HR Labs Ride On; The Preview - Lucy Ellis

HR Labs Ride On; The Preview - Lucy Ellis

The latest in the product line from HR Labs is: Ride On. It certainly holds an interesting name, but what is it? What does it do? What ingredients are in here?

From an analysis of the ingredients within, this product is all about endurance, in all aspects of life.

Take a look into the product breakdown below

Pomegranate extract 15:1 - 5000mg

Pomegranate is rich in polyphenols which are a group of compounds that have significant beneficial health effects in humans. Polyphenol supplementation has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease mortality by reducing cellular inflammation and improving blood flow. These blood flow effects of polyphenols mean that they are of high interest in exercise research.

Physical exercise is a potent physiological stressor as increases in markers of oxidative stress, muscle damage and inflammation are present during the post-exercise period. Let us get one thing straight from the start here:

Exercise itself when measured in isolation does not increase exercise performance or muscle growth. The post-exercise adaptive period is where the improvements are made. Without adequate rest, recovery, and nutrients post-exercise, our bodies would not be able to adapt to the physiological stress of exercise.

There is a multitude of data with studies assessing the effects of pomegranate supplementation on exercise performance and recovery. Ammar et al (REF) conducted a systematic review of 11 studies which assessed the effects of pomegranate supplementation on exercise performance and recover. For ease of this article, the results are outlined below in bullet-points.

  1. Consuming pomegranate juice before and after a resistance training session reduced perception of muscle soreness. The effect was more pronounced in untrained than in trained individuals. The effect was more pronounced in smaller muscle groups (e.g., arms) than in larger muscle groups (e.g., legs) which may be due to the dose used.

  2. High polyphenol pomegranate juice is needed to alleviate markers of exercise damage in trained individuals.

  3. Regular pomegranate intake blunts inflammatory responses before and after exercise to exhaustion. The effect is more pronounced during sessions which recruit large muscle groups. Inflammatory markers such as NK-kB, TNF-a and COX-2 were all reduced in one study.

  4. Consuming pomegranate improved vascular function by: enhancing oxidative scavenging which protected nitric oxide which extended the vasodilating function of nitric oxide. More vasodilation = more oxygen, glucose and nutrients which can circulate the body and reduces blood pressure.

There are a few methodological limitations with this research which limits the overall reliability of the results. However, it can be inferred from this evidence that pomegranate is beneficial for cardiovascular health and improves post-exercise recovery by acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

 

Lepidimax - 2100mg

Maca root has been used traditionally as an aphrodisiac and the research suggests that it can notably increase libido. The mechanism by which it does this is unknown since it does not increase testosterone. In postmenopausal women there is evidence that it increases estrogen but the results from studies are quite mixed, so it is difficult to draw conclusions.

A pilot-dose response study used a low (1.5g/day) and high (3.0g/day) to determine if this plant could be effective for “selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor induced sexual function” (Dordling et al, 2008). SSRIs are commonly prescribed as antidepressants. Sexual function significantly improved in the group consuming 3g/day and there were beneficial effects on libido. Later, the same lead author (Dordling et al, 2015) determined that the 3g/day was able to alleviate SSRI-induced sexual function in postmenopausal women and that no side effects were apparent from any participants.

Maca supplementation in healthy men was shown to lessen fatigue, improve strength (on a grip strength test) and enhanced their sexual function may lessen fatigue, improve strength, and enhance sexual functioning in otherwise healthy men (Jiannine et al, 2019).

Whilst the current evidence we have supporting maca root on libido and sexual function is limited, there is promising evidence for the beneficial effects following its consumption.

 

Vaso6 - 1000mg

There is an accumulating amount of evidence from both human epidemiological and intervention studies which demonstrate the positive impact of green tea catechins on vascular function. From enhanced vasodilation or antioxidant capacities. The green tea catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the physiologically most active compound in vitro. This is attributed to the three adjacent hydroxyl groups on the D ring of the EGCG compound which are more affinity to scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidation (Lambert et al, 2015). In addition, EGCG can increase production of nitric oxide which is an important molecule for vasodilation.

