Cobra Labs The Curse Review

The Curse is Cobra Labs’ pre-workout which contains a pretty simple combination of standard pre-workout ingredients, some of which can also be found in Cobra Labs’ fat-burner, The Ripper. The only issue we see is one pertaining to dosing of certain “key” ingredients…

Cobra Labs The Curse



Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that serves as a precursor to the amino acid carnosine. Carnosine balances out muscle pH and can therefore prevent fatigue while exercising due to its acidosis inhibiting effects. One study in particular that measured the carnosine levels of sprinters found that “people who’s muscle carnosine was high could exhibit high power during the latter half of the 30-s maximal cycle ergometer sprinting”. So it seems that increasing carnosine levels may delay muscle fatigue. Various studies have shown that daily supplementation with beta-alanine does increase muscle carnosine levels. Most of these studies have used doses between 3-6 grams. The company doesn’t disclose exactly how much Beta Alanine is in The Curse but the total amount of BA, Creatine, and Citric Acid is 3204mg. There is more Beta Alanine than Creatine, so we’re left with an estimate of 1000-2000 mg. You would need atleast two-three scoops in order to receive the full benefit. However, there is enough to give you that prickly feeling that Beta Alanine is famous for (if that’s what your after).


Creatine assists the body in producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which acts as cellular energy. This increases the amount of force your muscles can put forth. However, for creatine to be effective, anywhere from 5-20 grams must be ingested daily. Creatine is listed second in proprietary blend indicating that it is the second most abundant ingredient in the formula. Since the total blend is 4,145mg we estimate the amount of Creatine to be 1000-2000 mg, although we can’t know for sure. Therefore, 1 scoop may have a marginal benefit but no studies have been done with amounts this low to confirm it for sure. The amount of creatine in the formula may not be effective even at a dose of 3 scoops daily. Anyone seeking the affects of creatine supplementation would have to add creatine to the formula.


L-Citrulline is finding its way into just about every pre-workout on the market these days. Perhaps that has to do with the increasing amount of scientific research that indicates the substances effectiveness at increasing workout capacity. The benefits of Citrulline mostly pertain to increasing nitric oxide, but it may help rid the body of ammonia as well. Ammonia builds up in exercising muscles eventually causing fatigue, so the removal of it may prevent muscle fatigue. Citrulline can also be converted into arginine, which may increase nitric oxide. This supplement is nothing special on its own, but may contribute to the overall effect. One thing that’s important to note as that most studies that have been done showing a positive correlation between citrulline supplementation and increased performance have used doses as high as 15 grams. A 2008 study showed that even 15 gram dosages are safe. However, it also showed little added benefit at that dosage. Another study that used 6 grams/day found that “The changes in muscle metabolism produced by CM (Citrulline Malate) treatment indicate that CM may promote aerobic energy production.” The total amount of Citrulline and Arginine AKG in the formula is listed at 1300mg. This tells us automatically that there is far less than the amount that has been proven effective. However, it is certainly possible to achieve a marginal benefit from low dosages.


Arginine is a non-essential amino acid which is a precursor to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes vasodilation (widening of blood vessels), and therefore allows more oxygen and other nutrients to reach the muscle. Common dosages of arginine are anywhere from 1-5 grams. Just as we noted with the Citrulline, the amount of Arginine in the formula may only provide a marginal benefit.


Caffeine is the most obvious addition to any pre-workout. Caffeine acts as a central nervous (and metabolic) stimulant. Enhances alertness, better coordination, increased focus, etc. Average doses of caffeine range from 70-200 mg. We know that the total amount of Caffeine and Oleuropein Aglycone in the formula is 147 mg in total, so from that we can draw the conclusion that the amount of caffeine is anywhere from 100-120 mg.


Oleuropein Aglycone is a phenol found in Olive Oil. Aside from having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it has been demonstrated to increase noradrenaline and adrenaline secretion in rats.&bbsp; While the company does not provide any literature stating why this compound is included in The Curse, we can only assume it has something to do with these findings. An interesting addition to a pre-workout, and while more studies would be needed to verify these effects in humans, the evidence is promising. We expect this ingredient to become more pervasive in pre-workout supplements in the years to come.


