Review: Labrada Super Charge Xtreme N.O. Pre Workout Nitric Oxide Matrix
Super Charge Xtreme has been reformulated. Updated review to follow soon…
“New Super Charge!® Xtreme N.O. Pre-Workout Explosion Drink Mix is truly the missing ingredient in your workouts! Just take one hit and 15 minutes later you’ll feel a surge of strength, energy, and focus like nothing you’ve felt before! It provides you with precise amounts of key, active ingredients to jack you up mentally, volumize your muscle cells and greatly speed your recovery. Feel the power with just one dose!”
I’m working on a new bench press PR, so surges of “strength, energy and focus” are just what the doctor ordered. And—needless to state—pre-workout, NO (nitric oxide) boosters are a tried-and-true prescription. This is why supplements like NO-Xplode, NO-Shotgun and similar products are so popular: they can provide the “edge” needed to push through a grueling workout…and reach for the next level.
Super Charge Xtreme N.O. is Labrada Nutrition’s contribution to the market. What’s it got goin’ on?
Serving Size 1 Scoop (16g)
Total Carbohydrate 8.5g
SUPER CHARGE® PROPRIETARY BLEND 7g
Phase 1 — Energy/Hemo-Dilation Complex
Methylxanthines (Caffeine) 150mg
Nitrous Malate™ (Di-Arginine Malate) 3g
N-Acetyl L-Glutamine <1g
Pikatropin™ (Picamilon) 25mg
Phase 2 — Strength & Endurance Complex
2CM™ (Di-Creatine Malate) 1500mg
Beta-Alanine/l-Histidine Complex (Carnosine Precursor) 750mg
Vinitrox™ (Polyphenol Complex) 100mg
Phase 3 — Post-Workout Recovery Complex
Embryonic Peptide Matrix Yielding Naturally Occurring IGF-1, IGF-2, FGF (Fibroblast Growth Factors), NGF (Nerve Growth Factors), EGF (Epidermal Growth Factors), CTGF (Connective Tissue Growth Factors).
At a glance, I already see two things to like about Super Charge Xtreme N.O….
- It’s relatively simple: there are only 9 ingredients. Contrary to belief, complicated formulas with looong lists of ingredients are not “scientifically designed” or “cutting edge.” That’s a tactic straight out of Marketing 101—the sheer amount of “stuff” on the label is intended to impress…and override critical thinking. In reality, many of those additional ingredients are given in amounts to small to be useful…they’re simply “label decoration.”
- I know what I’m getting. Sure, it says “Proprietary Blend” up there, but the amount of Every Single Active Ingredient Is Listed. That kind of transparency is unusual for a supplement of this kind. (Note to Bodybuilding Supplement Industry: more like this, please. I like to know what I’m getting, AND I like to know how much. “Nutraceuticals” are no different than pharmaceuticals, after all: dose matters. Props to Labrada for this.)
So we’re off to a good start. The next step is to check out the ingredients, which are divided into three “Phases.” One at-a-time, these are:
Phase 1 — Energy/Hemo-Dilation Complex: The first ingredient in the blend is an old friend: caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid and central nervous system stimulant found in coffee, tea, cola nuts, guarana and yerba mate. Caffeine can enhance exercise performance, and also has mild thermogenic effects. Super Charge Xtreme N.O. packs a good-sized dose in each scoop: 150 mg is the better part of a NoDoz (200 mg).
Di-Arginine Malate is a delivery form of arginine, a conditionally essential amino acid and precursor for nitric oxide synthesis—the source of the “pump” users are looking for. Taurine is another amino acid with antioxidant activity. It’s frequently added to energy drinks, although whether it has any genuine effects on mood or energy is debatable.
N-acetyl-l-glutamine is a delivery form for l-glutamine, another conditionally-essential amino acid. L-glutamine is a frequent addition to bodybuilding supplements, although it’s not much of a performance enhancer. It is, however, an important amino acid that can stabilize blood sugar and enhance glycogen storage. The acetylated form has been touted for its increased stability, although this is largely irrelevant for a powdered supplement like this one.
Finally, picamilon (or pikamilon) is a niacin-bound derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Picamilon has been extensively investigated in Russia, but little researched in the West. It allegedly increases cerebral blood flow and induces a state of non-drowsy relaxation.
