Shred Matrix is MusclePharm’s flagship fat-burner which literally contains dozens of ingredients, some of which are more scientifically validated than others…
Shred Matrix is MusclePharm’s flagship fat-burner which literally contains dozens of ingredients, some of which are more scientifically validated than others…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon, the fruit of which contains caffeine. Although guarana is 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. In regards to weight loss, the efficacy of guarana for burning fat is limited to the caffeine content, and there is no evidence to suggest guarana has any additional benefit beyond that of caffeine alone. Guarana has become somewhat popular in recent years as a result of an overall movement toward ‘natural’ products because consumers see it as a ‘natural’ source of caffeine but in terms of function, it is the same as any other source of caffeine.
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 induce lipolysis (breakdown of fats). However, the weight loss effects of caffeine tend to fade with prolonged use, so caffeine is not very effective as a fat-burner in the long term. 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 act as a mild appetite suppressant in some. Shred Matrix contains 150mg of caffeine anhydrous, though the total amount of caffeine present in the formula is greater due to the inclusion of guarana and possibly green tea extract.
GREEN TEA EXTRACT (40% EGCG):
Multiple studies have confirmed Green Tea Extract appears to be able to induce fat-loss. Although this effect was originally thought to be related to caffeine content, more recent research has pointed to a green tea catechin known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) as the compound primarily responsible for these effects. EGCG is an antioxidant found in green tea, and is a member of the group of antioxidants known as catechins. In addition to its antioxidant properties, EGCG has demonstrated the ability to induce fat loss when combined with caffeine, more than just caffeine alone. EGCG works synergistically with caffeine with regards to its effect on noradrenaline. As mentioned above, caffeine boosts noradrenaline while EGCG inhibits catechol-o-methyl transferase (COMT), the enzyme responsible for the degredation of noradrenaline. So, caffeine increases noradrenaline, while EGCG prevents its degradation, a synergy which results in excess fat-being burned. EGCG is not effective on its own, nor in people who are highly tolerant to caffeine.
Suma Extract contains a group of hormones called Ecdysteroids, which have essentially the same function in insects and plants that androgens (like testosterone) have in humans. A 2009 study, published in the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism” found that oral supplemental Ecdysterone (10mg/kg daily for 13 weeks) decreased obesity and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet and produced a significant decrease of weight gain and body fat mass. It was noted that Ecdysterone supplementation resulted in mouse adipocytes (fat cells) secreting more Adiponectic, a protein which regulates glucose levels and the breakdown of fatty acids.
In vitro studies have demonstrated the potential for Ecdysterone to induce protein synthesis, as well, though it is unknown whether oral supplementation is effective in humans. Given that Ecdysterone appears to produce testosterone-like effects, it has been hypothesized that supplementation may increase testosterone levels.
However, a 2006 study published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” found that resistance trained males who were given Ecdysterone (200mg daily for 8 weeks) experienced no changes in free testosterone levels. A 2008 study, published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” confirmed that Ecdysterone cannot bind to androgen receptors.
Therefore, any anabolic effects are not due to increased testosterone. So, while Ecdysteroids do not affect the hormonal environment in humans, they may help build lean body mass via another mechanism, though human studies are required to determine what this mechanism is exactly.
Saw Palmetto is a widely used supplement for treating Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) as well as overall prostate health. One cause of BPH is thought to be excess dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a byproduct of testosterone itself. Testosterone is converted into DHT by an enzyme known as 5-alpha-reductase. Several studies have demonstrated the ability of Saw Palmetto Extract to inhibit this enzyme, thus blocking the conversion of Testosterone to DHT. However, no human study has shown that by doing so, free testosterone levels are increased. While prostate protection is a nice thing, we fail to see how Saw Palmetto may favorably influence weight loss.
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. In the context of the Shred Matrix formula, we would consider Yerba Mate just another source of caffeine (conveying the same benefits mentioned above).
FO-TI (POLYGONUM MULTIFLORUM):
Polygonum Multiflorum , known to practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine as Fo-Ti, has been used for a variety of ailments, mostly relating to vitality with some preliminary evidence for circulatory health. A 2005 study, published in the “Journal of Pharmacological Sciences”, found that supplementation with Polygonum Multiflorum (100mg/kg for 12 weeks) attenuated high-fat diet-induced increases in LDL cholesterol and plasma triglycerides in rabbits. However, no human studies exist to determine efficacy or optimal dosage.
