Razor 8 is Allmax Nutrition’s relatively popular pre-workout, the formula of which has gone through a few transformations including the removal of DMAA…[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. 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. Razor contains Creatine Monohydrate as well as another form of Creatine call Creatine Hydrochloride, which is made by adding hydrochloric acid to a solution of creatine, forming a salt. Creatine HCL is more water soluble than Monohydrate, but in the stomach it is reduced to the same basic Creatine molecule and has never been shown to be more effective.
Between both Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine HCL, Razor 8 contains 5 grams of Creatine, definitely an effective dose and far more than the average pre-workout.
Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that, along with Histidine, serves as a precursor to the amino acid Carnosine. 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 (a few weeks), can be an extremely effective performance enhancing supplement 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, which improves physical performance. 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. Razor 8 contains just 425mg of Beta-Alanine per serving, which unfortunately is not a scientifically validated dose.
Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to Nitric Oxide. Supplement manufactures claim that, because Arginine is a precursor to Nitric Oxide, supplemental Arginine may boost Nitric Oxide levels, resulting in vasodilation. However, recent studies have found that Arginine isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The human body is complex and, unfortunately for supplement companies, ingesting a precursor to a substance doesn’t necessarily increase the levels of that substance. A 2012 study, published in “Nutrition and Metabolism”, found that acute (one-time) L-Arginine supplementation with 6 grams did not increase plasma (blood) levels of Nitric Oxide in people with normal Asymmetric Dimethylarginine levels. Asymmetric Dimethylarginine is a compound that is chemically related to Arginine and directly interferes with the production of Nitric Oxide.
Furthermore, recent studies have questioned whether Arginine may in fact be counter-productive during exercise. A 2011, placebo controlled study, found that subjects performed worse after receiving 3700mg of Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate prior to resistance training. Due to the size of this study, it cannot be considered conclusive, but it certainly should warrant further studies. While most studies have failed to prove that L-Arginine supplementation increases strength, a 2012 double-blind placebo controlled study, found that supplementation with 6 grams of L-Arginine increased muscle blood volume post-workout, but did not increase intra-workout strength. While this may be disappointing for those looking to increase strength through supplementation, Arginine’s real benefits may lie in post-workout recovery, rather than intra-workout performance. More blood in the muscle’s after a workout means more nutrients to the muscle cells. However, this one study does not offset the mostly negative results of multiple separate studies. Razor 8 contains 1085mg of Arginine between several different forms, though none of these forms has demonstrated superior efficacy to standard L-Arginine.
Arginine Silicate is a combination of Arginine and Silicon which, aside from conveying the benefits of both substances, has exhibited additional benefit, beyond that of standard Arginine. A 2005 study noted that Arginine Silicate induced greater vasodilation and increase blood flow in mice, as compared to Arginine HCl. Similar results were achieved in a later (2007) study published in “Metabolism” and it was concluded that Arginine Silicate was more effective at raising plasma Arginine levels than Arginine HCl. Of course, this poses the questions: Why include Arginine HCl in the formula? We assume because it’s cheaper.
Glycerol is a colorless, odorless, syrup-like substance found in such household products as soap, cough syrup, and hair care products. However, NO-Xplode contains several powdered forms of the substance. Glycerol is also used by athletes for its ability to counter dehydration due to its propensity for cellular water retention. Originally, Glycerol was purported to enhance athletic/exercise performance. However, while several studies have demonstrated increased water retention as a result of pre-exercise Glycerol consumption , none have demonstrated a clear performance enhancing effect as a result of that. While the evidence is not in favor of Glycerol as a performance enhancer, BSN is likely more interested in the “pump” aspect of the substance. Glycerol has been shown to increase cellular water uptake (similar to creatine), which ultimately may result in a fuller muscle feel.
Very little is known about Agmatine, although it possesses a variety of implications. The proposed benefits include: Increased growth hormone production, anti-oxidant properties, increased Nitric Oxide (NO), and fat loss, though none of these claims have been completely substantiated. Recently, Agmatine has become quite pervasive in pre-workout supplements because of its alleged ability to regulate Nitric Oxide Synthase (an enzyme that catalyzes the production of NO from Arginine), and either elevate or reduce its presence, depending on the type of NOS.
It’s important to understand that there are several types of NO. Inducible NOS (iNOS) and Neuronal NOS (nNOS) are considered harmful, while Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS) is considered favorable as this is an increase in eNOS results in vasodilation. Through its influence on NOS enzymes, Agmatine has been demonstrated to reduce NO in the brain (where it can be harmful) and increase NO in endothelial cells (where it leads to vasodilation). However, human studies regarding Agmatine’s effects on NO in general are non-existent, so while it appears to have some favorable performance implications in vitro, it’s difficult to truly determine its efficacy in humans.
