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Muscle Elements PreCre Review

PreCre is Muscle Elements’ pre-workout which contains, among other things, an effective (5g) dose of Creatine and Cyclic Dextrin…

Muscle Elements Pre Cre

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HIGHLY BRANCHED CYCLIC DEXTRIN

Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD) was shown, in a 1999 study from “Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry”, to enhance swimming endurance in mice. This endurance boost was determined to be the result of a very fast gastric emptying rate, which effectively allows HBCD to supply the body with glucose immediately.

The same fast gastric emptying rate was observed in a 2004 study from “Food Science and Technology Research” in humans, and again in a 2005 study from the “International Journal of Sports Medicine”.

Perhaps the most interesting property of HBCD is that, despite it’s fast absorption, it does not create a sharp insulin spike, meaning it can be used for a more sustained energy release (as opposed to ordinary glucose which tends to create a spike).

In the context of PreCre, HBCD is a unique and effective ingredient, capable of enhancing endurance.

GLUCOSE POLYMERS

Glucose is the simplest of all sugars, and is generally used in sports drinks as a source of simple carbohydrates. While HBCD is a more sustained, Glucose ingestion can spike insulin levels, pulling it into muscle tissue to be used as energy.

PTS-SURGE™ (40% PROANTHOCYANADINS)

Proanthocyanadins are a class of polyphenols found in many plants, but commonly extracted from Vitis Vinifera (as is the case in PreCre).

A 2012 study, published in the “British Journal of Nutrition”, found that Grape Seed Extract was able to reduce exercise induced oxidative stress while simultaneously increasing Nitric Oxide levels in rats.

These findings were replicated in a 2013 study from “Phytotherapy Research”, also using rats.

Despite these promising preliminary findings, there are no human studies to test whether these benefits extend to humans, let alone exercising humans. However, given the popularity of Grape Seed Extract in recent years, such studies are likely underway.

PreCre contains 100mg of PTS-SURGE per serving, yielding about 40mg of Proanthocyanadins.

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE & HCL

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. Its primary mechanism of action is its ability to rapidly produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to support cellular energy, thereby directly increasing strength and power output.

Additionally, 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.

Creatine Monohydrate is the most basic form of Creatine and is generally the form we recommend, except for those with sensitive stomachs (then we’d recommend Creatine HCl). Muscle Elements has included both forms in PreCre for a total combined dose of 5g per serving, a clinically effective dose when consumed consistently over a period of 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. So 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.

PreCre contains 1.5g of Betaine per serving, an industry standard dose as far as most pre-workouts are concerned.

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 outputin 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.

In the context of PreCre, Beta-Alanine offers an additional way of enhancing endurance. Muscle Elements lists the amount of Beta-Alanine at 1.2g per serving.

CREATINOL-O-PHOSPHATE

Creatinol-O-Phosphate remains a very under-researched an ingredient given the preliminary findings which suggest it could be quite effective as an ergogenic.

Creatinol-O-Phosphate is alleged to counter fatigue by increasing cellular glycolysis in the presence of lactic acid. Of course, this is solely based on rat studies, with no published human research to date. If the effects noted in rodents held true in humans, Creatinol-O-Phosphate would function similarly to Beta-Alanine in the context of pre-workout supplements.

PreCre contains an industry standard 500mg dose of Creatinol-O-Phosphate per serving.

TAURINE

Taurine isn’t necessarily a “pump” ingredient, but can enhance performance through a different mechanism.

In a 2011 study from “Cell Biochemistry and Function” Taurine was shown to significantly reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress in skeletal muscle. These findings were consistent with those of an earlier (2004) study, published in “Amino Acids” which showed that Taurine may decrease exercise induced DNA damage, as well as “enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties”.

A recent 2013 study, also from “Amino Acids” noted a 1.7% improvement in 3k-time trial of runners after supplementing with Taurine, and these findings were further corroborated in a later 2013 study from “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism “ in which Taurine supplementation was able to increase strength as well as decrease oxidative muscle damage.

Muscle Elements lists the amount of Taurine in PreCre at 1000mg per serving, in-line with what has been shown to reduce muscular damage (and potentially improve performance).

N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid (the body can produce it from Phenylalanine) which serves a precursor to Dopamine (by first being converted into L-Dopa) and Noradrenaline.

Because of this relationship, Tyrosine is alleged to increase levels of these neurotransmitters, which would theoretically lead to performance enhancement. However, research has demonstrated that Tyrosine cannot outright raise Dopamine or Noradrenaline levels upon ingestion, though it can help maintain optimal levels when depletion might otherwise occur.

Upon ingestion, Tyrosine forms substrate pool, which can then be drawn from when an acute stressor (exercise, cold exposure, etc.) causes a temporary depletion of Dopamine/Noradrenaline. For this reason, Tyrosine can be useful for maintaining cognitive function during stressful activity.

PreCre contains 500mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine per serving.

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.

PreCre contains 244mg of total Caffeine (from Guarana also) per serving, more than enough to make the average (non-caffeine user) individual feel noticeably more alert and focused.

GUARANA

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 sometimes 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.

As mentioned above, Guarana is just another form of Caffeine, bringing the total Caffeine content of PreCre to just under 250mg.

DMAE

Dimethylaminoethanol, or DMAE for short, is a cholinergic compound which is generally used as a cognitive enhancement agent.  It has been shown to improve certain aspects of cognitive function in older subjects with mild cognitive impairment, but has not been studied much in healthy individuals, let alone athletes.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Although PreCre contains many standard pre-workout ingredients (Creatine, Beta-Alanine, etc.) it is actually a very refreshing change. The addition of Cyclic Dextrin is something we don’t see often and provides a different means of providing the body with “real energy” as opposed to only “perceived energy” from Caffeine. The safety profile is extremely solid, with Caffeine being the only stimulant. At just over $1 per serving, PreCre may be worth a shot for anyone looking for something a little different.

Still not sure which pre-workout supplement is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!

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