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Sparta Nutrition Kraken BLACK: A Beta-2 Attack Stack!

Along with a fantastic re-branding we have been covering here at PricePlow, Sparta Nutrition has recently introduced a stunning arsenal of new formulas and products. Among these new additions is Kraken Black, a pre-workout for all the stim freaks of the world… including us here at PricePlow.

Sparta Nutrition Kraken Black

Need a bit more beta-2 bang for your dopamine receptors? Then Sparta Nutrition’s Kraken BLACK is where it’s at!

Will we take this beast or the “regular” Kraken? Read on, PricePlow Nation:

The Backstory

There is nothing wrong with a product that doesn’t seek to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s better to take an old idea and polish it into something amazing. Kraken Black, at first glance, is a product trying to perfect the “EXTREME ENERGY” pre-workout niche, but without exotic stimulants like DM*A. Kraken has always been a bit lower in caffeine, and higher-energy versions of such pre workouts have been popular, so we’re not surprised that the superhot brand has thrown their hat into the higher-stim ring.

But we’ll need more than just some extra caffeine to be happy here! Thankfully those who like dopamine-boosting stimulants will get their money’s worth with this one.

As always, we attack the ingredient label, but first only after we check prices and let you sign up for Sparta Nutrition news and price alerts using PricePlow:

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Kraken Black Ingredients

The ingredient doses listed below are both in one and two scoop doses on the label. Two scoops get you twenty servings in the tub.

  • L-Citrulline (2g / 4g)

    Sparta Nutrition starts off the formula with everyone’s favorite nitric oxide booster. L-citrulline is an amino acid that converts into L-arginine upon digestion. L-arginine then takes part in the nitric oxide pathway to produce more NO2, which is directly linked to the vasodilatory processes of the body. More vasodilation translates to massive pumps through enhanced blood flow. In addition, the increased blood flow means that nutrients delivered by the plasma can get to damaged muscle tissue at a heightened rate.[1-4]

    Sparta Nutrition Kraken Black Ingredients

    The Kraken Black Ingredients lose only a bit of the pumps, but add a LOT of dopamine boosters

    The L-Citrulline dosage for the one-scoop serving is lower than we usually like. For the best citrulline experience, you may be better off taking 1.5-2 scoops of Kraken Black… if you can handle the stims! This citrulline dosage is honestly a pleasant surprise since we assumed Kraken Black was going to be all stims – and it’s clearly not!

  • Beta Alanine (1.6g / 3.2g)

    Sparta Kraken Black Claims

    You’ll feel a lot of zip and pop at two scoops, and probably some tingles too!

    The great PricePlow divider has arrived… beta alanine is a love-hate ingredient for PricePlow, as we love the benefits but sometimes get unnerved by the tingles at high doses! Thankfully, those at one scoop will get 1.6g, enough of a dosage to experience some benefits without the annoying prickly sensation it has as a side effect. But at two scoops… full-dose city!

    You’ll feel beta-alanine in longer duration exercise, especially in the 60-240s range.[5] Beta alanine could possibly assist in lean body mass gains if you use the added volume per session to your advantage,[6] so consider it an indirect builder, but it won’t build muscle on its own.

    Two scoops of Kraken Black has you at 3.2g of beta alanine, which is the most studied dose in the lab. However, that means you’ll be fully vulnerable to the tingleskeen-eyed don’t say we didn’t warn you!

  • HydroMax™ (1-2g)

    HydroMax

    HydroMax is a high-yield glycerol that improves cellular hydration, endurance, and water-based pumps.

    HydroMax™ is a newer take on a classic ingredient: glycerol. While traditional glycerol monostearate itself only possess 25% glycerol by weight, HydroMax contains 65%!

    In Kraken, HydroMax is here to act with L-citrulline to induce massive pumps by helping your muscle tissue stay saturated with water. This saturation leads to a phenomenon known as “hyperhydration”, which can assist with athletic endurance. In addition, the enhanced cellular swelling from the hydration will make your pumps feel amazing.[7-8] However, you must be sufficiently hydrated to experience any of these benefits! Make sure you drink Kraken Black with plenty of water.

  • Caffeine Anhydrous (175mg / 350mg)

    Now this is where we begin stepping things up in the black series.

    Sparta Kraken Black

    Need more caffeine to get going? Then Kraken Black has 50mg more than regular Kraken in each scoop!

