Reviews

Pre JYM Review

Pre JYM is an all-in-one, transparently dosed pre-workout by JYM Supplement Science (Jim Stoppani) which contains pretty much everything you might find in a pre-workout…

Pre JYM

CREATINE HCL

Creatine has the ability to rapidly produce ATP (cellular energy) to support cellular function (in this case exercise). During high intensity exercise, creatine is used for energy which tends to spare the glycogen that would normally be used. For this reason, creatine indirectly decreases lactic acid build up because lactic acid is a byproduct formed when glucose is burned for energy. Creatine has consistently been demonstrated to increase power output, as well as muscle size, with maximum benefit being reached at around 8 weeks of consistent supplementation.

It is generally recommended to consume 5 grams per day but lower doses (minimum of 3 grams) can still be effective if consumed over a longer period of time. Creatine comes in various forms, the most common of which is creatine monohydrate which is formed by dehydrating a solution of creatine, where a single water molecule remains bound to the creatine powder. However, Pre JYM contains another form of creatine, known as Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL). Creatine HCL is made by adding hydrochloric acid to a solution of creatine, forming a salt. Creatine Hcl is generally claimed to be more soluble than Monohydrate, though whether that makes any difference in the long run has yet to be determined.

Pre JYM states “Adding the hydrochloride group lowers the pH of creatine, making it more acidic. This drastically increases its solubility in fluids, which increases absorption of the creatine”. While Creatine HCl may indeed be more water-soluble than the monohydrate form, there is no evidence to suggest it is more effective, only theories.

Pre JYM contains 2 grams of Creatine HCL per serving.

BETA-ALANINE

Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that serves as a precursor to the amino acid carnosine, which acts as a lactic acid buffer, effectively reducing muscular fatigue. Like Creatine, Beta Alanine takes time to accumulate, but if taken over a sustained period of time, can also be an extremely effective performance enhancing supplement with a strong safety profile.

One study in particular that measured the carnosine levels of sprinters found that individuals with high carnosine levels exhibited higher power output in the latter half of a 30m sprint.

Various studies have shown that Beta Alanine supplementation increase muscular carnosine, which improves physical performance.

In particular, a 2012 study published in “Amino Acids” found that subjects who consumed 1.6 or 3.2 grams of Beta Alanine daily experienced significant increases in muscle carnosine in as little as two weeks, with the higher dose achieving a higher concentration of carnosine. Pre JYM contains 2 grams of Beta-Alanine which, according to the available scientific research, is an effective dose.

BETAINE

Betaine (also known as Trimethylglycine) is the amino acid Glycine with the addition of three methyl groups attached. Betaine is alleged to increase power output and strength by increasing cellular swelling, a phenomenon well established with Creatine supplementation, which can drastically reduce the damaging effect of outside stimuli (such as exercise) on the working muscle. So far, Betaine has been investigated in several human studies, most of which have had pretty encouraging results.

A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that 2.5g Betaine (split into two 1.25mg doses) over the course of 15 days increased muscle endurance during squats and appeared to improve the quality of each rep (likely because they were easier).

A 2010 study, again from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that the same supplementation protocol (2.5g daily in two equal doses) effectively increased isometric bench press and squat force as well as bench throw and vertical jump power.

A 2011 study, published in “The Journal of Strength & Condition Research” noted improvements in number of bench press repetitions and total volume load with same 2.5g dosing protocol for 14 days. However, another 2011 study from the same journal noted no such improvements in power output or number of reps performed, though there were subjective reports of fatigue reduction.

Most recently, a 2013 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” noted increases in arm size, bench press work capacity, overall body composition, and a trend toward increased power (but not strength). This was the first study to specifically measure the effects of Betaine supplementation on body composition, so further study is needed to corroborate these findings.

TAURINE

Considered a beta-amino acid, Taurine plays a variety of roles in the body. It is most concentrated in the brain and liver, but is found in some amount virtually everywhere in the else. What makes Taurine of interest to health enthusiasts and bodybuilders alike, is it’s potent antioxidant properties. In a 2011 study, Taurine supplementation was shown to significantly decrease oxidative stress in skeletal muscle following exercise. Prior to that, a 2004 study showed that Taurine may decrease exercise induced DNA damage, as well as “enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties”. Oxidative stress has been cited as a possible cause of fatigue in working muscle. Therefore, it stands to reason that by preventing some oxidative stress, Taurine may prevent muscular fatigue for a time. It’s unfortunate that Taurine has developed a sort of stigma because of it’s inclusion in energy drinks. While it does not provide “energy” in the way that caffeine does, several studies have shown its effectiveness as an antioxidant with performance enhancing properties.

