Arnold’s Iron Test is out… but with a Questionable Label

Arnold Iron Test is out - but are the ingredients properly formulated?

Arnold Iron Test is out – but are the ingredients properly formulated?

GNC quietly released the latest in the Arnold Schwarzenegger Series (owned by MusclePharm), Iron Test.

The label is the same as it was when it leaked back in May, which is unfortunate because it is the epitome of a proprietary blend.

There is absolutely no way to guess if this product will work at the recommended dosage because of the secrecy in the label.

In this post, we discuss the possibilities of Iron Test – both good and bad – and will continue to monitor prices until they become reasonable.

Update in January 2015: The prices have finally come down five months after the product’s launch! See the new price comparisons below:

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Let’s ignore the cost

Although initially priced at $84.99 (seriously), we expect to get the prices down with our price comparison engine. With that said… shame on GNC, MusclePharm, Arnold, and/or whoever else is involved in $85 product launches. Come on people.

Anyway, from here on out, let’s assume cost isn’t the issue — the prices will come down — so now it’s a question of the ingredient profile’s dosage.

The Iron Test Ingredients

A brief look at the ingredient list seems promising:

  • Iron Test Blend
    • Arginine Nitrate
    • D-Aspartic Acid
    • Testofen (Trigonella Feonum Greacum) Seed Extract
    • Indole-3-Carbinol
    • Boron
    • Vitamin D
    • Zinc
  • Added Vitamins/Minerals
    • Vitamin D
    • Zinc (as Zinc Citrate)

These are all ingredients that we love, and all of them except arginine nitrate can support or boost hormone levels in some manner. So it seems great…

The Arnold Iron Test Ingredients

The Arnold Iron Test Ingredients… but what’s up with this mysterious prop blend?

Until you realize that the Iron Test Blend only contains 1350mg.

Now this could actually go two ways:

  1. It was skillfully formulated and your test levels will be treated to quite a nice bump
  2. It’s loaded with nearly all arginine nitrate and DAA for “good feels” and is an overpriced turd

With the way that proprietary blends are, the only way to really know is to try. And we won’t be doing that until the prices come down… way down.

Let’s discuss each of the ingredients in the Iron Test Blend, their effective doses, and how this can be made to work.

  • Arginine Nitrate

    Make no mistake – we love this ingredient… in our preworkouts. But in this formula, it’s being used for nothing but some good bloodflow and total secrecy, as it hides basically everything behind it.

    Proprietary blends are what they are… if you don’t like them, you wouldn’t be here this far anyway. But we’ll try to navigate through it for everyone else.

    Perfect world? 500mg or less.

    The usefulness of Iron Test depends on how well Arnold (and MusclePharm) formulated this product

    The usefulness of Iron Test depends on how well Arnold (and MusclePharm) formulated this product (not pictured)

    In our perfect-world situation, we’re going to imagine a nice 500mg dosage of arginine nitrate. That gives us a small bit of nitric oxide boost and vasodilation, yet leaves enough space for the other ingredients.

  • D-Aspartic Acid

    This is another interesting one. Over the past few years, DAA has been everywhere in the testosterone-boosting circuit. It’s an amino acid that regulates our test production.

    At the end of 2009, a study came out claiming legit natural gains in testosterone when taking 3g for 12 days orally[1], and everyone went hog wild with the stuff.

    But there’s one dirty little secret…

    After 12 days… guess what happens?

    Your testosterone settles back to baseline within 30 days.[2]

    It’s good for sperm mobility and some other stuff we’re not going to care about here, but at the end of the day, DAA is not really a testosterone booster – it’s a fertility aid.

    So why is it in Iron Test?

    It’s really just there for marketing and label recognition. Sadly, it’s tough to sell a test booster to the masses without DAA on the label anymore.

    And even at small dosages, it might still feel good, even if your test isn’t doing much.

    Perfect world dosage? 500mg or less.

    At 500mg, we still have 350mg to play with. Which, given the other ingredients that are actually doing the heavy lifting, isn’t too bad.

  • Testofen (Trigonella Feonum Greacum)

    The first of the three actual heavy lifters. Testofen® is a trademarked form of fenugreek extract standardized for 50% Fenuside™.

    Fenugreek Seeds

    These goofy-looking fenugreek seeds provide a huge plethora of benefits, including a moderate increase in testosterone levels

    There’s good news and bad news:

    • The good news is that one study saw an increase in testosterone with 500mg fenugreek.[3]

      DHT levels did not increase, which is good news for anyone concerned about hair loss side effects.

    • The bad news is that it was only one study… and we might not have 500mg to play with if the above ingredients are overdosed.

