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Big Brand Supplements Analysis

The information from this post is taken from the link below:

Brand name supplements analysed:

When buying a branded product at a premium price you are entitled to expect the quantities of the ingredients to be as specified on the labels, as well as for the quantities to be adequate to deliver the desired effect.

Unfortunately, this is very often not the case. This is also not the only issue you may encounter with expensive branded products. Below are some extracts from laboratory analysis done by on 47 different pre-workout products. You can come to your own conclusions.

It's your money. It's your choice.  

Tested products often cited “proprietary blends” without specified quantities of active ingredients. For products with specified quantities, actual amounts of active ingredients ranged from being 81.2% less to 89.0% more than its respective label claim.

39 of 47 tested products contained flagged ingredients ranging from artificial sweeteners and colouring agents to potentially carcinogenic preservatives and an amphetamine analogue.

Tested products generally performed poorly in efficacy, averaging a score of 6.5 (out of 10). Only 2 of 47 products had formulations in which all of their claimed active ingredients were measured to meet levels established in research to be clinically effective.

Almost all products tested had at least one claimed active ingredient that did not meet the quantity recommended for effective dosing. Only 2 products met recommended doses for all of their claimed actives - Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Drink with caffeine and beta-alanine, and Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout N.O. Fury with caffeine, creatine and taurine.

Projected efficacy:

BETA-ALANINE: Beta-alanine supposedly works through its conversion to carnosine, which buffers acid build-up in muscle tissue during high-intensity exercise lasting 60-240 seconds when acidosis is most limiting. To effectively raise carnosine concentrations, research recommends 4-6 grams of beta-alanine per day in divided doses of 2000 mg or less throughout the day for at least 2 weeks. Of the 36 products with measurable beta-alanine, 31 contained less than 2000 mg of beta-alanine per serving. Beta-alanine content ranged from 108.4 mg to 5541.4 mg.

CREATINE: Creatine most likely enhances exercise performance by increasing the body’s energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), thereby improving peak power output and lean mass. Caffeine and beta-alanine have both been found in research to enhance creatine’s effects.

Only 7 of the 33 products with measureable creatine content contained more than 2000 mg of creatine per serving. Creatine content ranged from 126.58 mg to 4264.01 mg per serving. Research recommends starting with loading doses of 300 mg per kilogram of body weight daily for a week, followed by maintenance doses of 30 mg per kilogram daily thereafter. For a 150 lb (68 kg) individual, maintenance doses should be 2040 mg per day; loading doses should be 20.4 g per day (in 4-5 separate doses throughout the day). In those with high amounts of muscle mass and high activity levels, some research evidence posits that doubling the maintenance dose recommendation can be more effective.

L-ARGININE: Arginine made in the body increases levels of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, allowing the heart to pump equivalent volumes of blood with less effort. These effects, however, have been shown in research to be unreliable for supplemental arginine. As such, there is no established value for suggested daily intake of L-arginine. As a pre-workout supplement, L-arginine is usually taken in 3-6 g doses. Of the 24 products that measured any L-arginine HCl or arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG) content, only 1 had more than 3 g per serving - SNI Nitric Shock recorded 3858.5 g of AAKG per serving.

L-TYROSINE: L-tyrosine is suspected to increase physiological levels of adrenaline and may help attenuate cognitive decline during acute stressors like cold, sleep deprivation, study, and exercise. However, pre-workout supplementation with 150 mg per kilogram body weight of L-tyrosine has not been found to help aerobic endurance, anaerobic power, or muscle strength. Still, for cognitive purposes, L-tyrosine tends to be most effective at doses of 150 mg per kilogram body weight taken an hour before exercise. This equates to 10 g for a 150 lb. individual. All 24 products with measureable tyrosine content had less than 3 g of L-tyrosine or N-acetyl tyrosine (NALT) per serving, ranging from 10.2 mg to 2880.7 mg.

CAFFEINE: Clinical study supports caffeine’s use for improving strength performance, short and high-intensity anaerobic exercise, and endurance-based aerobic exercises. In endurance exercises, a 1.2-1.4 fold improvement via caffeine was seen regardless of youth or old age and can last for 6 hours, but effects were only noted in individuals not yet adapted to caffeine usage. Some proposed mechanisms for caffeine’s efficacy include reducing perceived effort and pain and increasing muscle cell contractility. 6 mg per kilogram body weight is the most commonly studied effective dose of caffeine, but 3 mg was found to be equally effective for aerobic performance. 3 mg per kilogram body weight equates to about 200 mg in a 150 lb. individual. 21 of 41 products with caffeine measured at least 200 mg per serving. Caffeine content ranged from 58.9 mg to 376.6 mg per serving.

TAURINE: Taurine is an amino acid involved in heart contraction and antioxidant activity, and has been shown in research to enhance cardiac parameters and aerobic performance if taken 2 hours before exercise. Research suggests that 500 mg of taurine is the lowest effective dose. 1 product’s taurine content fell below 500 mg - BPI Sports 1.M.R. measured only 321 mg per serving.


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