6 min read

In an ideal world, if we’re serious about exercise and performance, we’d be able to keep running, lifting, rowing, or cycling for as long as we wanted. Our muscles wouldn’t reach exhaustion, our lungs wouldn’t scream at us to stop and we’d simply keep going.

While this would probably make endurance sports fairly dull as a spectator, as athletes, we’d feel great. But alas, that ideal world simply doesn’t exist.

But what if there were something that could help to release more energy to our muscles, allowing us to stay stronger, for longer? That could support the biological processes in our cells to maximize muscle energy production in a natural way?

Well, there is, in the form of the sports nutraceutical, Senactiv®, from NuLiv Science. A proprietary blend of two highly purified and fractionated extracts from Panax notoginseng and Rosa roxburghii, Senactiv® was developed over ten years of robust research.

Four human clinical trials have demonstrated the ability of Senactiv® to re-energize and re-generate the muscle cells, leading to increased performance and a quicker recovery.

Here, we’re going to discuss in detail how Senactiv® helps with the former – reenergizing the muscle cells and improving performance.

The Importance of Cellular Energy Production

Without energy production in our cells, nothing would happen, and all our biological systems and processes, and us, would grind to a halt. Simply laying down sleeping requires energy, since we still have to breathe, digest any undigested food, pump blood around our body and undergo cellular regeneration and repair, amongst many other things.

Throw into this busy mix, exercise, and our energy demands increase enormously. Normal, everyday exercise is one thing. But high-impact, high-demand, semi-pro, or professional sports and training take things to a new level. Maximizing muscle energy production is key to our performance and goals.

Senactiv® helps muscle energy production by maximizing the biological process by which energy is produced – the Krebs cycle.

What is the Krebs cycle?

You may be familiar with the term ‘Krebs cycle’ from biology lessons back in school. Or you might not. It’s also referred to as the citric acid cycle or the tricarboxylic acid cycle, but for the purposes of this article, we’re going to stick with Krebs (mainly out of respect for the German-born, British biochemist who first proposed the existence of the cycle in 1937).

Either way, understanding what this cycle of energy production is, is important in understanding just how effective Senactiv® is at promoting energy production during aerobic exercise.

The Krebs cycle describes a cycle of reactions, powered by a number of enzymes, that occurs in the cells of all living aerobic organisms in order to produce cellular energy.

The Krebs cycle takes place within the innermost part (the matrix) of a cellular organelle called the mitochondria. The mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of our cells since they are where the energy from our food is turned into usable energy for the cells, and muscle cells.

The role of the Krebs cycle in energy production

Cellular energy is produced in three major steps, each one with its own unique steps and chain reactions within it – glycolysis, the Krebs cycle, and the electron transport chain. Collectively, this process is called oxidative phosphorylation.

Glycolysis is the process of breaking down glucose from the diet down into pyruvate. This pyruvate is then oxidized to produce acetyl Coenzyme A which then triggers the beginning of the Krebs cycle.

Ultimately, the Krebs cycle is a hard working energy support process, that transfers small amounts of energy in the form of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, to electron carriers. These electron carriers take the ATP generated by the Krebs cycle to the electron transport chain. This chain then creates the ATP required to power our cells, including our muscle cells.

It’s worth noting here, that the small amount of energy released from the Krebs cycle is the energy required to power the actual ATP energy production. Nonetheless, the Krebs cycle is an essential, and efficient, part of muscle energy production. Or, in other words, it’s indirectly responsible for ATP energy production but is still a crucial element.

Here, we’re most interested in this middle part of oxidative phosphorylation – the Krebs cycle. So, how does it work?

How does the Krebs cycle work?

We start with the aforementioned acetyl Coenzyme A, generated from the process of glycolysis. Molecules of acetyl Coenzyme A are converted into carbon dioxide during the Krebs cycle, which is a complex nine-step, quick succession cycle.

Three other molecules are also produced from the Krebs cycle – NADH, FADH2, and GTP. The only waste product is carbon dioxide, which is expelled from the cells during aerobic respiration. NADH, FADH2, and GTP all then go on to drive the final part of oxidative phosphorylation – the electron transport chain. This then ultimately produces the energy currency of all our cells – ATP.

The more ATP we have in our cells, and in particular, our muscle cells, the more muscle energy we’ll have. Of course, like most biological systems and processes, this is only to a point, when it becomes self-limiting. Not least because the Krebs cycle requires oxygen to function as it is considered an aerobic energy production pathway.

But it’s clear to see, if we can supplement the process of muscle energy production, by maximizing the efforts of the Krebs cycle, we can maximize the power of our muscles, and therefore maximize our workouts and performance.

However, before we talk about that, there’s one more molecule we need to be aware of in order to fully understand the role of the Krebs cycle in energy production – citrate synthase. It’s this molecule that’s the real driver of the efficiency of ATP energy production from the Krebs cycle.

What’s the significance of citrate synthase?

Citrate synthase is an enzyme that triggers the start of each Krebs cycle. It’s responsible for the condensation reaction that forms citrate, an acidic molecule, from acetyl Coenzyme A. Citrate then goes onto the next stage of the cycle, which triggers the next stage and so on.

The Krebs cycle is an efficient ‘closed-loop’ cycle, and the rate at which the cycle continues is very much dependent on how much citrate synthase is available. For this reason, citrate synthase is considered a ‘pacemaker’ for the Krebs cycle.

So, again, the more citrate synthase that is available within the mitochondria of our skeletal muscle cells, the more Krebs cycles can continue. Therefore, citrate synthase is responsible for the amount of energy in the form of ATP that’s available to our muscles. A crucial factor in how well we perform and reach and even surpass our goals.

Supplementing the Krebs Cycle with Senactiv®

Glucose is the preferred energy source for our cells, especially so during intense exercise. (Because glucose is tuned into pyruvate which begins the whole process of energy production as we learned above.) In terms of skeletal muscle cells, the more available glucose, the more it can be fed into the oxidative phosphorylation cycle of ATP energy production.

But only if there’s enough of the citrate synthase enzyme to act as a pacemaker for the Krebs cycle. 

That’s where Senactiv® comes in.

Senactiv® has demonstrated in human clinical trials and cell studies to increase energy production by producing 47% more citrate synthase in muscle cells. What’s more, this significant increase in citrate synthase was demonstrated during a vigorous 60-minute cycling session where participants were working hard at 70% VO2 max.

If we remind ourselves of the role of citrate synthase, we can see how this is extremely beneficial. Citrate synthase is the pace-making enzyme that helps to trigger the first step of the Krebs cycle that ultimately goes on to create ATP, the energy provider of our muscle cells.

Adding Senactiv® could lead to a higher level of citrate synthase, which can trigger more Krebs cycles, which can create more ATP, which provides more energy to the muscles that can then perform harder, for longer.

The further benefits to performance with Senactiv®

Not only does Senactiv® help to reenergize the cells by boosting energy production, but it also supports muscle recovery. It does this by reducing the inflammation that builds up during intense exercise and increasing muscle glycogen synthesis (the main fuel for the muscles during intense exercise).

Furthermore, Senactiv® increases endurance by improving the 80% VO2 max time to exhaustion by 20%.

And, if you’re not satisfied with just improving energy production, recovery, and endurance, Senactiv® helps to improve cellular renewal and regeneration. It does this by speeding up the time it takes for the body to eliminate old, senescent cells so that they can be replaced by new, healthy cells. Benefiting the performance of the muscle cells.

Keen to learn more? Get in touch today to discover how adding Senactiv® to your sports nutrition product will benefit your customers and your bottom line!