Reviews

RPM Nutrition RedRum SS Review

RedRum SS is RPM Nutrition’s pre-workout supplement. The ingredient profile is not unlike many that we have seen, but the formula is well-rounded over-all. The main issue we have is with the dosing of certain key ingredients…

RedRum SS

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L-CITRULLINE

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.

The problem with supplemental Arginine is that it is metabolized in the intestines and liver into other substances such as Ornithine and Urea. The intestines and liver contain relatively high levels of Arginase, the enzyme that converts Arginine to Ornithine and Urea. As a result, very little goes on to be involved with the synthesis of NO because it is being diverted for other purposes. Citrulline, on the other hand, is able to bypass the liver and is metabolized into Arginine elsewhere, where not as much Arginase is present. Thus, more of the Arginine is able to go on to convert into Nitric Oxide.

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.

Citrulline is generally considered to be most effective at doses of 6-8g, though it is rare to find that much in pre-workout supplements (it gets kind of expensive). Given a 3.3g proprietary blend, there is undoubtedly considerably less Citrulline in RedRum SS than the doses used in the above-mentioned studies. However, two servings at a time may provide enough Citrulline to convey some benefit.

BETA-ALANINE

Beta-Alanine is a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine, which functions as a lactic acid buffer capable of reducing fatigue in the working muscle. Though it takes time to accumulate in muscle tissue, Beta-Alanine supplementation, for at least two weeks, is highly effective at increasing muscular Carnosine concentration.

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. The doses used in this study, 1.6 and 3.2g, are the most common doses seen in supplements.

A 2008 study, published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, noted improvements in power in resistance trained males using 4.8g daily for 30 days. This same 4.8 gram dose was also shown to increase muscular endurance in sprinters in a 2007 study from the “Journal of Applied Physiology”.

Needless to say, RedRum SS contains nowhere near 3.2-4.8g of Beta-Alanine per serving, as it is the second ingredient listed in a 3.3g blend. Even 1.6g would be impossible, so it’s obvious that two servings must be consumed to truly receive the benefits that Beta-Alanine has to offer.

L-TYROSINE

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid which serves as a precursor to Dopamine and Norepinephrine (Catecholamines). Because of this relationship, it is commonly alleged (mostly by supplement companies) that Tyrosine can increase levels of these neurotransmitters, which would ultimately convey some performance enhancement benefits. However, supplemental Tyrosine has failed to produce any noticeable performance enhancement benefit in multiple studies.

While Tyrosine may not increase workout performance directly, it has been shown to preserve cognitive function in the presence of an acute stressor, such as noise, cold exposure, and potentially, exercise. This is because Tyrosine, upon ingestion, forms a pool which is then drawn from to create more Dopamine and Norepinephrine when depletion occurs. To put it simply, Tyrosine will not increase Dopamine and Noradrenaline, but can help ensure optimal levels are maintained during/after exercise.

As with the above-mentioned ingredients, the 3.3g proprietary blend doesn’t leave much room for an effective dose of L-Tyrosine, though whatever dose is present may provide some marginal benefit with regards to optimizing Dopamine and Noradrenaline levels.

ACETYL-L-CARNITINE

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is among the most bioavailable forms of Carnitine, comparable to L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, and has implications for both recovery as well as performance enhancement via increasing Nitric Oxide.

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.

Unfortunately, the amount of Acetyl-L-Carnitine present in the RedRum SS formula is undeniably far less than what has been shown to be beneficial. Even at two servings, it’s unlikely that Acetyl-L-Carnitine’s contribution would be particularly noticeable.

CHOLINE BITARTRATE

Choline, once inside the body, is converted into the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which is associated with many functions including (but not limited to) memory, attention, and muscle control. It is the neurotransmitter most closely associated with the “mind-muscle connection” (although this may be something of an over-simplification), and therefore of much interest to athletes and bodybuilders alike. While certain forms of choline may be associated with increased muscular power output (namely Alpha GPC), Choline Bitartrate is generally considered the least bioavailable choline source, though oral doses of 1000-2000mg have still been shown to increase serum Choline levels significantly.

