“Keep out of reach of housewives, part-time bodybuilders, and aspiring actors/models. Do not store or use any flammable, combustible, or corrosive substances in the vicinity of this product. Never take more than the recommended dose. Do not use for toning, sculpting, leaning out, or ‘dropping a few pounds.’”
All quite entertaining stuff to be sure — I got a good chuckle over the above. Somebody over at the Muscle Asylum Project marketing department has a sense of humor… I think (I’m really hoping they’re not serious).
All kidding aside, how does the Arson formula measure up?
Well, if you consider that Muscle Asylum Project is really a division of Muscle Tech or Iovate (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) the outrageous hype shouldn’t surprise you.
At the same time, staff reviewer Elissa informs me Iovate’s R&D department is probably one of the better ones in the industry, and they do throw a fair bit of research money around.
That’s why it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Arson’s formula is decent – based upon some solid, fundamental ingredients that work. It will not, of course, turn you into a walking “anatomy chart” or anything even remotely similar. But I have no doubt it will probably help, when coupled with a good diet program and training program.
So what’s in it?
The “Internal Combustion™” matrix combines 300 mg of caffeine with green tea (standardized for 90% polyphenols, 75% catechins and 45% EGCG). Green tea (reviewed in full here) is a great addition to any fat burner. When used in combination with caffeine, however, research shows it may be even more helpful for weight loss (see Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204).
A daily dose of Arson (2 caps twice daily) will provide 600 mg of caffeine… that’s a HUGE amount. If you are sensitive to caffeine, I highly recommend you assess your tolerance to this product by cutting the dosage in half — at least to begin with!
“Internal Combustion™” also features relative fat burning newcomer cissus quadrangularis. The good news is that a couple of studies performed at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon do validate this ingredient’s effectiveness for weight loss. It also appears to be helpful for lowering blood sugar levels, decreasing serum lipids and “improving cardiovascular risk factors.” (See Lipids Health Dis. 2007 Feb 4;6:4, Lipids Health Dis. 2006 Sep 2;5:24.).
There are a couple of “downsides” to these positive studies though.
First, Arson is a proprietary blend of ingredients. So we can’t be sure if a daily dose contains the 300 mg of the Cissus quadrangularis extract found to be helpful in the studies. It’s certainly possible, since this is a 995 mg blend. However, only a trip to the lab can confirm this for sure.
Additionally, the lead author of these studies, Julius E Oben, has a patent on Cissus quadrangularis as a fat loss agent. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the results of these studies are not legitimate, it certainly calls their “objectivity” into question. There certainly appears to be a conflict of interest here.
Rounding up the “Internal Combustion™” blend is white willow bark (standardized for salicin) and theobroma cacau extract (standardized for theobromine — a caffeine-related chemical found in chocolate. It’s benefit for weight loss is largely speculative).
The second matrix in Muscle Asylum Project’s Arson, VasoBurn™, is much smaller — offering a mere 189 mg of ingredients. It boasts a smattering of the amino acid leucine, some xanthinol nicotinate ( potent form of niacin which boosts memory and cognitive function), plus…
Yohimbine: The standardized extract of the bark of the African Yohimbe tree, this compound is often used as a natural aphrodisiac. It is also sold as a drug (in the U.S., a popular brand is Yohimex containing 5.4 milligram of yohimbine hydrochloride per tablet) and is used to treat impotency, dilate the pupil of the eye, and stimulate fat loss.
Because it can cause unpredictable effects on blood pressure, Yohimbe should be approached with caution. A few studies bear out Yohimbe’s positive effect on weight loss (Isr J Med Sci. 1991 Oct;27(10):550-6) but its effects are hardly earth-shattering.
5 variations of Gamma-Butyrobetaine: A precursor for endogenous carnitine synthesis, carnitine is an age-old, and practically useless fat burning ingredient.
Uridine-5′-Monophosphate Acid: This ingredient was a little tougher, and I needed to call Elissa on board to help (good thing she’s got a Masters Degree in Food Sciences). Although we can’t be 100% certain for the reasoning behind its inclusion in this formula, uridine monophosphate is precursor for the synthesis of CDP-choline, and enhances the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.
Acetylcholine helps regulate mood and memory. Most of Muscle Tech’s products contain an ingredient or two that focus on the “mental” element of dieting (see xanthinol just above), so it makes sense to me. There certainly aren’t any human studies that indicate that Uridine has “fat-torching” powers or anything.
So there you have it.
Muscle Aylum Project’s Arson is a decent, but hardly revolutionary, product. Combined with a smart diet and exercise program, it may give you an edge—yes, even if you are a housewife, a part-time bodybuilder, or aspiring actor or model.