Review: SuperPump 250 by Gaspari Nutrition
Note: SuperPump250 has been replaced by SuperPump MAX.
“It’s true, SuperPump 250™delivers instant skin tearing pumps and roadmap vascularity…We‘re talking about rapid and measurable changes in body composition, strength, and stamina. It’s the synergistic, unique ingredients found only in SuperPump 250™ that’s documented and guaranteed to “work” like nothing you have ever tried before!”
Like BSN’s NO-Xplode, Gaspari’s SuperPump 250 is a combination nitric oxide (NO) booster, workout stimulant, and creatine supplement. Hailed as a “myotrophic stimulant cocktail,” Gaspari claims that SuperPump 250 “is the 1st supplement ever in the sports nutrition market to literally cause people to end their workouts as a conscious, intellectual decision, and not as a result of physical limitation.”
Sounds awesome. What’s in it?
SuperPump250™ Proprietary Blend 20,000mg **
Anabolic Signaling Complex™ (Patent Pending)
Glucose Polymer Blend, Creatine Monohydrate, NO2 Complex [L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (A-AKG), L-Arginine Ketoisocaproate (A-KIC)], Guanipro™ (Guanidino Propionic Acid), Salicyclic Acid 15%, American Ginseng Extract
Lipolytic/Xtreme Focus Agent™ (Patent Pending)
L-Tyrosine, Methylxanthines (Caffeine), NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine), N-Acetyl-Tyrosine, Glucuronolactone, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract (Standardized To 5% Total Rosavins), Ginkgo Biloba Extract (Standardized To 24% Ginkosides & 6% Terpenes), Vinpocetine, Huperzine
Myogenic Transcription Factor/Agonist™ (Patent Pending)
Taurine, L-Leucine, L-Glutamine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, L-Citruline AKG, Turkesterone (11,20 Dihydroxyecdysone From Ajuga Turkestanica Extract), Choline Bitartrate
Insulin Secretagogue Complex™
Trimethylglycine, Indole-3-Carbinol, 4-Hydroxyisoleucine (From Fenugreek Seed Extract), Cinnamon Bark Extract (15% Cinnamic Aldehyde), Bacopa Monniera (Standardized For 20% Bacosides A & B)
IntraSORB™ Rapid Absorption – Myo-Hydration Matrix
Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Gycerophosphate, Magnesium Glycerophosphate, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Bioperine™
I have to admit, the number of ingredients is really pushing the envelope for a supplement of this kind…but let’s see what we can do to make this list more intelligible.
1. Anabolic Signaling Complex: This contains largely standard ingredients: arginine and creatine. Arginine is the precursor for nitric oxide synthesis. Creatine monohydrate is a well-known and effective bodybuilding supplement.
There are, however, two odd ingredients. The first is salicylic acid: the active metabolite of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), which is a well-known, over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that works by inhibiting the synthesis of inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. This sounds like it would be a good thing, except for the fact that certain prostaglandins are also involved in muscle protein synthesis (MPS). It’s been demonstrated that other OTC NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen abolish the post-exercise increase in MPS. It’s probable that salicylic acid/aspirin would have the same effect.
The second compound, guanidino propionic acid, is an inhibitor of creatine uptake—which makes it a peculiar choice for a creatine-containing blend.
It’s difficult to see what either one of these compounds adds to the formula.
The final ingredient, ginseng extract, has limited support as an adaptogen—a compound that enhances resistance to stress—but studies are conflicting.
2. Lipolytic/Xtreme Focus Agent: This blend is a melange of compounds known to affect mood, improve alertness, reduce oxidative stress and enhance focus/concentration.
- Glucuronolactone is a familar ingredient to “Red Bull” drinkers. While it has never been tested in isolation as a performance or energy booster, anecdotal reports—as well as my own experience—suggest it has some effects.
- Caffeine needs no explanation, I think.
- Tyrosine is a precursor to stimulatory neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine).
- Vinpocetine is an alkaloid derived from periwinkle that affects cerebral blood flow, memory and learning.
