Commonly referred to as caffeine, 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine is very well studied in relation to exercise. Findings for improved aerobic (Ganio et al., 2009) and anaerobic (Davis and Green, 2009) exercise performance are common with acute ingestion of caffeine prior to exercise (typically 30-60 minutes prior). Multiple mechanisms are associated with caffeine’s ergogenic effects including improved cognitive performance, increased catecholamine secretion and lipolysis, enhanced calcium mobilization and phosphodiesterase inhibition, enhanced Na+/K+ pump activity to enhance excitation contraction coupling, and adenosine receptor antagonism. While individual response to caffeine varies, dosages in the literature have generally ranged from 3-6 mg/kg body mass, and individuals who do not frequently use caffeine appear to respond to the greatest extent (Ganio et al., 2009).
The ingredient 2-amino-4-methylhexane is a component of geranium oil and appears to provide a sympathomimetic effect in human subjects. That is, it mimics the effects of the sympathetic nervous system such as the chemicals epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. In this way it may stimulate energy release and provide a feeling of euphoria. Very little is known about this ingredient, but anecdotal reports are impressive. It should be noted that this is the one ingredient contained within Muscle Marinade™ that is not yet supported by peer-reviewed published clinical data. However, a controlled laboratory study investigating the effects of 2-amino-4- methylhexane combined with caffeine on resistance exercise performance in a sample of resistance trained men was recently completed (unpublished data). The results indicate that the simple combination of 2-amino-4-methylhexane and caffeine is as effective as the top selling pre workout powders currently being sold on the sport nutrition market in terms of enhancing upperbody muscular power and endurance (using bench press throws and bench press exercise to fatigue, respectively). These findings reinforce the position of PURUS LABS™ that the correct ingredients provided at the correct dosages are much more effective than the sheer number of ingredients. That is, 2-amino-4-methylhexane and caffeine (mixed into 16 grams of maltodextrin in an attempt to match the carbohydrate content of other pre workout powders used for comparison) was similar in effectiveness as the other products which contained 35-65 individual ingredients! This is a great example of the “window dressing” hype within the sport supplement industry. It is truly a shame that most companies are more concerned with beefing up their product label with worthless ingredients used at ridiculously low dosages, rather than providing a solid dosage of real ingredients that actually have been shown in human subjects to yield an effect.
In addition to the laboratory study mentioned above, the dosage of 2-amino-4-methylhexane contained within Muscle Marinade™ is based on pilot testing in a variety of healthy men and women using this ingredient either alone at varying dosages, as well as in combination with caffeine. Subjective reports related to subjects’ “perceived feeling of energy and focus” as well as subjects’ actual exercise performances have guided the dosing of this ingredient. Indeed, further research is warranted in relation to 2-amino-4-methylhexane and exercise performance alone and in combination with other performance aids–to scientifically validate the inclusion of this ingredient.
Electrolytes are ionized salts (dissociated into positive and negative ions) found within body fluids. Electrolytes serve the function of maintaining concentration and charge differences across cell membranes and are involved in neural and muscle cell functioning. In relation to dietary supplements, electrolytes are most commonly contained within sport drinks primarily for rehydration purposes and maintenance of blood flow. The chief electrolytes contained within such products appearing to have an effect on hydration status following strenuous physical exercise are sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. Coupled with adequate fluid intake before, during, and following an acute exercise bout, the electrolyte mix contained with Muscle Marinade™ aids in maintaining optimal hydration. This effect may be assisted by the addition of the osmolyte betaine (as discussed above).
