Rehab is MUTANT’s post-workout recovery formula and also happens to be one of the most comprehensive we’ve seen. It features a variety of standard post-workout ingredients (protein, carbs, etc.) as well as a joint-support complex which definitely helps to differentiate it from other post-workout supps on the market…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Maltodextrin is derived from starches and is commonly used as a thickening agent in foods and beverages. However, Maltodextrin has implications for athletes as well. In terms of digestion, Maltodextrin is a simple carb, which means it can quickly supply the body with glucose for energy. A 2006 study, published in “The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness”, found that Maltodextrin supplementation slightly improved performance time in cross-country skiers. These findings were replicated in a 2011 study which found that Maltodextrin, at a dose of 1g/kg, enhanced athletic performance in elite mountain-bikers. Ultimately, Maltodextrin is no miracle performance enhancer, but supplementation before/during exericise may lead to slight improvement. However, in the context of the Rehab formula, Maltodextrin serves as a way to replenish glycogen quickly, rather than enhance performance.
GLUCOSE POLYMERS & WAXY MAIZE:
A 1996 study demonstrated that carbohydrates ingestion, when coupled with creatine ingestion, was able to increase creatine retention more than just creatine alone. So, while co-ingestion of simple carbohydrates with Creatine appears to improve Creatine absorption, simple carbohydrates also serve to replenish glycogen stores which are depleted (how much depends on how hard/long the workout is) during exercise. Ideally, the faster absorbing carbs are the most effective for immediate glycogen restoration, though Rehab contains Glucose, a fast-digesting carb, and Waxy Maize, a slow digesting carb.
Ribose is a monosaccharide (simple sugar) which has been alleged to restore ATP post-exercise. However, a 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that supplementation with 4 grams of Ribose did nothing in the way of restoring post exercise ATP in human subjects. Furthermore, a 2003 study published in the International Jouranl of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that supplementation with 10 grams/day had no effect on anaerobic exercise capacity in healthy adult males. A 2004 study concluded that the availability of ribose does appear to be a rate-limiting factor the re-synthesis of ATP post-exercise, and that 200mg/kg Ribose was an effective dose for restoring ATP levels post-exercise. It is unclear how much Ribose Mutant Rehab contains, but given that the ‘Fuel Tank Replenishment Blend’ is 48g alone, it is certainly possible that it contains an effective dose of Ribose.
Cinnamon Extract is generally standardized for insulin mimetic-like compounds and to remove the harmful compound, Coumarin. Though referring to Cinnamon extract as an “insulin mimetic” may be an exaggeration, it has demonstrated the ability to lower blood glucose in several human studies, and has drastically potentiated the effects of insulin in vitro.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (your body can make it) that is involved in a variety of bodily functions, from immune health, to providing a back-up fuel-source for the brain. Because Glutamine is an amino acid, some people assume that it may have a muscle sparing effect, and to be fair, it has demonstrated increased muscle protein synthesis in vitro as well as in the human gut. However, a 2001 study, published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”, found that Glutamine supplementation had no significant muscle sparing effect in resistance trained human subjects. A 2006 study from “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism” which compared a combination of carbs, amino acids, and glutamine to a combination of just carbs and amino acids (not glutamine), found no difference in muscle protein synthesis following exercise.
So, while some of the claims that are often attached to Glutamine aren’t quite based on facts, it has shown a lot of promise when it comes to fighting exercise induced immune system suppression. Our immune systems ultimately benefit from regular exercise, but in the short-term, exercise actually temporarily lowers our immune defenses, thus making us more susceptible to infection during that time-frame. This temporary compromise of the immune system is highly correlated with lower glutamine levels, so glutamine supplementation can potentially reduce exercise-induced damage to immune cells.
A 2007 study, published in “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism”, found that Glutamine supplementation effectively reduced ammonia in endurance exercise longer than one hour, leading to increased endurance. So, while Glutamine may be of minimal importance to individuals getting a quick 45 minute workout in, it may be quite useful for long-term exercise during which Glutamine depletion would normally occur.
Considered a beta-amino acid, Taurine plays a variety of roles in the body. It is most concentrated in the brain and liver where it functions as a versatile antioxidant. 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”. In a 2011 study, Taurine was shown to significantly decrease oxidative stress in skeletal muscle following exercise. These antioxidant effects may be responsible for the results of a 2013 study in which Taurine (1000mg) was demonstrated to improve exercise performance in trained athletes. Taurine has developed a sort of stigma due to its inclusion in energy drinks, but it may actually convey a variety of health benefits, mostly pertaining to its potent antioxidant properties.