Eleuthero, also known as Siberian Ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb which has been investigated for a variety of potential applications, mostly pertaining to aspects of physical performance. A 2010 study found that recreationally trained males who consumed 800mg of Eleuthero extract daily experienced increased endurance, elevation of certain cardiovascular functions including lipid oxidation, and decreased glucose metabolism during exercise (indicative of a glucose sparing effect). Similar affects have been noted in seperate studies. However, it’s worth mentioning that these studies directly conflict with several prior studies. Two 1999 studies, both using a standardized Eleuthero extract (ENDUROX) failed to find an influence on fat oxidation or oxygen consumption during exercise at either 800mg or 1200mg. Due to the mixed results, it cannot be concluded that Eleuthero has a clear performance enhancing or fat-burning effect, nor can these effects be ruled out.
CAYENNE (40,000 HU):
Cayenne Pepper (the same kind you use to spice up your food), also known as Capsicum Annum, contains a compound called Capsaicin which has been shown to increase lipolysis (fat burning) in rats as well as humans. A 1997 study, the subjects of which were rats, found that Capsaicin supplementation increased fatty acid utilization (resulting from adrenaline secretion), which increased exercise (swimming) endurance. A 2007 study from the “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology” noted an increase in fat oxidation (relative to placebo) during low intensity exercise in healthy adult males who consumed 150mg of capsaicin one hour before exercise. While some supplement companies certainly overstate the efficacy of Capsaicin as it pertains to weight loss, there is some definite fat burning potential. Whether Capsaicin possesses the ability to potentiate the effects of other fat-burning (stimulant) compounds remains to be seen.
Yohimbine is found in Pausinystalia Yohimbe (Yohimbe for short). Yohimbine has been demonstrated to increase the action of catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine) resulting in increased mood and concentration. Secondary to increasing catecholamine levels, Yohimbine acts as an alpha-2 receptor antagonist, meaning it inhibits the receptor. Alpha receptors are responsible for blocking lipolysis (fat burning) so by blocking the action of this receptor, Yohimbine essentially “leaves the gates open” for lipolysis to continue to occur. A 2006 study, using 20mg daily, showed that while there were no increases in strength or lean mass, subjects (athletes) experienced significant reduction in fat mass. Individuals who are particularly sensitive to stimulants should probably avoid Yohimbine, but for those who can handle it, the fat burning effects may be significant.
Glucomannan is a form of water-soluble dietary fiber that can be extracted from Konjac root. Because Glucomannan is a form of dietary fiber, it can slow down the emptying of the stomach, thus slowing the absorption of sugar. Furthermore, a 2008 meta-analysis comparing 14 independent studies found that Glucommana, at doses of 2-3 grams positively influenced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and body weight. However, a 2008 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that 1.5 grams of Konjac extract combined with Garcinia Cambogia significantly lowered cholesterol, but failed to influence body weight. The obvious reason for the discrepancy is that the dose used in this study was 25% lower than the minimum dose shown to be effective for bodyweight reduction. That being said, the dose present in the Shred Matrix formula could not possibly be 2 grams (and is probably a lot less), so users aren’t likely to derive much benefit from glucomannan alone, though a marginal or synergistic effect may still exist.
Guar gum is yet another water-soluble fiber which has been thoroughly investigated for weight loss potential. Similarly to Glucomannan, Guar gum has been demonstrated to reduce cholesterol levels in humans. However, unlike Glucomannan, Guar gum supplementation has not shown efficacy for weight loss. A 2001 meta-analysis from the “American Journal of Medicine”, which looked at 11 separate studies, concluded that Guar Gum is ineffective for reducing body weight in humans. Higher doses are associated with certain side-effects like abdominal pain, stomach cramping, flatulence, and diarrhea, but the dose present in the Shred Matrix formula likely does not contain enough to bring about any of those symptoms, it is likely just a useless ingredient.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID:
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a potent anti-oxidant with wide variety of implications, but for the purpose of this review we will focus on its potential for weight loss. A 2009 study from the “Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry” found that ALA supplementation significantly decreased appetite in rats fed a high-fat diet, resulting in less weight gain than rats fed the same diet without ALA. These results indicate that ALA may be able to influence weight-loss beyond appetite suppression. However, another 2009 study (using similar methods as the first one) noted that the weight-loss in the ALA group was not significantly different than the group who consumed the same diet without ALA, indicating that reduced appetite was the predominant reason for weight loss. Furthermore, a 2011 study, published in the “American Journal of Medicine” found that obese individuals who consumed 1800mg of ALA daily for 20 weeks experienced moderate weight loss compared to the control group. Needless to say, Shred Matrix does not contain 1800mg of ALA (or anywhere near that). Ultimately, at high enough doses, ALA may result in weight loss and while Shred Matrix does not contain a scientifically validated dose of ALA (for weight loss), we cannot rule out a marginal benefit.