N-ACETYL-L-CYSTEINE (NAC)

Cysteine is a sulfur containing amino acid that, in addition to building proteins, acts as one of the precursors to Glutathione (the body’s most powerful antioxidant) which is formed when Cysteine is combined with Glycine and Glutamic Acid.

The N-Acetyl form of L-Cysteine, or NAC, is considered more bioavailable than just the L-form alone. A 1994 study showed that subjects treated with 150mg/kg of NAC improved exercise performance and increased time to fatigue.

However, it’s worth noting that 150/kg translates to a 175 lb. person taking 11 grams, as opposed to the 600mg in the JYM formula. It is hypothesized that oxidative stress may be a contributing factor to fatigue during exercise, and that consuming enough cysteine before exercise ensures that the body will produce enough glutathione to prevent some of this oxidative stress from occuring. More studies are needed to validate the preliminary evidence and determine an exact mechanism of action.

ALPHA GPC

Glycerophosphatidylcholine aka Alpha GPC is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Recently, it has gained a lot of attention in the bodybuilding/weight lifting community because its alleged ability to boost HGH (Human Growth Hormone) secretion with just a single dose. Indeed one study found that after ingesting a dose of 1000mg of Alpha GPC, HGH levels in the blood were significantly higher than the placebo group. In addition, it was noted that supplementation also resulted in increased “hepatic fat oxidation” (in the liver). Alpha GPC is widely considered the most bioavailable form of choline, although studies comparing the bioavailability of various forms are scarce. Over time, alpha GPC may increase the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Increased acetylcholine levels are associated with better concentration, memory, and reaction time.

CITRULLINE MALATE

Citrulline is a precursor to the amino acid Arginine, which is a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO). As demonstrated in a 2007 study, supplemental Citrulline is significantly more effective at raising plasma Arginine than supplemental Arginine itself, and while results with Arginine are mixed, Citrulline has demonstrated clear efficacy as a performance enhancer.

A 2002 study, published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that Citrulline Malate supplementation (6g/day for 15 days) significantly increased ATP production during exercise in healthy adult males.

A 2008 study from “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning” found that 8g of Citrulline Malate was able to progressively increase the amount of reps performed later in the workout (by as much as 52%) and significantly reduced muscle soreness.

A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of Free Radical Research”, found that 6 grams of Citrulline Malate given to male cyclists before a race increased “plasma Arginine availability for NO synthesis and PMNs priming for oxidative burst without oxidative damage”.

A 2011 study, the subjects of which were rats, found that supplemental Citrulline increased muscular contraction efficiency (less ATP was required for the same amount of power), in-line with the findings of the above-mentioned human study.

Pre JYM contains a clinically effective 6g dose of Citrulline per serving, far more than we’re used to seeing in most pre-workout supplements. Users can expect a pretty good pump from the combination of Citrulline and Beet Extract (discussed next).

BETA VULGARIS (BEET EXTRACT)

Beets tend to be high in Nitrate which, upon entering the body, is converted into Nitric Oxide. A fair amount of research has been conducted regarding the effects of Nitrate consumption/supplementation on exercise performance.

A 2007 study from “Acta Physiologica” found that dietary Nitrate supplementation increased the efficiency of oxygen utilization during exercise (less oxygen needed for the same amount of work). These results were replicated in a 2011 study, published in “Journal of Applied Physiology”, which found that this increased efficiency resulted in better endurance in runners.

A 2012 study, published in “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”, found that increased dietary nitrate intake (in the form of Nitrate-rich whole Beetroot) improved running performance in healthy adults.

A 2013 study, published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”, found that Nitrate supplementation (from beetroot juice) effectively elevated plasma Nitrate levels which translated to improved performance during high-intensity exercise in athletes.

A 2013 Meta-Analysis, which looked specifically at 17 separate studies using doses of 300-600mg Nitrate from various sources, concluded that supplementation is associated with a moderate improvement in time to exhaustion at a given work load.

Though we can’t be certain how much Nitrate Pre JYM contains in total, 500mg of Beet Extract most likely provides a fair amount.