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and is a well-established ergogenic aid. Caffeine consumption causes an increase in Catecholamines (Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, and Dopamine), which tend to increase focus, concentration, and perceived energy while simultaneously promoting fat oxidation. However, the weight loss effects of caffeine tend to fade with prolonged use, so it does not appear as though caffeine is a long-term effective fat burner. While caffeine’s weight loss potential is negligible, it increases focus and perceived energy in most people, which generally leads to more intense workouts (thus burning more fat), and may potentiate the action of other stimulants like yohimbine.
Higenamine, commonly reffered to as norcoclaurine, has gained some traction in the supplement industry as a stimulant fat-burner because of the chemical similarities it shares with ephedrine (now banned). Like Ephedrine, Higenamine acts as Beta(2)adrenergic agonist, meaning it stimulates the beta(2) adrenergic receptors which induce lipolysis (fat burning). In addition to its fat-burning potential, Higenamine has also been demonstrated in vitro to increase acetylcholine levels, though these findings have not yet been replicated in humans. Overall, there is certainly preliminary support for Higenamine as a fat-burner and potential ergogenic aid, but because no human studies exist there is recommended effective dose. Given that Higenamine is a stimulant, those sensitive to stimulants may react poorly.
Dicaffeine Malate is simply a combination of Caffeine and Malic Acid. While Creative Compounds, the manufacturer of Infinergy, claims a variety of additional benefits over what can be achieved with regular caffeine, there are no scientific studies to support these claims. Malic Acid plays a role in energy production, but supplementation has never been shown to increase energy in healthy individuals, so for now we would consider Dicaffeine Malate just another form of Caffeine
Hordenine (chemical name N, N-dimethyltyramine) is chemically related to the above mentioned Tyramine, and likewise, is used in dietary supplements as a fat-burner as well as for increased energy. Hordenine has been shown in animals to augment adrenaline induced muscle contraction while not directly inducing contractions itself, which indicates it works as a catecholamine (Adrenaline) reuptake inhibitor (similar to Tyramine). For that reason, Hordenine may effectively potentiate the effects of the other stimulants present in the Razor 8 formula.
Yohimbine, which acts as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptor responsible for blocking lipolysis (fat burning). By blocking the action of this receptor Yohimbine essentially “leaves the gates open” for 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 receptors, 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. As mentioned above, an increase in these neurotransmitters may result in increased focus and workout intensity. However, this secondary effect tends to fade with prolonged use, leaving the alpha-antagonist effect (which does not appear to fade).
Yerba Mate comes from a kind of tree native to South America which contains caffeine as well as theobromine (a chemical relative of caffeine). It is consumed as a beverage in many South American countries, but has recently made its way into the mainstream energy market in the US. There is preliminary support for Yerba Mate as a cholesterol lowering agent, but as for a direct effect on weight loss or fat oxidation, more research is required. So, in the context of the Razor 8 formula, we would consider Yerba Mate just another source of caffeine (conveying the same benefits mentioned above).
Grapefruit contains several polyphenols, the most important of which are Naringenin, Narinjin, and Nootkatone. which are thought to underly its weight-loss effects. A 2012 study, published in “Metabolism”, found that overweight adults who consumed a half grapefruit at meal-time (3 times/day) for six weeks experienced moderate weight-loss. These findings were in-line with an earlier (2006) study which found that whole grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit extract (capsules) resulted in weight loss in obese subjects, with the grapefruit extract being most effective. Finally, a 2008 study published in “Phytomedicine” found that supplementation of SINETROL (a patented combination of grapefruit polyphenols and caffeine) at 1.4g daily reduced body fat in overweight subjects over a 12 week period. Ultimately, grapefruit extract (or even whole grapefruit) is an effective fat-loss agent, though the fat-loss may be not be extremely potent.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Razor 8’s major strength is the effective dose of Creatine (5 grams) found in each serving, as well as a well-constructed stimulant blend. The formula also contains several types of Arginine, but only one has demonstrated any clear efficacy above standard Arginine. Furthermore, there may not be enough Arginine in the formula to be truly effective. Ultimately we’d consider Razor 8 a stim-based pre-workout with an effective dose of Creatine, and don’t really see much value in the Arginine component. At about 60 cents per serving, Razor 8 is very appropriately priced and is worth it for anyone seeking the benefits of Creatine along with some intense mental stimulation.
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