July 16, 2013
Game Changer? Worth it? You bet.
What’s up SR! A very special thanks to the guys at Isatori who decided to basically supply all of the ER’s with 3 tubs of Bio-Gro – thanks Stephen and Artie!
This is a long review, even by my standards, but this is a product that is totally worth my time to write it and your time to read it. It is also worth noting that I put this review off for a good while because I wanted to get a solid feel for how it performs and to that I end I’ve used at least 8 tubs of this so far. (It may be more – when Marc Lobliner offered that insane BOGO deal at Tiger Fitness I bought a ton and kind of stopped counting, lol.) But the bottom line is that while my ratings are high, but they are based on over 2 months of continuous use.
Isatori says that Bio-Gro is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before; that’s not entirely accurate. Over the past few years several high end whey fraction proteins have hit the market hyping the inclusion of specific growth factors - native whey isolates, bovine albumin/serum, colostrums and a few others come to mind. However, they all echo a common theme – increased effectiveness over traditional whole food or whey proteins. The problem is that many of the growth factors that they hype are actually removed via the various processing methods and temperatures used in production. (True native whey products, for example, have to be purchased from foreign manufacturers who do not have the same stringent pasteurization and/or processing requirements as the USA. ) So while the claims from these vendors may have been true in theory, they lacked the technology to make them true in application. However, I do believe that the product offering from Isatori represents a new way of harvesting these growth factors and thus, I tend to agree with their claims of being a completely new breed of supplement. (This is only my personal opinion as I’m not a chemist and can only speculate and provide anecdotal evidence based on my own personal use.)
Bio-Gro contains 1 ingredient: 1.5g Custom Engineered Bio-Pro Bio-Active Peptides (which is technically a prop blend to hide the proprietary ratios and in this case, I have no problem with Isatori employing this method.) That’s it. It is extracted from micro-concentrated colostrums yielding: proline rich peptides, growth factors, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and fibroblast-GF. And like I said above, I’ve come across these listed on other products’ labels; however, I’ve never encountered the results from them that I’ve seen in Bio-Gro. (And believe me; I’ve tried just about all of them.)
Other reviewers have covered the technical aspects in more detail and you can go to the Isatori website to get all the data that you could ever want, so I won’t address that here. What I will address is the rampant basshing I see online against this product by comparing it to traditional colostrum products. It is exactly this kind of internet science that really drives me batty. Do I have a clue what this stuff is or what it can do from a scientific standpoint – not even a little. However, that doesn’t seem to prevent many other Nobel Prize winning keyboard warriors from expressing their esteemed opinions. But, and here’s the kicker, whenever I ask them if they’ve tried it, I almost always get a similar answer – “Don’t have to, I know the science.” Grrrr…. My response is always the same: I know a good many people who bash this without ever trying it but I don’t know a single person who hasn’t given it high marks and/or bought more after trying it. And gentlemen, I could actually condense the entire review into that one sentence. (But like my sermons, unfortunately, I won’t)
Taste & Mixing: N/A
This really has no taste; perhaps flour-like best describes it. Some people report taking it by putting it directly into the mouth and then adding liquid. I tried that and that resulted in me coughing out most of it before I could get the liquid in (it is extremely light and powder – Garlick described it as pulverized and I agree). It does mix rather poorly straight in water – major clumping and floaters. However, I had no issues mixing it with whey or aminos or even with whole food such as oatmeal or yogurt.
This has got to be one of the messiest products I’ve ever had, lol. Coupled with the fact that the tiny scoop has recessed edges which hold unwanted extra powder and the really little mouth of the tub, you are in for an adventure. And given the serving price, wasting any of this tends to freak me out, lol.
I think that my take on Bio-Gro is slightly different from the other reviews that I’ve read so far. Most of the sites that I’ve read approach this from the same frame of reference as whey or other protein supplements. And perhaps that’s why so many people use recovery as a metric for judging its effectiveness (And don’t get me wrong, Bio-Gro does provide phenomenal recovery). But to me, Bio-Gro really is a brand new class of supplement in that it doesn’t provide protein for your body (and thus increase recovery) as much as it increases the amount of usable protein that your body can utilize towards better recovery. I know that may be a subtle difference, but to me, it’s an important one.
We’ve all been in discussion about how much protein the body can synthesize at any one time, and we all have different takes on it. Personally, I don’t obsess over it as I don’t think the body is in the business of wasting nutrients. However, does it use them as quickly or optimally as it can – perhaps not? And to me, that’s the real benefit of Bio-Gro. It allows me to utilize significantly greater amounts of protein which in turn allow me to increase muscle turnover. Now, I’m not a PhD chemist so this is all just neophyte speculation on my part. But the anecdotal proof is that I’ve been able to train at a higher volume while lifting heavier weight since I’ve been on Bio-Gro. Recovery has stayed just about the same (or in many cases DOMS has actually increased) but that’s at almost twice the regular training volume, which has resulted in greater gains across the board. And for those of you familiar with the benefits of training on anabolics, this probably sounds familiar. So for me, it’s the perfect natural supplement to maximize total daily protein synthesis and muscle growth in conjunction with greater training volume and an increased protein intake. One last piece of anecodotal evidence is that regardless of the protein I used – concentrate, isolate, whatever, I never experienced gas or digestion issues on 300-400 grams of protein per day. So in my mind, that speaks towards better utilization.
