Gaspari Nutrition has been teasing the unveiling of its newest pre workout supplement, SP250, for several weeks now. We’ve finally got a hold of the ingredient label and are here to bring you a full rundown.
Just like with Nova-X, there’s a bit more research needed, but make no mistake – this is completely different than anything we’ve seen, and for that very reason, we’re going to need to give it a run to find out what it’s really like.
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Gaspari’s SP250 label is a tale of three stories:
- Some ingredients are fully dosed (beta-alanine),
- Some show up in alarmingly low amounts (citrulline malate, agmatine), and
- Some ingredients are brand new, never used in supplements before, and we’re hoping to be the ultimate difference makers (S-(2-boronoethyl)-L-cysteine, eria jarensis, and others).
Caffeine: 250mg confirmed
Although it’s not on the label, it’s been disclosed by Stack3d that there is 250mg caffeine per serving, so SP 250 should roughly be a one-scoop pre workout for most users.
Back to proprietary blends.. Why?
The label is half-open, half-proprietary, which is better than fully proprietary… but still odd in that Gaspari had been moving away from proprietary blends and is now moving backwards in that aspect.
We have to wonder why, most companies don’t move backwards away from this industry trend.
So what’s really in this and is it worth the hype? Let’s jump in!
CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine (3.2g)
Beta-alanine is a proven commodity is the world of supplements. It’s a lactic acid buffer that reduces muscular fatigue and boosts power output.[1,2] Usually it’s not dosed very well in most products, but here we get the full clinical dosage in one scoop, so the new Gaspari’s off to a good start with SP250, let’s see where we go from here!
Of course, if you get the “beta alanine tingles” from lesser-dosed pre workouts, then this is really going to bring it. Thankfully, most people shouldn’t need much more than one scoop, otherwise the tingling would get a bit extreme.
Creatine HCl (1g)
Creatine HCl’s has gained popularity due to its enhanced absorption and bioavailability over monohydrate. Based on this, it’s believed that you don’t need the same amount as monohydrate to garner the same benefits. Additionally, many people swear by this form of creatine as it doesn’t lead to bloating or GI distress that so many report when using the tried and true form of creatine.s increased bioavailability and absorption compared to creatine monohydrate.
Unfortunately, there is no research to substantiate any of these claims, which most would expect to see by now given how much Creatine HCl is praised. Plus, with only 1g of creatine in SP250, you’ll still need to add another 2-4g of creatine monohydrate to get your daily dose of 3-5g needed to maintain saturation levels.
“Do it right or don’t do it at all”
Non-clinical creatine dosing is disappointing, but common at this point, as we’ve discussed in our “Creatine is Broken“ rant. It’s odd that Gaspari went out of their way to include a whopping beta alanine dose, but not creatine. Maybe there’s a new version of Size-On coming out…
L-Citrulline Malate (1g)
Citrulline malate, much like beta alanine is another buffering agent that removes ammonia and lactic acid build up, which would lead to better ATP production and increased endurance.[3,4,5]
But more importantly, it’s also become a favorite “pump” agent as its been shown to raise levels of arginine in the body leading to increased nitric oxide (NO) production. The end game been more blood getting to your muscles and creating a tremendous pump.
Unfortunately, you need 6-8g of citrulline malate to elicit any of the clinically-studied benefits, which leads us to wonder why more wasn’t added to the product?
The answer hopefully comes in the form of the next ingredient, which could potentially mean that you don’t need as much to get the same pump.
Gaspari is dubbing S-(2-boronoethyl)-L-cysteine (BEC) as the solution to “The Arginase Problem’ that makes all other Nitric Oxide (NO) products fall short from delivering a serious pump.”
BEC is an arginase inhibitor that prevents its breakdown in the body thereby indirectly increasing circulating levels of arginine and thus raising NO production in the body.[7,8]
This idea sounds promising and only time will tell if it really does help create a longer lasting and more effective pump. Can this be the reason why there’s not so much citrulline malate or agmatine in here?
