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Supplement Reviews

  • Vital All In One Review

    Vital All In One belongs to a group of supplements that are not often given much thought; greens and superfoods. Originally known as Vital Greens, the supplement comes in the form of a highly bioavailable powder which possesses several surprising benefits for your health.

    Let’s take a look and see how this greens powder shapes up.

    Taste

    When you think of a greens/ superfood powder, you would be forgiven for thinking that taste is not its strong point. Given, Vital All In One is not comparable to the sweetness of a protein powder or pre-workout, but that does not mean that it is bad. It even has a somewhat pineapple tinge, by virtue of the natural flavouring agents.

    In fact, it has one of the best taste profiles for any greens powder you can purchase. The taste is not bitter, nor is it overly sweet and artificial. It strikes a good balance, as much as can be expected for such types of products, making it much more than merely “tolerable” on the taste buds.

    Category Specific Taste: 4.5/5

    Solubility/ Texture

    Vital All In One Powder actually mixes very well, and does not leave much visible residue. It can easily be mixed with a spoon in a glass, but if you are looking to make drinking your greens an experience, we recommend whipping up a batch in a blender. You can also mix it with non-acidic juices such as apple for a little extra sweetness boost.

    A blender ensures a continuous supply of air is infused into your beverage, making for a fluffy, light smoothie. A blender is also superior for ensuring a uniform mixture, making drinking it smooth sailing.

    The soluble fibre it contains definitely helps with the excellent texture and mixability. Add each serve of the powder (10g) to at least 200ml liquid to ensure an adequate texture is achieved every time.

    Solubility/ Texture: 5/5

    Nutritional Breakdown

    Being true to the name “All In One”, Vital greens contains an impressive number of ingredients; over 70 to be precise. These include:

    • Vitamins and Minerals

    Many vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, Vitamin A, C and E are included in Vital All In One Powder. These have various functions ranging from supporting energy levels[i], bolstering eye health[ii], and of course enhancing immunity and anti-oxidant capacity[iii]

    It’s also worth mentioning that is contains several important micro minerals as well, including zinc, calcium and selenium, hard to get on vegan diets.

    • Digestive Aids

    These comprise of the ever-helpful probiotics which can alleviate digestive disorders such as chronic constipation[iv], and even promoting protein absorption[v].

    Then, you can also find digestive enzymes and aloe vera gel for stomach health[vi].

    • Antioxidants And Herbs

    Vital All In One is not done yet. It also contains several adaptogenic herbs, green tea, Astragalus, reishi mushrooms and even resveratrol, one of the most effective anti-oxidants that may help reduce your heart disease risk[vii].

    • Vegetables And High Nutrient Fruits

    Last but not least, are the veggies and fruits it contains. Kale, barley, broccoli, beet, bilberry, kelp, chlorella and spirulina are some of its biggest draws. These can help you meet your recommended daily intake of 8-10 serves, and in conjunction can support detoxification (thanks to milk thistle) and reducing inflammation[viii].

    Value For Money

    Investing in a greens and superfood powder such as Vital All In One has to simply be an outstanding choice. It is extremely affordable, with a container of 25 serves coming in at less than $25. That means you pay under $1 per serve. Extremely affordable, even comparing to consuming the vegetables and fruits themselves.

    Considering there are over 70 different ingredients in the supplement, the value is hard to beat.

    Value For Money: 5/5

    In Conclusion

    Vital All In One, as the name suggests, should definitely go on your list of vital nutritional supplements. The sad fact is that the majority of adults do not meet the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, making it a good idea to use a super greens powder.

    It is very low in sugars and undesirable additives, and comes at a price point that is hard to argue with. The great mixability, as well as decent taste are also great traits of this powder.

