Ammonia Fitness Study: Ammonia - The Enemey of the Mind

Ammonia and Health

Advanced Mental Health and Wellness Sciences & Current Research

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Dr. Fred Hatfield - Dr. Squat - knows a thing or two about the stress of intense training. Says he: 'Anyone can pump iron, and anyone can enter a contest. But it isn't until you learn to adjust your mental focus to a razor-sharp edge that you will be able to lift the big iron." Whether you are a bodybuilder or you're using weight training to enhance your ability in another sport, you want to train as hard as you can, with the highest intensity level possible, to make the biggest gains in the shortest time. Of course this is the main goal of any athlete.

That is where supplements come in - not only to build and maintain your body, but to help you concentrate while under the most severe training stresses. The question is whether supplements can help improve your concentration. We now know that certain ones can do just that.

Due to many physiological reactions that take place in your body, optimal functioning may not always be possible. Certain functions can take place only so fast, thus limiting the overall process. In the same way that you max out your body on a certain lift, you can also max out your body in certain metabolic functions.


During intense training you need to use your mind as much, if not more, than you use your muscle. Your mind tells your body what to do, when to do it, and how much to do. If your mind, for some reason, is not functioning at full capacity, you will not be able to have the intense training session needed to promote muscle growth. You must understand the brain and how to optimize its function to better stimulate muscle growth. This is where supplements come in to help you perform at peak levels. Let's look at a typical leg workout. Say you are going to start with squats. Today's a heavy day You warm up with 135 pounds for two sets of 15-25 reps, then pyramid the weight up till you're doing heavy sets of 3-'-5 reps.

The first few sets are no problem, but it's the last few sets that separate the men from the boys. These are the that make or break the workout. This is not the place for the fainthearted. You approach the bar like a lion, take the bar off the rack, and all of a sudden you lose it. You can't concentrate, you start to shake, you're not sure whether to continue or rack the weight and start again. You go for it anyway. You're an animal and you can train through it.

Once refocused, you start your descent, then all of a sudden you lose your concentration completely, You fail. Your training partner couldn't have spotted you with a forklift.


What happened? Several causes are possible, but a likely one is the toxic effect of ammonia on the brain. During intense exercise, proteins are broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are used by the body for many metabolic reactions during intense exercise. The byproduct of amino acid catabolism is ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to the brain and can cause loss of workout concentration, memory loss, vomiting, nausea, lethargy and tremors.

By far, the most important way for getting rid of ammonia is through your body's ability to make urea. Ammonia is usually filtered by the kidneys and ex created through the urinary system. It some cases intense training can over toad the body's ability to filter the ammonia, leading to the aforementioned symptoms. You can do certain things to improve this filtering function. Again, supplementation becomes a factor. By supplementing your body with some of the more important metabolites involved this filtering reaction, you maybe able perform at high intensity levels for prolonged period.

The amino acids ornithine, arginine and citrulline, along with the minerals magnesium, manganese and zinc, are apparently involved in the metabolic process of scavenging ammonia from the blood. In specific clinical settings these amino acids and minerals have been given to help with ammonia intoxication diseases.

As you can see from the accompanying sidebar, this is an extremely complicated process. I simplified it to save you the headache of trying to follow the metabolic flow charts. If you provide your body with the proper nutrients before ammonia levels become too high, you can possibly prevent those toxic effects from ruining your concentration and your workouts. Providing your body with the nutrients you need at the specific time you need them to help you achieve that peak performance - that is the art and science of sports nutrition.

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