A few of our regular readers have been asking, “Why hasn’t PricePlow been covering MAN Sports products lately?”
A very reasonable question, especially since their new GAME DAY pre workout uses the new DMHA / 2-amino-6-isoheptane stimulant that we excitedly explored in depth on the blog, and are still loving. We’ve always been big fans of MAN Sports, especially given their amazing candy flavors in ISO-Amino and lack of artificial colors, two trends we are loving.
So what in the hell happened between us?
- MAN Sports released PUMP Powder with an impossible-to-create ingredient on the original label (sent only to their internal 1%-ers newsletter)
- Mike at PricePlow got offended, asked what was going on, and MAN explained the mistake
- MAN Sports corrected the label for their major production runs
- Mike got the product third-party tested: it is compliant with the corrected label, which claims glycerol monostearate! (see lab test here – 1.545mg glycerol monostearate)
- We can now trust this product, and more importantly, the new GAME DAY, which also has the ingredient.
- PricePlow and MAN Sports are once again BFFs, and are splitting the lab testing bill
- Based on this experience, we’re establishing a new policy for label mistakes
We had a “professional dispute”
When MAN Sports originally released their new PUMP Powder formula, an immediate red flag set off for me:
Can you find the problem?
If not, don’t worry, most people missed it.
The issue is that 65% Glycerol Monostearate is an impossible-to-achieve ingredient.
The components of Glycerol Monostearate
To analyze what’s going on with this ingredient, we need to go back to Chemistry 101 for a second:
Glycerol Monostearate is an ingredient made of one molecule of glycerol bound to one molecule of stearic acid (hence the name monostearate – one stearic acid). Glycerol has a molecular mass of 92.09382g/mol, while stearic acid has a molecular mass of 284.4772g/mol.
So when you combine these two, you’re going to roughly get a molecule with a molar mass of 376.57g/mol (you may lose a bit during the reaction, but this is close enough for our broscience purposes).
So typically, any amount of glycerol monostearate contains about 24.45% glycerol by weight, since 92.09382 / 376.57 = 0.2445. Most of that glycerol monostearate molecule is actually the “monostearate” part, from the heavier stearic acid molecule.
Is it possible to have glycerol monostearate at 65%?
Warning: Algebra ahead. Skip this section if you didn’t come here to see math
But maybe you can bind multiple glycerol molecules to stearic acid to achieve that 65%? Let’s do some more math to see what it’d take.
(ie, we want the ratio of glycerol to the total ingredient weight to be 0.65 – how many glycerols would that take??)
Since we only want ONE stearic acid molecule (as we’re keeping this a ‘mono-stearate’, and it’s too heavy to want any additional), this becomes easy to solve.
So our equation is now just:
Where X = [Number of Glycerol Molecules], the variable to find that satisfies the math to achieve 65% by weight.
Doing some algebra,
0.65*(92.09382*X + 284.4772) = 92.09382*X
59.86098*X + 184.9202 = 92.09382*X
184.9202 = 32.23284X
X = 5.7378
So, unless you can somehow figure out how to bind 5 and three quarters molecules of glycerol with one molecule of stearic acid, this is impossible! You might be able to bind two glycerols to stearic acid, but 5 or 6? No way – stearic acid is a saturated fat molecule and there’s just nowhere to connect them! And definitely not 5.74 molecules…
At this point, I was basically like “WTF?, this label can’t be right.” We can’t yet write about this on PricePlow… and more importantly, what is this ingredient really?!
What happened? The 65% confusion
So where’d they get 65% from?
A new ingredient named HydroMax has recently been used in several pump formulas. This is sold by Glanbia, the big Irish conglomerate company that owns Optimum Nutrition, BSN, IsoPure, and ABB, but they also sell tons of raw materials. It is glycerol bound to silica instead of stearic acid, and they claim ~65% glycerol by weight.
So at this point, my question was, is this ingredient in PUMP Powder some HydroMax clone, or is it just plain ol’ glycerol monostearate?
I contacted MAN Sports and we had a talk:
When MAN was launching this product, they were messing with a few different formulas, and were creating all kinds of mockups. Ultimately, they decided on glycerol monostearate, yet throughout the process, their designer had been sent a ton of stuff to create and throw on the web.
Rather than just put “glycerol monostearate”, the designer apparently took the “best of both worlds” approach, kept the “(65% Glycerol)” that was in one old label, while replacing the ingredient name with “Glycerol Monostearate” before that. That got leaked to Stack3d, and the rest is history.