One other consideration, once again, is the ingestion of a dilute (6-10%) carbohydrate solution during the exercise bout. This will not only improve hydration status (Evan et al., 2009; von Duvillard et al., 2008) but will also serve the purpose of enhancing cellular immunity (Braun and Von Duvillard, 2004; Nieman et al., 2001) possibly working in conjunction with other immunesupporting agents within Muscle Marinade™ such as vitamin C and zinc. It should be understood that hypohydration (loss of fluid) is associated with increased cortisol and possibly increased protein catabolism/tissue breakdown (Judelson et al., 2008). Therefore, efforts to maintain hydration status during and following exercise should be undertaken by all serious trainees. Muscle Marinade™ imparts a precise blend of potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride to further compliment its performance-enhancement properties.
Muscle Marinade™: Exercise Recovery
Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids are critical to physiological function and have multiple roles within biological systems. There are both essential and non-essential amino acids; the former meaning that the body cannot synthesize these from other compounds at the level needed for normal growth; they must be supplied in the diet. Perhaps the most notable function of amino acids is to act as building blocks for proteins. Proteins are required for muscular growth and repair and are the dietary focus of most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. While it is well accepted that active individuals require significantly more protein than their sedentary counterparts (Rodriguez et al., 2009), an often overlooked component related to protein intake is the specific timing of amino acid ingestion in the precise combination with relation to an acute bout of resistance exercise. Specifically, several studies support the use of a precise essential amino acid mixture prior to resistance exercise. These investigations have included an oral dosage of essential amino acids equal to 6 grams, taken both with (Tipton et al., 2001) and without (Bird et al., 2006a; 2006b; 2006c) carbohydrate. Findings from such studies indicate enhanced protein synthesis with ingestion of essential amino acids before resistance exercise to a greater extent than compared to essential amino acid ingestion post-exercise (Tipton et al., 2001; Wolfe, 2001). Post-exercise insulin has also been noted to be higher following intake of an essential amino acid mixture (Bird et al., 2006b) while both 3-methylhistidine (a marker of protein breakdown) (Bird et al., 2006b) and cortisol have been noted to be lower (Bird et al., 2006c). Taken together, these results suggest an “anti-catabolic effect” of essential amino acid ingestion.
Aside from acute intake, other work indicates that chronic (i.e., daily) intake of a precise 6 gram essential amino acid mixture attenuates 3-methylhistidine excretion during the days following strenuous exercise (Bird et al., 2006a). As with many aforementioned ingredients, it should be noted that carbohydrate added to the essential amino acid mixture provides additional anticatabolic activity (Bird et al., 2006b). Therefore, if a diluted (6-10%) carbohydrate solution is tolerable from a caloric standpoint, Muscle Marinade™ could be mixed into a carbohydrate drink (e.g., juice) as opposed to water. An alternative would be to add carbohydrate powder (30- 40 grams) to one scoop of Muscle Marinade™ and mix in water.
Vitamins and Minerals—Overview
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “vitamins are organic substances made by plants or animals, while minerals are inorganic elements that come from the earth. Soil and water are absorbed by plants and animals, and humans absorb minerals from the plants they eat.” While moderate levels of vitamins and minerals are necessary for normal growth, development, and metabolic processes, higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals have been shown to provide protection against various stressors. One such stressor is heavy physical exercise. In an attempt to combat the stress caused by intense physical exercise, the use of antioxidant vitamins (C and E) and minerals (zinc and selenium) as well as complementary Bvitamins (B6, B9, and B12) may be considered.
Vitamins and Minerals—Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C, is a water soluble vitamin with multiple physiological properties. It is one of the most well-researched antioxidants, particularly related to exercise-induced free radical production. When free radical production exceeds the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms (by way of both endogenous antioxidant enzymes/thiols and exogenous antioxidant vitamins/minerals consumed through dietary sources) a condition referred to as oxidative stress may occur. Oxidative stress ultimately has the potential to damage cellular structures including phospholipid membranes, protein, mitochondria, and DNA (Valko et al., 2007). While a low level of free radical production is actually beneficial and necessary for normal physiological function, excessive radical production, which is common with strenuous physical exercise (Bloomer, 2008), can directly impair muscle contractile function and force. This may occur via defects in excitation-contraction coupling (Goldhaber and Qayyum, 2000) and lead to greater fatigue rates in skeletal muscle (Juel, 2006). An attempt to curtail this impairment is generally the rationale for inclusion of supplemental antioxidant vitamins/minerals for athletes.
