Vasogen® Powder Reviews
By: VMI Sports®
IntroductionI would like to apologize to VMI Sports for taking so long to review Vasogen. I greatly appreciate you guys letting me try it out and hope the review was worth the wait. On another note, I've decided to cut back my typically lengthy ingredient profile reviews and this will be my first review with that revision in place.
Vasogen uses something of a unique profile in that it includes a few commonly found ingredients in pump pre-workouts and a few novel ingredients. L-Taurine, an amino acid that has shown promise in helping promote increased blood flow, is included at an efficacious dose of 2 grams. 2 grams is actually the maximum of the efficacious dose range (500mg-2g) so I was impressed. Next up is a wide-ranging but relatively small proprietary blend of Hawthorne Berry Powder, Schizandra Berry Powder, Theobromine, Agmatine, Pine Bark Extract (Standardized for a minimum of 95% proanthrocyanidins), and Grape and Apple polyphenols. Hawthorne Berry Extract has been traditionally used to help promote cardiovascular health and may help dilate blood vessels. I wasn't able to find any efficacious dose range nor nail down any concrete evidence it actually works. Schizandra Berry Powder was shown to increase serum nitric oxide in one study and is mostly used as an adaptogen for reducing cortisol. A recommended dose is between 1-3 grams. Theobromine is an alkaloid from the cacao plant that acts similarly to caffeine and is also a vasodilator. A recommended dose is 500mg-1 gram or less if also ingesting caffeine since they are synergistic. Agmatine is an aminoguanidine that has been shown to elevate nitric oxide levels and a typical recommended dose is 500mg-1 gram. I like that VMI used the patented AgmaPure Agmatine Sulfate form. Pine Bark Extract has shown promise in elevating nitric oxide levels especially in the Pycogenol formulation which is standardized to 65-75% proanthrocyanidins. A typical recommended dose is 100-200mg. Polyphenols are antioxidants and the ones found in Apple and Grape skins have many benefits including blood vessel dilation. I couldn't really find an exact dose range for either since it is very much dependent on the polyphenols extracted, the fruit source, the purpose for supplementation, etc., however I did see that most dedicated polyphenol supplements are dosed around 500mg-1 gram.
This sort of feels like a kitchen sink approach. There's a bunch of different extracts that despite showing promise aren't necessarily great at helping us get the legendary pump. There's also the trusted Agmatine and L-Taurine and recognizable Theobromine and Schizandra Berry Powder. Still, almost all (if not all) are significantly underdosed. The entire blend is only 1.15 grams. That's just enough room to efficaciously dose Agmatine, Theobromine, and Pine Bark Extract on the low end. Even at 2 scoops, this is still an underdosed blend. I would have much preferred VMI focus on staples like GMS, Agmatine, L-Citrulline and dose them properly than try to reinvent the wheel here.
I received the the Hawaiian Hurricane flavor which tasted kind of like a tropical punch. It was ok, nothing amazing but it wasn't like I had to choke it down either. The raw ingredients were a bit tart and gritty so that affected the taste a bit so while it was somewhat understandable it was also not delicious. Mixability was also just ok. There was a little grit at the bottom of my shaker cup each time and it didn't seem to change in different levels of water. It did not affect the taste insomuch that there were chunks or balls of powder to choke down but it was noticeable that there was some grittiness in the solution. I started out dosing this at 1 scoop on workouts when I did not need a lot of caffeine - usually late at night or after work on days when I downed a lot of free coffee (we got a new nitro cold brew machine so this was a common occurrence for a few weeks). Eventually, I moved to 1.5 and 2 scoops to see if there was any difference in effectiveness. I always took this on an empty or near empty stomach.
I did not notice much at 1 scoop. I would get a pump, especially when doing arms, but it was nothing mind-blowing. I would never call it "skin-splitting" or any of those hype terms. I was starting to try out some higher rep ranges so I would have expected some ridiculous pumps but instead I got something similar to the pump you just barely manage to get when you're dragging yourself to the gym and going through the motions for maintenance. Similarly, I didn't notice much of a difference in vascularity. This didn't change at 1.5 scoops. At 2 scoops, I noticed a little more in terms of results. The pumps were objectively better but nothing special. I would compare them to pumps I have gotten with most properly dosed classically formulated (stims and pump promoters) pre-workouts. Yet that is disappointing to me because this is supposed be a pump-focused pre-workout. The pumps should be amazing. They should blow the pumps you get from those more traditional pre-workouts out of the water; they did no such thing. Oddly enough, I still didn't notice much in the terms of increased vascularity - even at 2 scoops. I usually see an improvement with most of the traditional pre-workouts so this was a bit odd for me.
I have had some amazing experiences with pump-based pre-workouts so I can subjectively compare the effectiveness (i.e. pumps) at 1 and 2 scoops with my best experiences. If my best experiences provided me with pumps that I would call a 10/10 then I would put 1 scoop of Vasogen at a 5 and 2 scoops at a 7. When I talk about 10/10 pumps those are pumps where it hurts to continue lifting, my arms blow up, all sorts of veins pop, and there's some difficulty taking off a shirt. I wouldn't expect anything similar to that with this.
I found Vasogen powder for $30 for 30 servings on Amazon Prime. That's a flat $1/serving (scoop). Now, $1 for 1 serving of a decent pump-preworkout is not a bad deal. There are cheaper options out there but I wouldn't be opposed to paying $1 for a scoop of a properly dosed pump-preworkout that worked. Since this meets neither of those criteria I find it hard to justify the price. Even at a more expensive dosing of 2 scoops this did not provide results worth the cost. I'm sure the wide range of ingredients make this a bit more expensive to produce than a product like Noxygen but it has to work at least equally as well to justify any significant difference in pricing - if not then what's the point? I give this a 6/10 because it isn't completely useless and the price isn't terrible for the category but the lack of effectiveness and seemingly poorly designed ingredient panel do some damage to the rating.
I experienced no side effects while taking this product.
Ultimately, this is just an ok product. It was valiant entry in the pump-based pre-workout category but I'd suggest VMI go back to the drawing board on this one. I wouldn't recommend this to a friend unless it was on some ridiculous sale and even then I'd probably still caution against it. I came to a 6.5 rating after averaging the Value, Ingredient Profile, and Effectiveness sections. Usually I would factor in a less than perfect score for the Taste/Mixability/Dosing section but given the wide range of raw ingredients and their inherent characteristics (i.e. tartness, bitterness, etc.) I am giving it somewhat of a pass - to be consistent and fair I would have given any other supplement like this a pass if I was impressed by the effectiveness.