    And here’s yet another pre-workout in 2018 that penetrates the 300mg caffeine barrier! We’re convinced that 300mg of caffeine is the new 200mg. The collective tolerance of the pre-workout taking populace has gone up in recent years, leading to some massive doses in newer products. The caffeine in Kraken is here to make you lift stronger and live harder.[9-11]

  • B-Phenylethylamine HCl (150mg / 300mg)

    Our keen-eyed readers will immediately note that this ingredient is yet another form of PEA. PEA is one of the best stimulants available on the market, especially since the fall of DMAA and the more recent decline in DMHA popularity. PEA helps the body release more catecholamines, which may explain why the ingredient feels so damn good.[12]

    Mini-review time from Mike: Having not taken a ton of straight Beta-PEA lately, I can tell you that this stuff definitely gets felt and hits quite well at 1.5 – 2 scoops. It happens fast, and it is nearly surprising. This puts some “Krak” in the “Kraken Black”!

    The only issue with PEA is that it can wear off quickly. Thankfully, Sparta Nutrition counters this with the next ingredient: hordenine.

  • Hordenine HCl (25 / 50mg)

    Kraken Black Weights

    If you feel a bit more strength when your dopamine is booming… then join the Kraken Black Squad

    Hordenine HCl is an ingredient derived from bitter orange. While it is a decent stimulant due to its status as a beta-2 agonist (think: weaker ephedrine), it’s really here to enhance the PEA in Kraken Black. Besides its stimulatory effects, hordenine can act as an inhibitor for monoamine oxidase (MAO) — the enzyme that breaks PEA down in the body.[13] By slowing MAO in its tracks, hordenine helps PEA work longer to lengthen the stimulatory experience of the product.

  • Higenamine HCl (25 / 50mg)

    Hordenine and higenamine often come together in pre-workouts. You can see higenamine as a “bonus” stimulant that’s thrown into higher-energy supplements. It also works at the beta-2 receptor, which results in a nice stimulatory effect.[14] While it’s not the most potent stimulant around, it’s a nice addition to a stack, especially when paired with other ingredients like caffeine and the PEA/hordenine combo. This is once again a little extra “umph” that Sparta added to Kraken Black!

  • Cocoa Seed Extract (12.5 / 25mg)

    Cocoa Seed Extract rounds out the three-hit beta-2 combo that Sparta Nutrition has leaned on in several of its new products. The active compound, N-coumaroyldopamine, also acts as a beta-2 agonist.[15] While it is not potent on its own, the mechanism is a bit different – N-coumaroyldopamine increases cAMP via beta2-adrenoceptors, which is why brands and dieters often use it for fat loss / body recomposition effects on top of that slight boost in energy and focus. To top it off, Cocoa seed contains xanthine-acting compounds like caffeine and theobromine which will provide you with more energy.[16]

    Combined with the other beta-2 agonists, Kraken Black will have you thriving in stimulant land. This ingredient is in the “normal” Kraken, but not at this dose!

Differences between Kraken and Kraken Black

Sparta Kraken

Compare to the original Sparta Kraken

So what does Kraken Black have that Kraken doesn’t? In the full two-scoop serving, here are the additions:

  • 100mg more caffeine
  • Beta-PEA (300mg)
  • Higenamine (50mg)
  • Hordenine (50mg)
  • 10mg more cocoa seed extract

So basically, this is for those who love the beta-2 agonists, as that’s what’s getting chased here. A bit more pop and dopamine kick… but potentially more come-down since there’s no TeaCrine.

What’s in Kraken that’s not in Kraken Black?

Meanwhile, you lose the Taurine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Vaso-6, TeaCrine, Theobromine, and N-Methyl-Tyramine. The citrulline, beta alanine, and HydroMax are the same.

This is why Kraken Black is cheaper — it’s a bit less “well rounded.”

One good stack idea is to mix Kraken Black with the new Kraken Pump!

Flavors Available

Kraken Black Flavors

Kraken Black launched with three flavors. If they sell well enough, expect to see more (sign up for PricePlow’s alerts below!)

Sparta Nutrition has put a ton of resources into flavor matrixes… and it shows. Kraken Black comes in three different flavors as of this article’s publication: bombsicle, rainbow candy, and sour gummy bear. There’s really something for everyone here. We know, it’s a hard choice. Just go with your appetite.

Mike’s mini flavor review:

I have access to rainbow candy and bombsicle, and rainbow candy is the clear winner, but it’s insanely sweet. So sweet that I downed itso quickly that the PEA slammed me FAST. It was pretty cool and I’m willing to bet was the intention of the product! Bombsicle is less sweet and a bit more gritty, so I’ll be using rainbow candy when I need to get smacked with the Kraken Black!