Dosing on this is variable. Isatori recommends 4 scoops per day based on my body weight (250ish), but I experimented with up to 8-9 scoops per day. I found that 6 scoops were probably the sweet spot for the cost/benefit curve. I took 2 during training in my intra, 2 in either my late morning or afternoon shake and 2 before bed in my evening shake. Obviously that raises the price per month considerably but I’ll address that in the value section.
I will add my two cents that I think many people think that you have to couple the timing of this closely with protein intake. I do not personally feel this is needs to be tightly coupled specifically with protein intake; rather, it's coupled more closely with training adaptations. And of course, protein intake is indeed crucial to rebuild muscles, which is why I recommend an increased protein intake as well. I saw no difference taking it with whey, yogurt, oatmeal or anything else. I also found it to be more effective spreading the doses even over the course of the day as opposed to consuming it all at once, although that is just my own personal opinion. However, I do think you do this a disservice by thinking of it as a post workout recovery supplement and only taking at after training.
Bio Gro and Anabolics: 5/10
Based my success with Bio-Gro I decided to experiment and see if it provided even more growth potential when mixed with a PH. I used Bio-Gro for the first 3 weeks of a halodrol cycle and found to my surprise, that I did not feel it provided benefits in line with the added cost. Let me explain – both anabolics and Bio-Gro tend to address the same functionality, albeit through different mechanisms. So it would be reasonable to think that perhaps they would work synergistically to provide even greater benefits than either one alone. What I found was that the increased results over baseline using Bio-Gro were only slightly over the greater range of benefits that I saw using halodrol. And this is not entirely surprising. Now I was only using 2-3 scoops (as opposed to my normal 6-8) but even so, the added cost really is an option for people with a serious wad of cash. I am speculating that I can drop my Bio-Gro usage while on cycle ( or perhaps only 2 scoops which is more affordable) and then ramp back up during PCT.
Bio-Gro and PCT - - TBD
I am about to start PCT on my cycle of Halodrol and one of the most common negatives you read about people using a PH is that they lose their gains. While there may be many reasons for this, I am hypothesizing that the addition of Bio-Gro to my PCT will allow me to not only maintain my on-cycle gains but continue to keep protein synthesis at a high level. This is just speculation; however, I will keep this updated in my log if anyone is interested.
This is not cheap. Nope, not even a little bit. You need a minimum of two tubs per month and I use 4 tubs, so that can get extremely pricey. With 60 scoops per tub, I go through almost an entire tub each week. So even though I got a great deal at TigerFitness (buy one get one free) that came out to around $20.00 per week. ($80/month for those that are math challenged). However, this is exactly in the same neighborhood of running a cycle of my previous favorite supplement: X-Factor. So it’s not unheard of. And would I rather spend $80 per month on this versus some of the other pseudo-anabolics out there – absolutely. So even though it’s expensive, I’m rating value extremely high because this actually delivers measurable benefits that are absolutely worth it to me.
Do I recommend this? I could have given this a maybe, but I felt that may have been misconstrued because what I really mean is that this is a product that is just about worthless if you don’t train hard enough to create growth stimuli in the first place. As I said before, this is not a protein supplement or replacement. Without the stimuli created via adequate training stress, you will not reap the full benefits of this product and that would make it a very expensive. However, if you train hard, and can increase protein intake, I do not think you will be disappointed in the results. It’s not an AAS but it is perhaps the only thing other than arachidonic acid that’s provided these kinds of gains when coupled with training and nutrition. I’m not saying its the second coming of Jesus and I’m not saying it delivers the same results as a PH/DS/AAS. But what I am saying is that it’s the first non-anabolic supplement that’s delivered significant increases in strength and muscle mass. And for me, that’s golden.
I will repeat this because it’s worth reiterating: Bio-Gro is not a protein replacement. It was engineered to help you utilize more of the protein that you intake towards the goal of building muscle, resulting in a higher gram per hour utilization and thus decreasing whatever waste might occur. While enhanced recovery is certainly one of the benefits, for me, increased strength and muscle growth were even greater benefits. It is indeed the ideal supplement to maximize total daily protein synthesis and muscle turnover as a whole – not just post workout. It doesn't replace protein –it enhances it. That being said, I would not want to see it packaged with a whey product as one of its greatest benefits is the ability to dose it to your individual requirements. So my advice to you is to try this. NP has the lowest price right now at $32.99 if you buy 2 tubs but deals seem to be popping up pretty frequently. Two thumbs up.
- Increases Protein Utilization
- Builds Muscle
- Decreases Muscle Soreness
- Increases Recovery