Rumour has it whilst in Canada Mark Gilbert gave his pre-workout to black bears. Here’s the evidence!
Talk to us, Mark…
One of the most common questions I get asked is about pre-workout or NO (nitric oxide) products. Fortunately, I know a little bit about this subject because I helped bring them to the sports supplement industry.
You see, back at the end of the last decade (sounds a long time ago), I was working with two R&D colleagues of mine to develop a protein product that would outperform high-quality whey protein products.
We were focusing on pathways in the body that improved the way protein was taken up by the muscle. After months of reading endless research studies and meeting regularly to share ideas, we came up with a combination of ingredients to increase a molecule in the body called nitric oxide (also known as NO). We later patented a product called Nitro-Tech, and it quickly became the best-selling protein product in the sports nutrition industry.
See: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6784209.html to view US Patent 6784209
This was the first sports supplement ever designed to boost NO levels. At the time there was research to show that increasing NO levels increased levels of:
> Growth hormone
… and improved the action of insulin, so virtually every hormone involved in muscle growth. It had also been shown to increase the growth of sarcomeres (muscle tissue) and to increase muscle torque. Also, we knew that NO dilated blood vessels meant a better pump and more nutrient delivery to muscles.
Well of course, now, every sports supplement company sells an NO or pre-workout product because of the obvious benefits of boosting NO. For those who are curious (since I’ve read thousands of studies on this topic), please feel free to ask me a question on pre-workout, NO products, and their ingredients.
We first used the ingredients L-arginine, American ginseng, folic acid, and others to boost NO, but there are now dozens of ingredients known to do so, such as citrulline (which may work better than arginine), cocoa, grape polyphenols, vinpocetine, beet powder, other sources of nitrates, etc..
Studies show that arginine (the amino acid that is the principal active ingredient included in most NO products) can increase bench press strength and peak muscle power and improve insulin function.
Some of our early research on NO also implied that it was involved in fat-burning and now there is more evidence of this. For instance, NO has been shown to be required for fat burning and for the function of a hormone called leptin to have its effects on fat breakdown. In overweight diabetics, L-arginine (the main ingredient in most NO products) decreases waist size, preserves muscle mass, improves insulin function, blood vessel function, and acts as a strong antioxidant to prevent cell damage.