1.M.R. is perhaps BPI Sports’ most popular product, although recently some of the attention has been shifted to BPI’s sequel pre-workout, 1.M.R. Vortex. 1.M.R. contains a few standard pre-workout ingredients such as Creatine, Beta-Alanine, and Arginine but BPI Sports has also made use of several obscure herbal extracts, most of which lack research.
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. Unforunuately, since 1MR’s serving size is 3.5 grams, there most likely is not a significant enough dose of Beta Alanine to make a difference.
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. Again, since 1MR’s proprietary blend is only 3.5 grams in total, there is no way that it contains a truly effective dose of creatine. When it comes to pre-workouts that also contain creatine, you have to do the math. If the prop blend is less than even a small dose of creatine, whats the point!?
Taurine is an amino acid that has been shown to contribute to brain and liver health. It has become a popular ingredient in energy drinks ever since Red Bull came out. However, studies have shown that Taurine doesn’t seem to produce any energizing effects. Despite studies showing its ineffectiveness, supplement companies love to put it into energy supplements. A Japanese study did show that taurine’s antioxidant properties may decrease the amount of exercise induced DNA damage in the cells. However, no real evidence of its energy boosting effects has been>noted, so it seems like a random ingredient to put in a per-workout.
L-ARGININE ALPHA KETOGLUTARATE:
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. Studies using the alpha ketoglutarate form of argenine have come up short in finding any positive correlation between ingestion of the substance and performance enhancement. Studies have shown that it results in a greater amount of argenine in the blood, but not more blood flow to the muscles. On top of that, those studies used amounts in as much as 12 grams. Since 1MRs blend is only 3.5 grams we can say with absolute certainty that there is not enough arginine to make a vast difference, although perhaps it helps.
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 may raise the metabolic rate and/or promote 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 act as a mild appetite suppressant in some. BPI does not state the exact amount of caffeine present in the 1.M.R. formula but mentions on their website that it has “about as much caffeine as three cups of coffee”. So we’re estimating anywhere from 300-400 mg.
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 showed that there was no difference in absorption rates in rats. Human studies have yet to be confirmed.
Yerba Mate come from a kind of tree native to South America, that contains caffeine as well as theobromine (a relative of caffeine). It is consumed as a beverage in many South American companies, but its making its way into energy drinks and supplements in America these days. Yerba mate more caffeine to a blend that already has plenty of caffeine.
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Tyrosine, while chemically related to L-Dopa, does not produce the same “immediately noticeable” effects. Companies that use this ingredient in pre-workout supplements are mostly going on the assumption that Tyrosine increases Dopamine, and increased Dopamine increases exercise capacity. However, studies have shown minimal effects of tyrosine on workout capacity.
SAUSAGE TREE (ROOT)EXTRACT:
Kigelia Africana aka Sausage Tree is native to Africa and has been studied (and used) for a wide variety of medical purposes, none of which pertain to exercise or potential benefits. However, one study did find that the “extract has stimulant effect on the Central Nervous System”. However, no other studies have been done testing the effects specifically on exercise capacity, so this kind of seems like a shot in the dark. We maintain our stance on the use of herbal extracts which is that there must be a substantial amount of scientific evidence before we can be convinced of effectiveness. There simply isn’t much out there on this.
Citrus Sinensis aka regular ol’ orange is…well we all know what an orange is. Those things that come from Florida. Why BPI decided this should be in the proprietary blend of a pre-workout we will never know. No, not “Bitter Orange”, which contains Synephrine, just Orange. This may be the most useless ingredient we’ve seen in a while.
Psoralea corylifolia is an herb native to India, which has been used for variety of things including (but not limited to) mental stimulation. Studies have verified that extracts from Psoralea reduced the uptake of dopamine and noradrenaline in the brains of rats, as well as in vitro. However, no human studies exist currently which have tested whether this effect holds true. Psoralea, in the supplement industry, is primarily seen in preworkouts and stimulant-based weight loss products.
Very little is known about the possible benefits of this shrub. There is no reliable scientific evidence regarding any potential benefits on exercise performance.
Zingiber Officinale aka Ginger has long been used in folk medicine for such things as stomach pains, nausea, and all things gastrointestinal. Still, we don’t really see what place this has in a pre-workout other than maybe to help settle your stomach from all the other ingredients.
Shisandra Chinensis is become more and more common in workout related products (specifically pre-workouts). A few studies have demonstrated the adapotgenic nature of the herb, and it appears as though Schisandra Chinensis has a bit more science behind it than most herbal additives these days. Adaptogens are compounds that help the body adapt to stress (prolonged exercise is considered physical stress).
Visnea Mocanera aka Mocan has been demonstrated to have anti-oxidant activity. Other than that, there really is nothing special about this supplement.
Resveratrol is the active compound found in these extracts. Many studies have shown its anti-oxidant capacity and potential anti-aging effects. One study showed resveratrol’s anti-aging effect on middle aged mice that were fed a high-calorie diet. The study showed that resveratrol supplementation “significantly increases their survival.” However, measuring the effects on the human lifespan may be a lot more difficult so further studies are needed. However, there is definitely enough evidence to show that resveratrol does have some potent antioxidant effects.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
1.M.R. contains several obscure herbal extracts which have very limited scientific research conducted on them in general, let alone on their implications for performance enhancement. The ingredients that are established (Creatine, Beta Alanine, etc.) are likely under-dosed given the overall weight of the blend is only 3,500. Given that 1.M.R. is not particularly cheap, there are certainly better options out there. For those who seek a purely stimulant based pre-workout we’d recommend 1.M.R. Vortex over the original 1.M.R.