- Huperzine is an alkaloid isolated from a Chinese moss (Huperzia serrata) that has neuroprotective and cognitive effects.
- Ginkgo biloba is a source of bioactive flavonoids and terpenoids that have antioxidant effects and also enhance memory and learning.
- Rhodiola rosea, like ginseng, is an adaptogen.
- N-acetyl-cysteine is a precursor to glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the body. Glutathione (among other functions) helps reduce exercise-related oxidative stress.
3. Myogenic Transcription Factor/Agonist: This is a mixture of useful and questionable compounds. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are collectively known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), and have important roles in protein structure and synthesis. Glutamine is a bodybuilding staple, due to its immune enhancing and anticatabolic properties (at least in larger doses). Taurine has a variety of physiological functions, including glucose/insulin regulation. Citrulline is a urea cycle intermediate and arginine precursor. Turkesterone has alleged anabolic effects, although this has only been shown in older Soviet research, which is notoriously unreliable. Choline is an essential nutrient, but it has no particular effects on exercise performance.
4. Insulin Secretagogue Complex: This is an odd list in that it includes compounds that are not known for influencing insulin levels or improving glucose control. For example, trimethylglycine (betaine) is most commonly used for reducing homocysteine (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease) and treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Indole-3-carbinol is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables that modulates estrogen metabolism and has anti-cancer activity. Bacopa monniera—like ginkgo or vinpocetine—is normally used to enhance focus and concentration.
These are certainly healthy additions, but they have little to do with the stated function of the blend.
On the other hand, 4-hydroxyisoleucine does exhibit insulinotropic activity and may enhance glycogen resynthesis after exercise.
Cinnamon has also been shown to improve glycemic control.
5. IntraSORB Rapid Absorption – Myo-Hydration Matrix: Bicarbonate can buffer lactate and hydrogen ions formed during exercise, although it takes quite a bit to increase performance—it’s almost certainly underdosed in this supplement. Sodium/potassium glycerophosphate are sources of sodium, potassium and phosphate, which are important electrolytes.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a useful antioxidant, which has been shown to enhance the uptake of creatine. Bioperine® is a standardized black pepper (piperine) extract produced by the Sabinsa Corporation. Bioperine/piperine has been shown to increase the absorption of certain nutrients taken with it.
Whew! So where does all this lead us?
Ok, there are a lot of useful compounds here, for health, if not solely for exercise performance. As far as the latter is concerned, however, most of the “action” comes from the first two blends—these are largely responsible for the pump, drive/focus and strength-enhancing effects users get from SuperPump 250. Many of the compounds in the other blends also have useful functions, but it’s difficult to say whether active doses are provided. As Paul has pointed out numerous times, this is the problem with proprietary blends.
I recently gave SuperPump 250 a trial run, to see how it compares to competing products I’ve used. I bought the “Blue Raspberry” flavor, and I’m pleased to report that it’s the best tasting version that I’ve tried to date: sweet-tart, and not particularly “chemically” or bitter. Since I’m already adapted to NO supplements, I took 2 full scoops.
The effects were what I’ve come to expect (and enjoy) from this kind of product: sustained focus, the capacity to “go deep” to push out that final rep, and the ability to withstand a grueling workout without feeling “pounded.” Personally, I did not find the “pump” to be as pronounced as it is with some other products, but for me, that’s not a major consideration. I also felt a little more “wired” using SuperPump 250, which made it a little problematic when I used it for late afternoon/evening workouts.
One thing I noticed while scanning user reviews, is an increased number of complaints about diarrhea and flatulence. I experienced none of these problems (knock on wood!), although they’re a risk with all NO products, thanks to the arginine. Nonetheless, the sheer number of ingredients in SuperPump may contribute to the higher frequency of gastrointestinal issues. It’s a good idea to follow label directions and start with a smaller dose to assess tolerance, before using the full, recommended amount.
Personally, I feel SuperPump 250 is more complicated than it needs to be, and there are compounds (such as the guanidino propionic acid and salicylic acid) that could be eliminated altogether. Nonetheless, I liked this product overall, and think it could be worthwhile addtion to a supplement stack.