MusclePharm has been on a bit of a losing streak as of late. First, there were all sorts of issues with the SEC fines for MSLP and then end of their longtime partnership with the Austrian Oak, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The most recent blow occurred when The Athlete’s Company was sued by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals for amino-spiking under the RICO act. Ouch.
But, MP apparently is going to try and press on in this age of conflict and despair. They debuted a revamped version of their pre-workout Assault at The Arnold Fitness Expo in March and hinted at the release of another pre workout at the time.
Well, we’ve now see the new pre workout, called VasoSport. We dinged the new Assault pre workout for its lack of pump ingredients, and that’s where this new stim-free pre workout comes in. Of course, that means you’ll need to buy two things to get one full product, so we’re already going to be price conscious here.
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In this new era for MusclePharm they’ve embraced the more transparent policy and with their newer releases have been going the open label route. We’re very pleased with this new face MusclePharm is showing, but let’s see how well these open label ingredients are actually dosed and how it compares to the price tag:
Citrulline Malate (3g)
A pump product simply isn’t a pump product without a good helping of either Citrulline Malate or pure L-Citrulline. Here, we’ve got the former, which is a combination of L-Citrulline and malic acid.
The reason we like CitMal so much is that it’s not only a more effective N.O. booster than Arginine, but it’s also gives a multitude of other benefits. First, it helps improve nitric oxide production in the body leading to enhanced blood flow, greater vasodilation, and bigger pumps.[2,3]
Other benefits of citrulline malate include enhance ATP production and higher endurance thanks to the role citrulline plays in the Krebs Cycle as well as malic acid’s role as an intracellular buffer.[4,5]
But that dose?
Now, for the dosing. We’d normally like to see at least 6-8g of Citrulline Malate, which would give us a solid 3-4g of pure citrulline. Especially in a stim-free pre workout that isn’t jazzed with other “features”.
We’ve only got half of that here, so hopefully the rest of the ingredients will be dosed well enough to really make use of the CitMal component of VasoSport.
Manufactured by Nutrition21, Nitrosigine® is one of those pump ingredients that really should be included more often in pump products, as it feels great with thick pumps. Nitrosigine® is a patented, unique form of the old N.O. booster, Arginine. However, the difference here is that in a nitrosigine molecule, the arginine is bonded to silicate to improve its bioavailability.
A 2014 clinical trial using Nitrosigine® demonstrated that nitric oxide levels were immediately boosted after taking it. That’s not all though, as the researchers also discovered that the new compound actually elevated baseline N.O. levels, meaning it keeps your “normal” levels elevated for up to two weeks leading to long term health benefits!
We’ve typically seen this ingredient dosed around 750mg with other products, and that’s the amount MP has included in VasoSport.
Agmatine Sulfate (750mg)
Vasosport has a few nitric oxide boosting ingredients, but what better way to enhance their function then pairing them alongside the ultimate pump-extender, Agmatine. When we say “pump-extender” we mean that Agmatine helps prolong, or extend, Arginine’s life in the body.
Basically, agmatine inhibits arginase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down arginine. The end result is that arginine levels stay elevated longer leading to greater nitric oxide production.
When used alongside potent N.O. boosters like Citrulline Malate and Nitrosigine®, you should notice significantly stronger, denser and longer lasting pumps, than if you were to use either ingredient alone. Additionally, adding agmatine to the batch also helps improve circulation, vasodilation and endurance, all good things!
Again, the typical range of Agmatine is around 500-750mg, which is more that enough to get the job done. We think it really shines dosed at 1g, but 750mg is enough to satisfy our inner pump fiend.
Rounding out this simple and straightforward formula is the conditionally essential amino acid, L-Taurine. This amino acid acts as a cell volumizer in the muscle, which is a fancy way of stating that Taurine pulls water and additional nutrients into the muscle belly. Additional water ultimately helps improve hydration, stamina, and even supports “water-based” pumps.
One last benefit of Taurine is that since large stores of it are found in the brain, ingesting it prior to a workout may improve mental focus.
This is definitely pretty good. But is it $1.00/workout good? Especially if you need to go spend another dollar for a scoop of Assault???
VasoSport is due out any day now and once it hits store shelves everywhere, you’ll be able to find try it in two traditional flavors: Fruit Punch and Blue Raspberry.
Amid all the controversy and skepticism surrounding MusclePharm and its future, the company seems dead set on pressing on. Opening up the labels on their products has been one big step forward, and the release of two new pre workouts in a few months time is another good sign.
But, is it enough? Has there been too much bad press swirling around The Athlete’s Company to save it from its ultimate demise, or are things slowly going to start improving. We’ll be able to tell a lot by the sales of these two new products for starters. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see!
At the end of the day, MusclePharm’s future rests entirely on how they handle their legal. Products like this simply won’t save the company. But at least it’s not more total rubbish.
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- Curis E., et. al; “Citrulline and the gut;”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care; September 2007
- Bendahan D, Mattei J, Ghattas B, Confort-Gouny S, Le Guern ME, Cozzone P. Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2002;36(4):282-289. doi:10.1136/bjsm.36.4.282.
- Bailey SJ, Blackwell JR, Lord T, Vanhatalo A, Winyard PG, Jones AM. l-Citrulline supplementation improves O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance in humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2015 Aug 15;119(4):385-95
- Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22.
- Osowska S, Duchemann T, Walrand S, Paillard A, Boirie Y, Cynober L, Moinard C. Citrulline modulates muscle protein metabolism in old malnourished rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Sep;291(3):E582-6.
- Kalman, D; A clinical evaluation to determine the safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of an inositol-stabilized arginine silicate dietary supplement in healthy adult males.; Nutrition & Endocrinology Miami Research Associates; 2014
- Demady DR, et. al. Agmatine enhances the NADPH oxidase activity of neuronal NO synthase and leads to oxidative inactivation of the enzyme. Mol Pharmacol. 2001 Jan;59(1):24-9.
- Hoffmann, E.K., I.H. Lambert, and S.F. Pedersen, Physiology of cell volume regulation in vertebrates. Physiol Rev, 2009. 89(1)
- Alford, C., H. Cox, and R. Wescott, The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids, 2001. 21(2)