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htevans

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Reviews by htevans



Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to RSP for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 17, 2017

Introduction

I apologize to RSP Nutrition for taking so long to review this. Thanks for sending ReGen out.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
ReGen BCAA contains 8.8 gram servings. 6 Grams are BCAAs at a 2:1:1 ratio (3g L-Leucine, 1.5 g L-Isoleucine and L-Valine). RSP adds 1 gram of Citrulline Malate at an undisclosed ratio, 250mg of Conconut water extract, and 5mg of Bioperine. Citrulline can help with ED and circulatory health at 1g 3x daily (1.76g 3x daily if Citrulline Malate), and can increase sports performance at 6-8g. Since this is a BCAA supplement, I assume that Citrulline ...

Introduction

I apologize to RSP Nutrition for taking so long to review this. Thanks for sending ReGen out.

Ingredient Profile

8/10
ReGen BCAA contains 8.8 gram servings. 6 Grams are BCAAs at a 2:1:1 ratio (3g L-Leucine, 1.5 g L-Isoleucine and L-Valine). RSP adds 1 gram of Citrulline Malate at an undisclosed ratio, 250mg of Conconut water extract, and 5mg of Bioperine. Citrulline can help with ED and circulatory health at 1g 3x daily (1.76g 3x daily if Citrulline Malate), and can increase sports performance at 6-8g. Since this is a BCAA supplement, I assume that Citrulline is included for the purported benefits of decreased recovery time/soreness, fatigue, and increase in nitric oxide production. Clearly the amount in ReGen is too low for any of these uses although it could reasonably be used for circulatory health/ED if taken 3x daily but that would be expensive. It is likely that ReGen is designed to supplement one's citrulline existing supplementation from elsewhere (such as pre-workouts), but still there are a select few products out there that include 6g+ of citrulline. I would like to see more citrulline and for the citrulline malic acid ratio to be disclosed.

Additionally, the jury is still out on the research on coconut water's effectiveness. Personally, I prefer its inclusion but would like to see it dosed at 500mg-1g. At the very least it helps with potassium intake which I see as an added bonus. However, I tend to believe the research that shows coconut water is at least as effective as standard sports drinks (albeit without all the sugar!) at rehydration (i.e. better than pure water). Therefore, I like when it is included in BCAA/intra-workout supplements. While it is included in ReGen, I wish there was more.

Bioperine would ideally be at 10mg but I am perfectly fine with 5mg. I really value its inclusion as a nutrient absorption enhancer and could not be happier to see it in ReGen.

I have seen more impressive profiles but this is a decent run-of-the-mill BCAA supplement. Some of the ingredients are a little under-dosed but it could only help and may allow for cutting back supplementation in other areas.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
I received the Raspberry Lemonade flavor and it was delicious. I tried mixing 1-2 scoops with 12-20oz of water and at its greatest dilution the taste was still strong. It mixed up well and left little residue. The water became murky after mixing but that's of little concern.

RSP suggests using one scoop before, after, or during training and one scoop on rest days. I personally used 2 scoops at times at only felt better for it. I stuck to 1 scoop most of the time due to cost implications, however. They also suggest 8-10oz per scoop but I always experiment with serving to water ratios.

Effectiveness

8/10
ReGen produced results akin to your average BCAA supplement. I experienced shorter recovery times by about a day or two, felt a little endurance boost in the gym and stayed hydrated for longer. I'll explain each in a little more detail below.

Almost immediately I noticed that I was staying hydrated for longer. That was a shared function of increased water intake and ReGen's blend of electrolytes, and coconut water (possibly). I was refilling my water bottle about two times less (2) than on average (4) or visiting the water fountain less (on days when I forgot my water bottle). Hydration is perhaps one of the most important reasons to take an intra-workout supplement so these kinds of results are always welcome.

After 2 weeks of supplementing with ReGen I started to notice that cardio felt a little easier. For example, my 30 minute sessions felt like the 25 minute sessions had felt at the beginning. Additionally, I noticed that I didn't have to grind through my workouts as much, especially towards the end. For example, I normally do 6 movements for chest and starting around week 3 these workouts felt as easy as the days that I skipped dips (i.e. 5 movements). These are about average results for me with BCAA supplementation. At higher doses I seem to notice a stronger effects but that is to be expected. That being said, I've seen and tried products that have higher doses per [effective] serving and I feel that an 8 is fair when compared to where those products fit on the scale.

Additionally, I felt that I recovered from soreness 1-2 days early than without any BCAA supplementation. That is pretty average for BCAA supplements. I only felt a ~2 day reduction when I took 2 scoops for a few days before and after a really long and grueling workout towards week 4. Throughout the rest of my use, I felt that my recovery time was about a day faster than before in that the soreness had subsided enough to retrain. Stronger and more profound results would come from supplements like PEDs as opposed to a run-of-the-mill BCAA supplement. One would shoot for that 2 day reduction with higher BCAA doses. Therefore, I would say ReGen is a good, but not great, product in terms of effectiveness.

Also, as mentioned in the title, I tried drinking this a few times when I was hungover. Anecdotally, I felt just as good as I did with some Gatorade but I tended to drink less when drinking ReGen. I would usually make up for the difference (20oz ReGen v. 64oz Gatorade) by drinking more water or a little Gatorade. In all variations I felt about the same. I know ReGen is not marketed for this purpose so do with this anecdotal example what you will.

Value

8.5/10
50 serving containers run $29.99 and 30 serving containers run $19.99. At $0.60 a serving, this is not too bad. I'd venture to say that since this is regularly on sale over at big retailers like bodybuilding.com, that it is a good candidate for inclusion in a staple rotation due to cost reasons alone. Given the effectiveness, I would also consider any sale bringing it to $0.50 a serving to be well worth it. In fact, in those cases I would pull the trigger immediately.

Now there are better products that cost more and cheaper products that are more bare bones. Considering the average BCAA supplement would be 30 servings for $30 (i.e. $1 per serving), this is pretty good. 20 extra servings, even if slightly under-dosed is better than just 30 servings of a slightly higher dosed product.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects with ReGen.

Conclusion

8.3/10
I got to an 8.3/10 by rounding up to a 8.2 from a 8.16 average of the Value, Effectiveness, and Ingredient Profile categories since they were most relevant here. Then I added a .1 for the lack of side effects and great taste/mixability/dosing instructions. Overall I would suggest trying this product out if it is on sale or a 50 serving container. At that point I think the value makes it worth consuming heaping scoops of a slightly under-dosed product. I don't think a 30 serving container [not on sale] would be worth it just because I'd rather pay a few bucks more and get a stronger 30 serving product. Seeing as this is commonly on sale, I'd probably suggest this a lot of times someone comes to me for supplement advice.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Improves Recovery
  • Hydration
  • Good Value
  • Effective BCAA Dosage
  • Excellent Value
  • Very Average


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to CSA Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 17, 2017

Introduction

I apologize to CSA Nutrition for taking so long on this review. Thank you for letting me try Podium Gold.

Ingredient Profile

10/10
This profile is both simple and tricky to properly evaluate. It is simple in that there is 4500mg of one ingredient/blend: Carnoforge (patented B-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate, and Creatine-B-Alanine Complex). The difficulty comes, however, in that this is a relatively unique creatine-esque product. CSA Nutrition claims that Carnoforge blends the "explosive strength specific ingredients Creatine and B-Alanine" into a more powerful i...

Introduction

I apologize to CSA Nutrition for taking so long on this review. Thank you for letting me try Podium Gold.

Ingredient Profile

10/10
This profile is both simple and tricky to properly evaluate. It is simple in that there is 4500mg of one ingredient/blend: Carnoforge (patented B-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate, and Creatine-B-Alanine Complex). The difficulty comes, however, in that this is a relatively unique creatine-esque product. CSA Nutrition claims that Carnoforge blends the "explosive strength specific ingredients Creatine and B-Alanine" into a more powerful ingredient, Carnoforge. Moreover, CSA claims that their ionic binding process is superior (in absorption/bioavailability and strength of results) to simply mixing Creatine and B-Alanine powders. Since both ingredients on their own contribute to improvements in strength and speed, CSA holds that Carnoforge, being superior, does so with a greater result/effect. Specifically CSA claims that Carnoforge increases "Exercise Capacity and Power Output by increasing intracellular carnosine levels in fast twitch fiber by 80%."

