Because it Works: Ghost’s Use of Nitrosigine to Move Markets

Over the past several years, nothing in the dietary supplement industry has had a meteoric rise as fast as Ghost Lifestyle, the brand founded by Dan Lourenco and Ryan Hughes in 2016.

Nutrition21 Ghost V2 Nitrosigine

Ghost Legend V2 is out, and one of the biggest changes is a full 1.5g dose of Nitrosigine. In this article, we explore why. With all of the research and formulation talk out there, the answer is ultimately very simple.

Case in point, it’s nearly impossible to have a phone call with other supplement industry operators and Ghost doesn’t get mentioned. With their authentic licensed flavor collaborations, documentary-style behind-the-scenes footage, and fresh take on branding, the company has really flipped the script on the entire market. Throughout the process, they brought some much-needed legitimacy to the sports nutrition industry.

The Year of the V2: Where will we see innovations?

In 2021, one of the most prominent themes Ghost is promoting is “Year of the V2”, spending the first half of the year upgrading several flagship supplements. The most notable product in the line is the Ghost Legend pre-workout, which, back in 2016, made for a formidable introduction to professional flavoring and open formulas. But five years later, the pre-workout was due for a “power boost”.

The industry is closely watching these V2 formulas, because where Ghost goes, a substantial portion of brands and stores follow.

No claims? No need

Take a look at any Ghost supplement. You’ll notice the iconic red lids, vibrant colors and extraordinarily unique designs, the textured feel, the classic cGMP-compliant American flag with three stars, and the co-branded ingredients and flavor systems on a gray supplement facts area.

But guess what you won’t see on a Ghost tub?

Claims. Not a single claim. Not a single time.

Ghost Greens Label

No label claims needed. Ghost spends a significant amount of time perfecting each label and it shows!

No “build 247% more muscle mass”. No “three times more effective” competition comparison tables. No bar charts with questionably-placed axes. None of that.

In fact, the closest thing to a claim you’ll get from Ghost are phrases like “Ghost BCAA was conceived to sustain greatness at any hour”, or “Ghost Gamer was conceived to pwn n00bs in and out of the game” — hardly what we’d consider “structure/function claims”![1]

At first, you may feel a tinge of suspicion. Is Ghost hiding something? Is the supplement underdosed? Are they lacking confidence?

But as we can see from their fully-disclosed formulas, the supplements are clinically and efficaciously dosed. For example, Ghost Gamer uses nooLVL, an ingredient that was scientifically demonstrated to improve gaming performance in real gamers playing modern video games.

So are they lacking confidence? It’s actually the polar opposite.

Less is more

In under five years, Dan and Ryan built a brand that is so confidently powerful, they don’t need to make scientific claims on their tubs. The co-founders like to say that they formulate their products for the 1% who understand the science (so your typical PricePlow reader), but craft the brand’s messaging for the other 99%.

With one less thing needed to lean on, this provides them more freedom to do what they do best – brand the label. Which brings us back to the “Year of the V2”.

Legends catch the second wave

Ghost Legend V2

A look at the final label design with Nitrosigine inside: Ghost Legend V2 is upon us!

Reformulating a supplement as successful as Ghost Legend requires an excruciating level of care and detail. Not only must the formula be better, but the flavors need to continue to be on point. It’s an all-hands-on-deck, no-detail-too-small type of operation.

Aside from Legend V2’s increased energy levels and switch to a two-scoop serving, the biggest story is the inclusion of a large dose of Nutrition21’s Nitrosigine nitric oxide booster. A patented form of inositol-bound arginine silicate, Nitrosigine is the L-arginine ingredient that we always wanted in workout supplements — even decades ago.

Nutrition21: A research company that sells ingredients

Most supplement enthusiasts are beginning to see Nutrition21 ingredients (such as the aforementioned nooLVL and Nitrosigine) in their favorite products. Some would believe that Nutrition21 is just an ingredient supplier. It turns out they’re much more than that.

