Reviews

Momentum Nutrition Catalyst

Catalyst is a pre-workout by Momentum Nutrition, the brand founded by SuppWithThat creator Matt Theis, which also makes Amino Beyond and Formula 56.  Like all Momentum Nutrition products, Catalyst contains nothing but clinical doses of research-backed ingredients, with 100% transparency all the way around…

Momentum Nutrition Catalyst

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Claims/Benefits

Momentum Nutrition is a brand that doesn’t believe in making claims about their products.  Instead, it’s the formulas themselves that do the talking.  The benefits of Catalyst include:

  • Enhanced Energy And Focus
  • Increased Endurance/Strength/Power Output
  • Faster Recovery

Needless to say, many pre-workouts claim too do these things, but few actually contain the right ingredients at the right doses to make good on those claims.  Let’s take a look at the ingredient profile of Catalyst, as well as the research pertaining to each of those ingredients, and see how it stacks up…

Catalyst Ingredients

Catalyst contains several ingredients you may have seen before in other pre-workouts, but at doses higher than most.  The formula contains some unique ingredients as well, mostly to improve cognitive function (reaction time, attention, etc.), giving it a bit of a Nootropic feel…

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is the rate limiting amino acid in the synthesis of the dipeptide Carnosine, which acts as a lactic acid buffer in muscle tissue.  Reducing the build-up of lactic acid can directly enhance muscular endurance and this has been demonstrated throughout multiple studies in both athletes and non-athletes alike.

A 2002 study from the “Japanese Journal of Physiology” which 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 (due to 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.

Catalyst contains 3.2 of Beta-Alanine per serving, a true clinical dose. Although a lower dose could still be considered clinical, 3.2g/day can quickly increase muscle Carnosine levels (1-2 weeks).

Betaine Anhydrous

Betaine (also known as Trimethylglycine) is the amino acid Glycine with the addition of three methyl groups attached. Betaine is alleged to increase power output and strength by increasing cellular swelling, a phenomenon well established with Creatine supplementation, which can drastically reduce the damaging effect of outside stimuli (such as exercise) on the working muscle. Thus far, Betaine has been investigated in several human studies and has had some pretty encouraging results in most.

Feel free to read this article on Betaine, as it covers all the studies regarding performance enhancement.

Catalyst contains 2.5g of Betaine per serving, yet another true clinical dose. Most pre-workouts that contain Betaine tend to use 1.25g, half the dose present in Catalyst.

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is considered one of the most bioavailable Choline sources and is generally used to increase Acetylcholine levels in the brain, which can enhance cognitive ability. However, it also has some direct (though under-researched) physical performance enhancement implications as well.

A 2008 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that oral supplementation of 600mg of Alpha GPC increased power output by an average of 14% in resistance trained males, measured by bench throws.

Most pre-workouts use inferior sources of Choline such as Choline Bitartrate and those that do use Alpha GPC tend to contain a negligible dose. Catalyst, on the contrary, contains an unheard of 600mgs of Alpha GPC in each serving.

In fact, it’s the only pre-workout which contains a true (600mg) clinical dose of Alpha GPC, guaranteed to enhance power output.  Most pre-workouts either don’t contain Alpha GPC at all or contain 150 or 300mg at most, half a clinical dose.

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.

Additionally, Caffeine can enhance calcium-ion release in muscle tissue, which directly increases muscle contraction force. Rather than discuss dozens of studies, we’ll leave it at this: Caffeine is an extremely effective ergogenic aid, though tolerance build-up is certainly an issue to keep in mind.

Catalyst contains a sizeable (250mg) dose of Caffeine which is enough to provide an energy rush, but still well within the safe range.

Theanine

Theanine is a non-dietary amino acid found almost exclusively in Green Tea where it synergistically compliments the effects of Caffeine. This synergy is well-documented, as there have been several studies conducted specifically to test the effects of Theanine and Caffeine compared to just Caffeine. It is actually one of the few combinations that can actually be considered synergistic, rather than merely additive.

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.

The combination of Caffeine and Theanine was further put to the test in a 2010 study from “Nutritional Sciences” and another 2010 study published in “Appetite”.

