Merica Labz HOLLOW POINT: Merica’s Take on Turk

Merica Labz Hollow Point has arrived, featuring the patriotic brand’s take on turkesterone. Inside, you get 1000 milligrams of A. Turkestanica (10% turkesterone) coupled with epicatechin!

Merica Labz Hollow Point

Merica Labz — the brand that goes by the tagline Never Big Enough — wants your muscles to have muscles of their own. That’s why they’ve released a second muscle building supplement to put alongside Full Metal Jacket.

What do you name a supplement that can defend you by disrupting estrogen, promoting anabolic activity? You name it after defensive ammo:

Merica Labz Hollow Point: Merica’s Take on Turkesterone

Merica Labz Hollow Point is the next muscle builder to stack with Full Metal Jacket — along with the Super Sized weight gainer and creatine-based BOOM Pre-Workout if you’re really smart. It features a simple yet powerful formula, pairing estrogen-disrupting Ajuga Turkestanica (standardized for 10% turkesterone) alongside myostatin-limiting epicatechin.

In this article, we dig into the known science on the phytoecdysteroids in A. Turkestanica (which includes ecdysterone as well as turkesterone), then look at some recent research on epicatechin, the epic force found in dark chocolate. First, let’s check on availability through PricePlow, but note that the official launch is June 13, 2022:

Merica Labz Hollow Point – Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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Hollow Point Ingredients

In two capsules, Merica Labz loads you up with the following:

  • Ajuga Turkestanica (std. 10% turkesterone) – 1,000 mg

    Merica Labz Hollow Point Ingredients

    Serious gains in just two capsules

    It’s the talk of the town in 2022, and Hollow Point is Merica Labz’ way of bringing it to their muscle-building party — turkesterone! This fascinating molecule is actually one of eight known anabolic compounds found in ajuga turkestanica, which Merica Labz is standardizing for 10% turkesterone (100 milligrams in each serving).

    There are two things to break down regarding ajuga turkestanica supplements:

    1. Research on whole plant extracts (which includes known muscle-building agent, ecdysterone)
    2. Research on turkesterone itself

    Let’s start wide and then narrow down to turkesterone.

    Ajuga Turkestanica and phytoecdysteroids

    The ajuga turkestanica plant contains many phytoecdysteroids, which are “plant androgens” that regulate reproduction and development. Like our own testosterone, they’re synthesized from cholesterol,[1] and they just so happen to be structured like testosterone too:

    Turkesterone vs. Testosterone

    The molecular structures of Turkesterone and Testosterone. We’re on to something here…

    Displacing estrogen

    There are many of these phytoecdysteroids in A. turkestanica, and many of them are able to interfere with estrogen, displacing estrogen from the receptor, which in turn can promote anabolic effects.[2,3]

    Animal research backs this up — giving rats phytoecdysteroids leads to lower serum estrogen levels![3] Even better, most of these phytoecdysteroids don’t seem to interact with androgen receptors (ARs),[2,4] leading researchers to believe that they won’t yield the negative feedback effects of stronger anabolics. This is at least the case of ecdysterone, one of the two most anabolic constituents discussed below.

    The major eight

    There are at least eight known ecdysteroids found in Ajuga turkestanica[5] — the most prominent of which are ecdysterone (20-Hydroxy-ecdysone or “20HE”) and turkesterone.

    It’s definitely possible that there are more — researchers who evaluated the plant using incredible amounts of spectral imaging concluded, “Thus Ajuga turkestanica contains a complex cocktail of ecdysteroids, and additional studies on less polar fractions will probably allow the isolation of even more compounds.”[5]

    A. Turkestanica New Phytoecdysteroids 2015

    Above and beyond turkesterone and ecdysterone, researchers are frequently finding finding new phytoecdysteroids in A. Turkestanica plant extracts.[5]

    There’s more research on ecdysterone, so let’s get into that first:

    Ecdysterone: well-researched plant anabolic

    Starting with animal models, we’ve seen ecdysterone reduce serum estrogen levels while increasing IGF-1, resulting in increased muscle fiber size.[2,3] Research translated from Russian journals in the late 1990s also showed anabolic activity in ecdysterone (as well as turkesterone).[6] Impressively, both studies showed these compounds outperforming known anabolic androgenic steroids.[6]

