Review: iSatori's Morph MegaDrive BodyBuilding Supplement

Review: iSatori’s Morph MegaDrive BodyBuilding Supplement

Note: Morph MegaDrive has been discontinued.

Forget everything you know about getting “amped up” to train, using workout formulas that leave you hanging halfway through your workout. MORPH MegaDrive is formulated to hit all 7 muscle/energetic pathways and is the ONLY formula that contains EPO Blood Builder™ for muscular stamina support and Promino-Plex™ Whey Protein Hydrolysates to promote muscle rebuilding, faster.

As the name implies, Morph MegaDrive is the successor to iSatori’s popular pre-workout product, Morph. Morph itself was a relatively basic supp, supplying mostly creatine + carnosine & NO precursors. “MegaDrive” is a more comprehensive supplement—one that the company claims can hit “all 7 muscle/energetic pathways” simultaneously.

Not surprisingly, Morph MegaDrive features 7 proprietary blends: one for each “pathway.”

Amt Per Serving/1 Scoop

Morph MegaDrive™ Proprietary Matrix 7: 19,448mg

ProMinoPlex™ High-Grade Hydrolyzed Protein Amino Acid Complex
Whey Isolate, L-Leucine, Whey Isolate Hydrolysates (Protein Micro-Fractions™), Whey Concentrate Hydrolysate (Protein Micro-Fractions™), L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, L-Glutamine

Carnostim-X™ Instant Type Llx Muscle Power Activator
Beta-Alanine, L-Histidine, Aspartic Acid, Niacin

Neuropsych™ Psychotropic Energy Stimulator
L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, Vinpocetine, Vitamin B12

Hydro-PUMP™ Continuous Plasma And Nitric Oxide Expander

Arginine AKG, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (>90% Gypenosides), Powergrape® (Viniferine), Glycerol Monostearate

Volumaxer™ Maximum Cellular Insulin Driver
Glucose Polymers, L-Taurine, Cinnulin PF®, Vanadyl Sulfate

Prosyntha-RX™ Fast-Acting Muscle Cell Regenerator
Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine AKG, Di-Creatine Malate, Citrulline Malate 2:1

Oxy-Pump™ EPO Blood-Building Oxygen Carrier
Purpurea Extract (Echinacea), Vitamin E, Turkesterone 2% (From Ajuga Turkestanica)

As you can see, the Morph skeleton is still there, but additional ingredients are being used to flesh it out. Do they add anything to the formula? Let’s go through ’em, one-at-a-time:

1. ProMinoPlex™ High-Grade Hydrolyzed Protein Amino Acid Complex: This is a mixture of whey protein isolate, hydrolysates, BCAAs and glutamine. While we don’t know how extensively the hydrolysates are broken down, it’s safe to say that this is a mixture that should be digested/absorbed quite quickly (this is true for even intact whey proteins).

According to the nutritional info, there’s 5g of protein in a scoop of Morph Megadrive.

This may seem low to some, but it’s on a par with fortified sports drinks like Accelerade.

Accelerade is supported by clinical studies that suggest even small amounts of high quality protein (in combination with carbs) can be useful for improving athletic performance.

While it’s a bit of a stretch to apply the studies for one product to another, the take home lesson is that—when it comes to high-quality protein—a little can go a long way, if the timing is right.

Massive doses of protein are not needed to cover the immediate, workout “window,” particularly within the context of an overall protein-rich diet.

2. Carnostim-X™ Instant Type Llx Muscle Power Activator: Carnostim-X is composed of 4 ingredients: beta-alanine, L-histidine, aspartic acid and niacin. The first three ingredients also recall one of iSatori’s other products: H+ Blocker. As noted in Paul’s review, H+ Blocker is designed to boost muscle carnosine (a dipeptide of beta-alanine and histidine), which, in turn, helps buffer the H+ ions produced during intense exercise. Ideally, this enables trainees to work harder and longer—and some studies on beta-alanine bear this out.

Niacin, of course, is a B-vitamin that can also induce vasodilation and flushing in larger doses. The amount in Morph Megadrive, however, is below the upper limit (UL) set by the Institute of Medicine to prevent this side effect. Thus, it’s tough to say whether it helps here, although—on the flip side—I suppose it doesn’t hurt, either.

3. Neuropsych™ Psychotropic Energy Stimulator: L-tyrosine, caffeine, vinpocetine and vitamin B12 are all familiar compounds. They’re used in a number of supplements to boost mood, energy and focus.

L-Tyrosine is a conditionally-essential amino acid and a precursor to the neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine. As Paul discusses in his review, tyrosine is added to a number of fat burners to improve mood and combat stress. Caffeine is a stimulant and well-characterized ergogenic aid, which is why it’s included in so many pre-workout supplements.

Although caffeine’s effects on strength performance are less clear than for endurance, it can certainly help with focus and training drive.

Vinpocetine is an alkaloid derived from periwinkle that affects cerebral blood flow, memory and learning.

Lastly, vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient needed for health. It’s often touted as an energy booster, but there’s little hard evidence that it has any effects on non-deficient people.