But one thing is for certain – this hasn’t been used in a pre workout, which is either a good thing if you’re like us, or a bad thing if you’re very conservative.
We’ve been wanting something different – and this is the first sign that the new Gaspari is at least trying to change things up. But once again, time (and reviews) will tell….
SP250™ CogniDRIVE Matrix (3g)
Now we’re back to the proprietary side. SP250’s CogniDRIVE Matrix is a prop blend consisting of taurine, tyrosine, glucuronolactone, DMAE, choline, glycerol monostearate, and agmatine.
Seeing as the individual amounts of these ingredients aren’t disclosed (and there’s seven ingredients here), we really can’t be sure if any of them are effectively dosed.
Typical first ingredient in a prop blend. There are times when love taurine, and times we don’t. In pre workouts, it’s good to have as a cell hydration agent, and often pairs very well with glycerol. However, glycerol does not seem to be highly-enough dosed to provide the massive “water pump” many of us love – but we’ll get to that later.
The real downside is that this is a low-cost ingredient that’s put at the front of a proprietary blend, so it simply skews any good info we can pull out this part of the formula.
L-Tyrosine increases the production of dopamine and noradrenaline and can boost mood and focus while decreasing stress.[9,10]
We’re fans of this ingredient, especially seeing it second in a 3g proprietary blend gives us hope that it’s well-dosed.
Glucuronolactone is a compound typically found in energy drinks, but the research is rather thin as to what type of cognitive benefits it actually holds.[11,12]
This is one of those ingredients that really makes you wonder why it’s in so many energy drinks, given the sparse research on it. It doesn’t seem dangerous, since it’s been taken in billions of servings of energy drinks (and is approved by every governmental health authority out there)… but why is it everywhere? Why is it here?
There’s a few broscience believers who claim it helps glucose metabolism, but it doesn’t seem to have any real life effects in the very few studies that have used it.
DMAE is a molecule that combats the accumulation of the “age pigment” in the brain which will help cognition. It also increases the production of acetylcholine while leads to improved memory.
Now, as one respected member of the community has pointed out, a “solid, high dose of DMAE is 200ish milligrams”.
If that’s the case, then we are going to have low doses of the ingredients after this. But if this is highly dosed… then you might be feeling a very unique focus boost in here. This is what makes prop blends so frustrating.
Choline Bitartrate is a lower-cost form of choline and helps foster the “mind-muscle” connection during your workouts and should also help with the focus aspect as well.
We love it as well, but a preferred dose is usually at 250mg at least. Which means you’d need a seriously high DMAE dose, or more than one scoop (which brings in the high caffeine question).
Glycerol Monostearate (GMS)
This is the ingredient that’s been causing a lot of questions from the peanut galleries online.
Glycerol monostearate is a glycerol-containing compound, and is good for “water-based pumps” and hyper-hydration when dosed effectively.
The issue, however, is that GMS has taken a back seat and is “going out of style”, so to speak, in lieu of Glanbia’s hot new HydroMax, which has more glycerol per gram. The issue with glycerol monosterate is that 75% of it is in the form of stearic acid, a saturated fat, so you’re not getting as much bang for your gram.
That is doubly troubled when you see it below cognitive boosters that are typically in the 150-250mg range.
So, the point is, if you love your glycerol pumps, don’t hold your breath just yet. We wish this was way higher up on the list, or in the non-proprietary blend portion.
Another nitric oxide / pump-enhancing ingredient. Agmatine works by inhibiting your nitric oxide inhibitors, to put it simply.
It doesn’t take massive doses, but being seventh in the 3g prop blend, that means we have a max dose of 428mg – but likely much less.
Like citrulline malate, though, there’s a chance that we don’t need much — if the new S-(2-boronoethyl)-L-cysteine does its job.
Once again, only one way to find out….
Overall, the biggest disappointment (behind the fact that it’s a prop blend) is the type and probable dose of glycerol here – but that doesn’t mean this isn’t going to provide a nice whopper of focus. It could also be 2999mg of taurine. Who knows.