Good news, however, is that it was caught quickly and the label was corrected to say “Glycerol Monostearate” before any retailers got their hands on it. But now I needed assurance.
My point of view
I’ve seen MAN Sports in person in their Dallas office, and I know that they’re a wildly growing brand and it’s freakin chaos over there on a normal day, let alone when they’re in launch mode on two major products.
The designer is often the last leg of their launches, and seems to be under the constant gun because MAN’s doing so much stuff on their social media / web / newsletter. He also works remotely, so he isn’t really in the loop on every last detail. So I get it, shit happens.
But at the same time, I made it very clear to Alex and Steven at MAN: IT IS NOT MY JOB TO PROOFREAD EVERYONE’S LABELS. If Robert, CJ, and I spent our time correcting misspellings and incorrect math on labels and posting them to this blog, we’d get absolutely nothing else done.
Steve said he understood and apologized. “Nobody is perfect.” He ultimately took responsibility, since it’s his company and the buck stops there, and I fully respect that.
Is it that big of a deal?
Now here’s the honest truth: I really don’t care about the Glycerol content in PUMP Powder. I could just elect to not take it, not write about it, and move on. On its own, this isn’t really that big of a deal.
But there is one thing I do care about a lot: DMHA.
It’s the GAME DAY, baby
Not writing about the glycerol mishap in PUMP Powder is what we chose to do for the time being. I wasn’t in the mood for bickering over the nomenclature on a pretty non-consequential ingredient.
But… there is a product we do want to discuss on the blog: GAME DAY. And don’t you know it, GAME DAY also has glycerol monostearate.
So at this point, the same question came up: Is this ingredient really glycerol monostearate?
Again. Who cares?!
The reason I care is because I don’t want something stupid to happen to a product containing to a supplement with DMHA in it.
What if this was really some HydroMax clone ingredient in there? The last thing we need is for Glanbia’s football team of lawyers to come obliterate a supplement with our fun new stimulant, bringing it unnecessary attention in all kinds of news outlets or worse, the FDA.
Only one way to find out…
The glycerol lab tests
Steve at MAN Sports said “I fully stand behind my products. Buy it and lab test it if you want. I’ll even pay for the lab test”.
Great idea! So that’s exactly what we did, and below you can see the results:
Boom! This product contains no “straight” glycerol, but it contains 1545mg of glycerol monostearate! Slightly over the 1500mg listed on the label!
And given that GAME DAY uses the same raw materials, GAME DAY also has glycerol monostearate and no 65% funny business either.
PricePlow and MAN Sports Kiss and Make Up
So, long story short, we once again trust MAN Sports with their ingredients, and our bodies are ready to take and review GAME DAY and PUMP Powder.
It was just a stupid mistake connected to a stimulant I don’t want to see getting screwed with, and now it’s all settled, minus a few hundred bucks for that lab test.
So be on the lookout, our GAME DAY and PUMP Powder writeups and reviews are coming!
Thank you to MAN Sports for dealing with us, owning up to the mistake, and approving the lab test – you guys ultimately got the right thing done and these are the kinds of companies we like working with.
But we’re not done with this topic yet:
A new policy set forth
Unfortunately, this kind of stuff happens more often than we’d like. The most common thing we see is what we call “Supplement Math”, where a label’s active ingredients cannot possibly add up to what the serving size states (or some variation therein).
When we see these issues, here’s what we’re going to do:
- Contact the brand in private, while having a few others look over the label to make sure we’re not making a mistake.
- We might post such a label to social media, asking fans what they think…
- The brand may elect to explain what’s going on. If the explanation is not satisfactory, we will request a third party lab test. And they’re gonna pay for it.
- We will post the results to the blog.
If the brand does not respond within a week or so, we’ll start working on an open-ended blog post about the product, publicly asking the brand what is going on, and alerting potential consumers that something is questionable here. We’ll also demote the product (and possibly the entire brand) in the main PricePlow site, and may set a red flag on all of their products until the matter is resolved.
You can see an example of one in question posted to social media here, regarding ImSoAlpha’s “Vegan Alpha”.
Ultimately, if you screw up your label and go to market with it, this image says it all:
Thanks for reading, and thanks again MAN Sports for your patience (this article was a couple of weeks late).