Mutant Rehab contains several essential amino acids: L-Threonine, Glycine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Arginine, L-Ornithine, L-Tyrosine, L-Lysine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Methionine, and L-Cysteine. While each of these amino acids does have a specific function in the body, within the context of the Mutant Rehab formula, they function as building blocks of protein. Ultimately, when taken post-workout, these amino acids will supply the muscle cells with the necessary ‘materials’ for protein synthesis.
L-Alanyl L-Glutamine is a dipeptide (two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond) which is synthesized by combining the amino acids L-Alanine and L-Glutamine. The theory behind L-Alanyl L-Glutamine is based on the notion that dipeptides are able to share the same transport into the cell, and can therefore be absorbed into the cell more effectively than two separate amino acids, which would require two separate transports. There have not been many studies designed to test this theory directly. However, a 2012 study showed better absorption of glutamine (determined by plasma glutamine levels) when subjects ingested L-Alanyl L-Glutamine as opposed to L-Glutamine alone. This study was very small (only 8 subjects), so further studies are needed, but the preliminary evidence is certainly in favor of L-Alanyl L-Glutamine as a more bioavailable form of glutamine than L-glutamine alone.
Leucine is an amino acid that belongs to the group known as 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, but we’ve seen as much as 8:1:1 in favor of Leucine. Mutant Rehab contains the standard 2:1:1 ratio of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine respectively. While no study has ever proved that there is an “optimal ratio”, several studies have confirmed that Leucine is the most important BCAA in regards to muscle protein synthesis. Supplemental Leucine has been shown to increase protein synthesis in rats as well as humans in dozens of studies. Most recently, 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. However, Leucine has been shown to be effective at dosages ranging from 2-5 grams as well. Leucine is the most frequently studied of the three BCAAs and several studies now have demonstrated that Leucines primary mechanism of action is via activation of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) which is a protein that signals the body to synthesize protein. Leucine signals mTOR which in turn stimulates protein synthesis.
Isoleucine appears to have unique benefits in regards to inducing glucose uptake by muscle cells (while lowering blood glucose). In several rat studies, isoleucine has effectively lowered blood glucose and increased glucose uptake into muscle cells. While the effects of isoleucine alone on muscle glucose uptake have not been studied in humans, BCAAs in general due appear to induce glucose uptake. Whether this effect is due to isoleucine alone or the BCAAs in general is uncertain.
Valine appears to possess the least unique benefit, but to be fair, it has also been individually studied the least compared to leucine and isoleucine. A 2001 study concluded that valine lowered the amount of exercise-induced 5-HT (precursor to serotonin) in mouse hippocampuses. During exercise tryptophan is transported to the brain where it is converted into serotonin. It is hypothesized that serotonin is responsible for fatigue in a broader sense than the cellular fatigue caused by lactic acid build up. It has also been established that BCAAs directly compete with tryptophan for the same pathway, and therefore may reduce the amount of tryptophan available for serotonin production. This would explain certain anti-fatigue effects of BCAA supplementation noted in a few studies. However, the claim that valine is solely responsible for this effect is unsubstantiated by human studies. Given the current literature, it appears more likely that BCAAs in general help to attenuate fatigue. More studies are needed to directly compare the effects of valine vs. leucine and isoleucine in regards to fatigue.
Creatine has the ability to rapidly produce ATP (cellular energy) to support cellular function (as in exercise). 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. Creatine has consistently been demonstrated to increase power output as well as muscle size, with maximum benefit achieved 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. Mutant Rehab also contains Creatine Magnesium Chelate which is just Creatine bonded to Magnesium. In terms of efficacy, both these forms are roughly the same, although there are claims circulating that Magnesium Chelate is better (not proven). Rehab contains 4.1g of Monohydrate and Magnesium Chelate combined, a perfectly effective dose for increasing muscle-creatine stores over time.
Glucosamine is a member of the group known as ‘amino sugars’, and has been studied primarily in regards to joint health. Glucosamine is commonly found in two forms: glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. Glucosamine sulfate appears to be the most readily absorbed when consumed orally. While originally thought to directly induce collagen synthesis, more recent research indicates that glucosamine may actually work by inhibiting Interleukin-1, a protein which regulates inflammatory response and ultimately breaks down collagen. By inhibiting IL-1, glucosamine may reduce inflammation and slow down the degradation of collagen, thereby preserving the joint and possibly reducing joint pain. This was evidenced in a recent 2013 study, as well as a 2009 study which noted lower levels of CX-II (a bio-marker of collagen breakdown) in athletes (bicyclists and soccer players) following glucosamine supplementation (most effective at 3 grams daily). While glucosamine appears to be at least somewhat effective at preserving joints, there is no evidence to suggest that supplementation can reverse osteoarthritis (degradation of joints). However, preserving joints is still of much importance to athletes (particularly high impact sports) who may be at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. Overall, glucosamine may certainly hault joint degradation and help to prevent future damage to the joints. We estimate there is atleast 2000mg of Glucosamine Sulfate in the Mutant Rehab formula, though there could be much more.
