in your muscles, not only again do you have more access to energy for your workouts, right? So you feel stronger and you push harder and are better at your workouts, like that's the whole point of taking creatine. But your muscles look better. So if you know anything about the bodybuilding world, bodybuilders will play around with water balance in order to make their muscles look good. So what will happen is oftentimes leading up to a competition, they'll actually dry out their body. They won't eat any salt and they'll like, restrict their water intake. The like, the week leading up to competition and then 24 hours before competition, they will eat all the salt. They'll drink a ton of water because what they're trying to do is to fill their muscles with water because it makes them appear more full, it makes them appear they just look better. Your muscles look better when they have more water in them than when they are drained of all of their water. So it's always funny to me when people are like I don't want to gain weight. I don't want to take creatine, because I don't want to gain weight and I'm like, yeah, but your muscles will look better. Your body will look better. Everything will look better. You'll perform better in the gym. You'll build more muscle. You'll have more strength. You'll have more anaerobic capacity. Like the scale may go up a pound or two and like, that's what you're concerned about? And I get it. Like I don't mean to be. I don't mean to be dismissive. I know that there are a lot of women, especially who struggle with the scale and they struggle with that relationship with the scale. It's something that hopefully if that is you that you're working through and you're getting help with. Because it doesn't have to be that way. But there are so many benefits to taking creatine that having a 1 to 2 lb increase on the scale while you're taking it to gain all of those other benefits, to me seems like a no brainer.
Legion’s creatine product is called Recharge 53:11
And it's for all these reasons that I've taken creatine for years, years and years and years and years, years, years, years. Honestly, it's one of the cheapest supplements that you can buy if you just want, just creatine monohydrate, which is the form that I suggest you take, bulk supplements on Amazon is the cheapest way to get it. I take my creatine in a formula called Recharge that Legion has. They have their post workout, it's called Recharge. It has creatine in it with some other stuff, so that's where I get my creatine and I love it. I think Recharge is awesome. It's a really great product. But if you're like, I'm on a budget and I want the cheapest, to be able to get creatine, bulk supplements on Amazon. You can get a whole bag of creatine for like, less than 20 bucks. It will last few months and months and months. Again, the dosage is 5 grams. There used to be stuff with like loading phase and then you know where you would like slowly increase your dosage. And I'm be, if I'm being honest, I never do any of that. I never have done any of that with my clients. It's like, I start with 5 grams and I just take 5 grams and just take 5 grams a day, every day. Again, you take it whether or not you're working out so this isn't, isn't just like only when you're working out, because remember what you're wanting to do is like keep that pantry fully stocked at all times. So you just take it on a consistent basis, you're keeping that amount of creatine in your body at a high level, and you're gaining benefits and access to more energy inside of your muscles. It's like it's like a freaking win-win all the way around. Now, if you're not lifting weights, this may not be a supplement that you need. OK, so when I say that this is like a no brainer, I'm talking about for people who are lifting weights, for people who are doing anaerobic style training. Again, if you're just a runner, not just a runner like, it's a bad thing, but like you're running, if this is not going to do much for you because it doesn't help with aerobic performance. This is more in that anaerobic, that shorter time domain, and when you're really looking for pushing out those extra reps, pushing out those that extra, that extra umph in your lifting, creatine can be a real boon for that.
So those are the big three, those are the three that, like nobody is gonna argue with you on. They're well researched, lots of data to show that they are helpful and lots of data show that they're safe. So again, protein powder, a good protein powder, I would say most people listening to this podcast episode, that is a self selected bunch of people, but most people listen to this podcast episode would benefit from having a protein better doesn't mean you have to take it every day, but having access to an easy source of protein without carbs and fat is going to be a help to most of you.
Recommended Servings of Protein, Caffeine and Creatine 55:57
Ohh and let me answer a question that I answer all the time. People are wondering like how many scoops of protein powder can I eat a day? And really there's like from a is it safe? Question that it's not unsafe if you're going to eat like multiple servings of protein powder a day. It's not. It's not going to hurt you. The concern that. I always, always have if I have clients who are having lots and lots of scoops of protein powder a day is just that you're missing out on other nutrients and minerals and vitamins that you would be getting if you were eating other types of food. So I'm a big fan of getting a wide variety of food so that we can cover our bases with things like fiber and minerals and vitamins and you know all the other nutrition outside of just the macronutrients and for that reason I usually recommend clients do no more than two supplemental protein sources a day, so to me this is like a protein bar and a protein shake, right. There's my 2 supplemental sources. I don't really want to do more than that, not because it's harmful, but because that means that I'm not eating things like chicken. That means I'm not eating other protein sources like shrimp and I'm and I'm not getting some of those other, the other nutrition found in a wide variety of protein sources. That's this is literally just my rule of thumb. You can do whatever you want. I'm not trying to tell you that this is the only way to do it, but that has been my rule of thumb for me is like no more than two supplemental protein sources a day because I want to get a variety of other foods in my diet and not have all of my protein come from, you know, protein supplementation.