This is why proprietary blends are frustrating to work with, but it does entice us to rock a review and find out…
Insane Energy Blend (750mg)
Now we come to the crux of SP250, it’s “Insane” energy blend. Yet again, we have another prop blend so we’re left to speculate on the amounts of the various energy-boosters contained within.
But in a way, it almost doesn’t matter, because nearly everything here is new and we won’t have much of a basis for comparison anyway.
It all starts out with the ingredient everyone’s hoping to be the next big thing:
Eria Jarensis Extract
The interesting ingredient here is the eria jarensis extract which Gaspari is calling, “the first truly effective stimulant used in the sports supplements industry as a substitute for the now-banned DMAA.”
Now we have no idea if these claims will hold up or not as there’s not any readily available research to show this extracts effects on metabolic rate or energy expenditure, so the jury will be out on this one. But it’s exciting to hear about this, since we did enjoy DMAA supplements while they were around.
Since it’s been publicly confirmed (via Stack3d) that there’s 250mg per scoop, we now know that there’s at least 250mg of eria. But that doesn’t help us, because we don’t know the constituents they’re standardizing for.
CONFIRMED: Eria jarensis a source N-phenethyldimethylamine!
Another possible use of eria jarensis — one that is more likely to be right — is that this extract is providing N-phenethyl dimethylamine, which is the same new PEA stimulant in Giant Sports’ Dexamine Black and Performax Labs’ Oxy Max XT.
If that’s the case, then this will ultimately feel very good, because this ingredient definitely adds some incredible chops to the way Dexamine Black feels.
Update: Since writing this article, we’ve done a LOT more research on this ingredient, which is also labeled as “Eria Jarensis Extract”. You can read the updates on our post titled Eria Jarensis Extract / N-phenethyl dimethylamine: The Next Big Thing?
Also a source of N-Methyl-PEA and N,N-dimethyl-PEA?
One clue about what Eria Jarensis could be providing is through an older 2013 forum post where one knowledgeable user stated the following:
I only know of one orchid genus that potentially contains phenylethylamine type compounds: Eria jarensis Ames. Specifically, it was demonstrated to contain N-methyl-PEA and N,N-dimethyl-PEA. Both are completely worthless from a physiological point of view. — BB.com Forum User
Those two ingredients won’t do what N-phenethyldimethylamine is capable of, so we remain focused on the primary part discussed above.
Caffeine anhydrous (250mg)
Our next ingredient is caffeine anhydrous which everyone does now is an effective stimulant shown to increase performance, focus, mood, and decrease fatigue.[13,14]
With the 250mg caffeine dose, and what Gaspari is claiming to be a suitable DMAA replacement in front of it, we don’t see much of a reason to go higher than one scoop. Maybe one heaping scoop… but start light, everyone!
The instructions apparently state 1-2 scoops can be used. We’d honestly start with 3/4 of a scoop just to assess, until we can figure out what the Eria jarensis Ames is bringing.
Theobroma Cocoa extract
Theobroma Cocoa extract comes from cocoa beans and is contains the xanthine molecules caffeine and theobromine. High doses (500-1000mg) of this extract has been shown to improve attention and memory,[15,16] but most likely the amount contained in SP250 isn’t enough for those clinical-based effects.
Regardless, most people either enjoy it or don’t feel it, so it’s net good having it around to take some of the edge off of any possible caffeine crash.
Citrus Natsudaidai Hyata Extract
Citrus Natsudaidai Hyata Extract comes from the peel of citrus fruits and its inclusion in SP250 is likely due to its beneficial lipolytic effects it exhibits on the body, and its role as a vasodilator leading to elevated NO levels.
Citrus junos Sieb ex Tanaka
Another new one – Citrus junos Sieb ex Tanaka extract comes a citrus fruit that is cultivated in northeast Asia. It’s rich with polyphenols and has shown promise as a potent source of antioxidants.
