ErgoGenix has used nothing new in terms of ingredients for ErgoBlast and unfortunately, the doses of certain key ingredients may leave something to be desired.
Creatine is the most extensively studied ergogenic aid currently available, and by far one of the most effective at increasing both strength and muscle mass. Creatine’s primary mechanism of action is its ability to rapidly produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to support cellular energy.
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, posing a secondary mechanism by which Creatine can potentially enhance performance.
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. Creatine Hcl, probably the second most popular form, is formed by adding hydrochloric acid to a solution of creatine, forming a salt. Creatine Hcl is often touted as being more readily absorbed than Creatine Monohydrate, but there is no actual evidence to back this claim. It does, however, dissolve more easily in water and may be easier on the stomach, whereas Creatine Monohydrate may cause some slight irritation in certain individuals.
ErgoBlast contains 1000mg of Creatine Hcl which, unfortunately, is far less than an effective dose. Ideally, Creatine intake, regardless of the form, should be around 5g daily, with 3g daily being the absolute minimum. So, in the context of ErgoBlast, Creatine Hcl likely won’t do much in the way of increasing strength and muscle mass, unless of course another source of Creatine is added.
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. ErgoBlast contains 500mg, and although anecdotal evidence suggest this may be an effective dose, we really can’t be sure until more conclusive (human) research is conducted.
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.
ErgoGenix doesn’t disclose the precise amount of Tyrosine present in the formula, but based on a 1600mg proprietary blend, we’d estimate that ErgoBlast contains between 500 and 1000mg.
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.
ErgoGenix lists the total amount of Caffeine in the ErgoBlast formula at 300mg, which include Guarana. Combined with the other stimulants (Tyramine, Higenamine, etc.) this is enough to make even a pretty stimulant-tolerant individual noticeably more alert, focused, and energized.
Mucuna Pruriens (also known as Velvet Bean Extract) contain L-Dopa, a precursor to Dopamine. Aside from increasing dopamine, a 2008 study found that “Treatment with M. pruriens regulates steroidogenesis and improves semen quality in infertile men.” In addition to increased levels of dopamine, adernaline, and noradrenaline, the subjects who recieved Mucuna Pruriens also experienced elevated testosterone levels. However, it should emphasized that the subjects who showed increased Testosterone were infertile men, meaning many of them may have initially had low testosterone levels. There is no evidence that Mucuna Pruriens supplementation effectively raises testosterone in individuals with normal testosterone levels. Those suffering from low testosterone levels are much more likely to benefit from supplementation.
Theobromine belongs to the same class of chemical compounds as Caffeine, known as Methylxanthines. While its CNS stimulant properties are less potent than Caffeine, it is alleged to increase heart rate to a greater degree, potentially enhancing oxygenation. Unlike Caffeine, Theobromine has not been extensively studies with regards to its effect on physical performance so an optimal dose has not been established.
Tyramine is a derivative of the amino acid Tyrosine which is thought to act as a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), meaning it blocks the enzyme (Monoamine Oxidase) responsible for the breakdown of certain neurotransmitter (Noradrenaline, Adrenaline, Dopamine, etc.). The result is an increase in levels of these neurotransmitters which can induce a state of increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy. Human research on Tyramine is somewhat scarce and the combined effect of the Tyramine and the other stimulants present in the formula has not been the subject of any published study. However, given its mechanism of action, it stands to reason that Tyramine can synergistically enhance the effects of the already hefty dose of Caffeine present in the ErgoBlast blend.
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. That being said, it certainly enhances the stimulant-component of ErgoBlast.
Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon, the fruit of which contains Caffeine as well as related chemical compounds such as Theobromine and Theophylline (both cardiac stimulants with less of a mental effect). Although Guarana is touted as being a sort of “slow-release” form of caffeine, a study published in the “Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology” found there was no difference in the absorption rates of Caffeine from Guarana as opposed to Caffeine Anhydrous (synthetic) in rats. Human studies have yet to be confirmed, but given these preliminary findings, there is certainly no reason to believe Guarana would absorb any differently in humans.
So, as far as ErgoBlast is concerned, Guarana is simply another form of Caffeine. According to ErgoGenix, the addition of Guarana brings the total Caffeine content to 300mg per serving, a pretty substantial dose.
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant compound that has been under investigation for several potential benefits. CoQ10 possesses general antioxidant properties which may decrease overall oxidative stress resulting from exercise. There is preliminary evidence to suggest that Coenzyme Q10 may increase time to fatigue (resulting from oxidation), but these effects would most likely be negligible in the average athlete. Overall, CoQ10 is definitely not a bad addition to an antioxidant exercise blend, but to say that it is highly effective for reducing fatigue/increasing exercise capacity would be an exaggeration.
Huperzine A is an Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, resulting in increased levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine controls skeletal muscle and is largely responsible for the ‘mind-muscle connection’. In addition to controlling the muscles, acetylcholine is also involved in learning, memory, decision making, and various other mental activities. Although Huperzine is not technically a stimulant, it may certainly add to the cognitive enhancement aspect of the formula, which is mostly fueled by stimulants.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Although ErgoBlast contains Creatine and Agmatine, we’d classify it as stimulant-based pre-workout, because that is the most notable aspect of the formula. The 1000mg dose of Creatine is, for the most part, ineffective, unless otherwise combined with an outside source of Creatine. This leaves Agmatine to provide any physical benefit, making the pump dimension of ErgoBlast a bit lackluster.
Still don’t know which pre-workout is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!
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