In late August of 2022, PricePlow revealed the next-generation stimulatory ingredient enfinity (Paraxanthine), set to launch shortly afterward through MuscleTech. We wrote about the new product line and briefly introduced paraxanthine to readers in our article titled MuscleTech Reveals New Workout Stimulant: enfinity brand Paraxanthine.
To follow-up with more scientific information, we brought Raza Bashir (VP of Scientific Affairs and Product Innovation at Iovate and MuscleTech) and Shawn Wells (Chief Science Officer of NNB Nutrition and Co-Founder of Ingenious Ingredients) on to the PricePlow Podcast to explain Shawn’s latest innovation in enfinity brand paraxanthine. We then discuss how MuscleTech is using it to power cleaner, more consistent workouts and diet support through a new pre-workout supplement and two weight loss products.
The MuscleTech iQ Series
MuscleTech is going all-in on this ingredient, and through the episode, you’ll learn how Raza has been “hoarding” much of the stimulant for the better part of four years. Once you try it, you’ll understand why – for many users, it’s simply a better experience than caffeine.
Finally, enfinity is ready for primetime, starting with three supplement launches covered in our introductory MuscleTech iQ Series article:
- EuphoriQ: Pre-workout supplement using 300 milligrams of enfinity
- Burn iQ: Capsule fat burner using 100 milligrams of enfinity per capsule
- Burn iQ Powder: Thermogenic fat loss powder using 150 milligrams enfinity per scoop
MuscleTech is using the moniker iQ, stating that this is the smartest way to supplement your energy. After learning more about paraxanthine’s differences from caffeine, there’s a good chance you’ll agree — or at least understand why many users will like it more.
Finally, this is a follow-up from Episode #048 of the PricePlow Podcast, where Shawn teased the ingredient a bit over a year ago. It’s finally here and upon us, so listen or watch and enjoy:
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Raza Bashir and Shawn Wells Discuss Paraxanthine and enfinity-Powered EuphoriQ
00:00 – IntroductionsMike introduces Raza and Shawn and gives the overview — MuscleTech’s new iQ Series will have enfinity brand paraxanthine, and quickly flashes back to Episode #048, where Shawn teased it over a year ago.
03:00 – Shawn talks about the omnipresence of caffeine
Caffeine is a one trillion dollar market. He talks about how it’s effective and important, mentioning that it fueled the industrial revolution. Many switched from alcohol to caffeine back then, with far more productive effects on society.
Additionally, we meet and socialize with two substances: alcohol and caffeine.
05:20 – What paraxanthine / enfinity solves
“What enfinity, what paraxanthine solves: For about 59% of the population, they are not fast metabolizers. Meaning they are not metabolizing caffeine well. And so what happens is, they’re stuck more in a state of caffeine, versus going to paraxanthine, which is where you see a majority of the benefits. And you’re avoiding these other metabolites of theophylline and theobromine, and theophylline in particular — side effect ridden.”
He continues that there are more stages of metabolites after those two, and by avoiding them, you remove a lot of the longer-lasting side effects.
“The net effect, when you just go to paraxanthine, in and of itself, is a much cleaner experience. And this is true across the board. And not only is it a cleaner experience, but we’re avoiding that bio-individuality.”
06:30 – Genes involved in caffeine metabolism bio-individuality:
07:10 – 80%!
“When you add all these things up, my numbers are roughly that 80% are not dealing with caffeine well.”
07:30 – Societies rise and fall with their drugs
Mike notes that “societies on the upswing are often on stimulants, and societies on the downswing are on depressants”.
08:15 – Is the theophylline molecule the problem, or just the long half life of it?
This question takes a few minutes to answer, and is actually answered in the next bullet point. Shawn first sets it up:
Dr. Jason Cholewa (of betaine fame) is looking at the differences of these metabolites and the massive variances and bio-individuality.
You can actually tell who’s going to perform best with caffeine – the fast responders are getting better results. Slow responders are getting worse results and performance.
Now this is understood, paraxanthine isn’t showing these differences across individuals.
10:30 – Shawn gets into the biochemistry of caffeine – 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
When you metabolize it — de-methylate it — you end up with three other di-methylxanthines. Paraxanthine is 1,7-dimethylxanthine, which Shawn theorizes that is done by the body for a very good reason.
The theory is that removing the methyl group at the 3-methyl position is done because that is a somewhat toxic position and is harder on the body’s metabolism. And you see that with theophylline.
12:00 – The half-lives are averages, but there’s a huge variation.
Ingesting paraxanthine has a lower half-life, and also far less variation across individuals. 80% of caffeine metabolizes to paraxanthine, but that happens at far different rates for people.
“If paraxanthine is where all the benefits are, how long does it take when you’re doing this drip-drop conversion to paraxanthine versus just giving paraxanthine and going right to the thing that works. So not only are you avoiding the side effects, but getting straight to the benefits. And especially if you’re a slow metabolizer, this is going to be massive for you.”
