The SILLY SEASON is nearly here and there’s going to be alcohol, stress, sugary food and more alcohol. So, how do we keep our gains or at least not lose them? More importantly how do we minimize the negative effects that all the high sugar foods, stress and alcohol can have on our gut, hormones and our body. There are many strategies and one pretty amazing Chinese herb that can help like never before.
Schisandra chinensis is a powerful adaptogen that allows your body to adapt to physical, emotional and toxic stress. It’s going to be your best friend during workouts, these sizzling summer days, and to help you recover the day after a big night out.
Schisandra chinensis, also referred to as Chinese Magnolia Vine, is a woody vine native to mainland China that bears potent adaptogenic fruits of a deep ruby hue; the fruits are known as fructus schisandra and have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to reduce fatigue, enhance cardiovascular function, and support immunity.
Schisandra fruit contains a variety of bioactive compounds, particularly lignans, that research is starting to get a deeper understanding of. Read on to learn how these therapeutic bioactive compounds work and the top five reasons you should be using this formidable adaptogen found in AMINO SWITCH™ throughout the holiday season and beyond.
If one thing is for certain come the holiday season, it’s that alcoholic beverages are abundant at get-togethers and dinner parties. Back yard or beach cricket with a beer is almost a given. As such, most people (even fitness enthusiasts) love to enjoy a couple drinks to unwind and celebrate with friends and family.
Naturally, this can lead to some pretty gruesome hangovers, along with extra stress placed on the liver (which is primarily responsible for removing alcohol from your body). Thankfully, schisandra appears to be a potent liver health adaptogen and antioxidant.
Research demonstrates that one particular lignan in schisandra - Schisandrin B - works through a unique mechanism called hormesis to reduce oxidative stress in liver cells. Hormesis is a process where a molecule or stressor increases oxidation in cells to elicit a greater antioxidant response. Physical exercise also happens to work through this process.
Keep in mind your liver is also responsible for processing fatty acids into ketones to be used as energy so the more efficient your liver works the more efficient your fat metabolism works.
If you plan on drinking throughout the Christmas period, be sure to take a serving of AMINO SWITCH™ either prior to, or immediately after, kicking back a few brewskis; your liver and head will thank you.
Schisandra has been used for many years as a treatment of cardiovascular complications, since it appears to promote relaxation and expansion (vasodilation) of blood vessels. The primary molecule responsible for dilating blood vessels is nitric oxide (which is why many pre-workout supplements purport to increase nitric oxide production).
It remains a bit unclear how schisandra increases nitric oxide production, but data seems to suggest that it likely works through activation of estrogen receptors.2 In other words, schisandra appears to have phytoestrogen properties that benefit cardiovascular health.
Many studies demonstrate that estrogen has favorable effects on cardiovascular disease by supporting endothelial cell function, blood vessel development, and vascular remodeling. Thus, it is postulated that schisandra works through estrogen receptor binding to increase nitric oxide production, which ultimately promotes blood flow and heart health.
This does not mean that schisandra is going to elicit estrogenic fat storage or side effects. Quite the opposite. In fact, schisandra may be helpful in reducing estrogen dominant side effects by mildly taking up placement of the receptors and displacing estrodiol allowing the body to conjugate it and remove it through detoxification.
By modulating nitric oxide production, schisandra also regulates your immune system. Research shows that supplementation with schisandra decreases the ratios of certain immune biomarkers that rise as a result of a suppressed immunity. These include neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio and monocytes:eosinophils ratio (which are used as indexes of stress to your immune system). It also decreases cortisol production, which mediates stress (more on this in the next section) and helps support immune function.
These benefits are especially crucial for active individuals since exercise tends to increase the aforementioned immune biomarker ratios (decrease immunity) as well as cortisol levels. As such, taking AMINO SWITCH™ before/during/after training is highly prudent to keep your immune response in check, reduce the risk of catching the common cold and other virus’s that may reduce you ability to exercise or party this summer.
Along with enhancing your immune function, schisandra is a great adaptogen for suppressing stress-induced cortisol increases. Cortisol is the primary corticosteroid/glucocorticoid in humans, made by the adrenal glands (typically in response stressors). It is well established that chronically elevated levels of cortisol can drastically impair a whole host of bodily systems, as well as increase muscle protein breakdown (i.e. it’s a catabolic hormone) and increase fat storage.
In simpler terms, having excessive cortisol floating around your body is pretty much the opposite of what you want for health and longevity. In the same study assessing immune response to schisandra supplementation, researchers found that taking 360mg daily of a 30:1 extract of schisandra decreased post-exercise cortisol by nearly 200% from pre-exercise values.4 Contrarily, study participants who took a placebo experienced increases in cortisol levels after exercise.
This is why we strongly recommend using AMINO SWITCH™ before or during your workout, since schisandra all but abolishes exercise-induced cortisol increases. Following this protocol will greatly increase muscle building potential and recovery after training.
Historically, schisandra has been used as a natural remedy for insomnia and related sleep disturbances. Studies suggest that schisandra administration can reduce elevations of stress hormones (cortisol), which in effect reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation. Intuitively, this makes schisandra a superb adaptogen for enhancing sleep quality, and thus, recovery.
It is also suggested that schisandra has neuroprotective benefits by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down acetylcholine (a key neurotransmitter for cognitive function).
In non-nerd lingo, schisandra before bed will help you get a better night’s sleep and keep your brain functioning properly during waking hours; pretty darn important benefits if you ask us.
Beyond Schisandra chinensis, Amino Switch™ contains the following combination of amazing nutrients…
So, shelve the Berocca® and the starchy fatty foods the day after, and re-hydrate with AMINO SWITCH™.
And if you happen to get a workout in between drinks this holiday season AMINO SWITCH™ just might help you recover faster from your training as well.
Switch Nutrition™ Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and opinion. It is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should only be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 when advised and monitored by your qualified health care provider.
 Chen N, et al. Cytochrome P-450-catalyzed reactive oxygen species production mediates the (-)schisandrin B-induced glutathione and heat shock responses in H9c2 cardiomyocytes. Indian J Pharmacol. (2012)
 Lee, Y. J., Cho, J. Y., Kim, J. H., Park, W. K., Kim, D. K., & Rhyu, M. R. (2004). Extracts from Schizandra chinensis fruit activate estrogen receptors: a possible clue to its effects on nitric oxide-mediated vasorelaxation. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 27(7), 1066-1069.
 Subbiah, M. R. (1998). Mechanisms of cardioprotection by estrogens. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 217(1), 23-29.
 Panossian, A. G., Oganessian, A. S., Ambartsumian, M., Gabrielian, E. S., Wagner, H., & Wikman, G. (1999). Effects of heavy physical exercise and adaptogens on nitric oxide content in human saliva. Phytomedicine, 6(1), 17-26.
 Chen WW, et al. Pharmacological studies on the anxiolytic effect of standardized Schisandra lignans extract on restraint-stressed mice. Phytomedicine. (2011)
 Giridharan VV, et al. Prevention of scopolamine-induced memory deficits by schisandrin B, an antioxidant lignan from Schisandra chinensis in mice. Free Radic Res. (2011)