TechGenix FitITproNews

Vol. 02, #8 - February 28, 2018 - Issue #0023

FitITproNews: Creatine, taurine, glutamine

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Editor's Corner

This week's issue of FitITproNews continues our discussion of supplements that I believe can be valuable for fat IT pros (like I used to be) who are trying to change their lifestyle by losing weight and getting fit by eating properly and working out regularly. In previous issues of this newsletter I've talked about the following supplements:


Citrulline Malate

Fish oil

This week we're going to take a quick look at three more supplements:

  • Creatine
  • Taurine
  • Glutamine

But before we do this let's dig into our Mailbag which has been accumulating reader emails for the last while.


Several readers sent us feedback concerning Issue #21 Fish Oil where I touted the potential benefits from supplementing your diet with a good fish oil supplement. First off is this email we received from a reader named Lee:

Thanks for the articles. Just a tip that may be helpful to you or others (but if you hate gelcaps then I guess it is not much of a tip). Anyway, in case you do not already know, one way to eliminate fish oil burps (and breath) is with Nordic Naturals fish oil. They make fish oil products that are flavored with lemon or strawberry. The "Ultimate Omega" and "DHA Xtra" products work great for me. Btw, I am NOT affiliated with Nordic Naturals in any way other than as a shopper. I am a loonnnng time programmer (35 years) who also values staying fit. Thanks, Lee B.

Thanks for the tip Lee and we've included a link to the Nordic Naturals website in the Fitness Toolbox section of this newsletter. I haven't tried that brand myself (our local health food store doesn't carry it) but if I find it somewhere I might give it a try.

A reader named Sarah at the University of Georgia has had a different experience however with fish oils that contain mostly omega 3 fatty acids:

I've actually found I do better on a supplement that contains a mix of omegas. The supplement I use is Complete Omega Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil from Sundown Naturals. I've tried just omega-3 fish oil before, and it's caused problems from insomnia to generally feeling unwell. I'm not really sure how the supplement I use actually benefits me. I'd initially begun omega supplementation to see if it would clear my skin. I don't believe I've noticed results from the supplement while other changes have brought about drastic improvement. However, I notice I don't sleep as well when I don't take it, so it's one supplement I've stuck with over the years.

Thanks for sharing! We've included a link to this product too in our Fitness Toolbox below. 

Jay from Western Washington University shared some concerns about fish oils and especially how they are produced:

Dear Mitch, I've never used fish oil but I'd like to offer my opinion about it. Based on what I have read, the science does not strongly support the benefits of fish oil. The impression I get is that eating fish is largely beneficial, but fish oil taken as a supplement simply does not confer the same benefits of eating fish. As you point out, the Western diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. In my view the best way to combat this is by improving eating habits and eating a largely plant based diet.

Also, the fish oil industry has done a great job convincing us that we should use fish oil, but this has put a lot of pressure on the world's fisheries. I'd encourage you to check out a film by Paul Greenberg on PBS called the Fish on
My Plate:

In my view, the meager benefits we may get from consuming fish oil do not justify the heavy toll on fish stocks. My mother and sister are fish oil users and I've tried to convince them of this with limited success.

On the topic of supplements in general, a reader named Richard wrote to us to express the following thoughts:

Which lab do you use to analyze the supplements you take? That is, how do you really know there is leucine in the bottle? And what by-products of the extraction process are also in the bottle?

Splenda? Really? Step away from the processed food-like substances, stat!

My food rules: (1) eat real food, (2) mostly plants, (3) not too much, (4) minimize the sugar.

I wasn't going to respond until I got to the Splenda comment. To each his own. Best of luck on your fitness and nutrition path.

That's a valid concern about supplements as there have been cases where companies producing supplements have been less than honest about the ingredients they contain and/or the processes used to make them. For example see this article from a few years ago in HealthLine:

On the other hand one can voice a similar concern with the foodstuffs we purchase from supermarkets. Are fruits and vegetables labeled as organic really organic? In Canada any food or fiber product labeled as organic must have been grown and made without the use of GMOs or nanotechnology, artificial preservatives and colors, synthetic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, sewage sludge or irradiation. But just having a label on it saying it's organic doesn't *guarantee* that all these restrictions have been followed, does it? So I might ask this reader, Which lab do you use to analyze the foodstuffs you eat to verify that they're free of herbicides and pesticides etc? 

