STIMino contains just four ingredients: Leucine, Taurine, Betaine, and Caffeine…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Leucine tends to be the “favorite” Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) because it is the most potent with regards to stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
This was clearly demonstrated in a 1999 study from the “Journal of Nutrition”, but has been replicated several times since then.
Interestingly, A 2009 study, published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism”, found that Leucine’s stimulation of muscle protein synthesis was augmented by physical exercise, indicating that pre/intra workout Leucine supplementation may have a greater impact than at other times. These results were consistent with those of an earlier (2001) study from the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism” in which essential amino acid (include Leucine) ingestion prior to exercise had a greater influence protein synthesis than post-exercise ingestion in healthy human subjects.
Leucine has also been shown, in multiple studies, to preserve muscle mass in individuals with certain diseases characterized by muscular wasting, further establishing Leucine as a potent anti-catabolic agent.
Leucine’s primary mechanism of action is via activation of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) which is a signaling molecule that signals the body to synthesize protein. To put it simply, Leucine activates mTOR which in turn stimulates protein synthesis.
STIMino contains 2.5g of Leucine, a marginally effective dose. To truly receive the benefit that Leucine has to offer, we’d recommend going with at least two servings prior to working out.
Betaine (also known as Trimethylglycine) is the amino acid Glycine with the addition of three methyl groups attached. Although Betaine has a variety of non-lifting related health implications, it is alleged to increase power output and strength, with the most likely mechanism of action being increased 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.
A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that 2.5g Betaine (split into two 1.25mg doses) over the course of 15 days increased muscle endurance during squats and appeared to improve the quality of each rep (likely because they were easier).
A 2010 study, again from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition”, found that the same supplementation protocol (2.5g daily in two equal doses) effectively increased isometric bench press and squat force as well as bench throw and vertical jump power.
A 2011 study, published in “The Journal of Strength & Condition Research” noted improvements in number of bench press repetitions and total volume load with same 2.5g dosing protocol for 14 days. However, another 2011 study from the same journal noted no such improvements in power output or number of reps performed, though there were subjective reports of fatigue reduction.
A 2012 study from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” noted improvements in cycling sprint power after just one week of supplementation at the standard 2.5g dose.
Most recently, a 2013 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” noted increases in arm size, bench press work capacity, overall body composition, and a trend toward increased power (but not strength). This was the first study to specifically measure the effects of Betaine supplementation on body composition, so further study is needed to corroborate these findings.
STIMino contains 1500mg of Betaine, and as with Leucine, you’re going to need 2 servings to receive the full host of benefits Betaine has to offer. At the proper dose (atleast 2500mg), Betaine’s effects can be quite noticeable within a relatively short period of time (a few days), and it is quickly becoming a pre-workout staple.
Despite its inclusion in energy drinks, Taurine is not a stimulant and does not increase perceived energy or focus. It is not at all synergistic with Caffeine. Rather, it is an amino acid with antioxidant properties that has 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.
The standard dose of Taurine is generally 1-2g, 2g being the way to go to ensure some real benefit. STIMino contains 1g of Taurine per serving, again prompting users to take two servings.
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. Many studies have demonstrated that pre-workout Caffeine consumption can enhance exercise capacity and muscle contractibility, in many cases quite significantly.
Caffeine makes of the entire “STIM” portion of STIMino, as there are no other stimulants or synergistic compounds in the formula. The total Caffeine level comes in at 125mg per serving, a pretty low dose, which ultimately solidifies our view that STIMino is really best at two servings. 125mg of Caffeine is low enough that regular Caffeine users may not notice anything, whereas sensitive individuals may feel a little more alert and focused.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
STIMino is a very basic, but sort of unique product that Controlled Labs has created to capitalize on the demand for physically effective pre-workouts that also provide a bit of a mental edge. The formula appears to be intended for two servings at a time, based on the fact that all of the ingredients are listed at roughly half what could be considered clinically dosed. At two servings, it actually has the potential to be quite effective for increasing endurance and gaining lean mass.
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