Reviews

PES Prolific: An Evidence-Based Review

Prolific is a pre-workout supplement by Physique Enhancing Science (PES) which promises an “all-around pre-workout experience”…

PES Prolific

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Claims/Benefits

PES claims (directly on the front panel of the packaging) that Prolific provides:

  • Dialed-In Focus
  • Explosive Energy
  • Ultra-Powerful Pumps
  • “The Ultimate Mind Muscle Connection”

So ultimately what Prolific aims to be is an all-around effective pre-workout that isn’t particularly overwhelming in any one aspect but is instead well balanced.  But, claims are just words, so let’s take a look at the ingredient profile of Prolific and decide or ourselves what it’s capable of, shall we?

Prolific Ingredients

At a glance, Prolific provides a simple yet thorough blend of research-backed, reliable ingredients that will do everything from improving physical performance to enhancing focus, cognitive fuction, and perceived energy.

If you’d like to understand the science behind each ingredient, read on.  If you don’t feel like brushing up on your supplement science, feel free to skip ahead to the bottom line…

L-Citrulline

Citrulline is an amino acid which plays two unique roles in the body that underly the performance enhancement implications.

  1. Citrulline is a precursor to Arginine which is in turn used to produce Nitric Oxide.
  2. Citrulline is involved in the Urea Cycle and can lower Ammonia build-up in muscle tissue, thereby delaying fatigue

Both of these benefits are well documented and Citrulline has been shown to enhance muscular endurance in multiple studies.

Put simply, Citrulline will allow you to get more reps out of each set.

The clinical range for Citrulline is generally 6-9 in the form of Citrulline Malate.  PES has opted to include 3g of L-Citrulline (free form amino acid) in each serving of Prolific.  It’s tough to call that a clinical dose, but it’s definitely up there.

At two servings, Prolific yields a highly effective dose of Citrulline, that’s for sure.

Betaine

Betaine, also known as Trimethylgylcine, is a unique compound that is produced naturally by the body to some degree, but also found in a variety of plant life.  In fact, Betaine was first isolated from Beets.  That’s the reason for the name…

It plays a wide variety of functions throughout the body, including methyl donation, but has been studied fairly intensely in the area of performance enhancement where it shows a ton of promise as a performance enhancer.

Betaine is an Osmolyte–a substance that regulates cellular fluid (water) levels–supplementation of which causes a phenomenon known as “cellular swelling”.  Put simply, it makes your muscle cells absorb more water.

Altough it remains unclear exactly how this leads to increased strength automatically, enough studies have been conducted to consider Betaine reliable for this purpose and the fact that it’s an Osmolyte, if anything, just offers a convenient mechanism that kind of makes sense.

It shares this characteristic with Creatine, but Creatine has additional mechanisms by which it increases strength and endurance so it shouldn’t be compared to Creatine in any other way really.

Truth be told, nobody really knows WHY Betaine works.  We just know it does work.  The most likely

Prolific contains 1.25g of Betaine.  For whatever reason, pretty much all the studies investigating the impact of Betaine of exercise performance used 2.5g daily.  That puts Prolific at about half a clinical dose per serving.  Like Citrulline, you’ll want to double up on this one to receive the full benefits.

Taurine

Taurine, like Betaine, is an Osmolyte so it can potentially increase cellular water absorption.  That said, it has an entirely different mechanism that makes it of interest to anyone who exercises regularly.

Taurine is an anti-oxidant and supplementation with 1-2g has been shown to prevent exercise-induced oxidative damage.  It has additionally been shown to enhance performance very slightly, but has also failed to do so in other studies so it can’t considered entirely reliable in this sense.

It’s really a recovery-aid, and a very reliable, safe one at that.

Prolific contains 750mg of Taurine, again just shy of what can be considered a true “clinical dose”.  At two scoops (1500), however, we’re in business!

Caffeine

Most people don’t realize that Caffeine is usually the only psychoactive ingredient in pre-workout supplements.  In the case of Prolific, there are other ingredients which may alter brain activity, so Caffeine isn’t the only psychoactive ingredient but is is absolutely the only stimulant.

Luckily, this makes it easy to gauge how powerful it’s going to be for the average person.  Caffeine triggers the release of neurotransmitters like Noradrenaline and Dopamine which induce a state of focus and alertness, but these effect fade with prolonged use.

For that reason, people who don’t drink Caffeine often are much more likely to feel “the kick” than people who are used to drinking Caffeine.  There really is no mystery to most pre-workouts.  It’s just about knowing how much Caffeine you can handle at once.

Make no mistake though, Caffeine isn’t just “an upper”. The performance enhancement implications go much deeper.  If you want to make fast gains and stay lean, Caffeine is worth utilizing

Prolific contains 160mg of Caffeine per serving which makes perfect sense given the way PES dosed the above ingredients.  At two servings, you’re looking at a solid 320mg of Caffeine.

If it takes more than that to get you going, you should probably lay off the Caffeine, but 320mg is my no means an excessive dose and is perfectly safe for most people to consume.

Citicoline

Citicoline is unique source of Choline which serves as a precursor to Acetylcholine.  It’s one of the few Choline sources that is bioavailable enough to actually cross the blood brain barrirer and increase Acetylcholine levels.

Acetylcholine, if you didn’t know, is the neurotransmitter in your brain which is heavily involved with things like learning and memory as well as muscle contraction.

Citicoline hasn’t been studied as a performance enhancer but it has been shown to improve cognitive function in both healthy and unhealthy individuals.