4. Hydro-PUMP™ Continuous Plasma And Nitric Oxide Expander: Like most of the other blends in Morph Megadrive, this one also contains 4 basic ingredients: arginine-alphaketoglutarate (arginine-AKG), Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract, “Powergrape” and glycerol monostearate.

Arginine AKG is an ingredient found in the vast majority of nitric oxide (NO) boosters, as arginine is needed for NO production.

And both Gynostemma and grape polyphenols have been shown to increase NO production in animal tissues.

Finally, glycerol monostearate is a source of glycerol, which has been used in bodybuilding circles for years as a “plasma expander” to improve vascularity.

It’s used in several supplements, and generally gets high marks for pump and minimal side effects.

Glycerol monostearate is typically taken in larger doses, however, so it’s unlikely that it contributes much here—there’s only so much “room” for the carbs, protein, amino acids, creatine, beta-alanine, etc. in 19+ grams, after all.

5. Volumaxer™ Maximum Cellular Insulin Driver:This blend contains glucose polymers, L-Taurine, Cinnulin PF®, Vanadyl Sulfate.

“Glucose polymers” is a common (and more dignified) way of writing “maltodextrin”—a starch-derived food additive often used as an inexpensive, easily-digested source of carbs in meal-replacement products and gainers, among others.

Taurine is a non-protein amino acid that has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in animal experiments, although its usefulness for humans has yet to be conclusively shown. 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.

And—of course—vanadyl sulfate is the “granddaddy” of insulin-sensitizing bodybuilding supplement compounds. Although it’s been eclipsed by chromium, vanadyl sulfate is still added to a number of over-the-counter, muscle-building supps.

6. Prosyntha-RX™ Fast-Acting Muscle Cell Regenerator: There are 3 creatine sources in this blend, along with citrulline malate. Creatine monohydrate (CM) is—naturally—one of the best characterized and most effective bodybuilding supplements on the market. Many claims are made for other forms, but there’s very little data behind any of them. It’s likely that most of them (like creatine AKG and di-creatine malate) work tolerably well, but there’s virtually zero evidence to show that they work better… or that blends of multiple forms are superior to CM alone.

Citrulline malate is often used as a backup source of arginine in NO boosters, as well as to enhance aerobic energy production and reduce muscle fatigue.

7. Oxy-Pump™ EPO Blood-Building Oxygen Carrier: This final blend contains a familiar ingredient in an unfamilar role: echinacea… combined with vitamin E and turkesterone, an insect/plant steroid compound isolated from Ajuga turkestanica.

“EPO” stands for erythropoietin, a kidney hormone that promotes the production of red blood cells. Recombinant EPO was—in fact—once used for blood doping by athletes. The name of this blend, therefore, implies that the ingredients play some role in a) boosting red blood cell production; and b) enhancing athletic performance.

Do they? Well, echinacea certainly boosted EPO levels in one study on human volunteers, but at doses considerably larger (8000mg/day) than could possibly be in Morph Megadrive (more on this below). There was no effect on red blood cell production, however, and there is zero proof that echinacea supplementation can enhance strength or endurance performance.

Likewise, vitamin E can alleviate the oxidative stress associated with EPO therapy, but—of course—no such thing is actually occurring here. And while turkesterone apparently stimulated red blood cell regeneration in rats in an obscure, Russian study, this has not been verified by additional animal research, nor shown to work in humans.

Basically, the Oxy-Pump blend is a nice try… but no cigar, methinks.

To be honest, however, this was the weakest part of an otherwise pretty solid formula. For the most part, Morph Megadrive uses tried-and-true ingredients, and certainly delivers where it counts: in the gym.

I recently trialed Morph Megadrive, and was pretty happy with it. It comes in only one flavor—fruit punch—which was ok for what it is.

In other words, it was drinkable—not great, perhaps, but I’ve downed far worse.

While the initial beta-alanine “tingle” was mildly annoying, Megadrive provided smooth energy, with no “wired” sensation.The pump wasn’t massive, but I could feel it… more importantly, I felt a lot less fatigued and “used up” at the end of my sessions (nice!).

While using Morph, I also pushed through the decline bench press plateau I was on. Coincidence? Perhaps… “n = 1” observations like this always are. But on the other hand, I hadn’t been using either creatine or beta-alanine for a while, so it’s conceivable that the Morph had something to do with it. 😉

While there are some things that could probably be tweaked, overall, I liked Morph Megadrive. It provides something I missed in the original formula: a good stimulant blend, which can really make a difference when it comes to pushing out those last couple of reps. The extra protein/amino acids certainly don’t hurt, either.

I think I’d buy this one again… it certainly seemed to get the job done for me. If you’re in the market for a good pre-workout supp, give it a shot—it could get the job done for you too.

Also, any product purchased direct from iSatori is backed by their “no-quibble” 100% satisfaction or your money back guarantee—if you’re not happy, you can always get your money back (less shipping costs, of course). That makes experimenting with Morph MegaDrive a relatively low-risk experiment.

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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