    On to human research, German researchers published a study in 2019 showing just as much potential in collegiate weightlifters, getting either placebo, 12 milligrams per day, or 48 milligrams per day.[7] The results speak for themselves:

    Ecdysterone Body Weight Muscle Mass

    Ecdysterone increased muscle mass gains in collegiate male weightlifters[7]

    Ecdysterone Strength

    Ecdysterone increased strength gains in collegiate male weightlifters[7]

    The researchers were so impressed by the results that they concluded stating, “This project demonstrates the performance-enhancing effect of ecdysterone in humans. Thus, our results strongly suggest including ecdysterone in class S1 ‘Anabolic Agents’.”[7]

    Effectively, they’re saying that it’s so strong that it should be on worldwide banned substances lists — yet is not, as of time of press through 2022. Other researchers have similarly opined.[2]

    Now what about turkesterone?!

    Turkesterone: lesser-researched, but potentially insane gains

    In 1998, researchers in Uzbekistan tested turkesterone (isolated from A. turkestanica like we have here) in rats against methandrostenolone, also known as dbol. The results were absolutely insane:[8]

    Two different turkesterone samples outperformed the androgenic anabolic steroid in terms of body mass and organ increases! The data is shown below:

    Turkesterone vs. dbol

    The anabolic effects of turkesterone were greater than those of dbol in rats![8]

    Needless to say, we’re extraordinarily excited about turkesterone and phytoecdysteroids in general. It’d be good to know how much ecdysterone is in Hollow Point, because there’s clearly promise there as well.

    We definitely want to see more data in humans, and would love to see blood tests as well. Much of this is covered in our main turkesterone article, where we suggest a panel of blood tests that would be very helpful to see before and after a run of Hollow Point.

    Next up, we can boost nitric oxide and work to downshift myostatin levels:

  • Epicatechin (Camellia sinensis) (Bean) (std. 90% epicatechin) – 300 mg

    Many have read news of health benefits of plants like green tea and cocoa, the latter of which has many beneficial flavonols.[9] What many don’t know is that there’s a driving force underlying them: epicatechin.

    Merica Labz Super Sized PricePlow

    NEVER BIG ENOUGH. Get ready for a mass gainer that’s made from whole food sources: Merica Labz Super Sized!

    Scientifically written as (-)-epicatechin in research, this ingredient has numerous health benefits, many of which relate to body composition and muscle growth:

    • Greater nitric oxide production, leading to improved blood flow,
    • Reduced myostatin levels,
    • Improved insulin sensitivity,
    • Better lipid levels, and
    • Lower blood pressure

    In terms of nitric oxide production, researchers have seen 54% greater serum NO levels when participants eat 30 grams of dark chocolate (at 70% cocoa) per day compared to a white chocolate control (which has far less epicatechin).[10] This and multiple other studies have shown blood pressure reductions,[10-13] which is expected with elevated nitric oxide levels.

    While we know that improved NO can increase muscle growth,[14] we can get plenty of nitric oxide support from Merica Labz BOOM and Stars and Pipes. What else can epicatechin do?

    Epicatechin: supporting muscle growth

    How Epicatechin Affects Myostatin Levels

    Epicatechin dropping myostatin in this small pilot study[14]… with more data on the way

    A 2014 pilot study showed that 1mg/kg of epicatechin given twice daily (roughly 175 milligrams of epicatechin per day) reduced myostatin levels by 16.6 and increased follistatin levels by 49.2%.[15] This is incredible, because myostatin regulates muscle growth, preventing them from growing out of control. Follistatin, however, regulates myostatin, preventing myostatin itself from getting out of control.

    This is a great biological system to govern growth, but sometimes we want to downregulate it a bit. Epicatechin seems to do just that.