Conclusion: Beta-2 Dopamine Blasters Will Enjoy

Honestly, our only complaints are minor. Our main concern is that Kraken Black may be too potent on the stimulant side of things… but that’s why it’s here! If you don’t want higher-stim stuff, go with the original Kraken pre workout!

Perhaps the addition of L-theanine could have smoothed out the energy for those prone to anxiety or jitters, but forget that — this is the beta-2 attacking, high-stim version!

Of course, we need to note that Kraken Black contains WADA-prohibited substances, so make sure you’re not drug-tested. Beyond these complaints, Kraken Black has us stunned. It’s a simple strike for the dopamine lovers, but the pumps aren’t that much less than Kraken… while the cost is less. If you’ve been looking for a non-DMAA/DMHA high octane pre-workout, look no further.

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

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References

  1. Giannesini B, et al. (2011)Citrulline malate supplementation increases muscle efficiency in rat skeletal muscle. Eur J Pharmacol.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21664351
  2. Bendahan D, et al. (2002) Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle. Br J Sports Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12145119
  3. Suzuki T, Morita M, Kobayashi Y, Kamimura A. Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016;13:6; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4759860/
  4. Pérez-Guisado, J., & Jakeman, P. M. (2010). Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(5), 1215-1222; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132
  5. Hobson, R. M., Saunders, B., Ball, G., Harris, R. C., & Sale, C. (2012). Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: A meta-analysis. Amino Acids, 43(1), 25-37; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22270875
  6. Walter, A. A., Smith, A. E., Kendall, K. L., Stout, J. R., & Cramer, J. T. (2010). Six Weeks of High-Intensity Interval Training With and Without β-Alanine Supplementation for Improving Cardiovascular Fitness in Women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(5), 1199-1207; https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00124278-201005000-00007
  7. Bartos, J. (n.d.). A UNIQUELY OPTIMIZED, HIGHLY CONCENTRATED POWDERED FORM OF GLYCEROL DELIVERING NEXT-LEVEL HYDRATION AND NEXT-GEN PRODUCT POTENTIAL. Retrieved from https://www.glanbianutritionals.com/sites/default/files/white-paper/uploads/HydroMax_WhitePaper.pdf
  8. Wingo, J. E., Casa, D. J., Berger, E. M., Dellis, W. O., Knight, J. C., & McClung, J. M. (2004). Influence of a Pre-Exercise Glycerol Hydration Beverage on Performance and Physiologic Function During Mountain-Bike Races in the Heat. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC419512/
  9. McCormack, William P, and Hoffman, Jay R; “Caffeine, Energy Drinks, and Strength-Power Performance”; Strength and Conditioning Journal; August 2012; Volume 34, Issue 4, 11–16; https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2012/08000/Caffeine,_Energy_Drinks,_and_Strength_Power.3.aspx,%20full-text%20at
  10. Barry, R. J., Clarke, A. R., & Johnstone, S. J. (2011). Caffeine and opening the eyes have additive effects on resting arousal measures. Clinical Neurophysiology, 122(10), 2010-2015; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21489866
  11. Astrup, A., Toubro, S., Cannon, S., Hein, P., Breum, L., & Madsen, J. (1990). Caffeine: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51(5), 759-767; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2333832
  12. Mesfioui, A., Math, F., Jmari, K., Hessni, A. E., Choulli, M. K., & Davrainville, J. (1998). Effects of Amphetamine and Phenylethylamine on Catecholamine Release in the Glomerular Layer of the Rat Olfactory Bulb. Neurosignals, 7(4), 235-243; https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/14548
  13. Hapke, H. J., & Strathmann, W. (1995, June). [Pharmacological effects of hordenine]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8582256
  14. Zhang, N., Lian, Z., Peng, X., Li, Z., & Zhu, H. (2017). Applications of Higenamine in pharmacology and medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 196, 242-252; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28007527
  15. Park, J. B. (2005). N-Coumaroyldopamine and N-caffeoyldopamine increase cAMP via beta 2-adrenoceptors in myelocytic U937 cells. The FASEB Journal, 19(6), 497-502; https://www.fasebj.org/doi/10.1096/fj.04-2782com
  16. Desideri, G., Kwik-Uribe, C., Grassi, D., Necozione, S., Ghiadoni, L., Mastroiacovo, D., . . . Ferri, C. (2012). 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, 60(3), 794-801; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22892813
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