Gymnema sylvestre is an Indian herb with a long history of use in traditional medicine, specifically to treat diabetes. A 1990 study from the “Journal of ethnopharmacology” found diabetic, insulin dependent patients who consumed Gymnema sylvestre extract (400mg daily) required less insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels, though insulin was still required. A second study, published in the same journal, found that Type 2 diabetics who were taking oral medications (as opposed to insulin) experienced similar effects at the same 400mg dose, and some were able to stop taking their medication and still keep their blood glucose levels normal with just Gymnema sylvestre. As for a direct effect on weight loss: Gymnema sylvestre extract was shown, in a 2004 study, to induce moderate weight loss when combined with hydroxycitric acid (found in Garcinia Cambogia) and niacin-bound chromium, though these effects can’t be attributed to gymnema sylvestre alone. Overall, there is preliminary support for some sort of weight loss potential but the research isn’t quite there yet.
BANABA LEAF EXTRACT:
The primary active compound in Banaba is Corosolic acid which has demonstrated the ability to lower blood glucose in a few different studies. However, with regards to weight loss, the human studies that exist are in combination with other ingredients such as Garcinia Cambogia, Vanadium, and others. So, while there does appear to be a blood-glucose lowering effect associated with Banaba Leaf supplementation, it is unclear whether it may have any influence on body weight. Generally speaking, lowering blood glucose will only result in significant weight loss in individuals with poor insulin sensitivity (high insulin resistance), who are overweight because of it, though in these people the weight loss could be significant.
WHITE KIDNEY BEAN:
White Kidney Bean is actually not a “fat burner” at all, but more of a calorie blocker. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the ability of White Kidney Bean to block the absorption of carbohydrates, when consumed simultaneously, via inhibition of amylase (a digestive enzyme responsible for breaking down starches). By reducing carbohydrate absorption, WKB may mimic the effects of a calorie restricted diet to some degree. While all studies have confirmed that there is some carb-blocking effect, the degree tends to vary and the total weight loss effect is likely influenced by many individual factors.
Chromium is an essential mineral required for proper blood-glucose regulation. However, chromium may only benefit individuals who are deficient in the first place, and there is no reliable evidence to suggest excess intake in otherwise healthy individuals would convey any benefit pertaining to weight loss. The average western diet is not lacking in chromium, so severe deficiency is not very common.
Turmeric is a relatively common household spice used in Curry, but it has a history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine to manage stress and treat certain mood-related ailments. A 2005 study found that Curcumin supplementation (1.25-10mg/kg) effectively countered the decrease in the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline, as well as other chemical markers of depression in rats. A similar 2006 study found that Curcumin supplementation (5-10mg/kg) was able to effectively reverse physiological effects of stress in rats. So, there is certainly preliminary evidence to suggest an anti-depressive/anti-stress effect of Curcumin supplementation, but human studies are currently lacking. Furthermore, since MusclePharm does not disclose the concentration of Curcumin in the Turmeric, nor the amount of Turmeric as a whole, it is very difficult to determine any potential efficacy.