Overall, The Curse contains the standard blend of pre-workout ingredients (citrulline, creatine, arginine, etc.). However, the inclusion of Oleuropein Aglycone helps differentiates the blend from otherwise similar pre-workouts. That being said, human studies are needed to back up the preliminary findings of the rat studies. Although The Curse is a pretty basic formula, the cost seems to match.

Still not sure which pre-workout is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!

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  1. Impellizzeri, Daniela, Emanuela Esposito, Emanuela Mazzon, Irene Paterniti, Rosanna Di Paola, Placido Bramanti, Valeria Maria Morittu, Antonio Procopio, Domenico Britti, and Salvatore Cuzzocrea. “The Effects of Oleuropein Aglycone, an Olive Oil Compound, in a Mouse Model of Carrageenan-induced Pleurisy.” Clinical Nutrition 30.4 (2011): 533-40.
  2. Oi-KANO, Yuriko, Teruo Kawada, Tatsuo Watanabe, Fumihiro Koyama, Kenichi Watanabe, Reijirou Senbongi, and Kazuo Iwai. “Oleuropein, a Phenolic Compound in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Increases Uncoupling Protein 1 Content in Brown Adipose Tissue and Enhances Noradrenaline and Adrenaline Secretions in Rats.” Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 54.5 (2008): 363-70.
  3. “Journal of Applied Physiology”; Acute L-arginine Supplementation Reduces The O2 Cost of Moderate-intensity Exercise and Enhances High-intensity Exercise Tolerance; Stephen J. Bailey, et al.; November 2010
  4. Suzuki, Yasuhiro, Osamu Ito, Naoki Mukai, Hideyuki Takahashi, and Kaoru Takamatsu. “High Level of Skeletal Muscle Carnosine Contributes to the Latter Half of Exercise Performance during 30-s Maximal Cycle Ergometer Sprinting.” The Japanese Journal of Physiology 52.2 (2002): 199-205.
  5. Sale, Craig, Bryan Saunders, and Roger C. Harris. “Effect of Beta-alanine Supplementation on Muscle Carnosine Concentrations and Exercise Performance.” Amino Acids 39.2 (2010): 321-33
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. “Effects of 7 Days of Arginine-Alpha-Ketoglutarate Supplementation on Blood Flow, Plasma L-Arginine, Nitric Oxide Metabolites, and Asymmetric Dimethyl Arginine After Resistance Exercise.”
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. “Acute L-arginine alpha ketoglutarate supplementation fails to improve muscular performance in resistance trained and untrained men.”
  8. Alpha-Ketoglutarate: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.
  9. Campbell B, Roberts M, Kerksick C, Wilborn C, Marcello B, Taylor L, Nassar E, Leutholtz B, Bowden R, Rasmussen C, Greenwood M, Kreider R. Pharmacokinetics, safety, and effects on exercise performance of l-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate in trained adult men. Nutrition. 2006 Sep;22(9):872-81.
  10. Bendahan, D., JP Mattei, B. Ghattas, S. Confort-Gouny, ME Le Guern, and PJ Cozzone. “Citrulline/malate Promotes Aerobic Energy Production in Human Exercising Muscle.”British Journal of Sports Medicine (2002): 282-89
  11. Brose, Andrea, Gianni Parise, and Tarnopolsky A. Mark. “Creatine Supplementation Enhances Isometric Strength and Body Composition Improvements Following Strength Exercise Training in Older Adults.” The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (2003)
  12. Hickner, Robert C., Charles J. Tanner, Chris A. Evans, Paige D. Clark, Amy Haddock, Chris Fortune, Heather Geddis, William Waugh, and Michael Mccammon. “L-Citrulline Reduces Time to Exhaustion and Insulin Response to a Graded Exercise Test.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 38.4 (2006): 660-66.

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