Finally, in last week's issue of FitITproNews we shared the body transformation story of Dan Davis, a Technical Alignment Engineer for an IT management company who is approaching 50 and recently began his own weightloss/fitness journey. While Dan's story is inspiring, it also drew the following caution from a reader named Tim:

Mitch, just a reminder for people to check with their Doctor before starting a work out regime or if they notice something that does not seem normal. 

In 2012 at the age of 54, I looked in the mirror and said hey you need to get in shape. Fortunately my employer has a full workout facility available to employees for a reasonable cost. They also were running a program that combined fitness and nutrition training. We worked out with a trainer twice a week and once a week had a nutritionist discuss different facets of nutrition with us. The program worked, over 12 weeks I lost 23 lbs and felt pretty good about it all. 

About the time the program ended I had an appointment with the Sleep Center for a yearly check up on my sleep apnea, My Doctor who happened to be a pulmonologist, asked me how things were going. I stated that I had attended this program and lost 23 lbs but still had some difficulty catching my breath after training hard. I attributed it to being old and fat. He listened to my lungs and said we need to get an MRI and breathing tests done. After the tests and MRI we had another appointment and he said signs indicate you may have pulmonary fibrosis. He referred me to Pulmonary and they did more tests and concluded it was idiopathic (unknown cause) pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. This is a disease that scars the lungs making it hard to get oxygen into the blood stream. There currently is no cure, just a couple medications that for some people will slow the progression of the disease or a lung transplant. 

From Pulmonary they referred me to the Transplant Center. After extensive testing it was determined that I was a good candidate for a lung transplant. I was placed on the transplant list in Dec 2104. Fast forward to 2016 the scarring got so bad that hospitalization was the only option that could meet my oxygen needs. After a 7 week wait in the hospital, a miracle happened and lungs became available. It has been a year and a half since a double lung transplant and live is good. Thank goodness for IT jobs it allows me to work from home full time. I am doing most things that I used to do and working out almost daily. Life is back to a new normal and a daily regime of medications. God bless my donor, may she rest in peace. 

Why do I tell this story? Twofold, first you should talk to your Doctor if things are not feeling right. It blindsided me that I had IPF. Sometimes these things are lurking and we don't even know it. Second is to encourage people to sign up to be organ donors. Every day 22 people die waiting for and organ transplant. It is easy to signup, most states allow you to check the organ donor box when you renew your driver's license or you can sign up at

Make sure to tell your family you have become a donor also.

Sobering story, thank you for sharing it. My own father was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis shortly before he was going to retire in his early 60s. Supplemental oxygen and prednisone treatment were able to prolong his life but he was unable to obtain a lung transplant and died a few years later. I agree with what Tim says here about seeing your Doctor before you start with any weightloss and/or exercise program, and we explicitly say this too in the Disclaimer section at the bottom of each issue of this newsletter, so please take it to heart.

Now let's briefly talk about creatine, taurine, and glutamine.


Creatine is a much-studied fitness supplement that is considered to be safe and effective for increasing muscle strength and size. It comes in various chemical formulations but the most studied one is creatine monohydrate. I take about 5 grams of this every day after my workout and even on days when I don't work out. The following articles from FitnessRXforMen Magazine tell you more about some of the benefits of supplementing with creatine and how to take it:

FYI some individuals have reported a feeling of bloating after taking creatine but this hasn't been my experience. Still, with any new supplement it's best to start taking small amounts to determine your tolerance for it. 


Taurine is an amino acid that has sulfur in it and is found in highest concentration in meats. Energy drinks like Red Bull typically contain taurine in addition to B-vitamins and other stuff (and of course loads of caffeine). I take 5 g of taurine after working out for the simple reason that taurine is most abundant in heart muscle, and at my age I want to treat my heart with care. Does it help me? Who knows, but it hasn't seem to harm me so I keep doing it. is a good place to go to learn more about taurine:


Finally there's glutamine, another amino acid and in fact the most abundant amino acid in the human body (from what I read somewhere). Body builders in the 60s and 70s used to load up on glutamine to recover after a heavy workout session, and I used to do the same until last year when I read this article that says glutamine interferes with the mTOR-protein synthesis pathway:

I thought, Oops! I'm taking leucine to turn-on mTOR (muscle growth) but the glutamine I'm taking suppresses mTOR, so maybe I shouldn't take them both together? 

