Max-HP is Prime Nutrition’s latest pre-workout supplement which features a variety of the usual suspects (Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, etc.) as well as a much lesser common (but potentially effective) ingredient, Epicatechin…FIND IT HERE
Citrulline is a precursor to the amino acid Arginine, which is a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO). As demonstrated in a 2007 study, supplemental Citrulline is significantly more effective at raising plasma Arginine than supplemental Arginine itself, and while results with Arginine are mixed, Citrulline has demonstrated clear efficacy as a performance enhancer.
A 2002 study, published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that Citrulline Malate supplementation (6g/day for 15 days) significantly increased ATP production during exercise in healthy adult males.
A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of Free Radical Research”, found that 6 grams of Citrulline Malate given to male cyclists before a race increased “plasma Arginine availability for NO synthesis and PMNs priming for oxidative burst without oxidative damage”.
A 2010 study from “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning” found that 8g of Citrulline Malate was able to progressively increase the amount of reps performed later in the workout (by as much as 52%) and significantly reduced muscle soreness.
A 2011 study, the subjects of which were rats, found that supplemental Citrulline increased muscular contraction efficiency (less ATP was required for the same amount of power), in-line with the findings of the above-mentioned human study.
Most recently, a 2014 study from the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” found that subjects who received 8g Citrulline prior to resistance training were able to perform more reps later in the workout, thus replicating the results of the prior 2010 study. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study was that the subjects were all advanced weight-lifters, meaning the benefits of Citrulline apply to everyone, not just beginners.
Max HP contains 2.5g of Citrulline Malate per serving, a little less than half the dose used in the majority of the studies.
Glycerol has become pretty popular in pump-based pre-workouts, so it comes as no surprise the Prime Nutrition has included 1.5g of Glycerol Monostearate in the Max HP formula. Glycerol’s mechanism of action is simple: it draws water into cells which can directly enhance what we all know as “The Pump”. Beyond that, Glycerol has been alleged to have actual performance enhancement implications as well.
A 1996 study, published in the “International Journal of Sports Medicine”, found that Glycerol supplementation prior to exercise increased endurance in cyclists. These findings were replicated in a 1999 study from the “European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology” in which pre-exercise Glycerol supplementation enhanced time performance (also in cyclists).
A 2003 study, published in the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise”, found that, while post-exercise Glycerol supplementation prevented exercise-induced dehydration, this had no impact on performance measures (compared to placebo).
The research as a whole indicates that Glycerol can be an effective pump agent (due to water retention), but may only noticeably enhance performance (endurance not strength) during long-duration exercise when dehydration becomes a contributing factor to fatigue.
As mentioned above, Max HP contains 1.5g of Glycerol Monostearate per serving, enough to noticeably contribute to muscle fullness (aka pump).
In the past few years, Agmatine has gone from a rare ingredient to pre-workout staple, though it remains seriously under-researched relative to other popular pre-workout ingredients. Agmatine has been demonstrated to up-regulate Endothelial Nitric Oxide (eNOS), sometimes referred to as the “good” NOS, while inhibiting the other NOS enzymes (the “bad” NOS) in vitro, but human studies are non-existent.
Prime Nutrition has opted for 750mg of Agmatine per serving of Max-HP, slightly higher than the industry standard of 500mg.
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.
Additionally, Caffeine can enhance calcium-ion release in muscle tissue, which directly increases muscle contraction force. Rather than discuss dozens of studies, we’ll leave it at this: Caffeine is an extremely effective ergogenic aid, though tolerance build-up is certainly an issue to keep in mind.
Max HP contains a whopping 400mg dose of Caffeine per serving which is enough for even Caffeine-tolerant individuals to feel noticeably more alert and focused, but this means double-dosing is off limits (you probably don’t want to consume 800mg of caffeine at once!).
Epicatechin is a flavonol alleged to inhibit Myostatin, a type of myokine (signaling protein released by muscle fibers) which suppresses muscle growth. The opposite of Myostatin is Follistatin, a signaling protein which induces muscle growth by blocking Myostatin.
A 2014 study, published in “The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry”, found that 7 days of Epicatechin supplementation (150mg daily) was able to favorably influence the Follistatin/Myostatin ratio and subjects showed a 7% in hand grip strength.
Although the results of this study certainly indicate a role for Epicatechin in promoting muscle growth, muscle mass was not actually measured (because of the short duration of the study). So, rather than considering this study conclusive, it should be viewed as strictly preliminary. Until longer-term human studies are conducted, we won’t know the degree to which Epicatechin actually influences muscle growth.
Max HP contains 25mg of Epicatechin per serving, about 1/6th the dose used in the above mentioned study.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Max HP contains a few well-established ergogenic aids as well as pretty new/exciting ingredient, Epicatechin. Although the scientific community still has a ways to go before understanding the true potential of Epicatechin, it does make for an interesting addition to a formula that should otherwise look very familiar to anyone currently taking a pre-workout. Max HP could benefit from some more Citrulline, but the combination of Agmatine and Glycerol definitely help to take some the pressure off Citrulline when it comes to inducing pumps.
Still not sure which pre-workout is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements List!
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- Gutierrez-Salmean, Gabriel, et al. “Effects of (−)-epicatechin on molecular modulators of skeletal muscle growth and differentiation.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 25.1 (2014): 91-94.