Over time, we’ve come to see that Nutrition21 is actually a research company that happens to sell demonstrably effective ingredients. In the case of Nitrosigine, not only have we seen studies on its safety, but there’s also peer-reviewed research on significantly elevated nitric oxide levels and cognitive function.[2-6] We even saw a study from the prestigious Exercise Science Research Center at the University of Arkansas that demonstrated the ingredient’s effectiveness compared against a five-times greater dosage of citrulline[7]. That paper was even published without Nutrition21’s knowledge.

And our experience backs that up, too. Every time we test a fully-dosed Nitrosigine supplement (1.5g/serving), we get incredibly long-lasting pumps. Every. Single. Time.

Legitimacy from the other side of the industry

Nutrition21 Logo

Nutrition21 is a leader in the industry and takes huge steps towards making supplements safer, more effective, and transparent!

Nutrition21 takes their experience even further, assisting brands with claims that can be made in the name of their ingredient – and at what dose they can be made at. They even have a program called CertainT that allows Nutrition21 to independently verify that brands (and manufacturers) dose their ingredients appropriately.

Just like Ghost, they’re working to bring legitimacy to the industry — and, we believe, are succeeding.

Claims? Where we’re going, we don’t need claims

We like to believe that Nutrition21’s sales team handed Ghost’s leadership a postcard of “allowable claims” for nooLVL and Nitrosigine, and Ghost said “cool, thanks”… and subsequently filed it in a cabinet, never to be seen again.

The Sonic flavors of Ghost Gamer are coming, with the first Ocean Water collab yet! Nutrition21’s nooLVL will be inside

Because Ghost doesn’t need claims on their tubs. They showcase effects. They need the supplement to be felt as strong as the vibrant colors on the label. They of course follow the research and discuss it on their channel. But equally as important, Ghost puts ingredients to the test using their own bodies and their network of influencers.

And ultimately, after all the tests and filed-away claims cards and phone calls and flavor tastings, a full “clinical” dose of Nitrosigine — 1.5 grams in total — made it into the two-scoop serving of Legend V2.

So the original question to answer is, “Why would Ghost spend money to use Nitrosigine if they’re not going to take advantage of the scientific claims?”

The answer is simple:

Because it works.

Now watch the rest of the industry follow.

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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References

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration; “Structure/Function Claims”; Updated December 14, 2017; https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/structurefunction-claims
  2. Rood-Ojalvo, S., Sandler, D., Veledar, E., & Komorowski, J; “The benefits of inositol-stabilized arginine silicate as a workout ingredient”; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(S1); 2015; https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P14
  3. Kalman, D., Krieger, D., Feldman, S., & Samson, A; “A clinical evaluation to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of an inositol-stabilized arginine silicate dietary supplement in healthy adult males”; Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications, 103; 2015; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4603712/
  4. Komorowski, J., & Ojalvo, S; “A pharmacokinetic evaluation of the duration of effect of inositol- stabilized arginine silicate and arginine hydrochloride in healthy adult males”; The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology; 2016; https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.30.1_supplement.690.17
  5. Evans, M., Zakaria, N., & Marzuk, M; “An Evaluation of the Effects of Inositol-Stabilized Arginine Silicate (ASI; Nitrosigine) in Preventing the Decline of Cognitive Function Caused by Strenuous Exercise”; International Society of Sports Nutrition 2018 Conference; 2018; https://blog.priceplow.com/wp-content/uploads/nitrosigine-preventing-cognitive-decline-caused-by-strenuous-exercise.pdf
  6. Komorowski, J., Perez, S., & Sylla, S; “Arginase Inhibition by Inositol-stabilized Arginine Silicate (ASI; Nitrosigine); A Novel Mechanism by which ASI Enhances Arginine Bioavailability”; Poster Presentation. Retrieved from https://www.eventscribe.com/2018/Nutrition2018/ajaxcalls/PosterInfo.asp?efp=UlhTRFpZVVI0ODYw&PosterID=146640&rnd=0.1401379
  7. Roberto, Mike, Luther, CJ; “Nitrosigine Put to the Test Against Citrulline Malate: New University Study”; The PricePlow Blog; November 6, 2019; https://blog.priceplow.com/supplement-research/nitrosigine/citrulline-malate-arkansas-study

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