Panax Ginseng, also known as ‘Korean Ginseng’ or ‘True Ginseng’ is one of the most popular herbs originally used in Ancient Chinese Medicine. Its popularity is mostly due to the long list of ailments it is alleged to treat, but for the purpose of this review we’ll focus primarily on its role in managing stress, anxiety, and overall mood. A 2011 study from “Behavioral Medicine” found two different types of Ginseng extracts improved physiological aspects of depression in mice. These results were consistent with two earlier studies, one from “Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry” and the other from the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology”. A 2010, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, crossover study noted increased calmness among subjects who consumed 400mg of Panax Ginseng extract. However, these results directly conflicted with an earlier 2001 study which found no such benefit after 60 days of supplementation. The reason for this discrepancy may be time/tolerance related as evidenced by a 2002 study in which benefits were noted at 4 weeks but disappeared by 8 weeks of supplementation. So, while Ginseng certainly has shown efficacy at positively influencing mood in humans, the effects may become negligible with prolonged use.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the direct precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is often referred to as the “happy neurotransmitter” because of its role in regulating mood, among other things. Indeed, low serotonin levels may cause depression. For this reason, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft are often prescribed in order to restore and stabilize levels of serotonin in depressed individuals. However 5-HTP may offer a simpler method for increasing serotonin: by crossing the blood-brain barrier and converting into serotonin. Since 5-HTP’s only function is conversion into serotonin, and it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is more effective at increasing serotonin than supplemental tryptophan (a pre-precursor to serotonin), which can get sidetracked and used for other functions such as protein synthesis. Unfortunately, 5-HTP as a treatment for depression has not been studied extensively and the studies that have been conducted are less than promising. The theoretical mechanism of action certainly exists, but in a practical sense, there may be factors that reduce the efficacy of 5-HTP at increasing serotonin.
‘Echinacea’ refers to a family of plants, the extracts of which are commonly consumed as a cold-preventative supplement (though efficacy varies greatly). The two most common varieties (thought to contain certain alkaloids) are Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea augustifolia. Shred Matrix contains the latter, but instead of the usual cold-reducing claims, it is included in the “Stress Mood Balancing Matrix”. A 2013 study from Phytotherapy Research found that 40mg (but not 20mg) of Echinacea augustifolia extract significantly reduced anxiety as reported by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) test. These results were generally consistent with a previous study involving rats. While more studies are needed to replicate these findings and determine a mechanism of action, it does appear that Echinacea augustifolia may possess some anxiolytic properties.
Garlic (yes, the same garlic you have in your kitchen) has been shown in mice to improve certain aspects of cognitive performance as well as symptoms of depression. Human studies are non-existent though, and the dose needed to produce noticeable effects in humans would likely be far more than the dose present in the Shred Matrix formula.
Betonica Officinalis, also known as Wood Betony, is a relatively common herb that is used throughout the traditional medicine community to treat several ailments including headaches, heartburn, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Unfortunately, there are absolutely no reliable human studies to back these claims up. Even the anecdotal evidence (which we rarely consider) is tenuous, so ultimately we would just disregard this ingredient altogether.
Astragulus is yet another herb, the use of which is quite common in Ancient Chinese Medicine. Though the list of potential applications is longer than most herbs mentioned in this review, we are concerned with its potential influence on stress and cognition. A 2012 study from “Food and Chemical Toxicology” found that Astragulus extract exerted neuro-protective and adaptogenic effects in mice. These results were consistent with an earlier (2009) study published in “The Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology” in which treatment with Astragulus was able to reduce stress-induced neurochemical impairments in mice. As with most of the other herbal extracts in the Shred Matrix formula, human research is extremely limited so we are left with just some preliminary animal evidence, upon which we cannot draw definitive conclusions.
Pyroglutamic Acid is a derivative of the amino acid Glutamic acid. In 1984, researchers found that pyroglutamic acid effectively increased acetylcholine levels in the brains of Guinea Pigs. A 1987 study found that pyroglutamic acid supplementation effectively countered scopolamine-induced amnesia in rats. In a 1990 study, the subjects of which were ‘aged’ humans with memory problems, pyroglutamic acid was shown to improve some memory functions. While pyroglutamic acid has shown much promise in treating cognitive-impaired individuals, it is unclear just how effective it can be at enhancing cognitive function in healthy individuals. That being said, increases in acetylcholine generally result in enhanced cognitive function, so at certain doses it may certainly be effective.
Papain is a protease enzyme found in Papaya that is used as a digestive aid as well as for inflammation related ailments. We’re actually a little confused about why papain is included in the “Brain Power Matrix”, since there is no evidence to suggest it has any cognition-related benefit.
