PreOG is one of two supplements (the other being Cuts FTS) from Physiques of Greatness (POG). It is a relatively straightforward formula and the fully transparent label makes it easy to see that each servings provides fully effective doses of key ingredients…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Creatine has the ability to rapidly produce ATP (cellular energy) to support cellular function (as in exercise). It has been studied more extensively than any other performance enhancing supplement, and has consistently been demonstrated to increase power output as well as muscle size, with maximum benefit achieved at around 8 weeks of consistent supplementation. During high intensity exercise, Creatine is used for energy which tends to spare the glycogen that would normally be used. Since lactic acid is a by-product created when glucose is burned for energy, Creatine may also indirectly reduce lactic acid build-up which poses a secondary mechanism by which Creatine can potentially enhance performance.
It is generally recommended to consume 5 grams per day but lower doses (3 grams) can still be effective if consumed over a longer period of time. 2-3 grams daily has been demonstrated to maintain Creatine levels (but not increase them) in athletes. 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. PreOG contains 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate per serving, an effective dose which, if consumed daily for several weeks may increase strength, power, and muscle size.
Beta-Alanine is a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine (formed by combining Histidine and Beta-Alanine). Carnosine acts a lactic acid buffer, effectively delaying fatigue in the working muscle. Beta Alanine takes time to accumulate, but if taken over a sustained period of time (2+ weeks), can be an extremely effective ergogenic aid with a strong safety profile.
One study in particular that measured the Carnosine levels of sprinters found that individuals with higher muscular Carnosine levels exhibited higher power output in the latter half of a 30m sprint (because they had less lactic acid build-up). Multiple studies have confirmed that Beta Alanine supplementation increases muscular Carnosine in a dose dependent manner. 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.
Though Beta-Alanine supplementation has been demonstrated to increase acute-power output (1 rep max) in certain studies, the more reliable benefits lie in its ability to prolong endurance during high-intensity exercise (rowing, sprinting, weight-lifting, etc.). PreOG contains 3.2 grams of Beta-Alanine which, as stated above, is a highly effective dose which can noticeably increase muscle Carnosine levels in as little as two weeks of daily supplementation.
Agmatine remains very under-researched, despite possessing a variety of health/performance implications. Recently, Agmatine has become quite pervasive in pre-workout supplements because of its alleged ability to regulate Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS), an enzyme that catalyzes the production of NO from Arginine, and either elevate or reduce its presence, depending on the type of NOS. NOS is a widely misunderstood enzyme, mostly due to supplement companies not properly explaining its function and how that function relates to physical performance. It is largely thought that NOS is the enzyme that “breaks down” NO, when it is actually the enzyme that catalyzes the production of NO from Arginine in the first place.
Nitric Oxide generally has a positive connotation in the bodybuilding/athletic community because it is associated with vasodilation, which clearly has performance/health benefits. However, this beneficial effect of NO only pertains to NO in the blood vessels. Elsewhere in the body (like the brain) NO can inflict damage and actually be quite harmful. So ideally, what we really are after is a way to reduce NO in the areas of the body where it can cause harm, while increasing it in blood vessels where it can beneficially influence physical performance.
It’s important to understand that there are several types of NOS, all which are required for the production of NO. Inducible NOS (iNOS) and Neuronal NOS (nNOS) are considered harmful because they elevate NO in immune cells (causing inflammation) and the brain (causing neuronal damage), while Endothelial NOS (eNOS) is considered beneficial as this is the kind which increases Nitric Oxide in the blood vessels, resulting in vasodilation. Agmatine has been demonstrated to up-regulate eNOS (the “good” NOS) while inhibiting the other NOS enzymes (the “bad” NOS). However, as mentioned above, Agmatine remains under-researched because it is a relatively new entrant in the supplement industry.