Theanine is another ingredient that tends to be pretty expensive, so most pre-workouts that utilize it contain very low doses. Catalyst, on the other hand, contains a highly effective 100mg of Theanine per serving, well within the clinical range (50-200mg).

The addition of Theanine to the Catalyst formula helps to reduce the likelihood of negative effects from Caffeine and ultimately makes for much smoother energy/alertness.

Hordenine

Hordenine is included in many pre-workout supplements and fat-burners because of its ability to amplify the effects of Caffeine. In vitro and animal studies indicate that its primary mechanism of action is via Momoamine Oxidase inhibition, with oral doses being shown to augment Noradrenaline-induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself.

So, rather than acting as a stand-alone stimulant, Hordenine can amplify/extend the effects of other stimulants by blocking the reuptake of Noradrenaline (and other Monoamines).

Catalyst contains 50mg of Hordenine, a pretty standard dose.

N-Methyltyramine

N-Methyl-Tyramine (NMT) functions similarly to Hordenine in that it blocks the reuptake of Noradrenaline and ultimately amplifies/extends the effects of Caffeine.

Catalyst contains 30mg of NMT which is certainly an effective dose, especially in combination with Hordenine and Caffeine.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A is an Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which means it blocks the enzyme that breaks down Acetylcholine, indirectly increasing levels in the brain. 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 cognitive functions.

The combination of Alpha GPC and Huperine A is something we don’t see very often in pre-wokouts, and this cholinergic-signaling component is one thing sets Catalyst far apart from competitors. Users may notice much sharper muscle-contractions, courtesy of Acetylcholine.

Catalyst Ingredient Takeaway

Catalyst contains clinical doses of strength/endurance enhancing ingredients as well as a pretty thorough–though not overwhelming stim-heavy–blend of energy/focus ingredients.

If you’re looking for the next crazy stim-bomb that’ll keep you up for three days after you take it peering through the curtains wondering if your neighbors are watching you, this isn’t it.  If that’s the case, take a look at our Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Stimulant Lovers list.

If you’re looking for smooth, noticeable rush of energy with noticeable enhancements in physical performance (strength, endurance, power), Catalyst’s ingredient profile is second to none.

Is Catalyst Safe?

Catalyst isn’t what we’d consider a “stim-heavy” pre-workout but it contains 250mg of Caffeine combined with Hordenine and NMT (to amplify the effects of Caffeine) so to the average non-Caffeine user, it’ll kick pretty hard.

If you’re used to consuming Caffeine on a daily or near daily basis, you’ll be fine.  There is nothing inherently dangerous about any of the ingredients in the formula.

About Momentum Nutrition

As stated above, Momentum Nutrition was founded by SuppWithThat.com Founder, Matt Theis.  After reviewing, analyzing, and testing hundreds of supplements, he realized there was something missing…

Supplements that actually work!

Unlike the overwhelming majority of supplements which are under-dosed and ineffective, Momentum Nutrition products contain

  • Research-Backed Ingredients
  • Clinical Doses Of Those Ingredients
  • No Artificial Dyes Or Junk Fillers

And are 100% Transparent, meaning you know EXACTLY what you’re getting.  You can learn more at Momentum-Nutrition.com and/or MN Prime, the official MN content site.

Catalyst Review

If you’re interested in reading user reviews, you’ll find them on:

and, at this point, a bunch of other places around the web.  When you look at the reviews all together, it’s pretty clear that Catalyst is well-liked to say the least.  Throughout all the user reviews there are hardly any complaints.  Don’t take our word for it…

Feel free to browse the links and see for yourself.

Where To Buy Catalyst

Like all Momentum Nutrition products, Catalyst can be found at:

Momentum doesn’t work with many mainstream retailers but it’s not hard to find the products.  It’s more of a direct-to-consumer brand if anything, but one that supports retailers that bring something to the table.

Momentum Nutrition doesn’t work with just any retailer, only those who care deeply about customer service, quality, and the science behind supplements.

The Bottom Line

Catalyst is without a doubt one of the best pre-workout supplements out there.  The ingredients have a sound scientific backing and are dosed to clinical standards.