“But we’re also seeing benefits for fast metabolizers as well, because it doesn’t have the adaptation effect that caffeine has.”
14:00 – What molecule is doing the heavy lifting when taking caffeine? The caffeine molecule or the paraxanthine metabolite?
Raza explains that paraxanthine actually has higher binding potency for adenosine A1 and A2a receptors![3,4] He then reinforces what Shawn says regarding the wild variability of caffeine.
15:30 – Paraxanthine and strength training
Raza shares that there are multiple studies showing the above statements. He mentions a strength training presentation at ISSN 2022 discussing how caffeine can be counterproductive for strength in slow caffeine metabolizers![Citation requested, this may not have been published yet] This is in addition to the aforementioned groundbreaking research published in 2018 at the University of Toronto.
“As great as caffeine is, it’s very specialized on those that, from a genetic perspective, can metabolize it very well.”
16:30 – About MuscleTech EuphoriQ
Raza gets into the EuphoriQ label, which has 300 milligrams of paraxanthine from enfinity. You can see the label below:
He states that you’d have to consume roughly 420 milligrams of caffeine to get that equivalent.
17:15 – Upcoming paraxanthine research
There have already been some studies showing improved cognition and short-term memory scores, but more studies are coming:
eSports / gaming study
Weight loss study
Shawn states that paraxanthine is far more lipolytic than caffeine in preclinical studies, so this will be of great interest. Note that decades-old research has already shown intravenous paraxanthine to be lipolytic in humans as well.
Nootropic benefits were presented at the 2022 ISSN showing improved cognition, executive function, and psychomotor vigilance.[7-10]Additional research may be coming showing increased BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), reduced ROS, and increased glutathione catalase, and increased nitric oxide through PDE9 inhibition as well.
Shawn is excited to explain how the efficacy is across the board positive – which you practically never see. “We’re seeing *everything* be good.”
20:00 – Why hasn’t paraxanthine been explored?!
Shawn gets this question a lot. Part of it is the difficulty to produce – Kylin Liao at NNB Nutrition has a facility that can do things that others cannot.
Some were concerned that it doesn’t occur naturally, which would prohibit it from being a dietary supplement. But Shawn found that paraxanthine does occur naturally (two examples we found when writing the show notes are in citrus fruits like grapefruit and cacao).
Shawn thinks that other researchers merely figured you can take caffeine to get the effects – just take more caffeine for cheaper. This ingredient costs a lot more than caffeine to make, but Kylin is an expert at making these things happen with NNB’s facility.
But overall, Shawn’s biggest answer is, “I don’t know.”
23:30 – Synergistic ingredient data is coming
Shawn mentions L-tyrosine as an example for synergizing with enfinity. This is in MuscleTech EuphoriQ too.
24:30 – Swagger!
There’s definitely a mood-enhancement: The word is swagger. Paraxanthine anecdotally seems to provide an “afterglow” without the crash, as well.
Much of this could be from the neurotransmitter and antioxidant lift. Folks are anecdotally getting better sleep and having improved heart rate variability values.
Ben concurs with the swagger.
27:00 – PricePlow’s beta-test / focus group:
Mike mentions the beta-test group, which was recruited through the PricePlow Discord group and can be seen below in a meeting we had:
27:30 – How does MuscleTech evaluate using a new ingredient?
Raza actually got the call 3-4 years ago from Dr. Ralf Jaeger, who’s on Shawn’s team. For 15 years at MuscleTech, Raza was trying to maximize the benefits of caffeine while bringing down the side effects (example: stacking in L-theanine, adaptogens, etc).
At that point, nobody realized there was more to it from a genetic perspective. People eventually habituate.
Raza was so impressed that he could take it without caffeine — “Wow, I didn’t take any caffeine today!” He then explains that he kept asking for more samples, and eventually it became clear that they were onto something, and they had to launch this in a product.
Throughout that process, Shawn and his team was busy working on the regulatory and scientific side of things, doing everything right. This is not their first time doing this, and they learned a lot from previous ingredient releases. “There wasn’t a detail too small to discuss.”
32:00 – Burn iQ (MuscleTech’s fat burner)
Raza explains the extreme details that went into this. MuscleTech and Ingenious Ingredients both want to ensure that these products are caffeine-free, focusing on paraxanthine. So, for instance, they made sure their specific green coffee extract was truly caffeine free, and standardized for 45% chlorogenic acids that’s been shown to assist weight loss.
“For more than 25 years, we’ve been looking… to me, this is the next great leap forward.”
33:30 – Excitement at MuscleTech
There’s never been so much hype. They didn’t want to over-engineer the products, but wanted to hit many factors.
With EuphoriQ, like acetylcholine precursors, dopamine boosters, neuroplasticity and BDNF, catecholamine release to support it. They tried many combinations, dialed it in, and then got taste honed in.