Currently, most of the research has been done in vitro, with absolutely no studies regarding the potential physical performance benefits of Agmatine in humans. Because of the lack of human studies, no optimal dose has been established for Agmatine, though average doses in pre-workout formulas are 500-1000mg. PreOG contains 1500mg which is far more than the standard 500mg we’re used to seeing in pre-workouts.
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate is a form of Carnitine which is more rapidly absorbed following oral supplementation when compared to standard L-Carnitine. This makes it ideal for pre-workout supplementation, and while there is some evidence to suggest L-Carnitine L-Tartrate may enhance performance, the most well-established benefit lies in its ability to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage.
A 2002 study, published in the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism”, found that 2 grams L-Carnitine L-Tartrate effectively reduced various markers of exercise-induced muscle damage in resistance trained men. These findings were replicated with 1 gram (the dose present in Nitramine) in a later (2007) study published in “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research”. A likely mechanism of action was identified in a 2008 study (from the same journal) in which it was found that L-Carnitine L-Tartrate supplementation significantly increased muscle oxygenation during exercise when oxygen would normally be lacking.
PreOG contains 1.5 grams of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate which is right in the middle of the above mentioned clinically effective dose of 1-2g for reduction exercise-induced muscle damage. It is also possible that this dose can directly enhance performance, though results regarding that claim are less clear (no optimal dose identified).
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid which serves as a precursor to the neurotransmitters Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Epinephrine, the three of which are collectively referred to as ‘Catecholamines’. A 1981 study found that subjects who consumed 100mg/kg of Tyrosine experienced a significant increase in urinary Catecholamine levels, but supplemental Tyrosine has failed to produce the performance enhancing effects commonly associated with increased release of Catecholamines. This is because Tyrosine does not instantly get converted into noradrenaline, dopamine, or adrenaline. It forms a pool, and when there is a deficit of Catecholamines, the pool is drawn from to create more. So, the claim that Tyrosine outright “increases Dopamine” is off base.
Rather than directly increasing Catecholamines and improving physical performance, Tyrosine has demonstrated the ability to restore levels of these neurotransmitters to base-line, thereby improving aspects of cognitive function in the presence of an acute stressor (sleep deprivation, exposure to cold, and possibly exercise). To put it simply, Tyrosine may restore levels of Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Adrenaline when necessary, but does not increase them beyond normal levels. PreOG contains 500mg of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, though a true optimal dose has not been identified (so 500mg is hard to interpret).
Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid, oral consumption of which triggers the release of Catcholamines (Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Adrenaline, etc.), generally inducing a state of increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy. Many studies have concluded that pre-workout Caffeine consumption can enhance exercise capacity and muscle contractibility, in many cases quite significantly.
It should be kept in mind that habitual Caffeine consumption often results in tolerance, reducing the stimulant effects. We generally recommend that individuals seeking the full benefit of pre-workout Caffeine consumption try to limit their Caffeine intake at other times of the day. PreOG contains 250mg of Caffeine which is enough to cause a noticeable increase in alertness and perceived energy in the average individual, but likely won’t be too intense.
Higenamine, also known as Norcoclaurine acts as Beta(2)Adrenergic Agonist which, like other Beta Agonists, can increase heart-rate (although the optimal oral dose for achieving this effect is unknown). Higenamine has also been demonstrated in vitro to increase acetylcholine levels, though these findings have not yet been replicated in humans. Like many of the stimulants mentioned earlier, Higenamine remains under-researched, despite its implications as a performance enhancing stimulant and fat-loss agent.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
PreOG does not contain any particularly cutting-edge ingredients, but instead makes use of some well-researched ergogenic aids at highly effective doses. The formula does contain two stimulants (Caffeine and Higenamine), but is not overly dependent upon them with regards to functionality. Ultimately, PreOG is for those seeking the physical benefits of such substance as Beta-Alanine and Creatine, but who also like a little extra mental push in the form of mild stimulants. At about $1.85 per serving, PreOG is priced at somewhat of a premium, but considering the substantial doses of most key ingredients, we wouldn’t consider it “over-priced”.
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