A 2012 study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” found that 1 gram of Choline Bitartrate was able to significantly increase, not only plasma choline levels, but also plasma Betaine levels. Betaine itself is commonly included in pre-workout formulas as it has been shown, in some cases, to increase power output. While Choline Bitartrate has not been studied in regards to performance enhancement, it is just as effective at increasing Betaine as supplemental Betaine, meaning it may very well convey the same performance enhancement benefits

Unfortunatley, the dose of Choline Bitartrate present in one serving of RedRum SS is likely insignificant, given its position in the 3.3g proprietary blend. .

AMP CITRATE

4-amino-2-methylpentane citrate, also known as 1,3 dimethylbutylamine, bares striking chemical similarities to 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA), the compound that became wildly popular among pre-workouts and fat-burners before being banned by the FDA. Like DMAA, very little is known about 1,3 dimethylbutylamine, other than that it has a very similar chemical structure so it should have similar effects. Anecdotal reports of 1,3 dimethylbutylamine indicate the effects are similar, though perhaps not as overwhelmingly potent, and many are calling it “the next DMAA”. Unfortunately, until more studies are published, we really won’t know too much about this compound, the benefits or the pitfalls.

Anecdotal reports indicate that AMP Citrate is similar to DMAA, though not as potent by most accounts. The effects may be potentiated by the 150mg of Caffeine also present in RedRum SS.

AGMATINE SULFATE

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 Nitric Oxide (NO) from Arginine, and either elevate or reduce its presence, depending on the type of NOS.

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, in vitro, 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 and it has actually never been studied in humans.

Because of the lack of human-based research, no optimal dose has been identified, leaving supplement companies to set the trend. Typically, pre-workouts contains between 500 and 1000mg Agmatine. However, RedRum likely contains considerably less than 500mg (we estimate 100-200mg).

THEANINE

In a 2008 study, published in “Nutritional Neuroscience”, researchers investigated the cognitive effects of a combination of Theanine and Caffeine compared to Caffeine alone on various measures of cognitive performance. Participants received either 50mg of Caffeine or 50mg of Caffeine and 100mg of Theanine before completing various tasks including word recognition, visual image processing, and attention switching. While Caffeine was able to increase alertness and accuracy during the attention switching tasks, the combination of Caffeine and Theanine was able to improve both performance and speed, while reducing the subjects’ susceptibility to distraction.

Another 2008 study from “Biological Psychology” found that, while 150mg of Caffeine increased alertness and improved (decreased) reaction time, adding 250mg of Theanine further improved reaction time, alertness, and decreased the number of headaches reported from Caffeine.

A 2010 study, also from “Nutritional Sciences”, found that the combination of 97mg of Theanine combined with 40mg Caffeine significantly improved focus and attention on various cognitive tests, compared to placebo.

Another 2010 study, this one published in “Appetite”, noted an improvement in task-switching ability using the same 97mg Theanine/40mg Caffeine combination.

Theanine is, in our view, a very under-utilized ingredient in pre-workout supplements these days. Although RPM Nutrition does not disclose the exact dose of Theanine per serving in RedRum SS, we do know that the amount is more than or equal to the amount of Caffeine, meaning it is properly dosed to achieve synergistic effects.

CAFFEINE ANHYDROUS

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. A vast multitude of studies have concluded that Caffeine consumption prior to exercise can favorably impact performance and enhance muscle contractibility.

Since habitual Caffeine consumption often leads to tolerance build-up, those seeking to get the most out of their Caffeine-containing pre-workout should limit Caffeine throughout other parts of the day. RPM Nutrition lists the amount of Caffeine in RedRum at 150mg, not an overwhelming dose by most standards, but enough to enhance focus and perceived energy in combination with Theanine and AMP Citrate.

THE BOTTOM LINE

From an ingredient standpoint, Redrum is very complete, with all of the usual ergogenics plus a few focus/cognition enhancers. However, with the entire proprietary blend amounting to just 3.3g per serving, it is obvious that some of these ingredients are under-dosed. Even at two servings, it’s doubtful that Redrum provides truly optimal doses of such ingredients as Citrulline and Beta-Alanine, but there is most likely still some benefit to be obtained at whatever doses are present. The only stimulants in the formula are Caffeine and AMP Citrate, but the addition of Theanine adds a non-stimulant dimension of cognitive enhancement, and appears to be dosed appropriately (at least equal to Caffeine).

Supplement Facts

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