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Supplement Reviews

  • Dymatize Super Mass Gainer vs. ON Serious Mass

     

    For the hard gainers, is there anything more frustrating than spending an entire day training and eating just to fall short of your required caloric intake to start seeing size gains? Being naturally skinny can feel like a curse at times. When you need to eat upwards of 3,000 or 4,000 calories each day, your fitness goals can feel like a chore. That's where mass gaining supplements can help. Mass gainers provide huge caloric boosts to help you achieve that daily calorie intake. Let's take a look at two of the best in the industry to see which one is worth buying to help you achieve your goals.

     

    Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

    Looking at the calorie count for Dymatize Super Mass Gainer, you can tell this supplement isn't messing around. Each serving contains 1,280 calories! That is the equivalent of eating three meals in terms of caloric content. If you are eating 2,000 calories from a healthy and well-balanced diet, you'll easily reach your target with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer.

     

    It's important that you pair this supplement with a hardcore lifting program as this will skyrocket your results. Each serving provides you with 52 grams of protein from an advanced protein blend including Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, and Micellar Casein. This blend is important as it will allow for hours of amino acid delivery to muscle tissue. In turn, this may help support protein synthesis, muscle building, and muscle recovery. (1-5)

     

    Cons of Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

    There are two potential issues with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer: First, the vitamin and mineral content. Many people are already taking a multi-vitamin and using both may push your limits in terms of what your body should be getting with vitamins and minerals. If you use a multi-vitamin, don't use it on the same day as Dymatize Super Mass Gainer.

     

    Second, it's important to use Dymatize Super Mass Gainer post-workout. This is due to the 244 grams of carbohydrates, 23 of which are sugar. Sure, you can start your day off with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer but your body will be primed to utilize those calories immediately following a workout so take advantage of it.

     

    ON Serious Mass

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of ON Serious Mass

    Just like Dymatize Super Mass Gainer, ON Serious Mass is completely serious about helping you crush your daily caloric goals. ON Serious Mass contains 1,250 calories per serving. Each serving contains 50 grams of protein from a special blend featuring Whey Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Egg Albumin, and Sweet Dairy Whey. Blow for blow, ON Serious Mass and Dymatize Super Mass Gainer are pretty equal until you see the extras that Optimum Nutrition has added:

     

    • Creatine Monohydrate
    • L-Glutamine
    • Glutamine Peptides
    • Choline (As Choline Bitartrate)
    • Inositol
    • PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid)

     

    Creatine and Glutamine may help support your muscle gains while Choline may boost energy levels and muscle recovery. (1-7)

     

    Cons of ON Serious Mass

    Just like with Dymatize Super Mass Gainer, watch out if you're using a multi-vitamin and make sure to use this post-workout due to the carbohydrate content.

     

    The addition of amino acids and ingredients like PABA is great but lacking in terms of the dosage. Still, not too bad considering most weight gainers just give you carbohydrates.

     

    Conclusion

    Scanning the label, it's hard to determine which one of these is truly better than the other. They match one another in every regard. The only true difference is the better protein blend in Dymatize Super Mass Gainer and the added bonuses in ON Serious Mass. Does this push one ahead of the other? Not at all.

     

    With this review ending in a draw, the real deal-breaker will be cost. Watch out for discounts on the Amino Z website and buy each one as it goes on sale. That way, you can try both and see which one you prefer.

     

    References

    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
    1. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.
    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.
    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.
    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.
    1. Piattoly, Tavis. L-GLUTAMINE SUPPLEMENTATION: EFFECTS ON RECOVERY FROM

    EXERCISE. Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. (4 – 9) August 2005.

    1. Ralf Jäger, Martin Purpura, and Michael Kingsley. Phospholipids and sports performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007; 4: 5. Published online 2007 Jul 25. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-4-5.
  • International Protein Synergy 5 vs. International Protein Amino Charged WPI

    If there's one protein brand that stands out in the world of bodybuilding, it's International Protein. Offering supplements designed with bodybuilders in mind, International Protein has been allowing bodybuilding hopefuls to get closer to the stage. Two of the brand's most popular products have been the subject of debate. Let's take a look at International Protein Amino Charged WPI and International Protein Synergy 5 to see which one is the better protein by this famous brand.