    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    [i] Martel JL, Kerndt CC, Franklin DS. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) [Updated 2020 May 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482360/

    [ii] Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8 [published correction appears in Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Sep;126(9):1251]. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(10):1417-1436. doi:10.1001/archopht.119.10.1417

    [iii] Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. Published 2017 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu9111211

    [iv] Zhao Y, Yu YB. Intestinal microbiota and chronic constipation. Springerplus. 2016;5(1):1130. Published 2016 Jul 19. doi:10.1186/s40064-016-2821-1

    [v] Jäger R, Purpura M, Farmer S, Cash HA, Keller D. Probiotic Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 Improves Protein Absorption and Utilization. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2018;10(4):611-615. doi:10.1007/s12602-017-9354-y

    [vi] Panahi Y, Khedmat H, Valizadegan G, Mohtashami R, Sahebkar A. Efficacy and safety of Aloe vera syrup for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a pilot randomized positive-controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. 2015;35(6):632-636. doi:10.1016/s0254-6272(15)30151-5

    [vii] Dyck GJB, Raj P, Zieroth S, Dyck JRB, Ezekowitz JA. The Effects of Resveratrol in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease and Heart Failure: A Narrative Review. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(4):904. Published 2019 Feb 19. doi:10.3390/ijms20040904

    [viii] Polachi N, Bai G, Li T, et al. Modulatory effects of silibinin in various cell signaling pathways against liver disorders and cancer - A comprehensive review. Eur J Med Chem. 2016;123:577-595. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2016.07.070

  • Momentum Protein Chips Review

  • Ghost Whey Review

    The Ghost Brand is an up and coming supplement line that is gaining quite a lot of traction, earning coveted word of mouth referrals from those that use their products. Even though at first glance Ghost Whey might appear as if it is just a basic Whey protein powder, it actually has a few tricks up its sleeve.

    Wondering how this iteration of the Ghost family will fare? Let's check it out now.

    Taste

    One thing the Ghost brand has completed nailed, as is evident in Ghost Whey as well, is the taste factor. Ghost Whey comes in several delicious flavours, including cereal milk, fruity cereal milk, blueberry toaster pastry, milk chocolate, peanut butter cereal milk and coffee ice cream.

    There is something in Ghost Whey that brings about a nostalgic feeling after drinking a serve, which is especially true if you recall having cereal in milk as a kid and then drinking the milk left in the bowl. This is the truest explanation of what cereal milk is, and one that you are bound to love.

    The non-cereal milk flavours also taste exceptional, though if you dislike the taste of coffee you may not love the coffee ice cream flavour. But that's not to say it's bad in the least. Overall, Ghost Whey has at least one flavour you are bound to love.

    Taste: 5/5

    Solubility/Texture

    Ghost Whey does an excellent job of mixing in water, as is the standard we have come to expect from all Whey-based proteins. It is instantized, so whether you choose to whip up a batch in a shaker bottle, blender or just with a spoon, you should not encounter difficulties with the process.

    You can mix up to two serves in 360ml of water, being sure to vigorously mix throughout. You can still modify the amount of water you use to achieve the consistency and texture you desire prior to consumption.

    Solubility/Texture: 5/5

    Nutritional Breakdown

    Ghost Whey does not need to reinvent the wheel. It is well known that Whey protein is the gold standard when it comes with getting high quality amino acids in your diet, in a fast and convenient form, but what they have done is combine three extremely popular forms of this protein; namely the concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate, so that you can take advantage of the unique offerings of each.

    Consumption of a Whey protein supplement, especially in the post workout window helps to promote muscle protein synthesis thanks to its stimulating effect on the anabolic hormone insulin [1]. Insulin is critical for helping to shuttle glucose and amino acids into muscle cells, which after a training session are primed to absorb much-needed nutrients.

    In addition to this, the branched-chain amino acid leucine [2] plays a critical role in stimulating anabolism and protein synthesis at the genetic and cellular level, so that your efforts in the gym do not go to waste. This is why many protein supplements proudly trumpet their BCAA content on the label. As an added bonus, consumption of high amounts of BCAAs can help with the loss of abdominal fat when on a hypocaloric diet, compared to diets which are low in BCAAs [3].

    Lastly, but certainly not least is Whey protein's speed of absorption. As a whole, Whey proteins are absorbed rapidly, but as purity goes up (concentrate<isolate<hydrolysate) so too does it speed of absorption. While the difference in actual protein content between the concentrate and hydrolysate form isn't that significant, the hydrolysate form has been partially broken down into amino acid components, so that it enters blood even faster and leads to higher blood amino acids[4] (and greater muscle growth!)

    Ghost Whey can help you take advantage of your entire workout window if consumed before and after your session. In addition to the actual training session, you may also consume Ghost Whey immediately upon waking in the morning, or before bed (both optional).

    The Ghost Whey label also makes reference to enzymes, though there is no specific mention of which. However, based on the fact that it is a protein supplement, it is most likely some form of proteolytic enzymes (to speed up cleavage of the amino acid bonds).