While vitamin C has multiple physiological properties beyond the scope of this discussion (Deruelle and Baron, 2008), when considering the above, several studies have included vitamin C (typically at a dosage of 1000 mg/day and often in combination with alpha tocopherol [vitamin E]) in an attempt to lessen the oxidative stress and associated loss in muscle function. Although not all studies have noted effects for vitamin C in this regard, several have been met with positive findings for at least some biochemical or functional measures, as reviewed in detail by Fisher-Wellman and Bloomer (2009). In addition to acting as an antioxidant agent in the attenuation of exercise-induced oxidative stress, vitamin C has been reported to reduce the rise in circulating cortisol following exercise (Carrillo et al., 2008), as well as function as an immuneboosting nutrient (Wintergerst et al., 2005) with effects on reducing the incidence of the common cold (Hemilä, 2004) and post-exercise upper respiratory tract infections (Peters et al., 1993). For these reasons, after careful review of the available literature, vitamin C intake is suggested at a daily dosage of 1000 mg (Deruelle and Baron, 2008) and is included within Muscle Marinade™ at this exact dosage. Intake of vitamin C at this dosage is well-absorbed and has been shown to significantly elevate plasma vitamin C concentration (Bloomer et al., 2006).
Vitamins and Minerals—d-alpha-tocopherol (natural vitamin E)
The lipid soluble vitamin referred to as alpha tocopherol works in conjunction with vitamin C (as well as other antioxidants such as selenium, zinc, and glutathione) in a process known as redox cycling. These antioxidants maintain each other in their reduced and active form. For this reason, inclusion of an antioxidant “complex” within a dietary supplement is most appropriate. Alpha tocopherol is typically used to denote vitamin E due to the fact that alpha tocopherol is the only form of vitamin E that is actively maintained in the body. However, it should be mentioned that a more correct depiction of vitamin E is the inclusion of alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols and tocotrienols (mixed tocopherols/tocotrienols). While results are mixed, some evidence indicates that the combination of all may best produce an antioxidant effect. Regardless, one finding related to vitamin E is common: Natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol) is better absorbed and shows higher bio-potency (1.5-2 fold) than synthetic vitamin E (dl-alphatocopherol) (Hoppe and Krennrich, 2000). This may be due to the fact that the natural form consists of one isomer; in contrast, the synthetic form contains eight different isomers of which only one is the same as the natural form. The other seven isomers have been noted to range in potency from ~20 percent to 90 percent of natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol). Considering this, effective dosages of natural vitamin E can be lower than synthetic and have ranged from just slightly higher than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 15 mg/day to several hundred mg/day. Due to the concern over high intake of lipid soluble vitamins, in particular vitamin E (Greenberg, 2005), the fact that vitamin E as low as 60 mg/day has been reported to provide effects (Meydani et al., 1997), and that many scientists believe that a dosage of 100IU (67 mg) to 200IU (134 mg) of natural d-alpha tocopherol is adequate (although this is refuted by some reports—see Roberts et al., 2007), Muscle Marinade™ contains a judicious dosage of vitamin E thought to be both safe and clinically effective when combined with the other antioxidants within the formula.
Aside from working in conjunction with vitamin C and other antioxidants, vitamin E independently functions as an immune-boosting agent (Meydani et al., 1997), a potent chainbreaking antioxidant to inhibit the oxidation of cellular lipids, and serves to stabilize cell membranes (e.g., sarcolemma) in conjunction with zinc (Chien et al., 2006). This often results in less leakage of intracellular components such as creatine kinase following muscle-damaging exercise (Fisher-Wellman and Bloomer, 2009).
