Xobaline – A venerable favorite gets a facelift!
BY STEVE BORN
In the distinct tiny sublingual tablets, Xobaline (pronounced Zo-buh-lean) has been a staple in the Hammer Nutrition product line for over 20 years. For endurance athletes, knowing that they can use all the help they can get to ensure optimal energy production, oxygen utilization, and muscular regeneration, Xobaline has been a “must have, must use” product, especially after their hardest workouts and training sessions.
Xobaline is still an important product in the Hammer Nutrition line; however, we’re excited to say that we’ve made some significant changes formula—ones that make it an even better product, but without any increase in the price!
The main change is that we have replaced the 800 mcg of folic acid in the product with the same amount a different form called L-methylfolate (5-MTHF). “Plain” folic acid (vitamin B9) is a synthetic form of folate, which is the form that is found in food. When we consume folic acid, it must be converted into Dihydrofolate (DHF), then Tetrahydrofolate (THF), and then finally into L-methylfolate (5-MTHF). In order for this to happen, an enzyme known as MTHFR is required; however, many people have a genetic defect called MTHFR gene polymorphism, which decreases—and can prevent—the conversion of folic acid into its active MTHF form.
By supplementing with 5-MTHF instead of folic acid, you bypass all the steps required for folic acid to become 5-MTHF, allowing for a much greater percentage of active vitamin B9 to be available to the body. Keeping that in mind, as well as the fact that an estimated 50% of the population (and growing) might carry a mutation in the MTHFR gene, switching from folic acid to L-methylfolate (5-MTHF) in Xobaline just made sense.
The other change we made was switching to easy-to-swallow vegetable caps. The sublingual tablets were fine, especially in regard to absorption, but with the switch to L-methylfolate (5-MTHF), the more bioavailable form of folic acid/folate, maximum absorption and bioavailability has been achieved, making sublingual absorption no longer necessary.
Even a marginal deficiency in specific nutrients can negatively affect performance and health. Stress of any type, whether it's physical or emotional, is known to deplete the body of many essential nutrients, including two important B vitamins: folic acid/folate (vitamin B9) and B12. Of the numerous roles these two nutrients play in the body, perhaps the most noteworthy ones for athletes are those that point to folate and B12 as being important catalysts for supporting increased aerobic capacity, energy production, and improved recovery—via their involvement in the production of red blood cells as well as RNA production and re-synthesis.
Folate & vitamin B12 – What they do
Both folate and vitamin B12 have key roles in the manufacturing and re-synthesis of RNA, a long chain nucleic acid composed of linked nucleotides, a polynucleotide, which is the building block basis for all living tissue cellular reproduction. Science suggests that improving RNA “status” within the body results in, among other benefits, gains in both lean muscle mass and mitochondrial re-synthesis. When this occurs, the athlete may expect increases in energy, metabolism, and enhanced recovery after exercise.
In addition, folate plays an important role in the lowering of homocysteine, elevated levels of which are believed to be a primary culprit in various cardiovascular diseases (more on that in a bit). Lastly, folate plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells as it carries the carbon molecule to the larger Heme molecule, which is the Iron-containing part of Hemoglobin.
Vitamin B-12 is crucial for all the cellular reactions involved in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism (which, of course, is key for optimal energy production) and is essential for cellular growth and cell function, in particular red blood cells. Vitamin B12, like folate, plays an important role in the reduction of elevated homocysteine levels. B12 is also known to alleviate the tiredness associated with fatigue. The body’s ability to absorb dietary vitamin B12 usually declines in tandem with the progression of the aging process, making supplementation a wise strategy.
Homocysteine, Methylation, and Xobaline
Homocysteine is the name given to a substance produced when the body breaks down the amino acid methionine. Studies have shown that an elevated blood level of homocysteine is a risk factor in the current cardiovascular disease epidemic in the U.S. The intake of methyl donor nutrients is associated with reducing the cause of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
One nutritional scientist writes, “If your body runs low on methyl donors or methylating factors, the body’s essential detoxification and repair functions are impaired. Among other things, the body begins to have difficulty keeping up with the job of recycling homocysteine back into [the amino acid] methionine. The accumulation of homocysteine in the blood is a clear danger signal that methylation is impaired. It is also a direct threat to your health in and of itself.”
Paraphrasing Dr. Bill Misner, “The value of Xobaline's folate and Vitamin B12 donors to health-enhancing methylation should not be underestimated. The science is solid supporting methylation within human metabolic reactions in our excessive use of dairy byproducts and processed sugars. Epidemiological studies below indicate that people with a low daily intake of folate and Vitamin B12 have a significantly greater risk of ischemic heart disease. By lowering elevated homocysteine levels, folate and Vitamin B12 helps to prevent atherosclerosis, stroke, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, intermittent claudication, macrocytic anemia, megaloblastic anemia, thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism.”
Hammer Nutrition has always been about innovation, so even though the current Xobaline formula was pretty stellar, we realized that it could be improved upon. That’s what the newly formulated Xobaline is all about, so if you were a fan of the previous formula, you’re going to love this new and improved formula even more. Best of all, there is no increase in the cost to you! Xobaline now comes in small, easy-to-swallow capsules. More importantly, it consists of both vitamin B12 (200 mcg) in the methylcobalamin form—the most biologically active form available—and 800 mcg of L-methylfolate (5-MTHF)—the most biologically active form available of this vitamin.
It’s extremely important that these two B vitamins be taken together as Dr. Misner explains:
"To take only Vitamin B12 is akin to an early 1970 practice of B12 injections, which induces an imbalance in dietary folacin. Unless folate and Vitamin B12 are supplemented in a balanced ratio, the outcome is an imbalanced fostered toward false anemia or pernicious anemia, often confusing the doctors from an irregularities in blood lab tests. Folate & B12 must be together for gains hoped for in RBC [Red Blood Cells], homocysteine methylation, cardiovascular effects, and downstream DNA strand synthesis."
Dr. Misner summarizes the value of Xobaline supplementation by stating, “There are virtually hundreds of papers demonstrating the health benefits from folate and vitamin B12 in the cells, digestion, vision, hair, skin, immune system musculoskeletal system, nervous system, oral health, and sexual system. Xobaline is a supplement I enthusiastically recommend and take every day.”