    Value For Money

    When it comes down to the cost per serve, Ghost Whey may seem a tad bit expensive. A jar supplying 28 serves costs about $68.95, which equates to almost $2.50 per scoop. However, you need to keep in mind that Ghost Whey is not simply one type of Whey protein, but actually three blended peptides combined into one product.

    By including the concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate you are able to experience different rates of protein absorption, especially when taking around the peri- workout window. Even at 25 g of protein per serve, however, Ghost Whey still remains one of the more expensive Whey protein products on the market. This is the price you pay for good things.

    Value: 3/5

    Conclusion

    Ghost Whey is on its 'Whey' up, with the brand as a whole developing a stellar reputation after being used. The blended approach that Ghost Whey employs is a great idea as smaller differences in absorption speed and purity can make a difference in you gaining every ounce of muscle you deserve.

    Our only hope (and negative) is that Ghost make their Whey protein available in 5 pound jars, since this would most likely bring down the individual cost per serve and make it more justifiable spending your cash on it.

    Overall, a great product with great taste and mixability, but at a higher cost per scoop.

    Overall: 4/5

    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

    2.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.

    3.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.

    4.Manninen AH.Hyperinsulinaemia, hyperaminoacidaemia and post-exercise muscle anabolism: the search for the optimal recovery drink. Br J Sports Med. 2006 Nov; 40(11):900-5.

  • Blackstone Labs Dust V2 Review

    Blackstone Labs is a recognized supplement brand, in Australia and throughout the world. When it comes to the pre-workout supplement by the name of Dust V2, it is no different, even though many people think of Blackstone Labs products as being for hard-core athletes only.

    The truth is, even though there is a certain amount of enigma surrounding the Blackstone Labs brand, there is a very distinct possibility that your workouts stand to benefit handsomely from their products. So should you spend your time (and money) on Blackstone Labs Dust V2? Let's check out what it brings to the table.

    Taste

    Regardless of your taste preference, Dust V2 has something that will suit your palate. One of the most surprising discoveries we made about the taste is the fact that it is not overpowering. This is a good thing overall, as it means that they have included less artificial sweeteners in the product, even though you can clearly detect that there is some amount contained in it.

    Dust V2 uses maltodextrin and erythritol as their sweeteners, which would explain the less intense sweetness possessed by the product, and the faint bitter aftertaste.

    In terms of flavour varieties, Red Ice, Black Lemonade and Watermelon are likely to appeal to the majority of users, even though Pineapple, Blue Sky, Cotton Candy and Sour Gummy Bear aren't that bad either.

    Overall, not the best tasting pre-workout on the market, but undoubtedly refreshing for people that are tired of intense and overpowering additives in their pre-workout.

    Taste: 4/5

    Solubility/Texture

    One of the factors that contributes to making a pre-workout powder successful is how well it mixes in water. In the case of Dust V2, the manufacturer has taken care to ensure that it does this exceptionally.

    Even though many consumers never consider the overall mixability of a supplement before purchasing, they should. Dust V2 leaves no residue in a shaker bottle after mixing, given that you indeed use the recommended 8 to 10 ounces of water per serve.

    It also mixes well with a spoon if you are unable to mix it in a shaker bottle.

    Pro Tip: if you dislike having to chug down more water than is necessary, do not use cold water when mixing your pre-workout powder. Mixability goes up if you add room temperature water instead.

    Mixability: 5/5

    Nutritional Breakdown

    As pre-workout supplements are becoming more advanced, arginine is not commonly employed anymore, instead opting for citrulline. Dust V2 follows this trend as well. More on that in a bit.

    To start off, even though you can see the name of the ingredients found in Dust V2, it is disappointing that the specific ingredient amounts are masked in a proprietary blend known as the Blackstone Labs Dust V2 Blend. There is a total of 8.3g of ingredients, although we do not know the exact amount of any.

    That aside, its ingredient profile looks solid. For instance, starting off with beta-alanine is a solid base, as this ingredient can help you to workout longer by buffering the effects of lactic acid accumulation [1]. Muscles achieve failure- the inability to contract, as lactic acid levels raise and their pH changes to an acidic one.

    The presence of betaine may help to increase the body's natural creatine production [2], proving useful if you do not supplement with exogenous forms of creatine.

