Written by Anssi Manninen, MHS
12 July 2006

dsc00634BSN was created to provide the most effective formulas, nutrition products and body and performance-altering supplements ever developed. In this article, I will discuss their best- selling product, NO-Xplode, an advanced performance booster. The main actives of NO-Xplode are dicreatine malate (2CM™), arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG), taurine, caffeine, citrulline malate and glucuronolactone (Endurlac™).

Dicreatine malate (2CM™)
Creatine has become the most popular nutritional supplement among gym rats. Simply stated, creatine monohydrate supplementation has been reported to improve:
? Maximum power/strength (five to 15 percent)
? Work performed during sets of maximum effort muscle contractions (five to 15 percent)
? Single-effort sprint performance (one to five percent)
? Work performed during repetitive sprint performance (five to 15 percent)
Creatine supplementation isn’t banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and, with the exception of a small increase in body mass over the initial three to six days, doesn’t appear to have any adverse side effects, at least with short-term use. Little scientific data are available for more prolonged use, but considering the large numbers of athletes using creatine over the past 10 years and the absence of reported problems, it’s likely that the purported long-term adverse effects are false or at least greatly overestimated.
It’s been suggested that dicreatine malate is the most bioavailable form of creatine on the market and that by supplementing with dicreatine malate, users can take less of the actual product compared to creatine monohydrate, yet still achieve the desired performance-enhancing effects. However, there’s no scientific evidence supporting these statements.

Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG)
Arginine is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. Although it has numerous important physiological functions, weight trainers take arginine supplements for two main reasons: 1) to increase growth hormone secretion and 2) to augment nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. It’s now crystal clear that oral arginine supplementation alone has little, if any, effect on growth hormone secretion. However, one study reported that the ingestion of arginine (1.5 grams) and lysine (1.5 grams) resulted in a 2.7-fold increase in growth hormone concentration in strength-trained athletes. So, the arginine-plus-lysine combo appears to be a somewhat effective “GH booster.”
As noted above, another possible ergogenic potential of arginine is its role in the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO). NO acts as a signaling molecule to facilitate the dilation of blood vessels; its main effect on muscle metabolism is to increase the delivery and uptake of nutrients via its vasodilating effects. (Recently, nitric oxide boosters (i.e., arginine, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate [AAKG]) have become popular among serious weight trainers. It’s been postulated that these products enhance blood flow to muscle, leading to greater gains in muscle mass and strength during training).
A recent study at Baylor University’s exercise and sports nutrition lab examined the effects of AAKG supplementation during training on body composition and training adaptations in experienced gym rats. Thirty-five resistance-trained males were matched according to fat-free mass and randomly assigned to ingest supplements containing either a placebo (fake supplement) or commercial AAKG supplement in a double-blind manner (an experimental procedure in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know what subjects are in the test and control groups during the actual course of the experiments).
Subjects took four grams of the supplements three times daily (12 grams per day) for eight weeks during standardized training. No significant differences were observed between groups in terms of changes in body mass, fat-free mass, fat mass or percent body fat. However, changes in bench press one repetition maximum were significantly greater in the AAKG group. It’s unclear how AAKG supplementation added an average of more than 13 pounds to bench press max over placebo without a concomitant increase in muscle mass. This seems to suggest that the changes are neural in origin.
In patients with stable angina pectoris (a disease marked by brief attacks of chest pain precipitated by deficient oxygenation of the heart muscles), ingestion of six grams of arginine per day for three days has been shown to improve exercise workload during a treadmill stress test. The vasodilatory properties of arginine may facilitate an increase in oxygen delivery, which helps meet the increased demands caused by exercise.
Finally, it’s been reported that arginine treatment prevents the development of high blood pressure (hypertension) in animals prone to this disease and also causes rapid reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures when infused into healthy humans and patients with essential hypertension (a common form of hypertension that occurs in the absence of any evident cause). So, it’s possible that arginine supplementation may offer some protective effects in those athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Taurine is the second most abundant free amino acid in muscle after glutamine.
Published research indicates that it has a potential role in cell hydration, which refers to the volume of fluid within the cell. Increasing fluid in the cell (i.e., cell volumization) has been shown to decrease protein breakdown while stimulating protein anabolism. On the other hand, a reduction in cell volume (i.e., cell dehydration) promotes protein breakdown and inhibits anabolism. Furthermore, there’s recent evidence that taurine deficiency is associated with decreased nitric oxide production.
A recent study by Zhang, et al. evaluated the protective effects of taurine supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress and exercise performance. Simply put, seven-day taurine supplementation resulted in a significantly reduced DNA migration after exercise and also significantly increased VO2 max exercise time to exhaustion and maximal workload. The investigators concluded that, "Taurine may attenuate exercise-induced DNA damage and enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties."

Caffeine is probably the most popular performance-enhancing substance on this and other planets. This can partly be attributed to its safety, wide availability and low price. A recent study by Doherty and Smith used the meta-analytic approach (the process of synthesizing research results by using various statistical methods to retrieve, select and combine results from previous separate but related studies) to examine the effects of caffeine on athletic performance. The authors limited their investigation to lab-based, double-blind, fully randomized, placebo-controlled trials using adult subjects and published in the peer-reviewed scientific journals. In other words, only well-controlled studies were included. As expected, the results clearly indicated that caffeine improves endurance performance and to lesser extent, high-intensity exercise. More recently, the same investigators used the meta-analysis approach to examine the effects of caffeine ingestion on rates of perceived exertion. In comparison to fake supplementation (placebo), caffeine reduced rates of perceived exertion during exercise by 5.6 percent. Not surprisingly, caffeine also improved exercise performance by 11.2 percent.

Citrulline malate
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid and plays a role in many metabolic processes. Citrulline malate is a salt form of the amino acid. The malate, also known as malic acid, is involved in energy production in the mitochondria of the cell (Kreb´s cycle).
To my knowledge, there’s only one study examining the effects of citrulline malate on exercise performance in healthy humans. Benhadan, et al. reported that citrulline malate (six grams per day) promotes aerobic energy production in men complaining of fatigue (but with no documented disease). Whether this product has similar effects in well-trained athletes remains to be determined.

Glucuronolactone (Endurlac™)
Glucuronolactone is a naturally occurring human metabolite that has received some attention in the sports nutrition industry thanks to the explosion of “functional energy drinks” (e.g., Red Bull). There’s some evidence suggesting glucuronolactone may positively affect exercise performance; however, more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn.

Other Ingredients
NO-Xplode also contains tyrosine, keto-isocaproate potassium, gynostemma pentaphyllum, guranidino propionic acid and a host of other ingredients. For more information, visit www.bsnonline.net.

On training days, BSN recommends that one takes two to three scoops with eight to 12 ounces of cold water or any beverage of your choice 30 to 45 minutes prior to workout on an empty stomach. On non-training days, BSN recommends one scoop on an empty stomach. Avoid eating a meal or drinking a protein shake within an hour of taking NO-Xplode, because food will diminish its effects. Taking a product that contains ephedrine/ephedra will also diminish the effects of NO-Xplode. Serving Size: 1 scoop (20.5 grams). Servings per container: 40. Read the product label carefully for more detailed directions.
The author of this article has no financial relationship with BSN.

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