I hate to repeat a lot of marketing materials but I could not find anything on the Carnoforge patented form of Creatine and B-Alanine other than materials hosted by CSA. Therefore these claims must be understood along with a recognition of their [potential] bias. Still, there is a lot of research supporting the claims that Creatine and B-Alanine supplementation work synergistically to produce better (i.e. stronger) results than supplementing with just one of the ingredients. There are numerous sources in the public domain that back this up, but I decided to focus on some articles found via Google Scholar as opposed to one listed on a health/wellness store, site, or blog to reduce some possible bias in selection. I looked at "Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine supplementation on muscle carnosine, body composition and exercise performance in recreationally active females" by Kresta et al. (2014) which found no significant results from supplementing with either Creatine or B-Alanine. I also looked at "Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes" by J. Hoffman et al. (2006) which supported the claims of improved results with Creatine and B-Alanine supplementation. Finally I looked at "The Role of B-alanine Supplementation on Muscle Carnosine and Exercise Performance" by Artioli et al. (2010) which supported claims that B-Alanine supplementation delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue. It also summarizes other studies that found similar results. From these studies, it seems logical to me to conclude that creatine and B-alanine supplementation on their own produce desired results (strength and endurance increases) but to determine if one is better than the other or if a combination is better than either is alone may require more time than I have.

Thus, I am rating this a 10/10 because it has a patented, unique ingredient that has potential to be better than creatine or B-alanine supplementation alone. I have no way of truly fact-checking this. There seem to be few readily available studies on the unique Carnoforge blend and those that do look at Creatine+B-Alanine supplementation appear to be inconsistent. Therefore, I cannot easily conclude that the science supports or contradicts CSA's claims about Carnoforge or Creatine+B-Alanine in general.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
I received a powder form that was "mandarin orange" flavor. The powder is extremely fine and sort of grainy but not clumpy. It mixed extremely well with water. CSA suggests that people under 200lbs take 1 scoop (before or after workout) and those over 200lbs take 2 scoops (one in morning and one after workout) with water. Being under 200lbs, I took one scoop most days. I also took 2 scoops on occasion to see if there was any difference in flavor or noticeable results. CSA does not suggest a liquid amount (at least on my bottle) so I typically filled a shaker cup up with water (16-20z) and mixed it in. The flavor was stronger at 8-12oz but was still very light.

Effectiveness

8.5/10
I experienced similar results to ordinary B-alanine and creatine supplementation. I experienced modest strength and endurance capacity increases but nothing mind-blowing. I found that I could move up an extra 5lbs with dumbbell lifts or 10lbs in barbell lifts after a few weeks of use (beginning somewhere in weeks 3-4). This wasn't anything better than consistent creatine monohydrate or B-alanine supplementation in my experience. In fact, I feel like I have gotten better results from creatine gluconate supplementation. That is probably statistically false but that's how I felt.

I experienced the most notable results in respect to cardiovascular exercise. I found that in weeks 3-4, cardio became a little easier. At this time, I noticed that "the burn" that set in with cardio started to appear a little later into my workout. Instead of feeling "the burn" about 5 minutes into cardiovascular exercise, I started to feel it closer to 10 minutes in by week 4. Granted, some of this is undoubtedly the result of naturally adapting to static workloads. Still, I think Carnoforge supplementation sped up this adaption. I can't prove this definitively but based off my past experiences I would say that Carnoforge helped some - I just don't know how much. Furthermore, this may be no more impressive than B-alanine supplementation alone. I cannot really speak to that because I have not supplemented with just B-alanine enough. I can say, however, that Carnoforge supplementation seemed to add something "extra" to my standard pre-workout supplementation which usually included creatine and B-alanine.

Thus, I believe that Carnoforge supplementation helped my performance in terms of strength and endurance. I cannot definitively say that is was better than just creatine or B-alanine supplementation alone. I believe I noticed a positive difference from just creatine or B-alanine supplementation in cardiovascular exercise but merely similar effects to creatine or B-alanine supplementation in strength (lifting) workouts.

Value

7.5/10
I could only find Podium Gold for $43.99 for a (60 scoop) 60 serving tub or $29.99 for a (120ct) 60 serving bottle. At $0.74 a scoop or $0.50 a [capsule form] serving. While this is not terrible by any means, bulk creatine and B-alanine can be combined for a cheaper cost per serving. That being said, I don't know if Carnoforge is superiorly bonded, which may warrant an increased cost per serving. Therefore, I increased the rating from a 7.0 to a 7.5 to account for this unknown. I would rate this a 8/10 but I cannot be sure that supplementing with creatine and B-alanine raws produce statistically weaker results that also warrant an increase in cost per serving. As a financially conscious consumer I try to evaluate cost-benefit ratios for as much as possible and make decisions after comparing the cost-benefit ratios of different products. It can get a little tedious and in the weeds but for that reason I think a 7.5 is very reasonable. Additionally, increased retailer availability would also help the score here.

Side Effects

10/10
I did not experience the side effects that sometimes come with creatine supplementation (bloating) and B-alanine supplementation (paresthesia).

Conclusion

8.3/10
I get to a 8.3/10 after rounding up from 8.25/10. I get to 8.25/10 after averaging the scores for Value and Effectiveness as these are the most relevant sections. I added 0.25 for the high marks in the Side Effects, Taste/Mixability/Dosing, and Ingredient Profile categories. Overall, I think this product is worth trying out. I would probably not take the plunge if I needed to have a really strict budget because I feel that combined B-alanine and creatine supplementation may come close enough for cheaper. If I had a little flexibility with my supplement budget, I'd probably give this a try for convenience, novelty, and because it is light enough to be refreshing to drink intra-workout.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Endurance
  • Better Recovery
  • Increased Strength
  • Bit Too Expensive
  • Not Widely Available
  • Slightly Expensive
  • Full Pilot Study Not Available



Overall
Overall
8.0
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
8.0
Value
Value
8.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Outbreak Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  July 10, 2017

Introduction

I'd like to sincerely apologize to Outbreak Nutrition for taking so long on this review. I've had a lot of personal stuff going on and at times life seemed turned upside down. Thankfully I'm back for good now and hope to provide some helpful reviews for the SR family. Thanks to Outbreak Nutrition for sending this out and being patient, it is truly appreciated.

Ingredient Profile

8.5/10
Oubtreak Nutrition packs a fair amount of effective ingredients in a 5.5g scoop. I'll be breaking them down below but at first glance it looks to be effective and devoid of point...

Introduction

I'd like to sincerely apologize to Outbreak Nutrition for taking so long on this review. I've had a lot of personal stuff going on and at times life seemed turned upside down. Thankfully I'm back for good now and hope to provide some helpful reviews for the SR family. Thanks to Outbreak Nutrition for sending this out and being patient, it is truly appreciated.

Ingredient Profile

8.5/10
Oubtreak Nutrition packs a fair amount of effective ingredients in a 5.5g scoop. I'll be breaking them down below but at first glance it looks to be effective and devoid of pointless ingredients like Raspberry Ketones.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCL (ALCAR) is included at 1 gram. ALCAR is typically billed as helping weight loss by promoting fat as an energy source for mitochondria. While this may be theoretically true, the results seem to be lacking. That doesn't mean ALCAR's inclusion here is useless for fat loss, however. ALCAR can help improve insulin sensitivity (always a good thing when overweight), promote cognition, and combat fatigue. The insulin sensitivity properties alone make it worthy of including in a fat burning supplement. The ability to promote focus and combat fatigue make ALCAR's inclusion even more welcomed since dieting can result in mental fogginess and lethargy. Additionally, the increased activity that may result from ALCAR supplementation could help with fat loss. While that may rely on using the transitive property, it is still an important connection to make. With an efficacious dose range of 630mg-2,500mg, 1 gram is a respectable dose.

L-Tyrosine is included at 500mg. L-Tyrosine is stimulatory to a degree and is metabolized to produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline, but studies seem to show that supplementation produces lackluster results in increasing the amounts of neurotransmitters in the body. L-Tyrosine may also help alleviate some acute stress (notably memory deficits) which may be helpful during dieting periods. According to Examine, it is also structurally similar to thyroid hormones which may explain its inclusion in fat loss supplements. I have no idea if there is any relation between L-Tyrosine intake and thyroid hormone levels but I felt like it was worth mentioning. With an efficacious dose range of 7g-10g for 150b person this dose seems to be lacking. However, such an amount would be somewhat absurd in a blend like this. Anecdotal evidence suggests a range of 500mg-2000mg which would put this at the bare minimum. Thus, while this dose could be higher, it at least satisfies the anecdotal threshold.

Caffeine is included at 300mg. Caffeine is a stimulant that promotes mental cognition, increases metabolism, and even increases strength. The degree of these effects depend on multiple variables such as genetics, tolerance, dose, etc. At 300mg, this is a solid dose that may even be considered too strong for some. Personally, I think this is right in the upper limit of the Goldilocks zone.

Coleus Forskohlii is included at 100mg with a 20% forskolin content. Coleus Forskohlii is thought to promote fat loss and testosterone production, and may even have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. From what I understand, the jury is still out on this but it couldn't hurt to include. Additionally, Forskolin also increases cAMP levels, which is associated with fat loss. With an efficacious dose of 500mg at 10% Forskolin content (50mg), this comes up short. However, given the lack of scientific consensus on dosing and effects there is a little more leeway here.