SOY LECHITIN (PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE):
Soy Lechitin contains two phospholipids: Phosphatidylserine and Phosphatidylcholine. There is a vast amount of scientific evidence in favor of Phosphatidylserine as an effective cortisol blocker, especially in regards to post-exercise. Cortisol, for those who are unfamiliar, is a hormone that the body produces when exposed to both physical and mental stress. Among the many unfriendly side effects of cortisol are: decreased water excretion, decreased amino acid uptake (by muscle cells), inhibition of protein synthesis, and reduced bone formation. The evolutionary function of cortisol is basically to help us survive tough spots by siphoning glucose from muscular amino acid stores in order to supply the body with an instant energy source. Physical stress (i.e. intense physical activity) releases cortisol which immediately starts to eat away at muscle protein, making it the number one enemy of body builders or athletes looking to gain muscle through training. The minimum effective dose of Phosphatidylserine is about 600mg. Since the exact amount of Lechitin in the Rehab formula is undisclosed, we cannot be sure how much is present, but given its position in the formula it is likely significantly less than 600mg (we estimate 150mg).
Bromelain, also known as Pineapple Extract, contains protein-digesting enzymes called proteases, which possess moderately potent anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, Bromelain has been investigated for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), but with mixed results. A 2002 study, published in Phytomedicine, reported that Bromelain supplementation modestly improved symptoms in subjects with knee pain. However, it should be noted this study was un-blinded and not placebo controlled. For that reason, the researchers concluded that double-blind, placebo controlled studies were needed before drawing accurate conclusions about Bromelain’s potential for joint health. A 2006 placebo controlled study investigating the effects of Bromelain supplementation on symptoms of osteoarthritis found no significant differences between a group of subjects receiving 800mg Bromelain daily and the placebo group. A possible reason for the discrepancy (assuming first study was not flawed) might be that Bromelain is only effective for mild OA and not moderate to severe OA. As shown in several preliminary studies, the mechanism of action exists by which Bromelain could potentially reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis, but human studies are certainly not overwhelmingly in support of it.
Piperine is the active component of 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). While we can’t say with any certainty that Piperine 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).
Cayenne peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which has been implicated for several uses including weight loss and pain reduction. In a 1990 study, researchers found that a topical cream containing Capsaicin effectively reduced joint pain in subjects with Osteoarthritis. A 1992 study to investigate the effects of topical capsaicin on certain types of arthritis found that the treatment was effective for reducing Osteoarthritis symptoms but not Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. Unfortunately, there are no documented studies regarding the effect of oral Capsaicin supplements on joint pain, so we cannot draw any conclusions, though Capsaicin in general does appear to have some anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Turmeric is a close relative of Ginger, and is commonly standardized for its active components, Curcuminoids. A 2006 study involving rats, noted that treatment with Turmeric extract “profoundly inhibited joint inflammation and periarticular joint destruction.” However, due to a lack of human studies, it’s tough to draw conclusions on this one. It is possible that Turmeric shares some of the properties of Ginger that make it effective for reducing joint pain, but until further research is published, we can only theorize.
WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE:
Whey Protein Isolate is the most pure form of Whey, next to Hydrolyzed Whey. Many companies like to use Whey concentrate because it is cheaper. However, it is also less effective because it contains less protein (usually between 75-80%). Whey Protein Isolate is a purer form than concentrate which is generally more expensive to produce. Basically, the process involves filtering a protein source in order to achieve whey concentrate, then further filtering the concentrate to achieve whey isolate (90%+ protein). Most reputable companies use Isolate these days, usually in combination with concentrate, but Mutant uses only Isolate for the Rehab formula. Rehab contains 18 grams of Whey Isolate, a perfectly effective dose of protein.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Overall, Mutant Rehab is a very comprehensive post-workout recovery supplement containing the usual additives (creatine, BCAAs, EAAs, etc.) as well as some lesser-known (but highly effective) ingredients such as Phosphayidylserine, not to mention a pretty well-rounded joint-support complex. Although we can’t be certain about the levels of each ingredient, based on the weight of each blend as a whole, there is no reason to suspect less than optimal doses of majority of the ingredients. Phosphatidylserine is the only ingredient that may in fact be under-dosed. At about 2.75 per serving, Rehab may seem expensive but relative to reconstruction cost it is actually very appropriately priced.
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