OK. So good, protein powder, caffeine. Whether you take this in the form of a pre workout, we'll talk about other pre workout ingredients next week because most pre workouts, they include caffeine, but they tend to include other products as well, so we'll talk about, you know, you can either do a pre workout because some of those other ingredients can be really helpful as well. Or at the very least taking some caffeine if you tolerate caffeine and know not everyone tolerates caffeine very well, but if you tolerate caffeine, taking caffeine pre workout can be very big. Now one thing I will say before you go and like completely load up on caffeine is it's really good to titrate your caffeine and pre-workout consumption over time. So we'll see a lot of times as people who will get like a new pre-workout. Or have caffeine and they'll take a bunch of it like a full two scoops or a full serving and then feel terrible. They'll completely like wig out because they way overshot how much they're used to having. So take it slow. You don't need to like have 300 milligrams of caffeine. Maybe start with 175 maybe, depending on your caffeine tolerance and kind of build up from there so that you can find how much you need to be able to feel the effects. Right. You want to feel a little invincible, a little bit like, I have more oomph to push with. I can go after that extra wrap. I can do that extra set. Yeah, that's heavy but like, I got the gumption to be able to pick it up like that's what caffeine does for you.
And then the last one, of course, is creatine if you are someone who is lifting weights. If you're trying to build muscle. If you're trying to build strength again, building muscle, building strength aren't exactly the same thing, but if you're trying to do either of those, having creatine on board is going to give your skeletal muscles faster, quicker access to energy, which is going to help you to push harder, which is gonna help you to get more reps which is gonna help you build more muscle, build more strength, have a little bit better recovery. That's another thing that creatine does and helps you preserve lean muscle mass and strength. Even when you're in a caloric deficit. So creatine is just one of those things that I've been taking. I mean, literally, for years and years and years. And years and years. And again, sometimes people talk about cycling on and off creatine. If I'm being honest, I don't ever really cycle on and off it. Uh, I guess I do unintentionally cause sometimes when I go on vacation, I don't take creatine. So I guess I do cycle on and off it that way, but I haven't been super intentional about six weeks on one week off I just take it a whole time again, you're eating creatine. If you eat meat, you eat creatine, so the supplementation of creatine is just that, extra little bit to make sure that those storages are all the way full so that we have are maximizing the amount that we're able to store and being able to use that for energy when our muscles need it.
OK, we covered a lot of things today. I wasn't planning on breaking this up into two episodes, but I think that's a wise decision because I still have a whole list of supplements that I want to talk about in the next episode. So to wrap this episode up, we talked about research, we talked about how to be a little bit more critical and analytical about the research and being able to do some research on your own about these types of things and not always just having to take an influencer's word for it, like I never want you just to take my word for it. Go do your own research so that you can back up what I'm saying. Don't just say, Oh well, Amber said it must be true. No, go read the research yourself to make sure that I'm representing it well to you. And then we also talked about the FDA. We talked about how supplements aren't regulated, and that's an important thing to know. We talked about labdoor.com as a place to be able to go and you know for any of you guys taking supplements right now, I recommend go to labdoor.com right now. Enter in your supplements. Enter in the brands and see what it comes up, you might be surprised in a good way, or you might see surprise in a bad way and it can tell you kind of are the supplements that you're taking. Are they being honest with you? And then we talked about the Big Three. We talked about creatine, we talked about caffeine, and we talked about protein powder and those are the ones. If you're going to start with any supplements, those are the ones to start with. I also mentioned that I'm an affiliate for Legion supplements. My code BAB, B-A-B will save you 20% on your first order and then double points after that, if you are going to purchase from Legion, I love their protein powder. Again, I haven't been sad of any of the flavors that I've tried of their protein powder. I've used their pre-workout which is called Pulse. That's their pre-workout. I've used that since 2017. Used it for years and years and years, I love Pulse. It's to me, I don't, like I don't like a crash. I don't want to have a high, high and then a crash. And I feel like it's a nice gentle rise with the caffeine. I actually only take half a dose, just put it out there, but for me it's like, I like the way that I feel with their, with Pulse taking it for years and years and then their creatine is found in a product called Recharge, which is a post workout supplement that I take on the way home from the gym. And that contains creatine and it contains some other things that we'll talk about in the next episode.
Also don't forget, I know I talked about a lot of supplements today and I'm gonna talk about a lot of supplements next week and it's really easy to get lost with all the supplements so, what we did was we compiled everything that I've talked about into a document that makes it really easy to see which supplements I recommend, gives you links to things which supplements are a no go, which supplements you shouldn't take, and we've done that and put it all together in a download. So if you go to bicepsafterbabies.com/285, that's the show notes for this episode or bicepsafterbabies.com/supplements you can get that free PDF download that will kind of summarize everything from this episode, and the next episode in one easy to read document. That wraps up this episode, join me next week, we'll be going through a whole list of other supplements, actually put this out on my Instagram and say what supplements you guys want to hear about and you guys let me know. So we'll be talking about L-citruline. We'll be talking about beta alanine. We'll be talking about collagen. We're talking about BCA's, fish oil, vitamin D, probiotics, multivitamins, Magnesium, greens, fat burners. We'll talk about what you can take when you're pregnant and breastfeeding and what you should stay away from. So make sure to join me back for Part 2 of the Lowdown on Supplements and next week and I'll see you then. I'm Amber, now go on and be strong, because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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