RedCon1 MOAB Muscle Builder: The Mother of all Leucine Bombs

The Mother of All Bombs.

The “MOAB” was popularized after President Trump’s American Military dropped this 20,000 pound thermobaric weapon on ISIS caves in August 2017, and allegedly used another one in April 2018, destroying a rogue nuclear facility located in Syria and causing an explosion registering a 2.6 on the Richter scale.

Calm Before the Storm

The storm is upon us. If you consider HALO, BOOM STICK, and TANGO to be the “calm before the storm”, then MOAB is indeed the storm!

It was only a matter of time before Redcon1 used this greater-than-life acronym in one of their special-forces-themed supplements. They did, and they made it a muscle-builder captioned “The Mother of all Builders”. Now the only question is whether the product would live up to the bomb it was named after.

Redcon1’s full supplement assault

Anyone who follows the sports supplement industry knows that Redcon1 has been launching bombshell products one after another. MRE Lite and MRE Bars have been a bigger hit than anyone not named Aaron Singerman could have imagined, but with a name like MOAB, they’re hyping this product to be the biggest drop of all.

Does it hold up to our strict science-driven standard!? Take a dive with us to find out – but first, sign up for RedCon1 news alerts and coupons because you know this brand is busier than the Gitmo contractors prepping for the storm:

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The Premise: The Mother of all Builders

Redcon1 MOAB

MOAB: The Mother of All Builders!

2018 has seen several new products that have a simple goal in mind: giving the natural lifters amongst us more size from our workouts through ingredients designed to improve performance and muscle tissue synthesis. And honestly? We’re surprised — some of them have proven to be quite good (Ghost Size comes to mind).

While Boom Stick is a fantastic natural testosterone booster (9 caps per day and all!), it’s not necessarily a direct muscle builder. And Redcon1’s Tango covers your creatine and betaine bases, but there’s more than that out there!

So it’s no surprise that the gang at Redcon1 threw their hat in the ring of natural muscle builders.

A “size” product is a simple critique. All it has to do is help its users build more muscle mass and look swole while preventing muscle tissue breakdown… can this be done with only five ingredients?

The key is in the leucine, our most anabolic essential amino acid.

Redcon1 Moab Ingredients

  • Vitamin D3 (1,000IU)

    Redcon1 MOAB Ingredients

    MOAB drops a Vitamin D3-enhanced leucine bomb on your system, and adds the epic-ness of epicatechin!

    If you’re deficient in Vitamin D, D3 supplementation is probably the most anabolic supplement you can find. While that is a big “if” there, most Americans are at least not reaching an optimal daily intake of Vitamin D. The dosing here is great, as 1,000IU a day is more than enough for most people.[1] Keep in mind, however, that D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin and is likely best taken with a source of fat like fish oil.

    When people hit optimal levels of D3, the health benefits are many. Vitamin D3 supplementation provides heightened testosterone, reduced fat mass, higher overall quality of life, and even enhanced cognition.[2-5] It’s become as recommended as multivitamins at this point – but most multivitamins don’t have enough – so Redcon1 is doing us all a favor by including it.

    Our take? We try to get 5000IU per day, especially if not outside all day long. 1000IU plus your multivitamin is a fantastic way to start, but we wouldn’t be shy about adding another 2000IU if you’re not getting tons of sun.

    For the nit-pickers

    As an FYI, the more research we do on “Vitamin D”, the more we realize this: it’s not really a vitamin. It’s a more of a hormone typically produced by the skin.

    But the real reason why it’s added? See next ingredient:

  • Calcium β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate – HMB (3,000mg)

    Think of HMB as a hyper-specialized form of leucine. It can induce muscle protein synthesis, like leucine, but it is much better as an anti-catabolic agent.

    Research has shown that individuals taking HMB during a caloric deficit may hold on to more lean body mass than control groups.[6] Its presence in MOAB is interesting, as it could make MOAB a potent supplement to take while dieting.

    HMB + Vitamin D is where the gains are at… with a catch

    HMB Vitamin D Status

    It turns out that HMB was more effective when the users’ Vitamin D status was better! So keep it high with sunshine and supplements![18]

    However, HMB alone isn’t doing so hot in the research world as of 2018 as an anabolic agent – but there’s a catch. While many studies show no real anabolic benefit to supplementing HMB,[8,9] a one year study combining it with Vitamin D are far more successful[18] – and that’s what we have here in MOAB!!