Uva Ursi Leaf is used in folk medicine for the treatment of urinary tract infections. The active chemical compound in the plant is a glycoside known as Arbutin, which has diuretic as well as astringent properties. While the diuretic effect of Arbutin may interest those looking to lose water weight, it is worth mentioning that Arbutin converts to Hydroquinone, a potentially toxic compound. While there is some evidence to suggest Hydroquinone may be carcinogenic, the evidence is not overwhelming enough for the FDA to ban products that contain Arbutin. The amount of Arbutin present in the Shred Matrix formula is likely insignificant compared to what has demonstrated these potentially harmful effects in animal studies, but individuals consuming other Uva Ursi/Arbutin containing products should be aware of the potential hazards.
Taraxacum Officinale, also known as Dandelion, has a long history of use in alternative medicine as a diuretic. A 1993 study published in “Pharmaceutical Biology” pointed to the high potassium content as a possible reason for the diuretic of effect, though various compounds have been isolated and alleged to contribute to this effect. A 2009 study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that supplementation with Dandelion Extract caused more frequent urination in subjects, but a specific mechanism of action was not identified. Ultimately, while water certainly contributes to bodyweight, we do not view long term dehydration as a viable way to lose weight, and would caution users of diuretics to keep in mind that water is essential to health. Excess fat is what individuals looking to lose weight should focus on eliminating in the long-term.
Potassium Aspartate is created by bonding potassium and aspartate (a salt of aspartic acid), creating a more bioavailable form of potassium that tends to be more readily absorbed. While potassium in high doses can act as a diuretic (as mentioned above), Shred Matrix most likely contains potassium in order to counter the low levels of the mineral commonly associated with on-going diuretic supplementation. Put simply, the more you urinate, the more potassium is lost in the urine.
DigeSEB® is a trademarked blend of digestive enzymes, primarily marketed toward individuals with digestive problems. While supplementation with digestive enzymes may very well increase the breakdown and absorption of macronutrients, it’s tough to say whether this would favorably influence weight loss. We’ve also seen the opposite included in weight-loss supplements (compounds that block the absorption of macronutrients such as White Kidney Bean), so it appears there are opposing viewpoints. That being said, digestive enzymes may very well help those on a calorie restricted diet get the most from their meals. It is unlikely that these enzymes alone would result in significant weight loss, but may just help with overall digestion (never a bad thing).
Ginger is a very common household digestive aid, commonly prescribed by loving mothers for stomach problems. However, a 2012 pilot study from “Metabolism” found that 2 grams of Ginger consumed with a meal increased caloric expenditure for several hours following the meal in overweight men. Ginger has also been shown to increase Insulin secretion via acting as a serotonin receptor antagonist (serotonin normally suppresses insulin to some degree) in mice, though a human study using 1 gram of Ginger failed to replicate this results.
Fennel is used as an alternative treatment for gas and less commonly as a diuretic. Given its inclusion in the “Enzyme Aid Matrix” we assume MusclePharm is concerned with its digestive properties. While there is no evidence to suggest that Fennel may favorably influence weight loss, it may help attenuate some of the gastric distress (stomach problems) from consuming all of the other ingredients.
ALMOND OIL POWDER:
Almond Oil is a good source of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, though since the term “Almond Oil Powder” is vague (production method unknown), it’s tough to say to what degree these compounds are present. A 2012 in vitro study, designed to simulate the digestion process, showed that almond oil had a negative impact on the efficiency of gastric digestion, specifically limiting the activity of lipase. ‘Lipase’ refers to a group of enzymes whose primary functions are to breakdown and absorb fats to be used as an energy source. The general result of lipase inhibition is that more fat is excreted in the feces rather than stored in the body. Whether almond oil is actually a significant lipase inhibitor is unclear. Furthermore, the inclusion of a potential lipase inhibitor seems contrary, considering lipase is one of the enzymes present in the above mentioned DigeSEB formula.
Dulse is a type of red seaweed which is rich in protein and fiber, as well as some antioxidant compounds. Dulse has been used to treat digestive problems, though scientific research on the subject is practically non-existent. We can assume that, because of the fiber present in Dulse, that it may help regulate bowel movements as well as ease certain digestive issues (mostly related to fiber deficiency). However, as far as the Shred Matrix formula is concerned, it is unlikely the the inclusion of Dulse is particularly beneficial.
