Reviews

DAS Labs Bucked Up: An Evidence-Based Review

Bucked Up is a pre-workout by DAS Labs which contains a pretty ordinary blend of the usual pre-workout ingredients, but with the inclusion of Deer Antler Velvet.  To be clear, there is no evidence to support the use of Deer Antler Velvet…

Bucked Up Pre-Workout

Citrulline Malate

L-Citrulline is an amino acid that is involved in Nitric Oxide production (Citrulline > Arginine > Nitric Oxide) as well as the body’s detoxifacation processes.  Both of these properties give Citrulline it’s performance enhancement benefits.  It has been shown not only to elevate Nitric Oxide levels, but also reduce Ammonia build-up in muscle tissue, thereby enhancing muscular endurance.

Citrulline Malate, the form used in Bucked Up, is the prefered form in clinical studies, so that is generally the form that we like to see in pre-workout supplements.  The clinical dosing range for Citrulline Malate is anywhere from 6-9g, with Bucked Up coming in at precisely 6g per serving.

Given that is a clinical dose, Bucked Up definitely has what it takes to improve muscular endurance and promote some solid pumps.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine, like Citrulline can enhance muscular endurance, but it works much differently.  Beta-Alanine is the rate limiting factor in Carnosine synthesis, so supplementation can increase muscular Carnosine concentrations quite significantly.  This has been shown to improve muscular endurance, specifically by reducing Lactic Acid build-up in muscles during exercise.

The clinical range for Beta-Alanine is 3-6g/day, but doses as low as 1.6g have still been shown to increase Carnosine levels and improve muscular endurance over time, it just takes longer with lower doses.

Bucked Up contains 2g of Beta-Alanine per serving, a pretty standard dose as far as most pre-workouts are concerned.  Ideally, we’d like to see a little more Beta-Alanine, but 2g/day will still enhance muscular endurance in the longrun.

Caffeine Anhydrous

Caffeine, as most people are aware, boosts energy and focus.  It accomplishes this by triggering the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as Dopamine and Noradrenaline.  When these neurotransmitters are released, you’ll feel more alert and focused, your workouts will typically be more intense, and you’ll even burn more fat than you otherwise normally would.

For these reasons, Caffeine makes for an excellent addition to any pre-workout supplement/stack, but finding your ideal dose is important.  Bucked Up contains 200mg of Caffeine, kind of a low dose compared to most other somewhat clinically dosed pre-workout supplements.

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is the most bioavailable (well-absorbed) form of Choline.  Unlike Choline sources such as Choline Bitartrate, Alpha GPC can effectively cross the blood brain barrier and convert into Acetycholine.

Acetycholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for controlling muscle contractions.  This mechanism explains why Alpha GPC has been shown to enhance power output in multiple studies.

Unfortunately, the clinical dose for enhancing power output is 600mg prior to exercise, so Bucked Up contains far less than a clinical dose.  With only 200mg of Alpha GPC per serving, it’s not likely that users will experience notable power output increases.

Alpha GPC is almost always under-dosed, so it’s not like this is a surprise, but it would be nice to see a clinical dose.

Taurine

Taurine is a unique amino acid that is found in various tissues throughout the body and is involved in a wide array of physiological functions.  Most notably, Taurine has been shown to reduce exericse-induced oxidative muscle damage, making it an excellent recovery supplement.

It’s antioxidant properties are thought to underlie the slight enhancement of exercise performance noted in one clinical study, but this effect is not particularly reliable.  To put it simply, Taurine is an effective recovery supplement (should be taken prior to working out though), but is not a particularly effective performance enhancer.

Himalayan Rock Salt

Himalayan Rock Salt, though perhaps fancy sounding, is really just salt.  It’ll provide sodium, an electrolyte, which may come in handy during long-duration exericse (like marathon running), but won’t help you out if you work out for an hour or two each day.

The benefits of electrolytes have become ridiculously overblown by mainstream supplement companies.  You’re body needs electrolytes for your cells to transmit electrical messages and communicate with oneanother, but taking in excessive doses of sodium will not improve your workout unless you are severely electrolyte depleted.

DAS Labs is just capitalizing off of the “buzz” surrounding Himalayan Rock Salt.

Deer Antler Velvet Extract

Deer Antler Velvet Extract is possibly the most useless ingredient in the Bucked Up formula.  There is absolutely no clinical evidence to indicate that it is effective for promoting growth hormone production and the theory behind it doesn’t even make that much sense.

Deer have growth hormones that cause their antlers to experience rapid growth at certain times in their lives, so Deer Antler Velvet is sold as a growth hormone booster, but eating crushed up Deer Antlers doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the same type of growth.  This is absurd.

As with Himalayan Rock Salt, DAS Labs is just trying to capitalize off of a buzz ingreident, but we’d like Bucked Up a lot more if it didn’t contain Deer Antler Velvet.  Points deducted…

AstraGin/ActiGin

AstraGin is simply an absorption enhancer and ActiGin is allegedly an endurance booster.  Unfortunately, these ingredients are only backed by the studies funded by the companies that produce them, making the true benefits a little difficult to judge.  In the context of Bucked Up, they may or may not help.

Is Bucked Up Safe?

Bucked Up is pretty safe because the only stimulant is Caffeine.  It’s possible that someone who is sensitive to Caffeine wouldn’t be able to tolerance the 200mg in each serving of Bucked Up, but that’s not a whole lot compared to most pre-workout supplements.

Also, as long as you don’t overdo it, Caffeine is perfectly safe.

The Bottom Line

Bucked Up contains the correct doses of some performance enhancing ingredients like Citrulline and Beta-Alanine, so you can expect better muscular endurance with continuous use, but most of the other ingredients are either under-dosed or ineffective.

With just 200mg of Caffeine per serving, Bucked Up probably won’t do a whole lot in the way of energy for most people, but if a slight boost in energy and better muscular endurance is what you’re after, it may be worth a shot.

If you’re still not sure which pre-workout is right for you, check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List for some recommendations.

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