M.P.ACT is the most recent pre-workout from Dymatize, released around the same time as M.P.S., which contains a variety of common pre-workout ingredients. The only stimulant in the formula is Caffeine…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
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. Creatine can also indirectly reduce lactic acid build since it can be used for energy instead of glucose, and lactic acid is a byproduct of glucose utilization (burning).
Generally speaking, effective daily doses of Creatine are around 5 grams daily, though as low as 2-3 grams has been shown to maintain (but not elevate) muscle Creatine levels. M.P.ACT contains 5 gram of Creatine, BCAAs, Beta-Alanine, Creatinol-O-Phosphate, and Sustamine combined, so there is likely no more than 1-2 grams of Creatine per serving.
Beta-Alanine is a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine, which functions as a lactic acid buffer, capable of reducing fatigue in the working muscle. Although it takes time to accumulate in muscle tissue, Beta-Alanine supplementation is a highly effective way of increasing muscular Carnosine levels and can take effect in as little as two weeks.
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.
As stated above, M.P.ACT contains 5g of Creatine, Beta,Alanine, Sustamine, Creatinol-O-Phosphate, and BCAAs combined so the amount of Beta-Alanine is likely no more than 1-1.6g. 1.6g would be a technically effective dose, and two servings would yield an ideal dose.
Chain•SOL® 2:1:1 Water Soluble BCAAs, (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine):
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) have long been a staple in the supplement regimen of serious weightlifters, and for good reason. A multitude of studies have indicated that BCAA supplementation can induce protein synthesis and possibly reduce extended-exercise fatigue. Though there are dozens of studies we could cite, for the purpose of keeping this review as short as possible, we’ll just discuss some particularly interesting ones.
A 2009 study published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” tested the effects of BCAA supplementation in comparison to whey protein supplementation or simple carbohydrates (from a sports drink) in athletes. All subjects consumed the same diet and participated in the same physical training regimen. At the end of the 8 week study, the BCAA group significantly outperformed both the whey group and carbohydrate group in terms of lean body mass as well as strength. Results like these make us question whether skeptics of BCAAs have even bothered to read the literature. There is more than enough evidence to conclude that BCAA supplementation can have a significant anabolic effect in both protein deficient AND non-protein deficient humans.
A major criticism of BCAA supplements is that Leucine alone can achieve a significant increase in muscle protein synthesis. While Leucine does appear to be the most critical in regards to muscle protein synthesis, a 2009 study published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” concluded that BCAAs (2:1:1) have a more pronounced effect on protein synthesis than the same amount of Leucine alone. So, theoretically speaking, if you had to choose, you would choose Leucine, but all three is undeniably a better way to go.
Despite the name, Creationol-O-Phosphate is not at all related to Creatine. In terms of effects, it is actually more like Beta-Alanine in that it may reduce muscular fatigue during exercise (though through a different mechanism). Creatinol-O-Phosphate is alleged to counter fatigue by increasing cellular glycolysis in the presence of lactic acid. Unfortunately, there are no human studies upon which to draw conclusions. We are left with a few German studies involving rats and the word of various supplement companies who swear this is a revolutionary new ergogenic aid. To be clear, we are not disputing the claims made about Creatinol-O-Phosphate. We’re simply stating that there really isn’t enough evidence to draw conclusions either way. Although it may contribute to the efficacy of the M.P.ACT formula, we wouldn’t consider it a main attraction or anything.
L-Alanyl L-Glutamine, as the name implies, is a dipeptide made up of Alanine and Glutamine. The theory behind L-Alanyl L-Glutamine is based on the notion that dipeptides are able to share the same transport into the cell, and can therefore be absorbed into the cell more effectively than two separate amino acids, which would require two separate transports. There have not been many studies designed to test this theory directly.
However, a 2012 study showed better absorption of glutamine (determined by plasma glutamine levels) when subjects ingested L-Alanyl L-Glutamine, than when they just ingested L-Glutamine alone. This study was very small (only 8 subjects), so further studies are needed, but the preliminary evidence is certainly in favor of L-Alanyl L-Glutamine as a more bioavailable form of glutamine than L-glutamine alone, and the theory is certainly sound (in terms of logic).
Despite its inclusion in energy drinks, Taurine is not a stimulant and does not increase perceived energy or focus. Rather, it is an amino acid with antioxidant properties with implications for exercise recovery as well as slight performance enhancement.
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.
Taurine is quite effective for reducing muscle damage and increasing workout capacity, with common doses ranging from 1-2g. The amount of Taurine present in one serving of M.P.ACT most likely falls toward the lower end of this range.
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid which serves as a precursor to the neurotransmitters Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Epinephrine, the three of which are collectively referred to as ‘Catecholamines’. Tyrosine supplementation is commonly alleged (by supplement companies) to increase levels of these neurotransmitters. However, studies have failed to show the performance enhancement benefits generally associated with increases in Noradrenaline following Tyrosine supplementation. The real benefit of Tyrosine is its ability to restore levels of Noradrenaline when depletion occurs.
During exercise, the brain secreted Noradrenaline and extended exercise depletes levels, in some cases quite significantly. This explains why we tend to be less “sharp” directly after extended exercise sessions. Upon ingestion, Tyrosine essentially forms a pool, and when Noradrenaline levels get too low, the pool is drawn from to produce more. So, rather than directly improving cognitive ability, Tyrosine helps to maintain it during situations when it would normally decline. Average doses range from 2-5 grams, but M.P.ACT likely contains far less (we estimate 500-1000mg at the most).