A 2003 study from “Nutrition Research” found that Alfalfa decreased glucose movement, though not very significantly. Other than this study, research regarding Alfalfa as a potential glucose-regulator is extremely limited. Alfalfa generally contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, though that doesn’t seem to be what MusclePharm is concerned with in the context of Shred Matrix.
Chlorella is a type of green algae that is touted to have a variety of health benefits, mostly pertaining to its rich nutrient profile. However, since Chlorella is listed within the context of the “Sugar Stop” blend, MusclePharm is clearly concerned with preliminary evidence to suggest a hypoglycemic (blood-glucose lowering) effect. A 2008 study published in the “Journal of Medicinal Food” found that Chlorella supplementation (9 grams daily) resulted in decreased body fat percentage and fasting blood glucose level in subjects with “high-risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases”. However, a 2011 study failed to replicate these results at a daily dose of 6 grams in healthy individuals, so it appears Chlorella is only beneficial in those “high-risk” individuals. Furthermore, the doses used in the above studies are considerably more (probably 50-100 times) than the amount of Chlorella present in the Shred Matrix formula.
A 2002 study from “Phytomedicine” found that Artichoke extract supplementation significantly reduced symptoms of dyspepsia (indigestion), likely due to the induction of bile synthesis noted is two separate studies involving rats. This ability to induce bile secretion is also alleged to be the reason for the cholesterol lowering effects that have been noted following Artichoke extract supplementation.
IRISH MOSS RED ALGAE:
Chondrus Crispus, commonly referred to as Irish Moss, is a red algae with a similar nutrient profile to Chlorella, though it has not been studied as extensively. As far as a direct effect on digestion or glucose, we’re at a loss.
WILD MEXICAN YAM:
Wild Mexican Yam is alleged to be an effective treatment for certain symptoms of Menopause, though there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, nor is MusclePharm concerned with Menopause symptoms. As with Irish Moss, it is unclear why exactly MusclePharm included Wild Mexican Yam in the formula.
Pectin is a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of various plants, and commonly extracted from fruits (in this case, apples). Pectin is commonly used as a ‘gelling agent’ because in its natural state it is very viscous. For this reason, it has also been used to combat diarrhea, as it tends to increase the viscosity of stool. Pectin has been demonstrated to decrease intestinal absorption of fatty acids and glucose.
Kelp is yet another species of seaweed which has been demonstrated to block the absorption of carbohydrates via inhibition of the enzymes normally responsible for their absorption, amylase and glucosidase.
Bromelain, commonly extracted from Pineapple, is a protein-digestive enzyme (protease) which we have previously discussed as it relates to joint health. However, a 2012 in vitro study noted that Bromlain effectively inhibited adipogensis (adult fat cell formation). While these results certainly pertain to what the Shred Matrix formula is all about, further research is required and these findings should be viewed as strictly preliminary, warranting further investigation. Beyond this potential fat-cell inhibiting effect, Bromelain has been shown to ease dyspepsia, and may allow for the efficient absorption of protein.
Rutin is an antioxidant compound that has been shown (in vivo) to inhibit the conversion of glucose into sorbitol, on a cellular level, via inhibition of the enzyme aldose reductase. In healthy individuals, Sorbitol is formed from glucose at a standard rate, which does not pose any health concerns. However, in diabetics, Sorbitol may accumulate faster than the body can figure out what to do with it, causing several diabetes-related problems such as retinopathy (vision problems), neuropathy (nerve damage), and nephropathy (kidney damage). A 2006 study published in the “Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology” found that Rutin supplementation improved glucose homeostasis (balance) in diabetic rats but had no significant effect in non-diabetic rats. While human studies have yet to be conducted, it seems unlikely that Rutin supplementation would positively influence glucose absorption in already healthy individuals, though it may be beneficial to diabetics.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Shred Matrix contains several established fat-burning ingredients, along with several not-so established fat-burning ingredients. Like most MusclePharm products, the long list of ingredients combined with the lack of transparency makes it very difficult to estimate the levels of each individual ingredient in order to determine true efficacy. Since the entire proprietary blend is only 2437.5mg, we are certain that some of the ingredients are at less than the optimal doses.
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