Vitamins and Minerals—Selenium
Selenium is a trace element essential in small amounts, but like all essential elements, it is toxic at high levels. Humans and animals require selenium for the function of a number of seleniumdependent enzymes including glutathione peroxidase (GPx). Glutathione peroxidase is a collective term for a family of enzymes with antioxidant activity serving to reduce potentially damaging agents such as lipid hydroperoxides into alcohol and hydrogen peroxide into water. In this process, the important antioxidant glutathione (GSH) is “used up” and oxidized to GSSG. The enzyme known as glutathione reductase then serves to reduce glutathione back to the active form (GSH). All of this occurs along with vitamin C and vitamin E in a process known as redox cycling. In this way, these antioxidants complement one another. In conjunction with vitamin C and vitamin E, Muscle Marinade™ contains a decisive dosage of selenium, the same dosage successfully used to combat exercise-induced oxidative stress (Goldfarb et al., 2005) and muscle damage/soreness (Bloomer et al., 2004).
Vitamins and Minerals—Zinc
Zinc is an essential trace element for all life forms playing roles in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism such as growth and development, the immune response, and neurological function. In conjunction with both vitamin C and vitamin E, zinc provides antioxidant and immune support with combination therapy commonplace in the literature (Huang et al., 2006; Wintergerst et al., 2006). Studies have repeatedly shown the beneficial properties of zinc as related to both antioxidant (Mocchegiani, 2008) and immune-stimulating function (Haase and Rink, 2009; Prasad, 2008). The dosage of zinc used in many studies has ranged from 15-50 mg/day. While zinc is used in many different forms (e.g., gluconate, picolinate, methionine), zinc methionine has been reported to have the greatest antioxidant activity (Bagchi et al., 1997) and superior bioavailability (Chien et al., 2006). This is, of course, the form of zinc utilized in Muscle Marinade™.
Vitamins and Minerals—B-vitamins (B6, B9, B12)
B-vitamins are water soluble and important for a number of processes within the body involved in energy production (Woolf and Manore, 2006). Many common foods are fortified with Bvitamins, and a daily supplement is often recommended for individuals who do not eat adequate amounts of B-vitamin rich foods. The RDA for these vitamins is relatively low and can typically be met by consuming a good quality multivitamin. However, the requirements for B-vitamins may be increased by strenuous activity (Woolf and Manore, 2006). It has been recommended that pyridoxine HCL (vitamin B6) intake be calculated based on the protein intake (0.02 mg per gram of protein) while cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) is usually recommended at 6 to 30 μg/day. Folic acid (vitamin B9) is recommended at 400 μg/day and often higher for women who are pregnant or who are of child bearing years. As with betaine (discussed earlier in this paper) the B-vitamins act to reduce levels of the sulfur-containing amino acid homocysteine, an intermediate of methionine noted to be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (Boushey et al., 1995). Therefore, B-vitamins serve the dual role in athletes of enhancing energy production and potentially decreasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Considering the above, Muscle Marinade™ contains adequate amounts of B-vitamins necessary for measureable effects.
The pre workout dietary supplement Muscle Marinade™ was specifically engineered to meet the performance and recovery needs of hard-training men and women. Using a detailed, systematic, and scientifically-sound approach to product development, Muscle Marinade™ utilizes only research-supported ingredients at the precise dosages used in the clinical research studies. Collectively, the ingredients provided within Muscle Marinade™ serve the dual purpose of improving acute exercise performance and supporting post-exercise recovery. Muscle Marinade™ is clearly an avant-garde product at the pinnacle of its class and should be considered for inclusion within any athlete’s arsenal. As with all nutritional supplements, potential users should consult their personal physician prior to using Muscle Marinade™. In addition, potential users should review the product nutrition panel and label for information regarding ingredients, dosing, and precautions for use. For more information on PURUS LABS™ and its other performance/physique-enhancing products, please visit
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