Citrus natsudaidai, citrus limonium
Much like citrus natsudaidai, citrus limonium comes from the peel of another citrus fruit (lemons) and possesses similar lipolytic effects as that of its brethren.
Citrus Aurantium (a.k.a. bitter orange boosts energy levels while simultaneously reducing fatigue and rate of perceived exertion.[20,21,22] As with the other citrus extracts included in SP250, it can also stimulate lipolysis allowing your body to oxidize fat and use it as an energy source.
We’re still not done with the stims!!!
Theacrine is a molecule that’s similar to caffeine and can also act as a potent stimulant. The upside to theacrine though is that it appears to not have a tolerance build up to it as is traditionally associated with caffeine.
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When SP250 hits the market, it will come in 3 flavors:
- Blue Raspberry (always our favorite in Gaspari products)
- Fruit Punch
All three flavors will be available in 30 serving tub sizes.
So, there you have it for Gaspari’s latest product to hit the market since the re-emergence from bankruptcy. It’s a mixed bag of effectively dosed ingredients, potentially underdosed ingredients, a few unknown ingredients, and a whole host of citrus extracts!
Just like we said with Nova-X — it’s clear that the new Gaspari is doing something unique and is being aggressive about it. This is completely different from what we were expecting — oftentimes, when one company buys a new company, they use the brand name as a cash cow to sell cheap supplements. Doesn’t seem like the case here!
The inclusion of the Eria Jarensis extract is intriguing, but until we can see some more research or studies on its effects we can’t really say much. It’s either going to put Gaspari right back on the pre-workout forefront or it’s not.
We’ll have to give it a go while we await other reviews and feedback to pour in next month once the product goes up for sale.
Until then, sign up for price drop updates so that you get notified when it gets out.
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- Roger C. Harris; et al.; “The effect of a supplement containing β-alanine on muscle carnosine synthesis, ventilatory threshold and exercise capacity in Korean cyclists, during 12 weeks combined endurance and weight training“
- Kendrick IP, et al. The effects of 10 weeks of resistance training combined with beta-alanine supplementation on whole body strength, force production, muscular endurance and body composition. Amino Acids. (2008)
- Giannesini B., et. al.; European Journal of Pharmacology; “Citrulline malate supplementation increases muscle efficiency in rat skeletal muscle;” September 2011
- Perez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM; Journal of Strength and Conditioning; “Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness;” May 2010
- Hickner RC. et. al.; Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; “L-citrulline reduces time to exhaustion and insulin response to a graded exercise test;“
- Curis E., et. al; “Citrulline and the gut;”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care; September 2007
- Deijen JB, Orlebeke JF; Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress . Brain Res Bull. (1994)
- Dollins AB, et al; L-tyrosine ameliorates some effects of lower body negative pressure stress . Physiol Behav. (1995)
- Backhouse, SH, et. al; Appetite; “Caffeine ingestion, affect and perceived exertion during prolonged cycling;” August 2011
- Hurley, CF; Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; “The effect of caffeine ingestion on delayed onset muscle soreness;” November 2013
- Desideri G, et al; Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study . Hypertension. (2012)
- van Praag H1, et al Plant-derived flavanol (-)epicatechin enhances angiogenesis and retention of spatial memory in mice . J Neurosci. (2007)
- Exercise was easier 83% of the time – and no significant adverse events occurred – following use of a performance-enhancing dietary supplement containing Advantra Z. Human Pharmacology of a Performance-Enhancing Dietary Supplement Under Resting and Exercise Conditions – Haller, University of California, San Francisco, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
- A multi-ingredient supplement containing Advantra Z increased energy production and fat oxidation.
- A multi-ingredient product containing Advantra Z reduced fatigue and curbed appetite in overweight adults without serious adverse events.
- Ball KT, Poplawsky A. Low-dose oral caffeine induces a specific form of behavioral sensitization in rats. Pharmacol Rep. 2011 Nov;63(6):1560-3. PubMed PMID: 22358105.