Review: BSN CellMass Post-Workout Creatine Delivery System

Review: BSN CellMass Post-Workout Creatine Delivery System

…CellMass® is BSN’s post-workout and nighttime mass, recovery and performance activator. Promoting these three processes is a unique combination of amino acids, minerals and key electrolytes that rapidly absorb to refuel muscle cells, maximize ATP stores and saturate your growing muscles.

It’s for this reason that the CellMass® you take today, is the CellMass® you will feel tomorrow! CellMass®,Where mass and recovery begin.™

BSN’s CellMass is a well-known and popular creatine delivery system. It contains a blend of 4 creatine-based compounds, plus ancillary ingredients designed to enhance uptake and workout performance.

AVPT (Advanced Volumizing & Performance Technology) 4250mg
(Patents 5,965,596; 6,172098; 6,426,361 and 6,680,294) Sodium Creatine Phosphate Matrix, Creatine Ethyl Ester-Beta-Alanine Dual Action Composite (CarnoSyn®), Creatinol-O-Phosphate-Malic Acid Interfusion, Creatine AAB™ (Creatine Alpha-Amino-N-Butyrate)

Glutamine AKG 2000mg

Muscle Cell Uptake Proprietary Matrix 950mg
Di-Calcium Phospate, Cinnulin PF® (Aqueous Cinnamon Extract)(Bark), Di-Potassium Phosphate, Di-Sodium Phosphate

Other Ingredients
Modified Glucose Polymers (Maltodextrin), Natural And Artificial Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Citric Acid, Sucralose(Splenda®), Calcium Silicate, FD&C Red #40

CellMass is a “2nd Generation” product, that’s low in overall calories (30) and carbs (7g). Personally, I see this as a plus, as a) it allows me to customize my carb intake; and b) it means I’m not paying “creatine prices” for a product that’s 90% cheap sugars.

What else does CellMass have to offer? Let’s drill a little deeper…

AVPT: This blend is a replacement for creatine ethyl ester malate (CEM3), which was featured in the original formula. Why the change? I expect it was due to a class action lawsuit filed against BSN in November, 2007. In essence, the suit claimed there was no actual CEM3 in CellMass (and related products), and BSN’s claims were fraudulent. For the record, BSN has denied the allegation, and the suit has yet to be decided…so—in my view—the company is “innocent until proven guilty.” Nonetheless, BSN’s reputation took a hit as a result, so I’m not surprised this ingredient was replaced.

It’s interesting, however, to see a creatine ethyl ester-based ingredient replaced by a blend featuring sodium creatine phosphate. Creatine ethyl ester (CEE) was once heralded as the most advanced form of creatine ever made…by comparison, creatine phosphate is pretty conventional stuff. Taking creatine and phosphates together has been shown to be superior to creatine alone, however, so—to my mind—this is a change for the better.

On the flip side, I’ve never thought much of CEE. Suffice it to say, it’s never been compared to creatine monohydrate in any human or animal test. In addition, experiments in a model system suggest it’s less stable in stomach acid. CEE still has its fans, however, who feel they’ve gotten good results from it. Thus, it’s been retained, but in a lesser role as a “composite” with beta-alanine.

Beta-alanine is one-half of the dipeptide carnosine (beta-alanyl-l-histidine).

Carnosine is a naturally-occurring metabolite which—among other functions—helps to buffer hydrogen ions produced during intense muscular contractions.

CarnoSyn® is the trademarked, licensed version.

Creatinol-o-phosphate was covered extensively in the Aplodan review.

Briefly, it’s a creatine analog that can serve as a) a source of creatine; b) a source of phosphate for regenerating phosphocreatine; and/or c) an alternate phosphogen for ATP production. Here in CellMass, it’s “interfused” with malic acid—an organic acid and Krebs Cycle intermediate.

Creatine alpha-amino-n-butyrate is a combination of creatine + a leucine analog. According to one patent application, alpha-amino-n-butyrate possesses anticatabolic properties, but this is purely theoretical, and has never been tested in animals, let alone humans.

Glutamine AKG: The “AKG” stands for alpha-ketoglutarate, another Krebs Cycle intermediate that’s also important for nitrogen transport in the body. Despite this important role, there’s little evidence to suggest that supplementing with AKG improves athletic performance in humans. Likewise, L-glutamine has its uses, but the benefits are debatable for healthy athletes when it comes to muscle growth, recovery or performance.

Muscle Cell Uptake Proprietary Matrix 950mg: Cinnulin PF® is a cinnamon extract made by Integrity Nutraceuticals International. In a recent clinical study, subjects with prediabetes who took 500 mg/day for 12 weeks experienced modest, but statistically significant improvements in fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, and lean body mass.

The calcium, sodium and potassium salts in the Matrix are sources of electrolytes lost in sweat, as well as secondary sources of phosphate for production of phosphocreatine.

There you have it…So what does it all add up to?

For all the seeming complexity of the AVPT blend, at its heart, CellMass is a rather simple supplement. The recommended 2 servings/day is enough to supply useful doses of useful compounds: creatine, phosphates and beta-alanine. In addition—as an insulin sensitizer—Cinnulin may help with creatine uptake, much like alpha-lipoic acid does. Thus, there’s every reason to expect CellMass will get the job done.

And so it does. While most user feedback is based on the previous CEM3 formula, the few reviews I’ve seen on the current version are pretty positive. In addition, CellMass tastes good—which is no mean feat for a supplement of this type. Like most people, I’m happy to choke down something nasty if it’s effective…but given a choice between a supp that works, but tastes bad, vs. a supp that works AND tastes good—which would you prefer?

Overall, CellMass appears to be a reasonably solid product. While some people on the boards are shunning it (as well as NO-Xplode and Nitrix) due to the pending lawsuit, I see no reason to do so at this time.

Given its reputation and continued user satisfaction, I’m quite willing to wait and let the wheels of justice turn… and—in the meantime—order a container for myself. 😉

Summary of BSN CellMass
  • Contains useful ingredients.
  • Tastes good.
  • Low in calories and carbs.
  • Contains CEE, an inferior form of creatine that’s outlived the original hype.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

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