    Additionally, hand grip strength increased by 7% in that brief pilot study after just one week, an interesting finding. Another arm of the study used mice, who had a 15% reduction in my statin as well.[15]

    Epicatechin Myostatin Follistatin

    This study was performed on elderly, but alongside resistance training, epicatechin had the best results on myostatin and follistatin levels![16]

    More recently, a longer 8-week study on seniors found that epicatechin combined with resistance training yielded better gains in strength (leg press and chest press) as well as follistatin and follistatin/myostatin ratio.[16] Those who were given epicatechin and resistance training outperformed resistance training alone, which is a variable we love to see tested.

    Epicatechin and endurance

    There have also been at least a couple of animal studies showing improved endurance capacity with similar amounts of epicatechin (roughly 1 milligram per kilogram per day).[17,18]

    Insulin sensitivity improvements

    We want our muscles insulin sensitive so that they can appropriately use glycogen and reuptake carbohydrates into the cells. One of the studies cited above regarding dark chocolate’s administration improving blood pressure levels also showed improved glucose disposal.[11] We’re not sure how much epicatechin itself played into this, but it’s worth investigating for those of you trying to hammer home every last carb into muscle tissue.

    This is a great dosage too. For a while, 200 milligrams was the norm – but you know Merica Labz is going to go big with more than that!

  • Bioperine (Piper nigrum) (Fruit) (std. to 95% piperine) – 10 mg

    To boost uptake a bit more, we have Bioperine, which is a trademark black pepper extract standardized for 95% piperine. It is generally used because it’s a bioavailability enhancer that can inhibit enzymes that metabolize compounds while stimulating the gut’s amino acid transporters.[19-22]

    Piperine also has some metabolic qualities that should pair well with epicatechin, as it upregulates the GLUT4 transporter,[23] improving the body’s ability to shuttle glucose into cells.

Dosage and Instructions

Merica Labz Hollow Point

The Hollow Point label states to take two capsules daily with food. Due to the nitric oxide boosting capabilities of epicatechin, we suggest taking it pre-workout. On off-training days (if you have such a thing), take your two capsules with food around the same time of day.

Hollow Point: Stacks with Full Metal Jacket

Hollow Point is a play on the other Merica Labz muscle building supplement Full Metal Jacket. These two can be put together for quite the natty stack, helping to interfere with estrogen while providing the body some anabolic tools.

In any conversation about muscle-building, we also have to mention creatine and betaine, and you can get a solid dose of creatine in the latest version of Merica Labz Red, White, & Boom pre-workout supplement. In that case, you’d likely want to add 2.5 grams of betaine separately in the day. Alternatively, there’s 2.5 grams of betaine in Merica Labz Napalm Red, White, & Boom — and then you’d want to add 3-5 grams of creatine elsewhere in the day.

And of course, for more testosterone support, add in Liberty Ballz.

With these taken care of, it’s then up to you to chase the protein game. Merica Labz can help you there as well, with both Patriot’s Whey and the Super Sized weight gainer.

With these tools put together, it’s then up to you to go blow it up in the gym!

Merica Labz Hollow Point – Deals and Price Drop Alerts

Get Price Alerts

No spam, no scams.

Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer.

Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.