     

    International Protein Synergy 5

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of International Protein Synergy 5

    As the name implies, International Protein Synergy 5 contains five types of protein, all with varying degrees of digestive speed. The rate of digestion is important when it comes to your goals of muscle building as the slower a protein breaks down, the more amino acids it will release into the muscle tissue. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue and they are key to an efficient recovery post-workout. Studies suggest that the amino acids found within this variety of protein may be able to promote lean muscle growth and an efficient recovery. (1-6)

     

    We were really impressed with the protein blend found within International Protein Synergy 5 as it hits all ends of the protein spectrum, offering 32 grams per serving. Here's a breakdown of type and digestion speed:

     

    Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate

    • Digestion Speed: Fastest

     

    Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

    • Digestion Speed: Fast

     

    Whey Protein Concentrate

    • Digestion Speed: Average

     

    Egg Albumen

    • Digestion Speed: Slow

     

    Micellar Casein

    • Digestion Speed: Slowest

     

    This is going to ensure you are getting muscle supporting amino acids for hours as opposed to just a quick shot.

     

    Cons of International Protein Synergy 5

    Aside from the use of artificial sweeteners and thickeners, we couldn't find anything wrong with International Protein Synergy 5. This is high quality protein that allows for an extended release of amino acids for hours. It's an ideal supplement to start your day or prepare for a workout.

     

     

    International Protein Amino Charged WPI

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of International Protein Amino Charged WPI

    We are big believers in post-workout nutrition as this is when the body is primed and ready to go to take in the nutrients needed for results. Most lifters use a standard whey protein isolate and while this is great, there is a better option. This is where International Protein Amino Charged WPI comes in.

     

    International Protein Amino Charged WPI is an elite quality whey protein isolate that also contains hydrolyzed peptides and amino acids. This is important because you're getting three high quality forms of muscle building nutrients. WPI, hydrolyzed peptides, and amino acids are all fast-acting nutrients that may be able to boost recovery, support muscle gains, and promote your fitness goals. (1-6)

     

    The unique thing about International Protein Amino Charged WPI is that it contains a fermented version of L-Glutamine as well as L-Arginine. This provides an ideal combination of muscle building nutrients, making it an ideal post-workout treat.

     

    Cons of International Protein Amino Charged WPI

    It may come as no surprise but there's not much we can say against International Protein Amino Charged WPI. International Protein is a very high quality brand that is targeted towards a bodybuilding market. This means that aside from the usual sweeteners, International Protein strives for elite quality.

     

    Conclusion

    What you have here is two incredible protein supplements. The problem is that they are often compared when there really is no room for comparison. Synergy 5 is a protein supplement that can be used throughout the day while Amino Charged WPI is ideal as a post-workout supplement. Both will support your fitness goals and, if it's possible, they should be purchased together. Use Synergy 5 as a meal replacement, a pre-workout, or a bed-time treat. Use Amino Charged WPI during or right after a workout.

     

    References

    1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002
    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
    1. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.
    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.
    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.
    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.
  • Cellucor CN3 vs. Cellucor C4

    With pre-workouts leading the way in the supplement industry, some of you may be surprised to learn that the term 'pre-workout' encompasses more than just a simple caffeine product. Pre-workout is used to describe any supplement that is taken before your workout to improve your overall performance and results. Energy boosting pre-workouts are just one facet of a huge category.

     

    Cellucor is one of the top contenders in the pre-workout industry as it has several pre-workout products, all of which promise to boost your workout in different ways. Today, let's take a look at two extremely popular pre-workouts from the brand, Cellucor CN3 and Cellucor C4, to see which one is worth buying.

     

    Cellucor CN3

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor CN3

    Cellucor CN3 is commonly referred to as a N.O. Booster. Nitric Oxide boosters are used to promote blood flow and oxygen uptake into muscle tissue. Benefits from this may include better performance and strength as tissue is able to capitalize on the increased nutrient delivery and blood flow. When you use an N.O. booster, you may experience 'the pump.' This is when blood swells in the muscle being worked. It's a feeling that most serious lifters strive to accomplish each workout.

     

    Cellucor CN3 contains Creatine Nitrate, the result of bonding nitrate with creatine monohydrate. Studies show that using 3 grams of Creatine Nitrate each day is safe, well tolerated by most, and may result in boosting your performance. Subjects saw a significant improvement in their bench press results, suggesting that Creatine Nitrate may also increase strength levels as well. This is very important if your goals include strength gains and lean muscle mass. (1, 2)

     

    Cons of Cellucor CN3

    There are no downsides to using Cellucor CN3. The only two ingredients are Creatine Nitrate and Vitamin C. Most importantly, the Creatine Nitrate has been dosed at 3 grams per serving, which was the ideal range as shown in the studies. This is a solid pre-workout product.

     

    Cellucor C4

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of Cellucor C4

    Cellucor C4 has been around the pre-workout circuit for a long time. As one of the pioneers of next level pre-workouts, C4 has gained a massive following and it's not hard to see why. It contains a variety of energy boosters such as Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean, and Theacrine but it also has a nitric oxide boosting blend featuring Creatine Nitrate and AAK (Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate).

