Friction is a stimulant-heavy pre-workout that also packs highly effective doses of Creatine and Beta-Alanine.
Creatine has the ability to rapidly produce ATP (cellular energy) to support cellular function (as in exercise). It has been studied more extensively than any other performance enhancing supplement, and has consistently been demonstrated to increase power output as well as muscle size, with maximum benefit achieved at around 8 weeks of consistent supplementation.
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.
It is generally recommended to consume 5 grams per day but lower doses (3 grams) can still be effective if consumed over a longer period of time. 2 grams daily has been demonstrated to maintain Creatine levels (but not increase them) in athletes.
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. Friction contains Creatine Monohydrate as well as covalently bonded Creatine/Leucinate (Creatine and Leucine combined). Depending on how much Leucine is comprises the Creatine/Leucinate, Friction contains anywhere from 3-5 grams, definitely an effective dose.
COVALEX (COVALENTLY BONDED CREATINE/LEUCINATE PEPTIDE):
Covalex is a peptide created by combining Creatine and Leucine. VPX claims this synthetic peptide is superior in terms of muscle building ability, though this has not be proven. Ultiamtely, Covalex likely just conveys the same benefits as Creatine and Leucine, though it’s unclear how much of each component is present.
Given that Creatine Leucine are both highly established muscle building ingredients on their own, it seems reasonable to combine them, though we seriously doubt there is any benefit beyond that which could be obtained through supplementing them separately.
Beta-Alanine is a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine (formed by combining Histidine and Beta-Alanine). Carnosine acts a lactic acid buffer, effectively delaying fatigue in the working muscle. Beta Alanine takes time to accumulate, but if taken over a sustained period of time (2+ weeks), can be an extremely effective ergogenic aid with a strong safety profile.
One study in particular that 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 (because they had 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.
Friction contains 3.25g Beta-Alanine, a highly effective dose not usually found in a single serving of the average Beta-Alanine containing pre-workout.
Caffeine causes an increase in catecholamines (noradrenaline, adrenaline, dopamine, etc.), resulting in increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy (in most individuals). These neurotransmitters tend to be lipolytic, so it is commonly assumed that caffeine is a fat-burner. However, while the mechanisms of caffeine are certainly pro-fat-burner, the effects tend to fade with prolonged use, rendering caffeine ineffective as a long-term weight loss solution by itself. That being said, caffeine can still potentiate the effects of other stimulants (and there are plenty of those in the Friction formula). Friction contains a hefty 400mg of Caffeine, more than enough for the average person to feel noticeably more alert, focused, and mentally energized.
Phenylethylamines are a class of compounds which cause an increase in the Catecholamine neurotransmitters (adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, etc.) and as such, are relatively potent (though short lived) central nervous system stimulants.
While studies testing the effects of PEA supplementation on exercise performance are limited, a boost in Catecholamines may certainly translate into more energy in the gym, resulting in a more intense workout, and this effect may be further amplified by Caffeine as well as the other stimulants present in the formula. Friction contains Beta-Phenylethylamine, which has a slightly longer half-life than standard Phenylethylamine (though not by much).
Isopropyloctopamine, also referred to as Isopropylsynephrine, is a derivative of Synephrine which similarly targets Beta(3) Adrenergic Receptors and has demonstrated clear lipolytic properties in vitro.
A 2011 study, published in the “Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry”, found that Isopropyloctopamine was more than 60% as effective at inducing lipolysis in human fat cells as the reference drug, Soprenaline, which makes it more potent than Synephrine or Octopamine. Isopropyloctopamine is not found in Bitter Orange like Syneprhine or Octopamine, and must be synthesized, which is why Synephrine is often used instead (it’s easier).
In addition to being highly lipolytic, Isopropyloctopamine may also act as a mental stimulant with mood enhancing properties, but the CNS stimulant properties remain under-researched at this time. Friction is one of the few pre-workout/fat-burners to contain Isopropyloctopamine, as opposed to the less effective Octopamine found in Bitter Orange.
Yohimbine acts as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptor responsible for blocking lipolysis. By blocking the action of this receptor Yohimbine allows for more lipolysis to occur.
A 2006 study showed that while there were no increases in strength, supplementation induced fat loss in athletes (soccer players). As previously stated, Yohimbine directly acts on alpha-2 receptor, but its fat loss capabilities may also be magnified by its ability to increase the catecholamine neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline which in turn induce lipolysis.
However, its ability to increase Catcholamines may degrade fairly quickly (a few weeks), so for Yohimbine to be truly effective as a weight-loss agent, it must be combined with something that activates the beta-adrenergic receptors in the first place (i.e. caffeine, other stimulants, or exercise).
Yohimbine: An Effective Fat-Burner?
Yohimbine is a chemical compound commonly extracted from Pausinystalia yohimbe (Yohimbe for short), an African plant, the bark of which is generally standardized for Yohimbine content and sold as an herbal…[Continue Reading]
Halostachine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the Asian shrub halostachys capsica. In terms of its structure and chemical properties, it is similar to Synephrine and Ephedrine. Halostachine is a beta-adrenergic receptor agonist, meaning it can increase cAMP and promote lipolysis. Unfortunately, Halostachine remains significantly under-researched compared to Synephrine, so it’s tough to determine its relative degree of efficacy as a fat-burner or mental stimulant.
N-Coumaroyldopamine is a compound found in several species of plant, but most commonly extracted from Cocao. A 2005 study, published in “The FASEB Journal”, found that N-Coumaroyldopamine was able to increase cAMP via beta-adrenoceptor agonsim, in vitro. Although these findings should be viewed as strictly preliminary, they do suggest that N-coumaroyldopamine has the potential to be used as a fat-burner in humans, sharing the same mechanism of action as such compounds as Synephrine. Given that Friction is a positioned as a pre-workout, VPX appears more concerned with the CNS stimulant properties of N-Coumaroyldopamine, though the exact degree of efficacy remain unclear.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Friction contains highly effective doses of Creatine and Beta-Alanine, as well an impressive stimulant complex, containing much more than just Caffeine. While we’re still skeptical of the claim that Creatine/Leucinate is superior to the same dose of these two ingredients separate, adding Leucine to the formula only enhances its efficacy. At about 90 cents per serving, Friction is fairly priced, though not necessarily a bargain, and should certainly be considered by those who seek the full benefits of Creatine and Beta-Alanine, but also prefer intense stimulation in their pre-workouts (more than Caffeine alone can provide).
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