Phase 2 — Strength & Endurance Complex: Di-creatine malate is another creatine monohydrate alternative that’s used in a number of supplements, such as iSatori Morph and Controlled Labs’ Green Magnitude.
The version used in Super Charge Xtreme N.O., 2CM, is produced by Creative Compounds LLC.
While their patent claims dicreatine malate is superior to creatine monohydrate, I’ve yet to see any proof of this—there are no published studies.
Nonetheless, I’m inclined to believe it works well, if for no other reason than it’s widely used, and I’ve yet to hear any complaints about it.
Beta-alanine and histidine combine to form the naturally-occurring dipeptide carnosine (beta-alanyl-l-histidine), which—among other functions—helps to buffer hydrogen ions produced during intense muscular contractions. Beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to increase storage of muscle carnosine, reduce muscular fatigue, and improve high intensity athletic performance.
ViNitrox™ is a “unique formulation of grape and apple extract, with high polyphenol content” produced by Bio Serae Laboratories. Bio Serae alleges that ViNitrox, has vasodilating effects comparable to leucocyanidol, a polyphenolic compound in red wine known to enhance nitric oxide synthesis and vasorelaxation. There is no independent data to confirm the efficacy of ViNitrox, beyond the mention of two in-house animal studies, but Bio Serae’s claims are plausible: they’re in line with what we know about grape and apple polyphenols (such as quercetin).
Phase 3 — Post-Workout Recovery Complex: This consists of a single ingredient: Humanofort. According to the Labrada Nutrition website…
“Humanofort is a cutting-edge embryonic peptide matrix developed in Eastern Europe, designed to help the body increase testosterone production and decrease recovery time. Also contains naturally occurring IGF-1 and IGF-2 (insulin like growth factors 1 and 2), FGF (fibroblast growth factors), NGF (nerve growth factors), EGF (epidermal growth factors), and CTGF (connective tissue growth factors).”
Humanofort’s inventor is Dr. Gheorghe Mihaescu, M.D., who is allegedly the author of “32 published scientific papers” in the fields of “Experimental Immunology in Oncology, Steroid Biochemistry, Radio-assay Methodologies, and Geriatric Nutrition.” Very few of these papers, however, appear in the PubMed database, which raises questions—at least in my mind—about the types of journals they were published in. What little I could find was published in small, obscure publications like the Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine.
Now I’m willing to concede that PubMed isn’t perfect, but you can find ME there, and I make no claims to be a distinguished research scientist. I came up with only two abstracts on Humanofort: one on its efficacy for improving blood lipids and insulin levels; and the other describing improvements in IGF-1/LDL cholesterol in older subjects. Both abstracts were distressingly vague, with no information on the dose or magnitude of the changes in the clinical markers measured.
Thus, the evidence in favor of Humanofort is a lot “softer” than I would like, but I suspect it’s a moot point… there is one, unreferenced “clinical trial” described on the product web site, demonstrating Humanofort’s ability to increase free testosterone, DHEA-S and androstenedione in rugby players… but the dose was 600 mg/day—more than 10x the amount in a scoop of Super Charge Xtreme N.O. In the absence of other information, I see no reason to believe this ingredient makes a significant contribution to the formula.
Ok, taking all three “Phases” into consideration: what can we say about the ingredients in this product?
Here’s my take: I generally like the look of the Phase I and II blends, which are the core of the formula. I don’t think much of the Phase III ingredient (Humanofort), but it doesn’t take anything away from the supp, either.
This was confirmed by my “test drive.” Super Charge Xtreme N.O. hit all the right notes, w/respect to energy, stamina, focus and concentration. I found that I prefered the “Super Intense” (2 scoop) dose, however… which meant I had to be careful about when to take it. Two scoops = 300 mg caffeine, so evening use was verboten. But the “rush” was steady, with no crash, and the pump was decent.
An added plus: it tastes pretty good too. I trialed the “Fruit Punch”, and was pleasantly surprised: it wasn’t the least bit bitter or “chemically”—unlike many other pre-workout, NO-boosters I’ve trialed.
Overall, I liked this supp and would buy it again. While the formula’s not 100% perfect, this is a minor quibble… Super Charge Xtreme N.O. has what it takes, where it counts the most.
Oh—and I’ve added 15 pounds to my bench so far, too. I’m not going to claim “cause and effect” here, as I was making good progress before the trial period began, but I have no doubt that Super Charge Xtreme helped with my stamina and focus. Good stuff.