    It turns out that HMB is only most efficiently utilized when Vitamin D levels are sufficient. Consider Vitamin D a “bottleneck” for this equation that we have to get around.

    Note for the record though, in the successful Vitamin D + HMB study, participants received 2.0g Calcium HMB, 5.0g arginine, and 1.5 g lysine – so while we have more than enough Calcium HMB here, we don’t have the other amino acids. Do they matter? We’re not sure, but this isn’t a true apples-to-apples comparison with this study cited.

    Great for recovery / reduction of soreness

    HMB Vitamin D Status

    If you want the strength and size gains from HMB, Vitamin D is worth supplementing.[18] Could this have been the missing piece to the HMB puzzle all along?

    Meanwhile the do show that HMB is superb at reducing muscle soreness. It may help you make more gains by helping you train more often.

    This also contains calcium, which is an underrated mineral on its own. MOAB will give you 39% of your RDA of calcium per serving, a fantastic start (especially for all those dairy-free MRE / MRE Lite / MRE Bar users). Since calcium is a common athletic deficiency,[10] this is a nice little bonus to HMB as an ingredient.

  • Leucic Acid – HICA (1,000mg)

    Staying on the leucine train, Redcon1 includes HICA, also known as leucic acid or 2-hydroxyisocaproic acid, which is an understudied and underappreciated leucine metabolite. It’s less studied than leucine and HMB, but there’s at least one investigation showing that HICA supplementation is rather anabolic.[11]

    HICA Study Graph

    This graph from the ground-breaking HICA study shows the clear differences adding HICA can have on your overall lean mass after only 4 weeks of use!

    HICA is definitely on “PricePlow’s list of ingredients we’d like to see researched more”. Beyond lean body mass gains, HICA also seems to lower delayed muscle soreness! Less soreness is a good thing when you’re destroying your body with volume on the daily.[11] For now, that’s all the science really has to say about this tiny metabolite.

    The only dose ever studied was 1,500mg split up into three doses throughout the day.[11] It may be prudent to mix MOAB into some water and take it in throughout your day. However, it’s hard to knock the dosage included in MOAB because the 1,500mg dose stands alone. 1,000mg could be just as good, but we need more research to really know!

  • Epicatechin (300mg)

    Since we’re talking about the mother of all builders, we have to include one of the most promising compounds we’ve seen in recent years. Epicatechin is a molecule found in both dark chocolate and green tea, and many consider it to be the primary constituent that makes dark chocolate “so healthy” per the tabloids. Why? The growing research on the compound solo supports it!

    How Epicatechin Affects Myostatin Levels

    Epicatechin dropping myostatin! Will this work in younger users? Will it result in GAINS?

    Epicatechin leads to heightened strength and muscle building, improved glucose tolerance, greater endurance through a reduction in fatigue, and even enhanced NO2 production![12-16] Yes, a muscle builder that will even help you get a pump (hint: the epic pump ingredient VASO-6 uses different forms of epicatechin). How do you beat it?! By including an over-full dose! Thank you Redcon1!

    A natural myostatin inhibitor?!

    There’s limited research showing that epicatechin may even inhibit myostatin, a molecule that acts as a “speed limit” for muscle building in the body. Epicatechin inhibits myostatin by raising the concentration of follistatin in your body,[2] and follistatin is the molecule that directly opposes myostatin. Think of follistatin as the bouncer who kicks the annoying drunk guy (myostatin) out of the bar. Now everyone can actually have fun again. Except the fun is really your sick new gains.

    If you’d like to know more, here’s our mega post on epicatechin.

  • Astragin (50mg)

    AstraGin is becoming a staple for many new products to enhance absorption of the products other ingredients.

    AstraGin is becoming a staple for many new products to enhance absorption of the products other ingredients.

    Astragin, synthesized by NuLivScience, pushes MOAB to the next level by enhancing how well your body can use each ingredient. The AstraGin present in MOAB should help the body use the other active ingredients more efficiently, or that’s at least the premise.[17] It’s made from panax notoginseng and astragalus, which are potent adaptogens in their own right. Lately, Astragin over has been taking over Bioperine as the hot “ingredient enhancer”.

    The biggest thing to note is that Astragin has never been studied with these specific ingredients, but NuLivScience does make claims with leucine (58% increase in vitro in 15 minutes[17]), so this is promising given our two leucine metabolites here.

MOAB Dosage

MOAB

One scoop a day keeps the catabolism away

Just one 7g scoop per day and you’re good to go. Timing doesn’t necessarily matter, but it would make most sense to take it pre workout.