Remember, it’s not stimulant-free, but it’s caffeine-free. It delivers on everything users expect. Citrulline and nooLVL are added for nitric oxide production as well.
Whatever recreational activity you do, this can definitely support it. High-stim users enjoyed the smooth ride, and nighttime users were able to try it too.
38:15 – Burn iQ
Thermogenesis and fat loss – Raza loves the Sweet Heat version which has been very popular. “The Smartest Way to Get Shredded”. Alongside enfinity, he talks about Axivite – phenylcapsaicin. It’s like capsaicin, but the phenyl group added really helps enhance bioavailability. It may also reduce inflammation markers in the gut.
Shawn then chimes in about the effects of phenylcapsaicin, it hits him extra hard.
41:30 – Internal hype at MuscleTech
Raza jokes that half of their work has been making internal sample requests for everyone.
43:00 – Shawn’s anecdote of EuphoriQ helping as a nootropic as well
43:30 – Mike’s anecdote – it’s cleaner.
Less anxiety, less crash, less “crazy”. After you’ve been using paraxanthine / enfinity for a while, caffeine starts to feel dirty. “Dirty” is the word. Sometimes you want that.. But many times, you don’t want the “wild-haired caffeine”.
Very “on point” when having conversations while on the ingredient.
46:00 – No caffeine allowed next to paraxanthine?
Shawn thinks it can be counterproductive to have it co-administered. They’re seeing that when you stack the two, there are counterproductive results. They’re seeing paraxanthine outperform.
They’re really clearing out the pathway, it’s not just a cleaner experience, it’s a cleaner pathway.
48:30 – What’s the MuscleTech roadmap?
“More powders, more pills”… “we’ve been busy”.
50:00 – The divide between compliant and non-compliant pre-workouts
Ben made sure that some non-compliant stim users were beta-testers of EuphoriQ — they all said it felt very good, which is a strong sign.
52:00 – Safety questions
Shawn has self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status[citation requested] but is also going for full-blown FDA GRAS. They’re going well above and beyond a typical ingredient.
In all studies, they’ve been looking at safety parameters like heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety, etc.[5,7,8] Overall, it’s about 10% of the toxicity of caffeine, and is generally safer.
54:30 – Dosage and guidelines
The GRAS approval is at 400 milligrams per day, with 300 milligrams max in one serving at a time. They may be able to bump this up over time, but it was basically set against the caffeine standard, which is also 400 milligrams.
A 300 milligram dose is very experiential and euphoric.
55:40 – Raza discusses the latest Texas A&M study[7-10]
The researchers compared caffeine to paraxanthine — while there were some speed components to caffeine, there were fewer mistakes with paraxanthine.
Fewer mistakes puts you in a better flow state, and makes you overall more productive.
58:45 – Is there a blood pressure / heart rate spike?
Shawn talks about how it’s going to be less than caffeine. They’re also not seeing as much anxiety with paraxanthine, nor the other negative CNS side effects associated with caffeine.
At the same time, caffeine users sometimes use those feelings as an indicator that caffeine is working, and they may need some re-conditioning to understand that anxiety and blood pressure spikes are not necessary for energy. He calls it “Pavlovian re-training”. Ben likes that and discusses breaking that mold.
1:03:00 – Shawn Wells, Episode #002
Mike throws it all the way back to Episode #002 of the podcast, where Shawn talked about enjoying stimulant-free pre-workouts more than caffeine for the very reason covered in this episode.
But also, we talked about imposter syndrome, which is curious because Shawn realized here that nobody simply had the idea to release this, so he did it himself.
1:03:30 – The lipolytic (fat burning) effects of caffeine vs. paraxanthine
MuscleTech’s used caffeine in weight loss products for 25 years, but it’s never caffeine alone. It’s often used with other ingredients to increase catecholamine release and free fatty acids. You have to go do something with the fat released. But of course, there are many other ingredients alongside caffeine to burn fat.
1:07:00 – XP Sports (Gaming Supplement Line)
Ben notes that enfinity would work great in gaming supplements like those from XP Sports, and Raza comments that EuphoriQ actually has a lot of overlap with gaming supplements, being nooLVL-based.
1:08:45 – Raza’s stimulant cutoff time
Raza used to stop using caffeine at 2pm, now he can use enfinity until 5pm. Everyone then starts talking about the vicious cycle of stimulants, poor sleep, sleep aids, more stimulants, etc. This can lead to acute “type-III diabetes” and Shawn riffs on insufficient cellular energy and insulin resistance caused by poor sleep.
This can help break that cycle.
1:13:00 – Closing notes
Mike states that everyone needs to at least try this for 30 servings or so. Shawn mentions that these ingredients come from a place of passion for him, it works better with his genetics.
Raza simply exclaims how excited they are at MuscleTech. “I’ve never been this excited”. It’s completely disruptive, but for all the right reasons.
You can head back to our main MuscleTech iQ Series article, and sign up for our paraxanthine news alerts below!
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