Anyways, I've stopped taking glutamine after resistance training (weightlifting) unless I exercised so hard that I feel wiped afterwards. In that case I take glutamine, 5 or 10 grams of it, because it helps for my recovery. I also take glutamine after a long or difficult cardio session like a 5k run because it helps boost certain parts of your immune system as this article on explains:

I especially do this if I start to feel rawness or hoarseness in my throat after a long run or heavy circuit exercise routine. I'll take anywhere from 10 to 25 grams of glutamine to give my immune system a kick in the pants.

And I also take a good dose of glutamine if I feel I'm starting to come down with the sniffles. It sometimes helps almost immediately, but other times it fails to ward off the coming cold. But in either case it probably can't hurt. Or maybe it can if you take too much glutamine at one time--see the How To Take section in this article from

And as far as aiding recovery after a workout goes, if glutamine doesn't do it for you then you can always try this supplement:


Standard dosing for the above supplement is 500 ml or about one pint taken immediately after a heavy workout. But you can always double that dose if needed, usually without any ill effect. 

Send use your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of FitITproNews? Email us at [email protected]

Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness professional or nutritionist so take any suggestions made here "as is" with a grain of salt and a heaping supply of your own judgment. Please read our full disclaimer at the bottom of this newsletter.  

Subscriber preferences: As a WServerNews subscriber we're sure you'll enjoy reading FitITproNews each week as much as you enjoy reading WServerNews. But if you'd rather not receive FitITproNews any more, just go to the bottom of this issue and click Update Newsletter Preferences to change your subscription preferences. And by the way, we also have two other TechGenix newsletters you can subscribe to: our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles. Why not subscribe to all of them today?

Ask Our Readers: Need help or advice concerning fitness, weightloss, exercising or nutrition? Why not tap into the huge collective expertise of our IT pro readership from all around the world! Send your questions to us today by emailing us at [email protected]

Today's workout

This morning I alternated a "sweat circuit" with some shoulder and forearm exercises. My sweat circuit consisted of the following four exercises with 15-20 sec rest between each set:

  1. 45 lb kettlebell swing (20 reps)
  2. 40 lb narrow-stance dumbbell squats (12 reps)
  3. 25 lb one-arm overhead kettlebell press (10 reps)
  4. 30 lb dumbbell lunges (10 yards/meters)
The shoulder/forearm exercises consisted of the following:
  1. 10 lb one-arm dumbbell lateral raises lying on side on mat (20 reps)
  2. 40 lb wide-grip dumbbell upright row (8 reps)
  3. 10 lb one-arm dumbbell rear deltoid raises lying on side on mat (20 reps)
  4. 15 lb wrist rollers (to failure)
I completed four compound sets as follows with 2-3 minutes rest between each compound set:
  1. Sweat circuit
  2. Shoulder/forearm exercises
  3. Sweat circuit
  4. Shoulder/forearm exercises
Total workout time was about 40 minutes.

BTW for more info on why I did my dumbbell raises lying on my side on a mat, see the Exercise Tip of the Week section below. 

Got a favorite workout? Have you developed a workout that you enjoy doing and feel has been contributing to your health and which you'd like to share with our readers? Email us at [email protected]

Fitness Toolbox

Products and services we think you shouldn't be without!

GOT ANY exercise equipment, nutritional supplements, personal training services, fitness websites, or anything else you would like to recommend for our readers? Or for that matter do you have any IT products or services you would like to promote or recommend? After all, our target audience here is mostly IT pros! Email us at [email protected]

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Nordic Naturals is the #1 selling fish oil in the USA and has more than 150 products in a wide variety of flavors and concentrations:

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Organ, eye and tissue donation gives people a second chance at life:

Exercise tip of the week

One-arm dumbbell lateral raises lying on side on mat

I read somewhere (and my experience suggests it's true) that the most effective resistance exercises are those where the strength curve (how the strength of the muscles involved vary as you move through the exercise) match the resistance curve (how the resistance provided by the barbell, dumbbell, band, or machine vary as you move through the exercise). I've applied this principle to find a more effective way of exercising my shoulders in particular.

For example as the diagram below shows, when you perform a one-arm dumbbell lateral standing up, the difficulty (resistance) of the exercise increases as you lift the weight. (Pardon my stick man but that's how I used to draw diagrams when I taught Physics in a previous lifetime.) But the medial (lateral or middle) deltoid muscle, which is the main shoulder muscle that's worked in this exercises, is strongest in the starting position (arm hanging down) and weakest in the finish position (arm held out sideways horizontally). This means the resistance and strength curves work oppositely as shown in the graph at the right of the diagram. 