Rhodiola Rosea standardized for 3% salidrosides is included at 150mg, or 4.5mg salidrosides. Rhodiola Rosea helps combat fatigue and alleviate stress. While it may help with fatigue resulting from physical exertion, it seems to be best for fatigue resulting from other stressors. I'm no doctor or scientist but perhaps this could help with the fatigue and stress resulting from periods of dieting. Efficacious doses range from 288mg-680mg standardized for 1% salidrosides or 3% rosavins. Given that the salidroside content in this dose range is 2.88mg-6.8mg, 4.5mg comes in right in the middle.

Juglans Regia Bark Extract is included at 80mg. I had to go to less credible sources to learn about this ingredient so I take all the purported effects with a grain of salt. The bark extract is thought to have anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects among others. Outbreak claims to use this as a source of 2-amino-5-methylheptane which is better known as DMHA. As a powerful stimulant, DMHA is known to increase energy and thereby mental cognition and suppress appetite. This is likely why it is included here and with an efficacious dose limit of 75mg of DMHA, the 80mg of Juglans Regia Bark Extract likely provides a fair amount.

Teacrine (Theacrine) is included at 50mg. It is thought to have similar effects to caffeine without being subject to tolerance buildup. It also claimed to have anti-inflammatory, detoxification, and mood-boosting properties. While doses up to over 300mg have been shown to be safe, given the other stimulants in this product 50mg seems to be a fair amount.

Capsimax (capsicum) is included at 50mg. Capsicum is the chemical found in peppers that cause that burning sensation. It has been shown to increase metabolic rate and even promote insulin release from the pancreas at high doses. Here it is likely included for the metabolic effects. While 50mg is a lot less than a dedicated capsaicin supplement it is a nice inclusion nonetheless.

Actigin (Panax Notoginseng and Rosa Roxburghii) is included at 25mg. Action is thought to help reduce inflammation and boost endurance and recovery. These benefits are always welcome when dieting. Actigin may also have antioxidant properties. It is typically dosed at 50mg so there is half the dose here. Given that this is not a dedicated actigin supplement, 25mg is not too bad - especially if you take other products with it, which seem to be more and more popular these days.

Finally Synephrine (Citrus Aurantium) is included at 30mg. Synephrine is supposed to have similar effects to Ephredrine but be less potent. The main reason to take Ephedrine/Synephrine in this case is for the metabolic effects (increases metabolic rate) and appetite suppression. That is most definitely welcomed in a fat burning supplement. Efficacious doses range from 10-20mg 3 times a day. At 30mg once a day this is equal to taking the minimal efficacious doses all at once. Perhaps this is not ideal but it is surely better than just taking 10mg once.

Ultimately, while some doses are a bit under or just meeting the threshold for efficacious dose ranges, the long list of synergistic ingredients helps balance this out. Sure, there is room for improvement but this is a solid profile nonetheless.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

6/10
I received the Tropical Ginger Twist flavor. I had read about the spiciness of the flavor (from the capsaicin) but took it with a grain of salt. At first, I didn't notice it too much and kind of liked the flavor. Half-way into the bottle I noticed it more and more. This may have been purely psychological but towards the end of my run I dreaded taking Reclaim because of the spiciness. Perhaps the other flavors are better but based off my experience with this flavor alone I'd suggest removing the capsaicin or (if you're a consumer) trying a different flavor.

Mixability was great. I mixed one scoop with 8-12oz of water and there was only minimal residue leftover each time.

Dosing is pretty easy. Outbreak suggests taking 1 scoop with a light meal. Personally, I stuck to this rule of thumb most of the time but also experimented with it as a pre workout. I do not suggest taking this without a meal because capsaicin burns too much.

Effectiveness

8/10
I have been looking for a fat-burning powder to replace the OG Alphamine since PEScience changed the formula. I mention this because I use this as a baseline of sorts for fat-burning powders. The main things I look for are appetite suppression, energy, and fat loss.

Reclaim mildly suppressed my appetite. It was not akin to ephedrine, for example, but it was definitely noticeable. I'd illustrate the difference in snack consumption. Without Reclaim I could (and would) eat about 3 snacks between meals throughout the day. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, snacks are the bane of my existence when dieting. Cutting back snack consumption is a great way to cut caloric consumption and thereby lose weight. With Reclaim, I'd still have a snack (or maybe two when I felt like I was starving or had an extremely long day) throughout the day, but definitely not 3 or more. Additionally, the snacks were usually smaller (e.g. an apple instead of a mini-meal). For comparison's sake, with something like ephedrine I could cut my snacking to 1 snack maximum with minimal effort.

With DMHA, caffeine, and teacrine, there was little doubt in my mind that I'd be left disappointed in the energy department. Sure enough, after each scoop I'd have a nice energy rush for about 4-5 hours. I'd typically take this at lunch (noon) and feel great until my class ended at 5:00pm at which point I needed another pick me-up. I was never too jittery or anything of the sort, either, which is always a plus with stimulants.

Perhaps the most important of all, however, is the resulting fat loss. After all, this is a fat burning supplement. While my diet was not always perfect since I took advantage of free work lunches (which are not always super nutritious) more than once, I still noticed some fat loss. After an entire bottle I lost 5 pound, some of which was undoubtedly water weight. In my opinion, pounds lost is not as important as your appearance in the mirror. In this regard, I noticed slightly more abdominal definition. Nothing mind-blowing but a little more defined/clear. Definitely better than nothing. Could it be better? Sure. However, I take some blame (due to my diet) and I am therefore pretty happy with the results. If I gave it 100% I'm sure I could I lost a little more/looked a little better.

Value

8/10
I found this for $35 plus shipping for 30 servings. At a little over $1 a serving, it is a decent price. My rating here is more reflective of the lack of availability, however. I could only find this at a few places, namely TigerFitness and Outbreak's own website. I could not find it on Amazon nor Bodybuilding.com. I'd have rated this closer to a 9 if it had better availability but for someone like myself who doesn't shop at TF that much, the need to place multiple orders at different sites means shipping costs add up. Plus, convenience of a one-stop shop is always nice. If you do your shopping at TF, however, this is certainly a better buy.

Side Effects

8.5/10
I experienced some heartburn due to the capsaicin content, especially when taken without a meal. I also experienced some warmth due to the capsaicin but this is more welcomed than it is hated.

Conclusion

8/10
I got to a 8 overall score by averaging all the ratings to get a 7.8 and then adding .2 to the score because I feel that the effectiveness is worth a little more than the taste. All in all, this is a good fat-burning powder contender but I probably won't make it a staple due to the spicy taste and heartburn I experienced. If you can stomach the spice, then I'd definitely suggest trying it out.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Appetite Control
  • Burn Fat
  • Good Value
  • Solid Thermo Effect
  • Capsimax Spice
  • Lack Of Availability


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to NooWave Supplement Co. for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  May 30, 2017

Ingredient Profile

10/10
NooWave went with a simple but effective profile with 200mg of L-Theanine and 100mg of caffeine citrate and Infinergy (Dicaffeine Malate). L-Theanine helps moderate the negative effects of caffeine and can improve mood along with other benefits. The primary purpose in a nootropic caffeine pill like this would be to lessen the negatives like shaking/tremors that some people get with caffeine and to improve mood. Caffeine Citrate is a faster acting form of caffeine whereas Infinergy is a patented slower form. Furthermore, caffeine citrate is billed as being fa...

Ingredient Profile

10/10
NooWave went with a simple but effective profile with 200mg of L-Theanine and 100mg of caffeine citrate and Infinergy (Dicaffeine Malate). L-Theanine helps moderate the negative effects of caffeine and can improve mood along with other benefits. The primary purpose in a nootropic caffeine pill like this would be to lessen the negatives like shaking/tremors that some people get with caffeine and to improve mood. Caffeine Citrate is a faster acting form of caffeine whereas Infinergy is a patented slower form. Furthermore, caffeine citrate is billed as being faster than caffeine anhydrous; I couldn't tell a real difference. Together, the two should provide an extended energy boost with minimal crash. There isn't much more you could want in a caffeine pill. I'd even argue that adding more to this would venture outside of caffeine pill territory.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
These are small white capsules that are very easy to swallow. The dosing is simple: one-two whenever needed. The bottle suggests taking it on an empty stomach but that's not always possible. I never took two capsules at once and typically took one in the morning or one in the afternoon after lunch. Occasionally, I took two in the same day. Pretty simple stuff.

Effectiveness

9/10
This worked about as well as you might expect it to from reading the ingredient profile. I got a sudden burst of energy after about 15 minutes and it usually lasted a few hours (approximately 4-6). I noticed a slightly quicker onset when I took a capsule in the morning which is likely a byproduct of my small breakfasts. The energy was never a "cracked out" type of feeling but rather a smooth energy. For example, after lunch I typically get the itis so I usually take some form of caffeine to combat the afternoon slump. While this product had me as awake and alert as I was before lunch, I never became jittery or felt too pent up with energy. Additionally, these effects lasted right up until I would leave work. There's about 5 hours from lunch to end of business so that's pretty good. Also, I never really felt a sudden end or "crash" to the energy boost. It kind of faded off and within an hour of leaving work I'd start to feel tired and noticeably more sluggish.