Without relying too heavily on Caffeine, Catalyst has what it takes to provide the average user with a noticeable boost in focus/energy but isn’t likely to cause the negative side effects (crash, anxiety, etc.) associated with more stimulant-heavy pre-workouts.

It’s also the only pre-workout on the market that contains a true clinical dose of Alpha GPC, a unique compound which has been proven to increase power output and muscle contraction force.

References

  1. Hoffman J, et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. (2008)
  2. Stellingwerff, Trent, et al. “Effect of two β-alanine dosing protocols on muscle carnosine synthesis and washout.” Amino Acids 42.6 (2012): 2461-2472.
  3. Wilson, Jacob M., et al. “Beta-alanine supplementation improves aerobic and anaerobic indices of performance.” Strength & Conditioning Journal 32.1 (2010): 71-78
  4. Sale, Craig, Bryan Saunders, and Roger C. Harris. “Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine concentrations and exercise performance.” Amino acids 39.2 (2010): 321-33
  5. Suzuki, Yasuhiro, Osamu Ito, Naoki Mukai, Hideyuki Takahashi, and Kaoru Takamatsu. “High Level of Skeletal Muscle Carnosine Contributes to the Latter Half of Exercise Performance during 30-s Maximal Cycle Ergometer Sprinting.” The Japanese Journal of Physiology 52.2 (2002): 199-20
  6. Hoffman, Jay R., et al. “Effect of 15 days of betaine ingestion on concentric and eccentric force outputs during isokinetic exercise.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25.8 (2011): 2235-2241
  7. i, Cheng, Masao Shinohara, John Kuhlenkamp, Christine Chan, and Neil Kaplowitz. “Mechanisms of Protection by the Betaine-homocysteine Methyltransferase/betaine System in HepG2 Cells and Primary Mouse Hepatocytes.” Hepatology 46.5 (2007): 1586-596.
  8. Trepanowski, John F., et al. “The effects of chronic betaine supplementation on exercise performance, skeletal muscle oxygen saturation and associated biochemical parameters in resistance trained men.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25.12 (2011): 3461-3471.
  9. Hoffman, Jay R., et al. “Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6.1 (2009): 1-10.
  10. Cholewa, Jason M., et al. “Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10.1 (2013): 39.
  11. Lee, Elaine C., et al. “Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 7 (2010): 27.
  12. Bailey, Stephen J., et al. “Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans.” Journal of Applied Physiology 107.4 (2009): 1144-1155.
  13. Lansley, Katherine E., et al. “Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance.” Med Sci Sports Exerc 43.6 (2011): 1125-1131.
  14. Larsen, Filip J., et al. “Dietary nitrate reduces maximal oxygen consumption while maintaining work performance in maximal exercise.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 48.2 (2010): 342-34
  15. Vanhatalo, Anni, et al. “Acute and chronic effects of dietary nitrate supplementation on blood pressure and the physiological responses to moderate-intensity and incremental exercise.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 299.4 (2010): R1121-R1131.
  16. Hoon, Matthew W., et al. “The effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance in healthy individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 23.5 (2013).
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  18. Ziegenfuss, T. Landis, J. Hofheins, J. “Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise”Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5(Suppl 1):P15
  19. Liu, Jia-Sen, Yuan-Long Zhu, Chao-Mei Yu, You-Zuo Zhou, Yan-Yi Han, Feng-Wu Wu, and Bao-Feng Qi. “The Structures of Huperzine A and B, Two New Alkaloids Exhibiting Marked Anticholinesterase Activity.” Canadian Journal of Chemistry64.4 (1986): 837-39.
  20. “Efficacy of tablet huperzine-A on memory, cognition, and behavior in Alzheimer’s disease.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.
  21. Graham, Terry E., Danielle S. Battram, Flemming Dela, Ahmed El-Sohemy, and Farah S.L. Thong. “Does Caffeine Alter Muscle Carbohydrate and Fat Metabolism during Exercise?” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 33.6 (2008): 1311-31
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  26. Barwell, C. J., et al. “Deamination of hordenine by monoamine oxidase and its action on vasa deferentia of the rat.” Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology41.6 (1989): 421-423.
  27. Owen, Gail N., et al. “The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.” Nutritional neuroscience 11.4 (2008): 193-198
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