     

    The energy boosting formula contains caffeine and theacrine, which is an amazing blend. Studies show that pairing these two together results in higher energy levels without the anxiousness associated with caffeine use. Also, the use of Beta Alanine may be a great way to boost strength and performance. (2-4)

     

    Cons of Cellucor C4

    While it does have Creatine Nitrate (the main ingredient in CN3), it is only dosed at one gram, making it essentially ineffective compared to the proper dose of 3 grams. This can be remedied by pairing up C4 with CN3, as I talk about below. (1)

     

    The only other issue we have with C4 is the use of the proprietary blend, which makes it impossible to know exactly how much of each ingredient you are getting in the energy blend. Still, this isn't a huge issue because you can assess your tolerance with C4 using a single serving, making it obvious that the dose is high enough to work.

     

    Conclusion

    Cellucor CN3 and Cellucor C4 are both fantastic products in the same category but they couldn't be further apart in terms of functionality. CN3 is a nitric oxide booster that may be able to increase strength levels, overall performance, and that pump you feel during the workout. Cellucor C4, on the other hand, is used to increase energy, boost focus, and promote performance. If you're serious about your workouts, then ideally you should be getting both of these products as they may have a significant impact on your gains.

     

    References

    1. Elfego Galvan, Dillon K. Walker, Sunday Y. Simbo, Ryan Dalton, Kyle Levers, Abigail O'Connor, Chelsea Goodenough, Nicholas D. Barringer, Mike Greenwood, Christopher Rasmussen, Stephen B. Smith, Steven E. Riechman, James D. Fluckey, Peter S. Murano, Conrad P. Earnest and Richard B. Kreider. Acute and chronic safety and efficacy of dose dependent creatine nitrate supplementation and exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition201613:12. DOI: 10.1186/s12970-016-0124-0.
    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
    1. Daniel J. Kuhman, Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women. Nutrients. 2015 Nov; 7(11): 9618–9632.
    1. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37. doi: 10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z. Epub 2012 Jan 24.
  • BSN N.O. Xplode vs. BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    BSN has long reigned over the pre-workout market with N.O. Xplode. This hard-hitting energy booster has been helping millions get pumped up to conquer their workouts with ease. As a long-standing pre-workout staple, N.O. Xplode has gone unchallenged for years. Despite the fanfare, BSN felt that as good of a pre-workout as N.O. Xplode was, it needed an upgrade for the more advanced user. This is how BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge was born. Let's take a look at these two giants to see which one is worth the buy.

     

    BSN N.O. Xplode

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN N.O. Xplode

    First, let's take a look at the pre-workout supplement that launched the BSN brand into stardom. One look at the N.O. Xplode label and it isn't hard to see why this supplement became so popular. It features an all-star line-up of ingredients featured in easy to understand categories. For example, the Myogenic Matrix blend of ingredients features creatine and protein peptides, two ingredients that can help support strength intra-workout.

     

    The Thermic Energy blend features caffeine, N-Acetyl-Tyrosine, and a trademarked brand of caffeine cocrystal known as Purenergy. Together, these ingredients can help boost your energy levels to prepare you for the workout ahead.

     

    The original N.O. Xplode formula is fantastic. It features several categories of ingredients that support muscle building and fat burning on all levels. You get energy boosting, strength support, and nootropic amplification. (1)

     

    Cons of BSN N.O. Xplode

    Like most BSN products, N.O. Xplode uses a proprietary blend. You know what ingredients are in the formula but you don't know exactly how much. As we've discussed before with some BSN products, this is problematic because if you are trying to achieve a certain dosage level, you'll never know if you achieve it. Still, considering the ingredients that are used, it's easy to look past this issue.

     

    BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    The question is, 'How can BSN do better than the original formula?' We were wondering the same thing and once we saw the label, it immediately became clear why XE Edge is the long-awaited upgrade.

     

    While many of the ingredients found in N.O. Explode can be found in XE Edge, the most dramatic difference is the energy-focused blend appropriately titled the 'Super Leaf Energy Composite.' This blend starts out with caffeine then takes a sharp turn upward with the following:

    Longan Extract:

    • Powerful nootropic that may help boost focus, alertness, and cognitive processing.

    Theacrine:

    • Similar to caffeine, this is an intense energy booster that also helps to amplify focus.

    Guayusa:

    • High octane tea that contains the energy amplifier, Theobromine, as well as caffeine. (2-4)

    This energy blend is a marked improvement from the original formula. It contains several long-lasting energy support ingredients that also act as nootropics, meaning you'll feel the rush in mind and body.