    The presence of two citrulline forms; the tartrate and malate may help to further boost absorption and ease digestive discomfort some individuals experience, although citrulline already possesses a much lower likelihood of causing these effects when compared to arginine. Citrulline also more readily supports nitric oxide production and helping you achieve muscle pumps.

    While these ingredients are great, arguably what makes Dust V2 magnificent is its blend of stimulatory and nootropic ingredients. These include caffeine anhydrous and di-caffeine malate, which is a sort of buffered caffeine which delays its rapid onset and clearance. Caffeine is well established to improve exercise performance, energy levels and metabolism [3].

    Agmatine and norvaline, combined with hordenine and N-methyl Tyramine help to exert a calming effect on typical caffeine response, in addition to Agmatine and norvaline possessing dual actions helping to support nitric oxide levels as well. Norvaline inhibits arginase-the enzyme that breaks down arginine [4] and reduces the amount of nitric oxide that may be synthesized. Acreoline (as Arcofuel), also supports resistance to mental fatigue and can result in improved physical performance during your workouts.

    Taurine may also help to take the edge off [5] of caffeine even more, so users do not experience a significant crash of any sort, and may help to prevent muscle cramping from fluid loss during your workout.

    Velvet Bean Extract is a very interesting ingredient, to say the least. There are times when regardless of the amount of stimulants you consume, you lack the drive to get up and get things done. This could be related to your brain dopamine levels- this neurotransmitter being necessary for your drive and ability to achieve things. Velvet Bean Extract (also known as Mucuna Pruriens) is a rich source of L-Dopa, a precursor to the synthesis of dopamine [6]. This explains why Dust V2 is able to take your workouts to new heights, in conjunction with its other nootropic and stimulant compounds.

    Lastly, is MaxxEnsureXT, also known as stearoyl vanniylamide, a compound related to capsaicin, which may help to enhance thermogenesis and metabolic rate.

    Based on its ingredient profile, if you have a difficult time maintaining focus and energy levels throughout your workout you will notice a significant difference. The presence of beta-alanine and betaine also up performance levels and your resistance to fatigue helping you beat the goals you set for yourself.

    Finally, citrulline does what it set out to do – increase muscle pumps and nitric oxide production, and when supported with norvaline and agmatine, you won't be disappointed.

    The only ingredient whose presence seems a bit off in the mix would be stearoyl vanniylamide, which would increase your metabolism but probably not contributes to overall efficacy of the supplement.

    Ingredients: 5/5

    Value For Money

    Dust V2 is fairly priced, with each serve costing you approximately$1.60 (less if you're a Club Z Member), as there are other pre-workouts which are significantly more expensive but don't deliver half as much as Dust V2 might.

    For this reason, it ranks among the best when it comes to value for money.

    Value: 5/5

    Conclusion

    Based on the fact that it mixes well, tastes fair, and includes ingredients which are likely to deliver what you've come to expect from a good pre-workout product, Dust V2 gets our recommendation.

    The only thing we would like to see changed is full disclosure of ingredient dosages, but Blackstone Labs has built an impressive reputation for a reason – they consistently make great products. If you are new to using pre-workout boosters, or are looking to take things to the next level, Dust V2 is very likely to help get you there.

    Overall: 4.5/5

    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.
    2. Du Vigneaud V, Simmonds S, et al. A further investigation of the role of betaine in transmethylation reactions in vivo. J Biol Chem. 1946 Oct;165(2):639-48

    3.Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ. Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports [1978, 10(3):155-158]

    1. NN Huynh, EE Harris, JFP Chin-Dusting, and KL Andrews. The vascular effects of different arginase inhibitors in rat isolated aorta and mesenteric arteries. Br J Pharmacol. 2009 Jan; 156(1): 84–93.doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2008.00036.x
    2. Chen SW1, Kong WX, Zhang YJ, Li YL, Mi XJ, Mu XS. Possible anxiolytic effects of taurine in the mouse elevated plus-maze. Life Sci. 2004 Aug 6;75(12):1503-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2004.03.010
    3. Lampariello LR, Cortelazzo A, Guerranti R, Sticozzi C, Valacchi G. The Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens. J Tradit Complement Med. 2012;2(4):331-9.
  • TC Nutrition Batch 27 Review

     

    TC Nutrition Batch 27 is a super concentrated pre-workout supplement that promises pump, power, and performance. Is this just another run-of-the-mill pre-workout or can Batch 27 deliver?