Although NooWave claims this will hit you faster than caffeine anhydrous products I could not tell a discernible difference. Maybe I felt energized <5 minutes quicker but it wasn't so noticeable that I remember it. Compared to doses in the evening, in the morning I felt a little more energy but that's more a side effect of my small breakfasts than it is any particular form of caffeine.

Value

8/10
Currently, a 20 servings (20ct) bottle goes for $16.72 on Amazon with Prime; that's $0.84 a capsule. While much cheaper than an energy drink, coffee, or other energizing options, it is relatively expensive for a caffeine pill. I've gone into detail in previous reviews about caffeine pricing and long story short, you can get caffeine pills for about $0.05 a piece. Of course, those options are solely providing caffeine anhydrous, but it gets the job done good enough. Therefore, a $0.84/pill is a bit pricey for a caffeine pill but this is a fair price for the different forms of caffeine, especially with one being patented, and L-theanine. It could be a bit better, perhaps by switching to caffeine anhydrous or increasing the small bottle size. Still, at a bare minimum it is worth the cost since it is better than more expensive energy options like energy drinks, etc. That being said, as a struggling college student I'll probably stick to more bare bones options. If I ever decide to indulge in the caffeine pill market, however, then this would be well within reasonable price ranges and a no-brainer.

I also deduct 0.5 for the small bottle size. Caffeine pills are so versatile that someone can easily use two bottles in a month. A larger bottle would not only be more cost effective for consumers but it would also negate having to continually order bottles. I'd suggest a 60ct bottle at minimum with a 100ct being preferred in my mind.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while using this product.

Conclusion

8.5/10
I get a 8.5 from averaging the scores for the value, effectiveness, and ingredient profile categories as they are the most relevant here. Unless I experienced serious side effects or extreme difficulties with dosing/taste then I discount those rating for the most part. I deducted an additional 0.5 from the 9 average because I feel value is perhaps the most important factor behind effectiveness when talking about caffeine pills. In this case, it really comes down to, "should I upgrade from a basic caffeine anhydrous pill and spend more? Is it worth it?" Ultimately, I believe it is worth it if you can afford the indulgence. If you are someone trying to cut some fluff out of your supplement budget though (they can get pricey quick) then this is an area to do it as the difference will be one of the least notable across the various categories. Regardless of your budget though, if you try this product you will not regret it!
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Better Focus
  • Better Alertness
  • Better Mood
  • Increased Energy
  • Small Bottle Size



Overall
Overall
8.5
Effectiveness
Effectiveness
9.0
Value
Value
5.0
Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to AZÖTH for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  March 25, 2017

Introduction

Thanks to Azoth for sending this out. I read a great piece on PricePlow (https://blog.priceplow.com/nootropics/azoth) on this and just had to try this when I saw it come across TROOPS!

Ingredient Profile

8.75/10
PricePlow is right; this is a fully loaded nootropic. I've just started to learn about nootropics but from what I've learned thus far, this is kind of profile is what you should be looking for. I can't really think of anything that this is missing. Additionally, almost all of the ingredients are efficaciously dosed, although most are at the lower end ...

Introduction

Thanks to Azoth for sending this out. I read a great piece on PricePlow (https://blog.priceplow.com/nootropics/azoth) on this and just had to try this when I saw it come across TROOPS!

Ingredient Profile

8.75/10
PricePlow is right; this is a fully loaded nootropic. I've just started to learn about nootropics but from what I've learned thus far, this is kind of profile is what you should be looking for. I can't really think of anything that this is missing. Additionally, almost all of the ingredients are efficaciously dosed, although most are at the lower end of the efficacious range. Azoth is comprised of: 350mg of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 300mg of Alpha-GPC, 300mg Ashwagandha root, 150mg of Phenylpiracetam, 100mg of Octodrine (DMHA), 100mg of Hordenine HCL, 50mg of Noopept (GVS-111), 15mg of Vinpocetine, 10mg of Huperzine-A, and 5mg of Bioperine black pepper extract.

N-Acteyl L-Tyrosine is purported to be more bioavailable form of L-Tyrosine, requiring less to get the same effect. L-Tyrosine can help promote and support cognition, subjective well-being, and working memory when exposed to acute stressors such as changes in altitude or temperature. L-Tyrosine is usually dosed at 500mg-2000mg but studies showed optimal results at 100-150mg/kg of bodyweight which factors out to 7-10g for a 150lb person. I don't know of many people who use 7+ grams of L-Tyrosine at a time so I'll judge this based off the 500mg-2000mg range. It falls a little short of the 500mg goal but since N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine should have better bioavailability, 350mg may be just enough to meet the mark after all.

Alpha-GPC is the most efficient form of choline, according to Examine. Moreover, Alpha-GPC is a preferred form of choline over the commonly seen choline bitartrate (although this does have some noteworthy uses such as decreases fat deposits in the liver). 600mg has been shown to have benefits for power output and growth hormone secretion while double that (1,200mg) has been shown to help stave off cognitive decline. The amount in Azoth is anywhere from half to 1/4 the dose used in studies but 300mg is a commonly used dose. I think Azoth should up the dose in the future (especially for the price) but at least they are using the right form of choline. Also, while the dose could be higher, I have seen a lot of supplements with 100-200mg of Alpha-GPC trying to claim the benefits found in the scientific studies which used 3-6x the amount and that is just misleading - at least 300mg has anecdotally been found to produce some of the benefits (probably to a lesser degree though) found in the studies.

Ashwagandha root is a well known adaptogen that has been shown to reduce social anxiety, cortisol production, stress, "bad" cholesterol (LDL-C), blood glucose levels, symptoms of depression, blood pressure (moderate effects), FSH production (statistically significant effects), and Triglycerides, and increase power output, "good" cholesterol (HDL-C), LH production, seminal motility and quality, and hemoglobin production. There a ton of other purported benefits that I didn't mention because there isn't sufficient evidence to support their existence but that doesn't mean you won't experience them. Likewise, you may not experience all of the above benefits, but most of them have some scientific backing and commonly reported with ashwagandha root supplementation. While an optimal dose is 6 grams, common dosages are 300mg-500mg for cost purposes. This just meets the mark. At such a dose I wouldn't expect to see all of the benefits listed above but since anxiety-related effects have been reported at 50mg-100mg, this should be enough for nootropic purposes. Furthermore, Azoth uses the patented KSM-66 form which is supposed to be the best and most studied form so big props for that!

Phenylpiracetam is basically piracetam with a phenyl group added. Apparently that added phenyl group increases the neuro-protective qualities of piracetam. Phenylpiracetam has been show to improve cognition for people in cognitive decline, increase the rate of stroke recovery, and stave off cognitive decline. Although there isn't really much evidence out there to show it helps otherwise healthy persons, I think the leap of faith [that this will help otherwise healthy people] is relatively common throughout the supplement industry so I certainly understand its inclusion in Azoth. Doses are usually 100-200mg up to 3x a day for a upper limit of 600mg. At 150mg this seems to be the ideal compromise and high enough to see potential benefits.

Octodrine or DMHA is best known as the preferred replacement for 1,3 DMAA, albeit a bit weaker. It is likely included for its stimulatory effects. Additionally it boosts dopamine and noradrenaline uptake and slows their reuptake which helps promote subjective well-being. PricePlow notes that it may also have antibacterial and antifungal properties (cool!). The "goldilocks" dose is anywhere from 100-150mg so at 100mg this is just enough.

Hordenine may have stimulatory and fat burning effects. It is also purported to be a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor. There's not a lot of evidence backing up these effects but, again, sometimes you have to make a leap of faith and with everything else in here I don't mind making that leap as even if it has no effects, I think it could hurt to take it. I couldn't really find much on how much hordenine to take so based on everything else, I'll assume this is the lower end of a common dose.

Huperzine-A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. In other words, it blocks the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine which results in greater acetylcholine concentrations. As a neurotransmitter, it should help with cognition, focus, mood, and memory. Typical doses range from 50mcg-200mcg which factors out 0.05mg to 0.2mg. At 1% of 10mg there is 0.1mg (100mcg) in Azoth which is a decent dose.

Noopept, or N-Phenyacetyl-L-Prolylglycine ethyl ester, is thought to have similar effects to piracetam as well as psychostimulatory and neuro-protective benefits. However, like with piracetam, the cognitive benefits were found in people with cognitive deficiencies. According to Examine, Noopept has more promise with benefitting otherwise healthy persons. Typical doses range from 10mg-30mg so Azoth has more than enough at 50mg. This is the most well-dosed ingredient in the profile.

Vinpocetine is thought to promote memory formation and blood flow to the brain, and help with cognitive decline. It has been shown to have neuro-protective benefits, reduce neural inflammation, and improve reaction time (in otherwise healthy people too!). Doses of 15mg-60mg are common with 30mg-45mg the suggested range for nootropic effects. At 15mg this is half the lowest extreme of the suggested range and the lowest extreme of the range for common doses. I'd like it at least to be 30mg but at least it meets the 15mg threshold.

