Review: Biotivia Bio Forge
“Bio Forge is the ultimate answer to every bodybuilder’s request. A bodybuilders dietary supplement able to amplify the natural muscle-building and fat-burning signals of your body without any harmful unwanted side-effects resulting in an improvement of your overall health!
Our unique natural bodybuilding formulation has an extraordinary solid scientific foundation and is perfectly balanced in its revolutionary ingredients profile and ratio, bringing you the future of natural muscular enhancement.”
Bio Forge is a bodybuilding supplement from a non-traditional manufacturer, Biotivia. Biotivia isn’t your usual sports supplement company; rather it specializes in botanicals, and is best-known for its resveratrol products. Thus, the ads for Bio Forge don’t feature breathless promises of “skin-splitting pumps”, “explosive strength and power” or “freakish, inhuman muscle growth”…Kinda refreshing, actually.
Even better, there are no proprietary blends featuring dozens of ingredients. In fact, Bio Forge is a pretty simple supp:
Amount Per Serving
Forslean (20% forskolin) – 250mg
Epimedium (40% icariin) – 400mg
Indole-3-carbinol – 300mg
OptiZinc – 50mg
That’s it: only 4 ingredients, in known quantities. Nice.
Ok, simplicity is a good thing… but does it work? Does Bio Forge really “amplify the natural muscle-building and fat-burning signals of your body”? Ultimately, that’s the bottom line. So—with that in mind—let’s take a closer look at the formula.
Forslean: Forslean is a proprietary extract from Coleus forskohlii produced by the Sabinsa Corporation. It’s standardized for forskolin, a diterpenoid compound used as a lipolytic agent in laboratory studies. Although Forslean is primarily marketed as a fat loss ingredient, a 12 week study on obese men demonstrated positive trends towards increased lean mass and serum testosterone. The dose used in this study (as well as other “in-house” studies) was 50mg/day… so the dose in Bio Forge appears to be right on the money.
Epimedium: The genus Epimedium contains a number of species that are collectively known as “horny goat weed.”
The primary active compound, icariin, is a phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitor, which means it may act as a sort of “herbal Viagra” to increase penile blood flow and facilitate an erection.
While there is some evidence that icariin can act as a “testosterone mimetic” at high doses in rats, there is no data to show it has any testosterone-like effect in humans.
Anecdotally, certain standardized extracts of horny goat weed get good ratings from most users for their aphrodisiac effects. While this is an “n=1” observation, my husband rather likes the stuff, too. 😉
Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C): I3C is a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables (i.e., cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale). It’s the precursor to diindolylmethane (DIM)—to which it is rapidly metabolized in-vivo. DIM has been investigated as a possible therapeutic agent for breast cancer, due to its effects on estrogen metabolism.
DIM increases the proportion of inactive (C-2 hydroxylated) metabolites relative to active, potentially carcinogenic (C-16 hydroxylated) ones. This ability to modulate estrogen metabolism is the reason some bodybuilders recommend using I3C/DIM to reduce/treat gynecomastia (“bitch tits”).
On the flip side, however, noted author and researcher Thomas Incledon has advised against the use of I3C, since it’s an endocrine disruptor that reduced testosterone in mice. However, the doses used were quite high (250–750 mg/kg)—even in human equivalent terms—thus, I think it’s unlikely that significant testosterone suppression would be seen in humans taking lower doses.
And what’s a reasonable human dose? Studies in women suggest 300mg/day is required to significantly alter the urinary ratio of C-2 to C-16 metabolites… which is precisely the dose provided in Bio Forge.
Optizinc: This ingredient is a proprietary, 1:1 methionine-bound zinc compound produced by Interhealth Nutraceuticals. Interhealth claims that their Optizinc preparations are “…absorbed better, retained longer and are more effective than other zinc supplements tested.” From the description, Optizinc appears to be similar (if not identical) to the zinc monomethionine used in ZMA.
There’s no doubt that zinc has important antioxidant, immune and anti-inflammatory activities. More importantly (at least from a bodybuilding perspective), zinc plays a role in normal reproductive and sexual functions for both men and women. As such, zinc deficiency has potentially serious repercussions. But it does not follow that healthy people taking extra zinc will experience additional benefits.
For example, a 2007 study on healthy, zinc-sufficient men demonstrated that ZMA supplementation had no effect on serum total or free testosterone. Similarly, a 2004 study determined that ZMA had no effect on strength, body composition, muscular endurance or anabolic/catabolic hormones.
So there we have it. Taken together, how does Bio Forge stack up?
I’ll give it to you in two words: “good try.”
Biotivia has created a supp that more-or-less fits the ad description. In other words, it’s natural (at least to the extent that concentrated, purified nutraceuticals and chelated minerals can be considered “natural”); and there’s scientific support for each ingredient. Overall, Bio Forge looks like it could provide a modest boost to a fat loss program and assist with retention of lean body mass.
But the key word here is modest. NONE of these ingredients are new or “revolutionary”, after all. They’ve been used in supps before, so it’s not hard to get a handle on just what to expect from a formula like this.
Basically, someone who’s mildly zinc deficient (which is common enough) and has some surplus fat to lose will likely see some good, initial results with this product. But no one’s going to get big on it—and if you’re zinc-sufficient and already have some muscle on your frame, I doubt it’ll do much of anything for you… the effects will be subtle, at best.
Nonetheless, props to Biotivia for coming up with a formula featuring research-supported amounts of largely healthful and well-characterized ingredients. Some thought, effort and QC went into Bio Forge, and it shows. It’s a bit tame, perhaps, but people relatively new to strength training and bodybuilding supps could do worse… a lot worse.
|Summary of Biotivia BioForge|