Furthermore, because Acetylcholine plays such a large role in muscle contraction, it stands to reason that Citicoline supplementation could enhance the mind muscle connection. After all, a similarly bio-available Choline prodrug, Alpha GPC, has been proven to enhance power output during exercise.

This is probably the particular ingredient PES is referring to when they claim you’ll exeprience “The Ultimate Mind Muscle Connection”…

Ambiguous marketing claims aside, Citicoline is quite an interesting ingredient which may very well enhance the cognitive aspect of the Prolific formula by entirely non-stimulant means.

Theanine

Theanine is a non-dietary amino acid which is not a stimulant but has been shown to improve various aspects of cognitive function, induce relaxation, and synergistically enhance the effects of Caffeine.

It’s one of the few substances that can relax you without making you drowsy.  It’s unique interaction with Caffeine only makes it more worth incorporating in any pre-workout supplement, so we’re happy to see PES include it.

Given the massive amount of evidence supporting the use of Caffeine and Theanine in a synergistic manner, any great pre-workout supplement which contains Caffeine should definitely contain Theanine.

Prolific contains 100mg per serving, well within the clinical range.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most thoroughly researched herbal supplements and offers a seemingly unlimited range of benefits, ranging from stress relief to performance enhancement.

As an adaptogen, Rhodiola helps the body adapt to stress, both physical and mental, which makes it useful for both improving cognitive function and physical endurance.

Prolific contains 50mg of Rhodiola Rosea standardized for 5% Rosavins and 2% Salidroside (the active components).  Studies have used varying doses but ideally you’ll want atleast 100mg Rhodiola (the amount of two servings of Prolific).

Coffee Fruit Extract (NeuroFactor)

Coffee Fruit Extract, sold under the brand name NeuroFactor by FutureCeuticals, has been shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in humans.

The function of BDNF is essentially to keep existing neurons healthy and promote the growth and/or differentation of new ones.  By increasing BCNF, Coffee Fruit Extract (NeuroFactor) may very well promote better brain health, but studies are pretty limited for now.

This is definitely an ingredient to keep an eye on but we’ll reserve our judgement about how effective it is after we see some more studies.

Prolific contains 50mg of NeuroFactor per serving.

Prolific Ingredient Takeaway

One word: well-rounded…

Okay that was actually more like two words but that’s what comes to mind when we take a look at the Prolific supplement facts panel.  It’s very simple, with only 8 active ingredients, but covers all the bases.

Prolific has the necessary ingredients to:

  • Enhance Muscular Endurance
  • Promote Some Nice Pumps
  • Increase Energy/Alertness
  • Improve Cognitive Function (Beyond Stimulation)
  • Speed Up Recovery

It really just comes down to a matter of dosing…

Dosing

Here’s the thing.  PES is probably trying to make Prolific as appealing to as many people as possible, so the stim-sensitive people can take 1 scoop and the stim-heads can take 2 scoops but you really need 2 scoops if you want highly effective doses of all the ingredients.

In other words, if you want the performance enhancement, faster recovery, awesome pumps, you need 2 scoops of Prolific.  At 1 scoops, we can imagine a lot of people being disappointed, but at 2 scoops Prolific is one of the most well-rounded pre-workouts we’ve seen in quite a while.

If you’re double-dosing every time, one tub of Prolific will yield 20 servings.  Depending on the price, this could very well be worth it so don’t get discouraged by the fact that it’s not “clinically dosed” on a per serving basis.  Double-dosing is feasible with Prolific.

Is Prolific Safe?

As with any Caffeine-containing supplement, you should exercise caution when determining your ideal dose of Prolific.  Yes, you need 2 scoops to acheive clinically effective doses of ingredients like Citrulline, Betaine, and Taurine, but if you can’t handle 300+mg of Caffeine, Prolific isn’t for you.

It doesn’t contain an “unsafe” dose of Caffeine.  320mg is well within the safety threshold for Caffeine, but individual tolerance varies so for some people (who don’t use Caffeine a lot), it may feel like a lot.

So, if you don’t know how much Caffeine you can handle, just try 1 scoop first!

PES: A Brand You Can Trust

We like PES.  Not becuase we know them personally.  PES is actually one of the few brands that we haven’t ever has correspondance with for whatever reason but they’ve consistently made great products.

One thing PES followers may have noticed is that the brand appears to be toning down some of it’s stim-heavy formulas and going for more of a mainstream market.  A lot of people reached out to us when PES changed the Alphamine formula expressing their disappointment in the the new formula, but PES makes great products, does their homework, and is 100% transparent.

Regardless of whether you like the products or not, PES is a brand with a good reputation.  That cannot be denied.

Where To Buy

As of now, Prolific is only available direct at:

But we’d expect it to make its way out to many more PES retailers in the future so stay tuned and let us know if you’re aware of any other retailers we should add to the list!

The Bottom Line

Prolific is about as well-balanced as it gets.  These days, we see pre-workouts either go toward the “high-stim” side or the “better peformance” side. Very rarely do we see a pre-workout that combines clinical doses of highly effective performance enhancing ingredients with energy/focus/cognitive enhancement ingredients in such a harmonious manner.

Assuming you’re taking two scoops, Prolific is definitely worth making your new pre-workout.

Still not sure which pre-workout is right for you?  Check out our Best Pre-Workout Supplements list for some recommendations.  Every product on that list is clinically dosed, fully transparent, and made by a trusted brand.

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