Merica Labz Hollow Point Label

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. Das, Niranjan, et al. “The Phytochemical, Biological, and Medicinal Attributes of Phytoecdysteroids: An Updated Review.” Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, vol. 11, no. 7, 1 July 2021, pp. 1740–1766; 10.1016/j.apsb.2020.10.012; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211383520307644
  2. ‌Parr MK, Botrè F, Naß A, Hengevoss J, Diel P, Wolber G; “Ecdysteroids: A novel class of anabolic agents?” Biol Sport. 2015 Jun;32(2):169-73. doi: 10.5604/20831862.1144420; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4447764/
  3. Parr MK, Zhao P, Haupt O, Ngueu ST, Hengevoss J, Fritzemeier KH, Piechotta M, Schlörer N, Muhn P, Zheng WY, Xie MY, Diel P. “Estrogen receptor beta is involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by the phytoecdysteroid ecdysterone”; Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Sep;58(9):1861-72. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300806; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24974955/
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  8. Mamatkhanov, A. U., et al. “Isolation of Turkesterone from the Epigeal Part OfAjuga Turkestanica and Its Anabolic Activity.” Chemistry of Natural Compounds, vol. 34, no. 2, 1 Mar. 1998, pp. 150–154, 10.1007/BF02249133; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02249133
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  11. Grassi, Davide, et al. “Short-Term Administration of Dark Chocolate Is Followed by a Significant Increase in Insulin Sensitivity and a Decrease in Blood Pressure in Healthy Persons.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 81, no. 3, 1 Mar. 2005, pp. 611–614, 10.1093/ajcn/81.3.611; https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/81/3/611/4648949
  12. Ellinger, Sabine, et al. “Epicatechin Ingested via Cocoa Products Reduces Blood Pressure in Humans: A Nonlinear Regression Model with a Bayesian Approach.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 95, no. 6, 2 May 2012, pp. 1365–1377, 10.3945/ajcn.111.029330; https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/95/6/1365/4568383
  13. Grassi, Davide, et al. “Cocoa Reduces Blood Pressure and Insulin Resistance and Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Hypertensives.” Hypertension (Dallas, Tex.: 1979), vol. 46, no. 2, 1 Aug. 2005, pp. 398–405, 10.1161/01.HYP.0000174990.46027.70; https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.HYP.0000174990.46027.70
  14. Buono, Roberta, et al. “Nitric Oxide Sustains Long-Term Skeletal Muscle Regeneration by Regulating Fate of Satellite Cells via Signaling Pathways Requiring Vangl2 and Cyclic GMP.” STEM CELLS, vol. 30, no. 2, 18 Jan. 2012, pp. 197–209, 10.1002/stem.783; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3378700/
  15. Gutierrez-Salmean, Gabriela, et al. “Effects of (−)-Epicatechin on Molecular Modulators of Skeletal Muscle Growth and Differentiation.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, vol. 25, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 91–94, 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.09.007; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857584/
  16. Mafi, Farnoosh, et al. “Improvement in Skeletal Muscle Strength and Plasma Levels of Follistatin and Myostatin Induced by an 8-Week Resistance Training and Epicatechin Supplementation in Sarcopenic Older Adults.” Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, vol. 27, no. 3, June 2019, pp. 384–391, 10.1123/japa.2017-0389; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30299198/
  17. Nogueira, Leonardo, et al. “(–)-Epicatechin Enhances Fatigue Resistance and Oxidative Capacity in Mouse Muscle.” The Journal of Physiology, vol. 589, no. Pt 18, 15 Sept. 2011, pp. 4615–4631, 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.209924; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208228/
  18. Hüttemann, Maik, et al. “(−)-Epicatechin Maintains Endurance Training Adaptation in Mice after 14 Days of Detraining.” The FASEB Journal, vol. 26, no. 4, 1 Apr. 2012, pp. 1413–1422, 10.1096/fj.11-196154; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3316901/
  19. Kesarwani, Kritika et al. “Bioavailability enhancers of herbal origin: an overview.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine vol. 3,4 (2013): 253-66. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60060-X; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3634921/
  20. Atal, C. K., et al. “Biochemical Basis of Enhanced Drug Bioavailability by Piperine: Evidence That Piperine Is a Potent Inhibitor of Drug Metabolism.” The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, vol. 232, no. 1, 1 Jan. 1985, pp. 258–262; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3917507/
  21. Bhardwaj, Rajinder K., et al. “Piperine, a Major Constituent of Black Pepper, Inhibits Human P-Glycoprotein and CYP3A4.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, vol. 302, no. 2, 1 Aug. 2002, pp. 645–650, 10.1124/jpet.102.034728; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12130727
  22. Khajuria, A., et al. “Permeability Characteristics of Piperine on Oral Absorption–an Active Alkaloid from Peppers and a Bioavailability Enhancer.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 36, no. 1, 1 Jan. 1998, pp. 46–50; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9536651/
  23. Maeda A, Shirao T, Shirasaya D, Yoshioka Y, Yamashita Y, Akagawa M, Ashida H. Piperine Promotes Glucose Uptake through ROS-Dependent Activation of the CAMKK/AMPK Signaling Pathway in Skeletal Muscle. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Jun;62(11):e1800086. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800086; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29683271/

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