Bioperine is the preferred patented form of black pepper extract. The scientific studies show results best results at 20mg of black pepper extract if I'm not mistaken but even as low as 5mg has shown to aid absorption. That being said, I'd like there to be at least 10mg but since the most common range that I see is 5mg-10mg this isn't unexpected. Moreover, this dose has been found to aid in absorption so at least this meets that threshold.

All in all, this is well dosed considering how many different ingredients there are (and in just 3 pills).
Note: I relied on PricePlow and Examine for most of the ingredient information.

----Taste/Mixability/Dosing-- 10/10
The serving size is just 3 capsules and the suggested dose is anywhere from 1-3 capsules every other day, with 1-2 being for "optimal results" (that's a little confusing). I always took 3 a day except for once when I took 2. Mixability is inapplicable here. Similarly, there's no taste or aftertaste with these. The dosing is really easy to follow so I just took them with breakfast for that early morning boost to start the day right. A little plus is that the packaging is a resealable baggie.

Effectiveness

9/10
This is really a standout nootropic product. Although it may have relatively low doses for most of the ingredients, I think the wide spectrum of ingredients really shines and contributes to the effectiveness. In short, I really enjoyed my experience with Azoth.

About 15-30 minutes after breakfast, I felt a noticeable boost in cognition. I felt more alert and just more "alive." I noticed I was quicker and sharper with tasks at work, more focused, and was just in an all-around better mood. These effects were really pronounced. I can confidently say I shaved off ~15 and possibly even 20 minutes off my usual morning tasks, and I could have probably shaved off even more if I had longer assignments in the morning. Additionally, I felt synergistic effects with caffeine. I started using Azoth when I was just drinking a single K cup at work but I wound up deciding I needed 2 K cups to get through the work-time slog. Unsurprisingly, the synergistic effects were only amplified with more caffeine. I suggest starting with lower amounts of caffeine and working your way up if you are stimulant sensitive since this has DMHA in it. I should note that my caffeine consumption was about 1 hour after taking Azoth.

I can't really say express how good I felt while taking this or just how much sharper I felt. I can't imagine what it would have been like if most of these ingredients were dosed at the upper ranges - maybe it'd be like NZT-48 (from Limitless) lol. I definitely suggest you try it out for yourself!

Value

5/10
The value and availability is where Azoth takes a huge hit. As far as I know, it can only be found on Azoth's website. It's listed for $44.95 for 30 capsules (10 servings-20 days). It is apparently marked down from $79.99 but I think this is one of the cases where the MSRP is marked higher so it feels like you are getting a better deal despite this always being the price. No big deal, everyone does it. Still, at $44.95 it factors out to $4.50 a serving or every 2 days. That's a lot to pay for a nootropic when their are a lot cheaper options out there. They may not be as well-rounded or well-dosed and you may not experience all the effects that I got from this with cheaper options but at least you could afford to take it and get some benefit rather than none. At this price point it is truly a luxury supplement. Now to be fair, you can use PLOW40 for 40% off 1 or PLOW50FOR1 for BOGO and that drops it to $26.97 or $22.475 a container which factors out to ~$2.70 and ~$2.30 which isn't bad but is still not great. Since I don't know how long those coupons will be good for I have to go by the $4.50 value. I guess to some extent you get what you pay for but there's no way around it - this is a lot of dough.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects while taking Azoth.

Conclusion

8.5/10
Ultimately, this is an outstanding product. I highly suggest trying it, especially while the PricePlow coupons are active. I have a feeling this will be one of the best nootropics I will have tried (this is my second experience with the category). Unfortunately, the value really hurts the overall rating of this product.

I got to 8.5 by averaging the "Ingredient Profile," "Effectiveness," and "Value" categories as they were most relevant here. I then added a full point because I enjoyed my experience (i.e. the "Effectiveness") that much!
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Focus
  • Appetite Suppression
  • Long Lasting
  • As Needed
  • Increased Drive
  • Lower Anxiety Levels
  • Feeling Of Wellbening
  • Too Expensive
  • -Not Widely Available


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Vital 4U® for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  March 25, 2017

Introduction

Thank to Vital 4U for sending this out. I've never used a vita-pack for more than a trial period so I was a little skeptical when starting this. Now I'm a huge fan of the convenience and will probably use this again.

Ingredient Profile

7.5/10
Vital 4U's vitamin essentials really lives up to its name. This is a standard multivitamin and mineral vita-pack that covers the essential vitamins and minerals. It also has a herbal complex table and a lecithin soft gel. I haven't previously used vita-packs so I know if this is standard or not but it was a nice bonus eith...

Introduction

Thank to Vital 4U for sending this out. I've never used a vita-pack for more than a trial period so I was a little skeptical when starting this. Now I'm a huge fan of the convenience and will probably use this again.

Ingredient Profile

7.5/10
Vital 4U's vitamin essentials really lives up to its name. This is a standard multivitamin and mineral vita-pack that covers the essential vitamins and minerals. It also has a herbal complex table and a lecithin soft gel. I haven't previously used vita-packs so I know if this is standard or not but it was a nice bonus either way. I won't go into great detail about all of the ingredients as there is just simply too many. Instead, I will cover general categories.

This is largely a well-rounded product. In addition to covering the major vitamins and minerals, it uses a fair amount of chelated forms, complexes, and ok dosages. I've read that chelated forms are supposed to have better bioavailability/absorption in the body but I'm not sure which vitamins and minerals that applies to. Nonetheless, their presence in Vitamin Essential is welcomed. Similarly, I like that the B, C, and D+K vitamins were within larger complexes that included extras like PABA, Rose Hips, Choline, Quercetin, etc. I was also glad that the dosages for the more essential ingredients were at least 100% Daily Recommended Value. I don't eat nearly as many greens as I should so I really need all the help I can get in my supplementation.

That being said, I would have liked to have seen higher dosages for a fair amount of the ingredients. The most notable example would be the herbal complex. I think it could have been a little larger, say 500mg or maybe even 1 gram? Also, I thought the Vitamin D3 was a little "low" at 400IUs. To be fair I use "low" in quotations as it is a 100% DRV dose but relative to my requirements (living in the North during winter) this is low. Similarly, I thought the Vitamin C was a little low at 200mg - I would have liked to have seen 500mg. I don't really deduct too much for this because I understand this product is just meant to cover the bases at reasonable doses for the average person. Still, I have to compare this to competitors like Animal Pak and Orange Triad-which have 1g and 600mg of Vitamin-C for a quick comparison. In this regard, Vitamin Essentials falls short. Moreover, these competitors offer more complexes, and extras for a similar price. That doesn't mean this isn't a good product though. I'd probably put this right below them in terms of my personal favorites but top 3 is still worthwhile. Ultimately, I didn't think there were any egregious shortcomings to be found but I would have wanted a little more before I considered this outstanding.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
This is just a simple vita-pack containing 6 tablets and 2 softgels to be taken once daily with a meal. I usually took this right after lunch and didn't notice any aftertastes with any tablet or softgel (not that I expected to). I found the convenience of the vita-pack to be unparalleled. I've taken small ziploc baggies with various supplements or brought the containers with me to work/class (this can be a pain at times), but nothing quite beats a pre-packaged vita-pack. Sure, you pay for the convenience, but that convenience made me more likely to remember to take the supplement, which is never a bad thing. Mixability is not applicable for this supplement.

Effectiveness

8/10
I'll preface this by saying that within a week of running out of Vitamin essentials, I caught a common cold and then the flu. It could be a coincidence (it likely is) but I felt it was an anecdote worth sharing in case it contributed in some way to my weakened immune system.

Although I got sick shortly after finishing a container of Vitamin Essentials vita-packs, I never got sick during my use of the product. Nearly half of the people at the office caught some form of illness but I mostly managed to survive unscathed. I would occasionally feel a little off for a day here or there but it was never so bad that it alone would cause me to miss a workout or something else important. Considering I was in close proximity to a fair amount of sick people and could have fallen ill any day, I'd say this helped my immune system at the very least.

As far as other identifiers of effectiveness are concerned, I believe that multi-vitamin+mineral supplements are best judged by how you feel after you have stopped taking the product in addition to your immune defense capacity while taking it. In this case, it was a bit hard for me to tell exactly how I felt afterwards since I got sick shortly after but for about a week before that happened, I noticed a slight slump in my overall wellbeing. It is hard to quantify but I'd say if I was 100% while taking this, I was ~90% when I wasn't - that's to say there was a small but noticeable difference. For me, this is a reliable, albeit anecdotal, way to discern the effectiveness of these kinds of supplements. Therefore, I'd consider this to be a good contender in the vita-pack category.