    Perfect/reasonable world dosage? 250mg or more.

    Since Arnold Test is taken twice daily, if we’re lucky, MusclePharm put 250mg in each serving, and we’re getting 500mg per day. Study replicated, except with the benefit of getting Testofen, not just plain Fenugreek!

    It’s worth noting that the successful study showed no change in body composition. Remember, just because you’re boosting testosterone doesn’t mean you’re going to get automatically swole!

  • Indole-3-Carbinol

    Also known as I3C, this is frequently marketed as an estrogen blocker although it is really more of an “estrogen modulator” that is helpful for general health.

    By modulator, we mean that it converts your less-healthy forms of estrogen to more-healthy forms (and you excrete more of the bad ones).[4]

    From the study referenced above:

    Results: In both men and women, I3C significantly increased the urinary excretion of C-2 estrogens. The urinary concentrations of nearly all other estrogen metabolites, including levels of estradiol, estrone, estriol, and 16alpha-hydroxyestrone, were lower after I3C treatment.

    Less of these bad estrogens will give you overall better hormonal function, although it might not deal with increased testosterone directly.

    I3C comes from cruciferous vegetables (like broccolie and cabbage), and supplementing with it is typically best for those who are deficient (ZMA works best like this too).

    So this one also depends on your diet. If you’re already a big veggie eater, you might not feel this one so much.

    Best Case Dosage? 100mg

    200mg-400mg daily is what’s been studied. So if Arnold could find it in his heart to squeeze us out 100mg per serving, that should be an effective daily dose of 200mg/day.

    I3C / DIM Estrogen Metabolites

    I3C works similarly to DIM (Diindolylmethane), whose estrogen metabolites are shown here. Image courtesy HLHT

  • Boron

    The last ingredient, and we don’t require much of it, is the dietary mineral boron.

    There is clearly some form of interaction with testosterone. Unfortunately, much of it is theoretical and there isn’t a ton of quality research behind it.

    Overall, the results are mixed, but they typically favor a light testosterone boost, yet often fail to be statistically significant.

    Here’s what we know:

    • Seven days of a relatively high boron supplementation (10mg) led to a 28.3% increase in free testosterone, which was statistically significant.[5]
    • Four weeks at 10mg increased test by 11.4%, but was not statistically significant. This means that it could have just been normal fluctuations in the users.[6]

    Like with I3C, it may also depend on your diet and whether or not you are deficient — women who took 3mg who already had a boron deficiency saw marked improvements.[7]

    Looking at the rats..

    Rat studies are also promising. Feeding them with more boron resulted in more boron in their testes, which ultimately led to improved tesosterone levels as well.[8] Note that too much was actually detrimental, so there’s got to be a sweet spot somewhere in here.

    Perfect World Dosage? 1.5-5mg per serving

    Looking at the research, 3mg is the safe spot, while 10mg would be more aggressive in a product like Iron Test. We hope Arnold sticks it somewhere in this range.

The bonus ingredients

Arnold's Iron Mass - This is the one product in the Iron Series that we think has a hands-down winning formula

This is the one product in the Iron Series that we think has a hands-down winning formula

And let’s not forget the zinc and vitamin D inclusions, which are also both great — especially if you’re deficient there.

These aren’t massive doses (400IU Vitamin D, 30mg Zinc), but they may help assist your diet and multivitamin.

  • Vitamin D

    Men who took around 3300IU Vitamin D over the course of a year had a small bump in testosterone.[9]

    We typically recommend taking 5000IU daily, whether its through a Vitamin D supplement, a multivitamin, or a combination of those and a product like Iron Test.

  • Zinc

    This essential mineral will only raise test levels if you’re deficient, so you should check your diet and see how high you are.

    Since its lost in sweat, many athletes are deficient and don’t even know it – so this isn’t a bad idea. Vegetarians and vegans certainly are too.

    Zinc deficiencies lead to less active androgen receptors and lower production of testosterone[10,11], and Iron Test has enough to cover exercise-based zinc depletion.[12]

    Ultimatly, it’s great to have this ingredient in here for nearly all athletes.

Overall conclusion

Is Arnold protecting his legacy with this product line?

Is Arnold protecting his legacy with this product? That remains to be determined.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Series Iron Test by MusclePharm could be a worthy introductory natural testosterone booster, but the label is far too vague for us to come to any real conclusion.

Regardless of its effectiveness, most users should feel at least something, and the ingredients all have great general health properties. We’re just not sure how much it will actually boost real testosterone levels unless this label is opened up more.

The only way to find out is to try it — and at any price over ~$35 per bottle, we don’t think that’s a reasonable risk to take.

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