The way I like to do this exercise however is to lay on my side on an exercise mat on the floor. As the diagram below shows, the heaviest resistance is now at the start of the exercise, which is when the medial deltoid muscle is strongest. As the weight is raised in an arc, the muscle gets weaker but so does the resistance needed to move the weight. So now the resistance and strength curves match, which means the muscle gets a really good workout throughout its entire range of motion. 


I personally find that doing the second (lying down) exercise above with only a 10 lb dumbbell a couple of times gives me a much better workout (bigger pump and more soreness in the deltoid muscle) than using twice that weight in the standing exercise shown in the first diagram (e.g. the traditional dumbbell lateral raise). 

A similar variation for working the posterior (rear) deltoid muscle can be performed by lying on a mat and starting with the arm holding the dumbbell extended forward instead of by you side. 

Nutritional tip of the week

Avoid "fake" foods

This is kind of a no-brainer for anyone who is concerned about their health or fitness, but it's probably a good idea to avoid most foodstuffs that contain non-negligible quantities of ingredients that have been highly processed. UK newspaper The Guardian has an article that points to a recent study that suggests increased consumption of "ultra-processed foods" may be tied to a rise in cancers of various forms:

This doesn't necessarily mean you should (or can) avoid all "fake" foods, but it does suggest that some of them may be harmful. For example most supplements like the ones I've been describing could be viewed as being in the "fake food" category. But most medicines we take for our ailments are "fake" too in that sense. For instance, if you have a headache which would you rather consume: a couple of aspirin, or a handful of willow bark and meadowsweet which were originally the natural sources from which aspirin was first synthesized. So fake doesn't necessarily mean bad in all cases. 

The basic idea of the research quoted in the Guardian article seems to be that when certain natural foodstuffs are put through the ringer so to speak (i.e. highly processed in various chemical and mechanical ways) what's left over, which is then used in various formulations for off-the-shelf "instant" or "convenient" foods, may be bad for you if you eat too much of it too often. Personally, I try to avoid any foodstuff in a grocery store that has the word "instant" on its label. How about you? 

Got tips? Do you have any exercise or nutritional tips you'd like to share with other IT pros who are trying to lose weight and get more fit? Email us at [email protected]

Fun stuff

You've probably heard the phrase "Strong as an elephant, weak as a mouse" right? Well let's see…

Muscle mouse

Strong mouse

Tom and Jerry, 57 Episode - Jerry's Cousin (1951)

Strong Hamster Mouse

Mighty Mouse - A Fight To the Finish

Product of the Week

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About FitITproNews

FitITproNews is the only weekly newsletter in the world that is entirely devoted to helping IT pros get fit, lose weight, and live happily ever after as they face the daily stresses and workload of being in the gristmill of the IT profession. FitITproNews is brought to you by TechGenix and is created each week by the same all-star editorial team that brings you WServerNews, the world's longest running IT pro newsletter focusing on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to FitITproNews today! And while you’re at it be sure to also subscribe to our other TechGenix newsletters such as our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles!

Editorial Team

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written numerous articles and whitepapers and has authored or been series editor of more than 50 books for Microsoft Press. Mitch also successfully made the transition from being a typical "fat IT pro" to becoming fit by losing almost 50 lbs through a combination of resistance training, cardio exercises, and proper nutrition. Mitch's passion with FitITproNews is to help other IT pros do what he has been able to accomplish by sharing his personal story and lessons learned.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of FitITproNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. She is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program. Ingrid is also committed to personal fitness and is a believer in clean eating and proper supplementation for optimal health and longevity.

Mitch and Ingrid are also the editors of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. For more information about Mitch and Ingrid see their website.


This newsletter is designed for informational purposes only and the health and fitness information presented in it are based solely upon the personal experience of its editors and of any guests or readers who contribute content to it. Nothing in this newsletter is intended to be or should be construed to be professional medical, fitness, or nutritional advice. Always consult a physician or other health care professional before starting an exercise or nutrition program to determine if it is appropriate for your personal needs. Do not follow any of the suggestions in this newsletter if your physician or other health care professional advises against doing so. If you are exercising or dieting or taking supplements and experience any dizziness, faintness, pain, or shortness of breath, you should stop immediately and seek medical help. The use of any information presented in this newsletter is solely at your own risk.

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