Stacking

Since this is non-hormonal, the stacking possibilities are limitless here. Anyone looking for natty gains will obviously still want creatine and betaine, so Redcon1 Tango is a great product to add to the stack (on top of plenty of food and protein).

If you do want to get a little hormonal BOOM STICK stacks right in as well.

Conclusion

The storm is upon us, and MOAB is a direct hit with a bit of a “spray” on the HMB side. We’ve always been fascinated with epicatechin, and wondered why HICA basically disappeared from the supplement landscape (especially when Alphamine reformulated it away).

HMB is the ingredient that seems to be the “hit or miss” — but the new research showing Vitamin D being the missing missile mechanics is extremely promising, and Redcon1 is clearly up on their research by adding it.

Adding in 5g creatine and 2.5g betaine per day (via Tango if sticking with the Redcon1 family) and you’ve knocked out nearly all of the most well-researched non-hormonal muscle-building ingredients out there. A bomb well done.

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References

  1. Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  2. Lee DM, Tajar A, Pye SR, et al. Association of hypogonadism with vitamin D status: the European Male Ageing Study. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012;166(1):77-85; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22048968
  3. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, et al; Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res = Horm und Stoffwechselforsch = Horm  Metab. 2011;43(3):223-225; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195
  4. Dahlquist DT, Dieter BP, Koehle MS. Plausible ergogenic effects of vitamin D on athletic performance and recovery. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(1):33; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26288575
  5. Pettersen JA. Does high dose vitamin D supplementation enhance cognition?: A randomized trial in healthy adults. Exp Gerontol. (2017); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28167237
  6. Zanchi, N. E., Nicastro, H., & Lancha, A. H. (2008). Potential antiproteolytic effects of L-leucine: Observations of in vitro and in vivo studies. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 20; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2488337/
  7. K., F., W., & A. (1999). Effects of Calcium â-Hydroxy-â-methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation During Resistance-Training on Markers of Catabolism, Body Composition and Strength. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 20(8), 503-509; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10606212
  8. Wilson, J. M., Lowery, R. P., Joy, J. M., Walters, J. A., Baier, S. M., Fuller, J. C., . . . Rathmacher, J. (2013). β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid reduces markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and improves recovery in resistance-trained men. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(03), 538-544; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23286834
  9. Hoffman, J. R., Cooper, J., Wendell, M., Im, J., & Kang, J. (2004). Effects of β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate on Power Performance and Indices of Muscle Damage and Stress During High-Intensity Training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 18(4), 747; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15574078
  10. Helms, ER, AA Aragon, and PJ Fitschen, Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2014 11(1): p 20; https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
  11. Mero, A. A., Ojala, T., Hulmi, J. J., Puurtinen, R., Karila, T. A., & Seppälä, T. (2010). Effects of alfa-hydroxy-isocaproic acid on body composition, DOMS and performance in athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1), 1; https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-1
  12. Gutierrez-Salmean, G., Ciaraldi, T. P., Nogueira, L., Barboza, J., Taub, P. R., Hogan, M. C., . . . Ramirez-Sanchez, I. (2014). Effects of (−)-epicatechin on molecular modulators of skeletal muscle growth and differentiation. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 25(1), 91-94; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24314870
  13. Gutierrez-Salmean G, Ciaraldi TP, Nogueira L, et al. Effects of (−)-epicatechin on molecular modulators of skeletal muscle growth and differentiation. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. 2014;25(1):10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.09.007; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857584/
  14. Grassi, D; Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons.; Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L’Aquila; 2005 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15755830
  15. Nogueira, L., Ramirez-Sanchez, I., Perkins, G. A., Murphy, A., Taub, P. R., Ceballos, G., Villarreal, F. J., Hogan, M. C. and Malek, M. H. (2011), (–)-Epicatechin enhances fatigue resistance and oxidative capacity in mouse muscle. The Journal of Physiology, 589: 4615–4631; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/jphysiol.2011.209924/full
  16. Fraga CG, Litterio MC, Prince PD, Calabró V, Piotrkowski B, Galleano M. Cocoa flavanols: effects on vascular nitric oxide and blood pressure. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2011;48(1):63-67; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022066/
  17. NuLivScience; “AstraGin”; https://nulivscience.com/astragin/
  18. Fuller, JC Jr. Vitamin D Status Affects Strength Gains In Older Adults Supplemented With a Combination of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate, arginine, and lysine: a Cohort Study. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2011 Nov; 35(6):757-62; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0148607111413903
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