Glucuronolactone has become a popular additive in energy drinks as well as “detox” supplements which claim cellular protective benefits. Despite being included in various energy products, it has not been studied in isolation in regards to any claims made by these companies. For now, we cannot say with any certainty whether Glucuronolactone makes any difference with regards to workout performance.
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. Countless studies have demonstrated the ability to Caffeine to enhance workout performance, specifically by augmenting muscle contractibility as well as increasing perceived energy and focus.
The average (non-caffeine tolerant) individuals needs anywhere between 100 and 300mg of Caffeine to feel noticeably more alert and focused, and the amount of Caffeine in M.P.ACT is probably somewhere in this range.
Rhodiola Rosea is what is known as an “adaptogen”, meaning it can help the body adapt to stressful situations, both physical and mental. Unlike most obscure herbal extracts, Rhodiola Rosea has actually demonstrated a considerable amount of efficacy with regards to performance enhancement.
A 2013 study, published in “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research”, found that 225mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract was able to reduce the heart response to exercise and significantly reduce perceived exertion, effectively increasing endurance. These findings were roughly in-line with those of earlier studies (2000-2004), and lend even more credibility to already established notion that Rhodiola Rosea supplementation can in fact improve exercise performance at doses of around 200mg.
Despite having demonstrated the ability to counter fatigue and increase endurance in multiple studies, the exact mechanism of action remains unknown. Dymatize discloses the fact that this particular form of Rhodiola is standardized to 5% Rosavins and 3% Salidrosides (active components), but since we don’t know the total amount present in M.P.ACT, that doesn’t really mean much.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT:
Green Tea Extract is generally standardized for EGCG, a Catechin which functions as a Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor. COMT is an enzyme which degrades Catecholamine neurotransmitters such as Noradrenaline, so by blocking this enzyme, EGCG allows for higher levels of Noradrenaline. This mechanism of action is quite synergistic with Caffeine, so AssuriTEA may enhance the focus and perceived energy aspect of M.P.ACT.
Quercetin is a flavonoid which can be found in (and extracted from) a wide variety of plants, and tends to have a ton of health claims attached to it. In the context of M.P.ACT, Quercetin may help to improve exercise performance, though results have been somewhat mixed.
A 2009 study from the “American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology” found that Quercetin supplementation significantly increased mitochondrial biogenesis, thus increasing endurance in mice.
A 2010 study, published in the “International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism”, found a significant increase in time to fatigue in untrained cyclists who consumed 500mg of Quercetin daily for 7 consecutive days.
However, a follow-up 2011 study, failed to replicate these findings with the same dose of Quercetin for the same amount of time in sprinters. These findings were in-line with those of an earlier (2009) failed study, though this one used a smaller dose of 250mg.
Quercetin does have mechanisms by which it may favorably influence physical performance, but the studies up to this point are mixed so in the context of M.P.ACT, we’d still consider it somewhat of a speculative ingredient.
Agmatine has been demonstrated to up-regulate Endothelial Nitric Oxide (eNOS), sometimes referred to as the “good” NOS, while inhibiting the other NOS enzymes (the “bad” NOS) in vitro, but human studies are non-existent. Despite the inherent pro-eNOS nature of Agmatine, it remains under-researched in humans so an optimal dose has not been established. Common doses range from 500-1000mg, and based on a 1g proprietary blend, we suspect M.P.ACT contains around 500mg.
Beetroot is an excellent source of Nitrate which is converted to Nitric Oxide upon entering the body. The cardiovascular benefits of dietary Nitrate intake have been relatively well-known for some time but recent research indicates Beetroot extract supplementation can reliably improve aspects of exercise performance.
A 2012 study, published in “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”, found that increased dietary nitrate intake (in the form of Nitrate-rich whole Beetroot) improved running performance in healthy adults.
A 2013 study, published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”, found that Nitrate supplementation (from beetroot juice) effectively elevated plasma Nitrate levels which translated to improved performance during high-intensity exercise in athletes.
A 2013 Meta-Analysis, which looked specifically at 17 separate studies using doses of 300-600mg Nitrate from various sources, concluded that supplementation is associated with a moderate improvement in time to exhaustion at a given work load.
Though Dymatize doesn’t disclose the level of Nitrate standardization of this particular type of Beetroot extract, 500mg is generally seen as an effective dose. Based on a 1g blend, we doubt there is exactly 500mg present in M.P.ACT, but it may not be too far off.
A 2006 study, published in “Nitric Oxide”, found that Pomegranate Juice effectively protected Nitric Oxide from oxidation, thereby enhancing its action in vitro. Although the influence of Pomegranate on Nitric Oxide have not been studied extensively in humans, a 2011 study from “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research” found that Pomegranate juice slightly reduced soreness and improved exercise performance in trained men. These findings were roughly in-line with those of an earlier (2010) study which found that Pomegranate ellagitannins improved aspects of recovery after exercise.
Overall, while the mechanisms by which Pomegranate influence exercise performance are not widely understood, there does appear to be some modest benefit. There is no standard does of Pomegranate extract, but M.P.ACT likely contains 100-200mg (…whatever that means).
THE BOTTOM LINE:
When looking at the profile as a whole, M.P.ACT appears to be a very comprehensive pre-workout, complete with Creatine, BCAAs, pump-based ingredients like Beetroot and Agmatine, as well as Caffeine and some Caffein-augmenters (Green Tea Extract). However, a closer look reveals that many of these ingredients are under-dosed, in some cases quite significantly. For that reason, we’d recommend consuming multiple servings of M.P.ACT in order to receive the full benefit. Whether M.P.ACT is worth a shot really depends on the price.
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