Shatter SX-7 is MuscleTech’s most recent pre-workout released as part of the SX-7 series. The formula is actually pretty unique relative to most pre-workout supplements and features Peak ATP as a key ingredient…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
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.
Unfortunately, Shatter SX-7 contains just 1200mg of Beta-Alanine per serving, meaning two servings must be consumed to achieve a clinically effective dose.
Peak ATP is a relatively new entrant, with most of the research being published within the past few years. That beings said, the research that has been conducted indicates Peak ATP has some definite performance enhancement implications.
A 2012 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, concluded that 15 days supplementation with 400mg of Adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP) was able to reduce muscular fatigue and preserve force output towards the end of the workout.
This study was further corroborated by a later (2013) study, published in “Nutrition and Metabolism”, in which it was observed that 12 weeks of ATP supplementation (again with 400mg/day) was able to increase muscle mass and full-body strength in healthy human subjects. This recent study seems to be the primary selling point for Shatter SX-7, and indeed the results are very encouraging. However, we’d just like to point out that in order to achieve the 400mg effective dose used in these studies, two servings of Shatter SX-7 must be consumed.
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. Each serving of Shatter SX-7 contains 160mg of Caffeine which is relatively low compared to most pre-workouts these days, leaving room for the possibility of multiple servings at a time.
MYRISTICA FRAGRANS SEED EXTRACT (AS MYRISTICA FRAGRANS):
Myristica fragrans seed extract, also known as Nutmeg, is common household spice which is generally used in small amounts. However, larger doses of Nutmeg can have psychoactive effects. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which has been demonstrated to act as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor in mice. By inhibiting Monoamine Oxidase, levels of monoamine neurotransmitters (such as Noradrenaline) may remain elevated for longer, which theoretically would increase lipolysis. However, the practical effects of Nutmeg as a weight loss agent have not been studied in either animals or humans so for now we are left only with a theoretical mechanism of action. MuscleTech is the first company we’ve seen using Myristicin, and it can also be found in Hydroxycut SX-7 where it fulfills a similar function.
Ecklonia Cava is a type of seaweed containing a number of polyphenols with implications for a variety of healthy benefits. While these compounds have been shown to lower blood-glucose, reduce inflammation, and convey over-all anti-oxidant benefits, MuscleTech has included Ecklonia Cava in the Shatter SX-7 formula because of preliminary evidence which indicates it may improve exercise performance.
A 2010 study, published in the “International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism”, noted an improvement in endurance performance in healthy college-age individuals given 40mg Ecklonia Cava polyphenols prior to exercise. This particular study did not determine a mechanism of action but found no significant change in blood lactate, ruling out lactic acid reduction as a potential mechanism. Since this is currently the only human study investigating the effects of Ecklonia Cava specifically on exercise performance, more research is required in order to determine a mechanism of action. Although MuscleTech discloses the dose (36mg) of total Ecklonia Cava present in the Shatter SX-7 formula, the level of polyphenols (active component) remains unclear.
The primary active compound (in the context of Shatter SX-7) of Holy Basil is Ursolic Acid which has implications for reducing cortisol (not tested in animals) and enhancing muscle protein synthesis.
A 2013 study, published in the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism”, found that injections of Urosolic Acid increased the activity of mTOR in the skeletal muscle of mice following resistance exercise. These findings echoed those of an earlier (2012) in vitro study published in “Cell Biochemistry and Function”. While these preliminary results are certainly encouraging, they cannot be considered conclusive and it remains to be seen whether this effect applies to humans, and to what degree. The 100mg dose of Holy Basil present in the Shatter SX-7 formula is probably not enough to stimulate mTOR to any noticeable degree though, so the practical value of this ingredient remains in question.
AFRAMOMUM MELEGUETA (GRAINS OF PARADISE):
Aframomum melegueta, also known as Grains of Paradise, is an African herb with a variety of implications as a dietary supplement. Most notably, the extract has been shown to augment the effects of Brown Adipose Tissue, which is certainly of interest to those looking to lose weight. Grains of Paradise has also been investigated for aphrodisiac and Testosterone enhancement benefits, but only in mice.
A 2002 study from “Bahavioural Pharmacology” found a libido enhancement effects (increased mounting) in male rats treated with Grains of Paradise extract. A more recent (2011) study published in “Andrologia” found that male rats treated with 115mg/kg or 230mg/kg of an ethanolic Grains of Paradise extract experienced a significant 278-316% increase in Testosterone over 8 days. Unfortunately, no human studies exist currently so it is unclear to what degree these findings apply to humans as well, if at all. Anti-estrogenic effects have also been noted in one in vitro study from “Pharmacology Research”, but again, the lack of human studies make it difficult to determine the true value if any. Furthermore, the 20mg dose present in the Shatter SX-7 blend is far less than the doses used in the above-mentioned studies.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
At a dose of two servings, Shatter SX-7 has the potential to be a pretty effective pre-workout. Peak-ATP is certainly an ingredient of interest and the research is very encouraging (assuming the proper 400mg dose). While the formula is not overwhelmingly stimulant-dependent, it does contain Caffeine and Myristicin, the combination of which may certainly aid focus and workout intensity. Unfortunately, some of the ingredients (like Ecklonia Cava and Grains of Paradise) may be under-dosed, even if two servings are consumed. At a price of about 80 cents per serving, taking two doses at a time may be an expensive way to go, and while there are certainly more economical options out there, Shatter SX-7 may be worth a shot to someone looking for something different than the more traditional pre-workouts available.
Not sure which pre-workout is right for you?
The Pre-Workout category is one of the most saturated and arguably one of the most difficult to navigate. With every product claiming the be the absolute best, selecting the right one can be extremely difficult. Thats why we created this list…Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements
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- Sethi, Jyoti, et al. “Effect of tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum Linn.) on sperm count and reproductive hormones in male albino rabbits.” International journal of Ayurveda research 1.4 (2010): 208.
- Ogasawara, Riki, et al. “Ursolic acid stimulates mTORC1 signaling after resistance exercise in rat skeletal muscle.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 305.6 (2013): E760-E765.
- Figueiredo, Vandré Casagrande, and Gustavo A. Nader. “Ursolic acid directly promotes protein accretion in myotubes but does not affect myoblast proliferation.” Cell biochemistry and function 30.5 (2012): 432-437.
- Jung, S., et al. “Insulin-mimetic and insulin-sensitizing activities of a pentacyclic triterpenoid insulin receptor activator.” Biochem. J 403 (2007): 243-250.
- Sugita, Jun, et al. “Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men.”British Journal of Nutrition 110.04 (2013): 733-738.
- Nedergaard, Jan, Tore Bengtsson, and Barbara Cannon. “Unexpected evidence for active brown adipose tissue in adult humans.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 293.2 (2007): E444-E452.
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- Kamtchouing, P., et al. “Effects of Aframomum melegueta and Piper guineense on sexual behaviour of male rats.” Behavioural pharmacology 13.3 (2002): 243-247.
- Massoma Lembè, D., et al. “Effect of the ethanolic extract from Fagara tessmannii on testicular function, sex reproductive organs and hormone level in adult male rats.” Andrologia 43.2 (2011): 139-144.