LEUCINE

Leucine is an amino acid that is part of what are known as the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). If you have ever purchased a BCAA product, you may have noticed that it contains more leucine than the other two BCAAs (isoleucine and valine). The ratio is generally something along the lines of 2:1:1 and, while we’re not convinced (because of a lack of scientific studies regarding designed to test this) that the ratio matters all that much, studies do point to luecine as possible “more important” than the others. Therefore, we are comfortable with a higher level of leucine than isoleucine or valine. Leucine is probably the most frequently studied branched chain amino acid out of the three. Supplemental leucine has been shown to increase protein synthesis in rats as well as humans. A 2012 study found that supplementation with 12 g of L-leucine per day resulted in improved protein synthesis in elderly males consuming a low protein diet. While 12 grams is far more than the amount of leucine contained in Amino Energy, these results simply lend credibility to already established notion that supplemental leucine improves muscle protein synthesis.

ISOLEUCINE AND VALINE

Isoleucine and Valine belong to a group of amino acids known as the branched chain amino acids, as discussed in the L-Leucine section above. The reason they are distinct from other amino acids is that they are metabolized in the muscles, as opposed to the liver. BCAA’s play an important role in that they assist in the manufacturing of other amino acids. Amino acids are rapidly depleted during intense exercise, so replacing BCAA’s allows for more protein synthesis to take place. A 2004 study conducted by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences found that BCAA requirement was significantly increased by exercise and that supplementation had “beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis”. A second study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, found that, while BCAA intake did not seem to affect amino acid concentration during exercise, it did have a protein-sparing effect during recovery. In other words, we do not necessarily subscribe to the theory that BCAA’s increase strength or muscular performance during exercise, but there is ample evidence that supplemental BCAAs prevent the excessive breakdown of muscle protein.

TYROSINE

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid and a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. For this reason, supplement companies have made claims that supplementing with tyrosine can increase these neurotransmitters. While it is true that increasing these neurotransmitters may effectively increase workout capacity, unfortunately, studies have failed to show an increase in these neurotransmitters followed tyrosine supplementation. This is an indication that there may be rate limiting factors present, which prevent tyrosine from simply being converted into neurotransmitters.

CAFFEINE

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and is a well-established ergogenic aid. Caffeine consumption causes an increase in catecholamines (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine), which may raise the metabolic rate and/or promote fat oxidation. However, the weight loss effects of caffeine tend to fade with prolonged use, so it does not appear as though caffeine is a long-term effective fat burner. While caffeine’s weight loss potential is negligible, it increases focus and perceived energy in most people, which generally leads to more intense workouts (thus burning more fat), and may act as a mild appetite suppressant in some. JYM contains 300mg of caffeine per dose, which is considered a high dose by most standards. We certainly would not recommend taking more than one serving at a time due to the high caffeine content, but ultimately, 300 mg of caffeine is a safe, and highly effective dose. Considering the product contains no other stimulants, 300 mg seems appropriate.

HUPERZINE-A

Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, resulting in increased levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine controls skeletal muscl and is largely responsible for the ‘mind-muscle connection’ that fitness experts often talk about. In addition to controlling the muscles, acetylcholine is also involved in learning, memory, decision making, and various other mental activities. Huperzine A, combined with the above mentioned Alpha GPC, may very well increase levels of acetylcholine to a significant and noticeable degree over time.

BIOPERINE

BioPerine is a trademarked name for black pepper extract. In several studies, black pepper extract, when combined with other supplements, has increased the absorption of those supplements (as measured by plasma levels). The active ingredient responsible for this increased bioavilability is known as peperine. While we can’t say with any certainty that peperine enhances the bioavailablity of ALL other compounds, it does have a well-established track record when it comes to vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (including BCAAs).

THE BOTTOM LINE

PreJYM is one of the more scientifically validated preworkout formulas on the market. We especially like the 100% transparency, which makes it easy to guage the efficacy of the ingredients at their stated doses. The formula is not overly stimulant dependent, but does contain a significant dose of caffeine. In the end it’s not the ingredients themselves that place Pre JYM a step above other pre-workouts, but the levels of those ingredients which are, for the most part, all scientifically validated with numerous studies.

Still not sure which pre-workout is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!

References

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  3. Bendahan, D., et al. “Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle.” British journal of sports medicine 36.4 (2002): 282-289.
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