Value

7.5/10
I found this listed at $35 for a 30 [pack] serving container or $33.25 with a subscription on the Vital 4U website as well as Amazon. That factors out to $1.17 and $1.11 a serving respectively. Compared to perhaps the most well known vita-pack contender, Animal Pak, this is not a great nor an outstanding value. For comparison, Animal Pak IS $26.95 and $25.60 for a 44-pak/serving container, which factors out to $0.61 and $0.58 a pak/serving respectively. At the worst extreme, that's just more [by $0.01; $0.58x2=$1.16] than double the value.

Now, I don't mind paying ~$1 a day for a supplement if it works, the benefits are worth it, and it is a fair price for the ingredients. Even though there are cheaper competitors, I think is still affordable for what you get. I'd like to see it closer to $1 so I'll rate it a little lower than 8/10 but its not a bad value - just not amazing. If you find it on sale then it is most likely worth pulling the trigger.

Side Effects

10/10
I had no side effects while taking Vitamin Essentials. Notably, I didn't have neon colored urine so that indicates that absorption of ingredients was on point.

Conclusion

7.5/10
Ultimately, this is a noteworthy contender in the multi-vitamin+mineral category, especially among the vita-pack group, and for the right reasons. It could be better, sure, but it is a good product. Just because Animal Pak is a greater value doesn't necessarily mean it is better for everyone as this may be a better fit for someone who isn't as "hardcore" or "intense" and is just looking to be healthy. If that's your goal then by all means look no further - unless your wallet demands so. If you are looking for that "hardcore"/"intense" competitor for this category then perhaps look elsewhere. You wouldn't be disappointed with this product but you're probably looking for something more. In short, I'd recommend trying this if it fits your goals or if you can find it on sale.

I get to a 7.8 overall rating by averaging the "Ingredient Profile," "Effectiveness," and "Value" categories which are most relevant here. This produces a 7.67 rating and I round up since I really enjoyed the convenience of a vita-pack.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Increased Immunity
  • Nice Profile
  • Too Expensive


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to Nature Restore for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  March 19, 2017

Introduction

Thanks to Nature Restore for sending this out! I picked this mostly because I wanted to try a challenging review and I like the science behind capsaicin so I figured what better opportunity than this.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
Each pill contains 500mg of 0.45 capsaicin extract-that's 225mg of capsaicin. I couldn't really find much on how much effective capsaicin constitutes an efficacious dose but I found the range to be 500mg-3g (500mg-1g 3x/day) with 1.5g being most common. Capsaicin has a host of benefits, some of which are: increased metabolism, fat oxidatio...

Introduction

Thanks to Nature Restore for sending this out! I picked this mostly because I wanted to try a challenging review and I like the science behind capsaicin so I figured what better opportunity than this.

Ingredient Profile

9/10
Each pill contains 500mg of 0.45 capsaicin extract-that's 225mg of capsaicin. I couldn't really find much on how much effective capsaicin constitutes an efficacious dose but I found the range to be 500mg-3g (500mg-1g 3x/day) with 1.5g being most common. Capsaicin has a host of benefits, some of which are: increased metabolism, fat oxidation, thermogenesis, decreased inflammation, and improved blood flow. Additionally, it is used to help treat arthritis but I think it is more commonly used in a cream form for that purpose, but I am not certain.

Also, I typically 500mg pills of an undisclosed capsaicin extract from competitors. I have used NOW's cayenne before and that extract was listed at 40,000 Scoville units whereas this is listed at 70,000 Scoville units-that's 1.75x more! Therefore, I'll give Nature Restore the benefit of doubt here and assume that this is above the industry standard. I will also assume that the dosing range I found was for capsule amount [500mg] and not effective capsaicin [225mg]. I just can't imagine having to take this 6-7 times to get ~1.5g. The only things I could think of including are some sort of coating to help prevent heartburn and some sort of absorption enhanced like Black Pepper Extract. Their absence is not a huge deal but that is what would make this a 10/10.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

9/10
There was no taste per se to this supplement but there was a hint of a peppery aftertaste. Since capsaicin comes from peppers and this is literally cayenne pepper, the aftertaste is no surprise. It is near nonexistent if you take this with food, which I highly recommend. I tried taking this without food a few times and the peppery aftertaste and heartburn were so intense I had to eat immediately and never took it without food again. Moreover, I took this 2-3 times a day with my main meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Effectiveness

8/10
This category is extremely hard to rate. I have no real way of telling if this decreased inflammation or increased blood flow. Similarly I cannot know for sure if there was improved fat oxidation at a cellular level. I also cannot speak to the arthritis-related effects since I do not have arthritis. However, I do believe I experienced a slight metabolism boost and some thermogenesis. Within ~15-30 minutes of taking this, I felt noticeably warmer. It wasn't like I burning up but I could tell a difference from before the dose. Therefore, I'm relatively sure I experienced some boost in thermogenesis from this cayenne supplement. Additionally, I felt like there must have been some improvement in my metabolism as I was able to sneak in a snack here or there and didn't really notice a difference in the scale. Now, capsaicin will not get you ripped on its own but I think the science behind its metabolic properties is pretty strong so I believe that it certainly aids fat loss to some extent. In other words, I couldn't get away with adding a sheet cake nor a Snickers into my diet but I could probably afford an additional apple throughout the day.

Value

7.5/10
I found this on Amazon [Prime] for $11.95 for a 90ct bottle. In comparison, I found NOW's cayenne pills on Amazon [Prime] for $10.43 for a 250ct bottle. Of course Nature Restore's extract is 1.75x more potent but it is not necessarily worth it as you could save $ and just take more of an inferior product like NOW. Still, you're paying somewhat for the convenience of not having to take 10+ cayenne pills a day and to avoid the subsequent heartburn. If you're in the market for a cayenne supplement, I'd say the cost difference is worth the convenience. However, I would personally like to see a special coating or nutrient absorption enhancer added in for the price.

Side Effects

8/10
The only side effect I experienced was heartburn about 30 minutes after a dose. I mostly experienced this when I did not take the cayenne with food but sometimes I would still get it after a small meal. At its worst, this heartburn was absolutely terrible but the greater my food intake, the less intense the heartburn. By no means should you ever take this on an empty stomach, that is just suicidal.

Conclusion

8/10
Ultimately, I felt like this was a good cayenne competitor. The heartburn was a real pain but I felt a real difference in terms of thermogenesis and an increased metabolism. Also, I trust the science behind the other purported benefits like improved blood flow so I imagine I experienced these hard to notice effects as well. This could be better with the inclusion of a special coating to help prevent heartburn and even some black pepper extract (or something similar) but its potency alone makes it a top contender for this category. I'd recommend this if you are in the market for cayenne for whatever reason, but do not think this is some sort of miraculous natural fat burner; it is not. Furthermore, I would not recommend this to replace a fat burner unless you are using it in conjunction with other supplements in a create-your-own fat burner. If you just want the fat burning properties, then take a dedicated fat burning supplement. If you want some all around health benefits with a fat-burning boost, look no further.

I got a 8 rating by averaging the "Ingredient Profile," "Effectiveness," "Side Effects," and "Taste/Mixability/Dosing" categories as these were most relevant here. That gives a 8.125 score but I rounded down to an 8 since I felt that there was more room for improvement in value, side effects, and ingredient profile than a 8.125 indicates. In other words, I felt that an 8 score was the most fair rating.


Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
Thanks to VMI Sports Nutrition for sending it out!
(Show run details )
  March 19, 2017

Introduction

Thanks to VMI for sending this out! I really enjoyed it!

Ingredient Profile

9/10
What other than caffeine could you put in a caffeine pill? Well, it turns out that you can put a lot in them these days. However, you'll pay for those extras and then you might as well not consider it a mere "caffeine pill" anymore. That being said, I like that VMI seems to have taken a moderate approach.

Each pill contains a 290mg blend of 1,3,7 trimethylxanthine, di-caffeine malate (Infinergy), and L-Theanine. Each pill has ~200mg of caffeine so deductive reasoning tell us the ...

Introduction

Thanks to VMI for sending this out! I really enjoyed it!

Ingredient Profile

9/10
What other than caffeine could you put in a caffeine pill? Well, it turns out that you can put a lot in them these days. However, you'll pay for those extras and then you might as well not consider it a mere "caffeine pill" anymore. That being said, I like that VMI seems to have taken a moderate approach.

Each pill contains a 290mg blend of 1,3,7 trimethylxanthine, di-caffeine malate (Infinergy), and L-Theanine. Each pill has ~200mg of caffeine so deductive reasoning tell us the L-Theanine is present at 90mg. Now, I'm taking the rep's note of 200mg of caffeine in total and not effective caffeine. The difference is that the effective caffeine would be lower as Infinergy is 75:25 caffeine and malic acid. Since this is one big proprietary blend, there is no way to tell the ratio of caffeine [anhydrous] to di-caffeine malate (but at least we know the ratio of caffeine to malic acid, which is nice). It's not a huge difference in caffeine content but the difference in L-Theanine is more noteworthy.

