Before starting this article I feel like it’s necessary to give a bit of history about the supplement industry. The dietary supplement industry has been around, well, forever. Formally, it really started getting going in the 70’s with the Weider line of supplements, which consisted mainly of liver tabs and chalk-like protein powder that would make you vomit. People dealt with this for many years (how, I don’t know) and as the health and fitness wave started rumbling in America, so too did literally millions of dietary supplements pop up. The supplement industry had a real golden era in which they flew under the radar and essentially anything that was not already a pharmaceutical could be put into a capsule and sold over the counter. These were the days of Usnic acid, the andro family, GHB, ephedra, viagra analogues and pretty much anything else your heart could desire.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. If you learn only one thing from me, learn to expect people to do the stupidest thing possible in any given situation. Across the nation, exactly that started happening. Old people in Florida popping ephedrine like candy ended up having heat strokes and the like. High school kids were taking all the andro they could get their hands on, everyone was overdoing it.
Then the feds stepped in with their bans. Because supplement companies don’t have the money to push ingredients through clinical research like big pharma can, and the FDA simply does not have the time or resources to oversee the trials, they settled on a little rule. If a chemical is already naturally occurring in the food supply, then it may be used in a dietary supplement. So, if people have already been ingesting it and they haven’t died, then they can continue to ingest it. I know what you’re thinking, “aw that’s lame, I don’t want banana extract”. That’s where your wrong, it doesn’t say things Americans consume, it can be anyone anywhere, and if you’ve ever watched National Geographic, you know that we as a species will pretty much eat anything .
And so, for many years, the supplement industry just kind of stalemated. Every company had a protein, creatine, multivitamin, Testosterone booster, fat loss product, and a preworkout. Some had more, some had less, but they all basically contained the same stuff in different proprietary blends. The really risque companies would have a few of the non-banned prohormones in their line, or even spike their product with pharmaceuticals, but for the most part, it was pretty boring. It was a complacent market, which is not good for the gym goer looking for that edge.
But now, we’re beginning to see that change, it may have to do with the FDA paying closer attention, or the fact that a few companies have actually become innovative in the last few years and their competitors have to adapt. But anyway you look at it, new things are on the horizon. In this article and others like it I will give you choice info on some stuff that either just has come out or will come out soon.
Agmatine Sulfate– This product is touted to be everything arginine was supposed to be and much more. Benefits include: Increased NO production, Increased LH and testosterone, Increased Growth Hormone, Increased catecholamine secretion, Enhanced Insulin and IGF-1 Production, Decreased Anxiety, Anti-inflammatory, Nootropic, and Lowered blood pressure.
I have personally used agmatine and I will say that it is very solid as a pump product. Most of the studies citing the benefits above are on mice. Real world feedback in humans seems to be a bit mixed. Almost everyone gets a good pump and some swear it helps with body composition. I feel that for the body composition effects to be noticed it must be dosed regularly and at the appropriate time of day. It seems as though people are still trying to figure those variables out. With that said, I would still use a preworkout with agmatine over arginine any day of the week, and I recommend you try some out.
Bulbine Natalensis –This one has just hit the market in a testosterone boosting product from I-force Nutrition called Tropinol. This herb reminds me a lot of fadogia agrestris (One of my favorite test boosting herbs) in that it has little science but a lot of traditional usage for impotence. There is really just one study to back up tropinol and it’s in rats, but the results are extremely positive, I won’t bore you with the graphs but testosterone levels went up about 300%, which is much more than anything else we’ve seen on the market, it also increased their sexual desire (measured as the number of times they mount their partner) by about 900% (dose: 50mg/kg bw). I-force also claims to have human bloodwork from two guys who gave the compound a shot. According to these tests the tropinol raises blood hormone levels roughly 300%.
Now, we would be the worst scientists in the world, and I would be personally failing you if I said “hey guys, n=2, now go forth and be merry”. I don’t want to piss on your parade but that represents an enormous leap over the next best testosterone booster (~50% increase). So, being the objective meatheads we are we must consider:
1) The compound is brand new, we don’t know how much of it is in the product, and we haven’t seen enough weight trained young men use it for it to be significant. The dose used in the rat study is pretty large, but human equivalency dosing may make it reasonable.
2)If an average male produces roughly the equivalent of 125mg/week of testosterone. A 300% increase represents 500 mg of testosterone per week. That’s a cycle. Like an actual steroid cycle. So:
3) If the boost is as high as they says it is, the body is going to down regulate the HPTA axis to compensate for this increase (via decreased LH production, LH sensitivity, GnRH production/sensitivity, decreased leydig cell sensitivity, etc) . So if it really boosts test that high, it’s going to shut you down, you’ll need an off cycle for a test booster. At least theoretically you should, no testosterone booster has ever been powerful enough to really bring this issue to light before.
So, that’s just a taste of some of the new stuff that’s out, I hope you find these articles to be informative because I’m not trying to sell you anything and so my bias is significantly less than other sources. There will be more of these to come because these really are exciting times for the supplement industry.