     

    Cons of BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge

    With the exception of artificial flavouring and sweeteners, we couldn't find anything wrong with BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge. Unlike its predecessor, BSN N.O. Xplode XE Edge tells you exactly what you're getting and at what dose you're getting those ingredients. This is a huge leap forward for the brand and one that will only secure it as the king of the pre-workout.

     

    Conclusion

    It's not that N.O. Xplode is obsolete; it's quite the opposite. N.O. Xplode is still a very relevant and competitive pre-workout supplement; however, if you've been using pre-workouts for a long time, your body may have become used to the same ingredients day-in and day-out. That's where XE Edge comes in. This extreme pre-workout is for the fitness enthusiast who has been around the block a few times with supplements. If you're a beginner, start with N.O. Xplode then graduate to the big leagues with N.O. Xplode XE Edge when you're ready.

     

    References

    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
    1. Park SJ, Park DH, Kim DH, Lee S, Yoon BH, Jung WY, Lee KT, Cheong JH, Ryu JH. The memory-enhancing effects of Euphoria longan fruit extract in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 2;128(1):160-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Jan 11.
    1. Daniel J. Kuhman, Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women. Nutrients. 2015 Nov; 7(11): 9618–9632.
    1. Kapp RW Jr, Mendes O, Roy S, McQuate RS, Kraska R. General and Genetic Toxicology of Guayusa Concentrate (Ilex guayusa). Int J Toxicol. 2016 Mar-Apr;35(2):222-42. doi: 10.1177/1091581815625594. Epub 2016 Jan 25.
  • BSN Syntha 6 vs. BSN Syntha 6 Edge

    For the last decade, BSN has been considered one of the top supplement brands. Whether you need a protein, a pre-workout, or a post-workout supplement, BSN has you covered. Syntha 6 is one of the best-selling products from BSN, proving itself to be an elite brand of protein powder. Not long after the monumental success of Syntha 6, BSN released Syntha 6 Edge, claiming that while the original was still an incredible product, Syntha 6 Edge was the upgrade. Let's take a look at both Syntha 6 and Syntha 6 Edge to see which one is truly worth the buy.

     

    BSN Syntha 6

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN Syntha 6

    If you've been taking supplements for a while, then you're no stranger to BSN Syntha 6. It features a unique blend of protein including Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumin, And Glutamine Peptides. Notice the three protein types that have been highlighted as that will come into play in the next section.

     

    These protein types offer a range of immediate and extended release amino acids. When used as a part of a well-planned training program, these amino acids may support protein synthesis, protect muscle from breakdown, and promote new growth. (1-6)

     

    Cons of BSN Syntha 6

    Overall, Syntha 6 is your textbook example of a great protein blend to support a range of goals; however, due to the calorie and fat content and depending on what your goals are, Syntha 6 may not be your ideal option.

     

    At 150 calories per serving, Syntha 6 also provides 3.5 grams of fat. Now this isn't a big deal if your goals are muscle building or bulking but if you are being extremely conscious of the calories you are ingesting, then these extra calories (when compared to an isolate, for example) may put you over your caloric limit.

     

    The only other issue that we see with Syntha 6 is the addition of artificial sweeteners but you'd be hard pressed to find a product that doesn't have those.

     

    BSN Syntha 6 Edge

    Where can I buy it?

     

    Pros of BSN Syntha 6 Edge

    Glancing over the label for Edge, you can already see the improvements when compared to the original Syntha 6. It offers more protein per serving at 24 grams and you're getting less fat and cholesterol. BSN also changed up the protein blend. Edge provides you with Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, and Milk Protein Concentrate. The highlighted protein types are new additions in the blend.

     

    Cons of BSN Syntha 6 Edge

    Depending on how you feel about specific protein types, you may argue that the formula for Edge is lacking. It removed Glutamine Peptides, Egg Albumin and Milk Protein Isolate (the protein types highlighted in the first section). We think it was a great decision to ditch the Glutamine Peptides and replacing Milk Protein Isolate with Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is definitely the better move. With that said, getting rid of Egg Albumin is a hit or miss move, especially when it's been replaced by Milk Protein Concentrate. Egg Albumin is a much higher grade protein. Despite the change, this is still an excellent blend and one that is as worthy, if not more so, as its predecessor.

     

    Conclusion

    Both of these protein types are above and beyond. We think the way to choose which one to buy lies in your fitness goals. If you don't have caloric restrictions or if you are striving for a caloric surplus, definitely choose the original Syntha 6. If you want something closer to that of an isolate, then go with Syntha 6 Edge.

     

    You can also purchase both, using Syntha 6 as breakfast or before a workout and then use Syntha 6 Edge post-workout. Regardless of the few changes that BSN has made, you still have two fantastic protein powders on your hands.

     

    References

    1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002
    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
    1. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.
    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.
    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.
    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.
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