L-Theanine is a great inclusion in a caffeine pill because it is known to moderate the effects of caffeine, lessening the harsher negative side effects like shaking and anxiety. L-Theanine has also been shown to promote cognition and attention so there is a nootropic aspect here as well. While Caffinity includes what I am assuming to be 90mg of L-Theanine, the efficacious amounts were found to be 100mg-200mg with 200mg being the amount used in studies. I wish VMI would have put 200mg in here because I'm all about efficacious dosing, even if it means more $. I will quickly note that I believe I felt some benefit to the L-Theanine, which may be partly placebo effect and/or partly due to it only being [what I assume to be] only 10mg lower than the lower extreme of the suggested dosing range [100mg]. Still, this is the profile section and I do deduct a little for using less than at least the lowest suggested amount.

On a side note, I don't like the use of a proprietary blend, especially since nothing here is too unique or groundbreaking. There's a rep note that it has 200mg of caffeine but I couldn't find this anywhere on the bottle. I think it is irresponsible for companies not to disclose the total amount of stimulants, especially caffeine, on the bottle. I like the use of patented di-caffeine malate in the form of Infinergy but I'd much prefer the other changes. Also, if I was really picky I'd rail against the use of red dye to make these cool looking pills but I don't mind it as much as I do in powders/liquid. Plus, the red pills made me think I was taking something more intense so I think using dye was worth it here.

Taste/Mixability/Dosing

10/10
These are pills so there is no taste here. Similarly, there is no mixability rating either. I'll substitute taste for ease of taking (size, etc.) here but it makes no difference in rating because the pills were also easy to take.

Dosing was easy, with 1-2 capsules suggested throughout the day. Use before workout is also suggested but obviously that's if you need the pick me-up before your workout. I work 9am-6pm and have to take the metro to get home so I'm not usually hitting the gym until ~7pm most days. That being the case, I usually need a pick me-up somewhere between 1pm and 3pm and so I typically used Caffinity then. Some days I took it a little before or after that but that was the usual time. Also, some days I would take it whenever else I needed a pick me-up like late at night for a long study session.

Effectiveness

9/10
Although the "Ingredient Profile" section may seem a little harsh for caffeine pill, I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. I experienced a nice energy rush after about 15-30 minutes of taking Caffinity (~15 if I hadn't eaten a lot and ~30 if I had). It never felt like it was too much like with some harsher stimulants. Moreover, I believe the L-Theanine helped moderate the negative effects of caffeine a little. I'm curious what 200mg of L-Theanine would have done but even at this amount [presumably 90mg], I noticed a difference from just taking straight caffeine anhydrous or drinking coffee. I was a little less jittery and more focused than with caffeine anhydrous/coffee. The use of di-caffeine malate [Infinergy] likely contributed to this effect as well, as the caffeine doesn't hit you all at once so there is less potential for some negative side effects like jitters. With caffeine anhydrous/coffee I experience a huge jolt of energy but sometimes have trouble focusing and channeling the energy into productive uses. I attribute the heightened focus and productivity more to the L-Theanine though.

I also noticed that the energy rush lasted longer than with caffeine anhydrous or coffee. Caffeine anhydrous/coffee energy boosts usually like 4-5hrs for me. This would last for ~7 hrs which is great considering that caffeine's half life is ~6hrs and that one would expect this to last longer since the di-caffeine malate absorbs over time. In contrast, I felt the cognition and attention benefits of L-Theanine for about 5 hours which I think is pretty good. Overall, I have few complaints here and definitely prefer this over cheap caffeine pills.

Value

8/10
I found this on Amazon [Prime] for $11.35 for a 60 capsule bottle ($0.19/pill). I'd prefer this come in a 100 count bottle, which is common for caffeine pills. This would presumably increase the value a little bit but it is not a huge deal. Now $11.35 is not a lot of money but relative to other caffeine pills, some of which are in 100ct bottles, it is a little high. For comparison, ProLab makes a 200mg caffeine anhydrous pill listed at $7.65 for 100 pills on Amazon [Prime]. That's only $0.08 a pill and for a pack of three it is $15.89 which drops the price per pill down to $0.05. I think the extra $0.14 a pill is worth the better results here. It's ultimately not a lot of money so I think it is worth it-even if you could get 5x as much of a slightly inferior product for $4.54 more. Plus, I expect to pay more for the inclusion of Infinergy and L-Theanine, which accounts for some of this price increase. Still, value is relative and 5x as much is a significant difference so I deduct a little bit from the rating. That being said, I'd have no problem buying these with my own $ if I hadn't gotten them through TROOPS.

Side Effects

10/10
I experienced no side effects when taking Caffinity. In fact, I experienced less negative side effects from caffeine than usual!

Conclusion

8.7/10
Caffinity is a great caffeine pill competitor. It may cost a little more than some cheap caffeine pills but the difference is certainly worth it in my opinion. Sometimes the struggle is real though so it is still worth being aware of-even if its only $4.54 more. I definitely preferred this to straight caffeine anhydrous pills. I really liked the use of di-caffeine malate [Infinergy] and felt a noticeable improvement from the inclusion of L-Theanine. I'll probably only use the caffeine L-Theanine combination now, and when I can I will definitely look for Infinergy. Furthermore, I will likely buy Caffinity with my own $ in the future and probably more than once. I like to continually try new supplements but I always have a go-to for each category and Caffinity is that go-to supplement for my afternoon pick me-up. I definitely recommend you try this if you are in the market for something to give you an afternoon pick me-up and/or a caffeine pill/supplement!

On a side note, I got 8.7 by averaging the "Ingredient Profile," "Effectiveness," and "Value" sections which are most relevant here. That gives a score of 8.67 so I rounded up to 8.7 since I really enjoyed my experience.
 Pros:
 Cons:
  • Increased Energy
  • Builds Muscle


    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    Thanks to VMI Sports Nutrition for sending it out!
    (Show run details )
      March 5, 2017

    Introduction

    Thanks to VMI for sending this out!

    Ingredient Profile

    10/10
    VMI's Agmatine competitor delivers 30 grams of patented Agmapure agmatine sulfate and nothing else. Literally, under "other ingredients" VMI lists "none." There is no flavoring, no dyes, no binders, no fillers, etc. Now, I have absolutely no idea how Agmapure agmatine sulfate compares to Agmass agmatine sulfate. I know some brands use one over the other, but I have never really been able to tell the difference (to be fair I have not tried to either). However, I know Agmapure is a popular patented for...

    Introduction

    Thanks to VMI for sending this out!

    Ingredient Profile

    10/10
    VMI's Agmatine competitor delivers 30 grams of patented Agmapure agmatine sulfate and nothing else. Literally, under "other ingredients" VMI lists "none." There is no flavoring, no dyes, no binders, no fillers, etc. Now, I have absolutely no idea how Agmapure agmatine sulfate compares to Agmass agmatine sulfate. I know some brands use one over the other, but I have never really been able to tell the difference (to be fair I have not tried to either). However, I know Agmapure is a popular patented form - probably the most popular since I see it more often than Agmass - and the real deal. In short, all other single-ingredient agmatine supplements, regardless of the brand or patented form used, should follow this model.

    Taste/Mixability/Dosing

    10/10
    This is an unflavored powder and it is truly unflavored. There is a hint of natural bitterness but I find it gets completely overpowered by whatever beverage I mix it into. You can't ask for much better.

    Mixability was perfect. After a few stirs with a utensil or shakes in a shaker, the agmatine was nearly 100% dissolved and indiscernible in the beverage. Again, you cannot get any better.

    Dosing was extremely easy and flexible. Each scoop is 500mg, which is actually better than a 1 gram scoop in my opinion. This allows for more flexible dosing, which proved extremely important for me given how I used the supplement. I often took this before my later workouts if I had consumed too much caffeine in the day to use a full scoop of a caffeinated/stimulant-based pre-workout supplement. Sometimes, I would just take the agmatine mixed with some juice and other days I would mix a scoop or two with a half scoop or so of a caffeinated/stimulant-based pre-workout supplement. I would also take this before my earlier workouts if I had not yet had much caffeine/stimulants but planned to do so later. The small scoops allowed for extremely intuitive and flexible dosing. VMI suggests 1-3 scoops ("improve pumps"- "maximum n.o." - "vein splitting") but I rarely used more than 2 scoops regardless of the situation (sometimes 2 heaping scoops).

    Effectiveness

    9/10
    If you are looking to improve the quality, intensity, and consistency of your pumps in the gym, then you generally have 3 big routes: Agmatine, L-Citrulline, and Glycerol MonoStearate. I have had great experiences using each alone and various combinations of the three in different ratios. I have now adjusted my feelings on this and feel that a combination is best, and that a Agmatine + L-Citrulline combination is better than either on their own. That being said, that difference (of a combination vs single-ingredient supplementation) is the difference between a 9 and 10. At the proper dose, any of the big 3 should produce good results. That is exactly what I experienced with VMI's Agmatine Sulfate, which is perhaps unsurprising seeing as it's 100% patented agmatine sulfate.