    Nutritional Breakdown

    Most pre-workout supplements focus on caffeine for a quick jolt, but Batch 27 contains a well-rounded formula to fuel the brain and the body.

    Let's talk about performance: Batch 27 contains beta alanine and betaine anhydrous, two ingredients that have been shown to increase strength levels during your workout. With one gram of creatine HCl, you'll be providing your lean tissue with instantly-available adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the preferred fuel source of muscle. (1, 2)

    Batch 27 also offers you a collection of nitric oxide-boosting ingredients. Higher levels of nitric oxide during your workout can improve performance and overall results. Batch 27 delivers eight grams of citrulline malate, one of the best ingredients to increase nitric oxide production for that blood-pooling pump. You'll also get tyrosine, agmatine sulfate, theanine, and carnitine. (3)

    With your muscles taken care of, what about your mental energy levels? Batch 27 goes above and beyond most other supplements, offering you two types of caffeine along with two nootropics or brain-boosting compounds for elite-level focus.

    Theobromine complements caffeine anhydrous and caffeine citrate, helping to increase energy levels while alleviating the anxiousness typically felt with caffeine-based products. Huperzine A is the king of nootropics and it's been shown to skyrocket focus, cognitive performance, and memory formation. (4)

    Black pepper extract ties it all together. Studies show that black pepper extract can increase bioavailability of a supplement by up to 2,000%. (5)

    For those who try to limit their exposure to artificial sweeteners, Batch 27 contains both sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace K).

    Overall, this is one of the most complete and advanced pre-workout formulas I've seen. It addresses energy on all levels – mind and muscle – and not just a fast boost and crash. This is a very impressive pre-workout formula.

    FORMULA RATING: 5/5

    Taste

    TC Nutrition Batch 27 offers three unique flavours: Fuzzy Peach, Rocket Pop, and Sour Batch. For the purpose of this review, I tested Fuzzy Peach. While it doesn't taste exactly like a peach, I was pleasantly surprised with the flavour.

    I've seen other reviews where people comment that the taste is a bit like cough syrup, but I think it's important to remember that supplements are meant to support your fitness performance and goals; a great taste is just a luxury.

    I enjoyed the Fuzzy Peach flavour, and I'd love to try the other two flavours to see which one is my favourite.

    TASTE RATING: 5/5

    Solubility

    TC Nutrition Batch 27 is surprisingly easy to mix given that it doesn't contain lecithin, which is usually added to help with mixability. I used a shaker bottle with a mixing ball, and it took a few extra shakes but it mixed well.

    MIXABILITY RATING: 5/5

    Value for Money

    Amazing quality doesn't come cheap and Batch 27 is not on the cheaper side of supplements. The average price you'll find for 20 servings is around fifty dollars. Despite the price tag, I still think it's a worthwhile buy considering all of the ingredients you're getting per serving.

    VALUE RATING: 4/5

    Conclusion

    This is a complete and well-rounded pre-workout supplement, something you don't often find in the overcrowded market.

    It has a collection of scientifically-proven ingredients to power both the mind and the body for an optimal workout experience. Flavour is great and it's easy to mix, but my only pain point is the price. Even with the higher price tag, you're paying for an elite-quality supplement.

    OVERALL RATING: TC Nutrition Batch 27 gets 5/5!

    References

    1. Maté-Muñoz JL, Lougedo JH, Garnacho-Castaño MV, et al. Effects of ?-alanine supplementation during a 5-week strength training program: a randomized, controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:19. Published 2018 Apr 25. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0224-0
    1. Kreider RB. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94.
    1. Morrissey JJ, Klahr S. Agmatine activation of nitric oxide synthase in endothelial cells. Proc Assoc Am Physicians. 1997 Jan;109(1):51-7.
    1. Wang R, Yan H, Tang XC. Progress in studies of huperzine A, a natural cholinesterase inhibitor from Chinese herbal medicine. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Jan;27(1):1-26.
    1. Prasad S, Tyagi AK, Aggarwal BB. Recent developments in delivery, bioavailability, absorption and metabolism of curcumin: the golden pigment from golden spice. Cancer Res Treat. 2014;46(1):2-18.
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