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Pro Supps Dr. Jekyll Review

Dr Jekyll Pro Supps

 

Dr. Jekyll is one of two pre-workouts from Pro Supps, the other being Mr. Hyde. While Mr. Hyde is heavy on the stimulants, Dr. Jekyll is more focused on the pump aspect, although it does contain Caffeine.

BETA-ALANINE:

Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that, along with Histidine, serves as a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine. 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 (a few weeks), can 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 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, 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. Dr. Jekyll contains 2 grams of Beta-Alanine which is on the upper end of what we generally see in pre-workouts, and certainly qualifies as an effective dose.

HISTIDINE:

Histidine is one of the 9 essential amino acids, meaning the body cannot synthesize it and must acquire it through diet. You may have also come across histidine while looking into beta-alanine, since Histidine and Beta-Alanine are the two amino acids necessary for Carnosine synthesis. However, while Beta-Alanine supplementation increases carnosine synthesis, histidine supplementation does not. This is because Histidine is highly available to begin with, and therefore is not the rate limiting factor in Beta-Alanine synthesis. Pro Supps is clearly going for a “just in case” approach by including Histidine, and while there is no research indicating this ingredient is particularly beneficial, it can’t hurt either.

LEUCINE:

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. Mr. Hyde contains only Leucine, likely because Leucine is considered the most important with regards to muscle protein synthesis (hence the heavier weight found in most BCAA supplements). Several studies have confirmed that Leucine is the most important BCAA in regards to muscle protein synthesis. It 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 Leucine per day resulted in improved protein synthesis in elderly males consuming a low protein diet. This makes Leucine of interest to those who are on a calorie restricted diet (not getting enough protein). Leucine’s primary mechanism of action is via activation of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) which signals the body to synthesize protein. Leucine signals mTOR which in turn stimulates protein synthesis. Overall, efficacy has been demonstrated with 2-5 grams daily, though Dr. Jekyll contains 500mg of Leucine per serving, which is to the lower-end of what we generally see in pre-workouts. However, combined with HMB (discussed below), the muscle-sparing effects of Luecine may be amplified to some degree.

CALCIUM B-HYDROXY B-METHYLBUTYRATE:

Hydroxy Methylbutyrate (HMB) is a metabolite of Leucine (discussed above), and about 5% of Leucine is converted into HMB after ingestion. Preliminary research indicates that while HMB is not as potent as Leucine with regards to inducing muscle protein synthesis, it is up to 20 times more potent with regards to reducing muscle catabolism. While most of the studies focus on certain diseases with muscular degradation as a symptom, the finds certainly support the notion that HMB can be used by bodybuilders and athletes to decrease the amount of muscle catabolism that takes place, especially in a fasted state. Dr. Jekyll contains 200mg of HMB, which is less than the 1-3 grams which have demonstrated efficacy in the bulk of the research, but it is possible that combined with the above mentioned Leucine, the muscle sparing effect of each of these ingredients is somewhat amplified.

CREATINE:

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 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. However, Dr. Jekyll contains another form of Creatine known as Creatine Hydrochloride, which is made by adding hydrochloric acid to a solution of creatine, forming a salt. Creatine HCL is more water soluble than Monohydrate, but in the stomach it is reduced to the same basic Creatine molecule and has never been shown to be more effective, just easier on the stomach.

Dr. Jekyll contains just 1000mg of Creatine HCl which is far less than the 2-5 grams demonstrated to maintain/increase muscular Creatine levels.

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 tend to increase focus, concentration, and perceived energy while simultaneously promoting fat oxidation. However, this increase in fat-oxidation tends 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. Dr. Jekyll contains 100mg of Caffeine which may be enough to provide non-Caffeine tolerant individuals with a slight increase in perceived energy. The low dose of Caffeine is designed to support the over-all purpose of Dr. Jekyll which is to be a non-stimulant-based pre-workout with a focus on physical performance enhancement, rather than mental. So, in the context of the Dr. Jekyll formula, we feel this dose is quite appropriate as long as consumers understand the aim of the product as a whole.

PIKAMILON:

Pikamilon (alternatively spelled ‘Picamilon’) is formed by combining Niacin (vitamin B3) and GABA (the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in mammals). Pikamilon is able to effectively cross the blood-brain-barrier where it is converted into GABA. Since GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (as opposed to excitatory) it may produce anxiolytic effects when levels are increased beyond normal. For this reason, Pikamilon is touted as an anxiolytic. However, it has also been demonstrated to increase cerebral blood flow in animals, due to its niacin component (niacin is a vasodilator). Despite a fair amount of efficacy demonstrated in animal studies for both cerebral vasodilation and as an anxiolytic, human studies remain scarce. This is likely because there are better (pharmaceutical grade) anxiolytic compounds as well as cerebral vasodilators. As far as a direct effect on exercise capacity, there are no studies but the theoretical mechanisms of action exist.

GLYCEROL MONOSTEARATE:

Glycerol is a colorless, odorless, syrup-like substance found in such household products as soap, cough syrup, and hair care products. However, NO-Xplode contains several powdered forms of the substance. Glycerol is also used by athletes for its ability to counter dehydration due to its propensity for cellular water retention. Originally, Glycerol was purported to enhance athletic/exercise performance. However, while several studies have demonstrated increased water retention as a result of pre-exercise Glycerol consumption, none have demonstrated a clear performance enhancing effect as a result of that. While the evidence is not in favor of Glycerol as a performance enhancer, Dr. Jekyll is likely more interested in the “pump” aspect of the substance. Glycerol has been shown to increase cellular water uptake (similar to creatine), which ultimately may result in a fuller muscle feel.

CITRULLINE:

Citrulline is a precursor to the amino acid Arginine, which is a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO). 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”.

You may be wondering: How can Citrulline be more effective at increasing Arginine than Arginine itself? 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 convert into NO.

A 2002 study, published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that Citrulline Mallate supplementation (6g/day for 15 days) significantly increased ATP production during exercise in healthy adult males. 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. Dr. Jekyll contains 1500mg of Citrulline Malate which is less than the 6 grams which has demonstrated clear efficacy in the studies referenced above. However, combined with the remaining “pump-based” ingredients, this dose may still serve its purpose.

AGMATINE SULFATE:

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. Dr. Jekyll contains 750mg of Agmatine Sulfate.

NORVALINE:

Norvaline is a close chemical relative of the popular amino acid Valine, though its effects are different. Norvaline has been shown to inhibit Arginase, the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of Arginine both in vitro and in vivo (rats). The result would theoretically be an increase in Arginine, which would result in more Nitric Oxide. However, Norvaline has never been studied in humans as it relates to performance enhancement, so for now we are left with only a theoretical mechanism of action.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Dr. Jekyll is essentially Pro Supps’ version of a safe, non-stimulant-dependent, pump-based pre-workout as opposed to Mr. Hyde which more stimulant-based, although the two formulas have several ingredients in common. The ingredient profile of Dr. Jekyll is a solid one, with effective doses of most ingredients, with the exception of Creatine. While Dr. Jekyll will not produce the mental stimulation that some users of pre-workouts are after, it certainly has the “pump” aspect going for it, with just a little caffeine. Because of the lack of heavy stimulants, multiples servings can be consumed without the side effects associated with more stimulant-dependent pre-workouts.

FIND DR JEKYLL

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