    With 2 scoops, or 1 gram, I consistently experienced above-average pumps after maybe 10-15 minutes of warming up/lifting. These were not quite "vein-splitting" (although to be fair that was promised at 3 scoops) but they were just as good as the pumps I'd get from a pre-workout. Sometimes, I started feeling myself too much and would wind up changing my back workout to be an arm workout or I would add a few more exercises/sets onto whatever workout I had planned for that day. That can be a little annoying if you are on a strict schedule but I am not on such a schedule. In fact, I actually liked this increased propensity to deviate from the plan because it allowed me to have fun again in the gym at a time when I was starting to lose that special relationship I have with my gym time.

    Additionally, at 2 heaping scoops (for those days when you've been watching too much Rich Piana) I noticed a marginal increase in intensity and quality. The pumps were as equally consistent as with 2 scoops but that should not be too surprising. I do not think that the extra agmatine is really worth the increased cost per workout but I do recommend it if you have the $ to spend or need a little psychological boost in the gym to get you back on track like I did.

    To describe the pumps a little more, I'll give an example of a typical arm workout. I would start warming up with triceps after downing approximately 1 gram of VMI's Agmatine Sulfate. After the warm-up sets and 3-4 sets of whatever exercise I started with that day (just depends on what was open at the time) I would have a noticeable pump that would stick around for the entire workout. After 8-10 more sets (or ~2 exercises) my pump would intensify to the point where I felt like Arnold after dropping a Trump diss. This intensity would remain for the rest of the workout and replicate itself in my biceps once I started training them. I would keep the pump, in some degree, for 15-30 minutes after my workout.

    Value

    7/10
    I found a 60 serving unflavored tub for $20 on Amazon. That's $20 for 30 grams of patented Agmatine Sulfate and nothing else. Of course you might be able to find agmatine sulfate for a bit cheaper if it was either an unpatented form, straight from a raws manufacturer, or in bulk. However, you can also find 100-200 grams of Agmapure for $30 on Amazon. You will not typically get such quantity from a reputable brand like VMI. As far as the "reputable brand offering a single ingredient, patented, namesake supplement" category, this is a good price. I have seen other brands charge $30+ for the same stuff. Still, if I am being 100% honest I have always thought blind brand loyalty is stupid. Why pay $20 for 30 grams of Agmapure when another brand will give you 6 the amount for the same price? It is all patented Agmapure so there is quite literally no difference other than packaging. I understand some people like to just stick with whatever they know works or with a brand they can trust so I will not give this an extremely low rating. Simply put, if you want to be frugal than look elsewhere for the exact same stuff, but if you would rather stick with a reputable, trusted brand then this is a pretty cheap option.

    Side Effects

    10/10
    I experienced no side effects while taking VMI's Agmatine Sulfate.

    Conclusion

    8.5/10
    This is a solid competitor in the agmatine/pump-based pre-workout supplement market. The results I experienced are exactly what you would expect from quality, patented Agmapure agmatine sulfate. You cannot ask for much more except for in terms of value. If you are looking to maximize your value then look elsewhere because the same patented Agmapure can be found in greater quantities for an equal price or less. However, if you think the trust and consistency associated with a brand like VMI is worth the extra $ then you should definitely try this out (it is actually on par/a little cheap for that department!). I got to a 8.5/10 rating from averaging the Value, Effectiveness, and Ingredient Profile categories with a small deduction from the poor value relative to lesser known brands for the exact same patented ingredient (admittedly this is my frugal nature/bias revealing itself). Ultimately, you will not regret giving this a try - even if you are frugal.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Decent Pumps
    • Increased Vascularity
    • Great Pumps
    • Bitter Taste When Just Using Water
    • Poor Value


    Full-Container Received through SR TROOPs.
    Thanks to NuLivScience for sending it out!
    (Show run details )
      March 5, 2017

    Introduction

    Thanks to NuLiv Science for sending this out!

    Ingredient Profile

    10/10
    This one is pretty simple. There's 50mg of ActiGin in each capsule. ActiGin consists of Rosa roxburghii, which purportedly has antioxidant properties, and Panax Notoginseng, which purportedly has recovery and stamina/endurance enhancing properties. This is single, namesake ingredient supplement so there is not much else you could ask for here. This is exactly what you want if you want to try ActiGin. Furthermore, it is worth noting that NuLiv Science is the manufacturer of ActiGin so this su...

    Introduction

    Thanks to NuLiv Science for sending this out!

    Ingredient Profile

    10/10
    This one is pretty simple. There's 50mg of ActiGin in each capsule. ActiGin consists of Rosa roxburghii, which purportedly has antioxidant properties, and Panax Notoginseng, which purportedly has recovery and stamina/endurance enhancing properties. This is single, namesake ingredient supplement so there is not much else you could ask for here. This is exactly what you want if you want to try ActiGin. Furthermore, it is worth noting that NuLiv Science is the manufacturer of ActiGin so this supplement derives straight from the primary source of its ingredient - you cannot get any better or legit than this.

    Taste/Mixability/Dosing

    10/10
    I took one capsule before one of my workouts for most days. Occasionally I would forget to take my serving, or I would feel extra sore, and would take it later in the day. That did not happen too often and I didn't notice a significant increase in results at two capsules. Also, these capsules are relatively small and one of the easiest types of capsules to take.

    Effectiveness

    6.5/10
    These kinds of supplement are always a bit tricky to judge in terms of effectiveness. However, I've been trying to review more to challenge myself as a reviewer and communicator [of my experience] and improve the consistency of my ratings. That being said, it was a still a challenge to close in on an effectiveness rating.

    NuLiv Science claims that ActiGin improves endurance and recovery. I experienced modest results in each area. I never noticed an immediate effect after dosing and believe that time likely amplifies the effects. After about a week, I noticed some slight enhancement in endurance. Specifically, cardio felt a little easier to do. A 30 minute cardio session felt like 29 minutes. That does not seem like much, I know, but for someone who can absolutely despise cardio sometimes it is a noticeable difference. After two weeks, and progressively with each succeeding week, a 30 minute cardio session began to feel more like a 27-28 minute cardio sessions. Again, that is not much but it can feel like a world's difference at the time.

    In an effort to be fully transparent, I never took ActiGin completely on its own. I always consumed a preworkout supplement or caffeinated beverage of some sort before cardio and sometimes during cardio. It is very possible that some of the improvement in endurance I experienced was due to these other supplements. In fact, I acknowledge that some of it must have been from the other supplementation, but I do believe ActiGin was partly responsible. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell just how much of these results were a result of Actigin. Given my past experience with staples like beta alanine, however, I think ActiGin was about 25% responsible. It's hard to quantify such a subjective experience but this is my best attempt to put it in more relatable terms.

    Recovery benefits from ActiGin supplementation were similarly noticeable but a little easier to quantify. Closer to two weeks into my ActiGin run, I experienced a unique recovery feeling. I may have absolutely destroyed my chest the day before - you know, one of those days where you are just enjoying the gym, feeling yourself, and get a little carried away - and I would wake up with only a slight soreness. It still took a few days to completely subside, but it began at an intensity akin to having already been sore for 1-2 days. Towards the end of my run, it increasingly felt like I had already been sore for 2 days. Despite being a little sore, I never really felt that my soreness held me back in the gym like I have in the past.

    If I were to compare ActiGin with other staples in the recovery/endurance category like BCAAs, I would have to put this below a little below BCAAs. You should probably spend money on BCAAs first - I have not used a non-hormonal supplement in the recovery/endurance category that bests the results I get from simple 2:1:1 BCAA supplementation yet. However, if you already use BCAAs, or cannot for some reason, definitely give this a shot.

    Value

    6.5/10
    I found a 60 capsule bottle on Amazon for about $30 with shipping. Given that you could get anywhere from 30-60 days from this bottle depending on how you dose it, this is not terribly priced. $0.50-$1.00 a day is not too much if the results are there. However, for this price you can pick up a good 2:1:1 BCAA supplement with just as many, if not more, servings. Since value should also incorporate a relative cost/benefit analysis of sorts, I believe that this should be reflected in the rating. In other words, since better recovery/endurance supplements exist within in this price range, I cannot rate this in 7.5+ range. Still, since the price is not exorbitant at 1 capsule a day, I think a 6.5 rating is fair. In short, try it if you can afford it but do not buy ActiGin before the staples.

    Side Effects

    10/10
    I experienced no side effects while taking ActiGin.

    Conclusion

    6.7
    ActiGin will probably help your endurance and recovery a modest amount, especially with continued use. However, its consumption should not be prioritized over staple endurance/recovery ingredients with more concrete scientific and anecdotal evidence. If you have the extra $ to spare, then I suggest you try ActiGin out. I came to a 6.7/10 rating after averaging the Effectiveness and Value categories (both 6.5) and adding a small bump for lack of side effects, simple ingredient profile, and easy dosing.
     Pros:
     Cons:
    • Longer Sets
    • Higher Reps
    • Increased Endurance
    • A Bit Pricey If All You Do Is Lift



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