Recently, Fox and colleages (Fox et al, 2020) demonstrated that a 600mg serving of green tea enhanced localised blood flow acutely following a resistance exercise session (placebo = 211 ± 155% increase, GBS = 349 ± 156% increase; p = 0.012). Traditional green tea extracts contain a mix of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, proanthocyanidins and catechins (amongst others).

Researchers wanted to develop an extract which contained only the important bioactive involved in the improvement of vascular function. VASO6™ is a patented gallate-enhanced oligomer derived from green tea extracts. The addition of the gallic acid, in what is known as galloylation, to the oligomer increases the biological activity of the extract.

The primary compound in VASO6 is EGCG which promotes vasodilation by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent activation of Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase to stimulate the production of nitic oxide. Enothelin 1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor that is secreted by endothelial cells in response to stimuli and reduces the production of nitric oxide. Reiter and colleagues (Reiter et al, 2010) demonstrated that ECGC was able to stimulate phosphorylation of FOXO1 and in turn, reduce expression of ET-1. The figures below demonstrate these results.

 

 

 

A: Administration of EGCG to primary bovine (BAEC) and human (HAEC) endothelial cells reduced ET-1 expression.
B: Administration of EGCG reduces ET-1 protein concentration both intracellularly as well as in conditioned media.
C: ET-1 secretion is inhibited after 30 minutes compared to the vehicle (placebo)
D: Western blotting analysis shows upregulation of important transcription factors Akt, FOXO1, AMPK. The darker the blot, the more transcription factor that is present.
E: Quantification of the blot analysis in D.

 

 

So, why use VASO6 in a supplement?

VASO6 and its active compounds within mediate NO signalling to improve blood flow to the working muscles. In addition, it can help to reduce oxidative stress by working in an antioxidant capacity which can improve recovery. Finally, the improvement of blood flow ensures that the working muscles receive oxygen, nutrients and glucose which can facilitate training and enhance fatigue resistance.

Blackcube - 300mg

Black ginger has traditionally been used in folk medicine for centuries. Many studies have demonstrated the biological activities of black ginger extracts (BGE) and the polymethoxyflavones (PMFs) which include antioxidative activity. It is these antioxidant effects and increased energy production through AMPK activation, which are implicated in recent data outlining improved physical fitness.

In a recent study by Toda et al, the researchers investigated the effects of BGE on physical fitness performance, muscular endurance, and inflammatory and metabolism markers in mice (Toda et al, 2016). The researchers also quantified mRNA expression of inflammatory markers using PCR.

Muscular endurance was evaluated in the consecutive forced swimming test over the four-week testing period. Across the measured time points, BGE supressed fatigue accumulation compared to the control group. In the four-week period, the swimming time duration decreased by 27% in the BGE group compared to 78% in the control group. BGE supplementation down-regulated mRNA expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-a in the soleus muscle. In addition, in an in vitro test examining individual PMFs, GLUT4 and PGC-1a. These results suggested that black ginger could enhance muscular endurance, decrease exercise induced inflammation and promote the accumulation of glycogen to improve energy metabolism.

In a human clinical trial, 30mg/day of BGE improved physical performance in: grip strength, 30=second chair stand test, 5m tandem walking test and cycle ergometer test. Daily fatigue scores were also significantly lower in the BGE group compared to the control group (Toda et al 2016). The caveat of this study is the sample participants who were considered as “general population”. This means they were not high-level athletes or people who regularly took part in exercise sessions. Whilst the data on the beneficial effects of black ginger are promising, more human clinical trials are warranted to disclose any benefits in athletic populations.

 

The following ingredients are added to enhance bioavailability, but they use two different pathways and therefore, should be carefully considered when adding to a formula.

Astragin - 50mg

This is a combination of astragalus and ginseng which increases transport protens such as SGLT1 and CAT1 for increased absorption of amino acids, fat soluble acids (flax-seed oil, omega-7) and other compounds like curcumin. Astragin has also been shown to have a positive effect on gut health due to its ability to reduce inflammation in the intestinal wall. So far, no human clinical trials have been conducted on the use of Astragin for its claims of improving bioavailability or to decrease inflammation. The claims by NuLiv Science (who own the patent for Astragin) are: Increases the steady-state absorption rate of arginine, agmatine, β-alanine, citrulline, creatine, leucine, peptides and tryptophan by 67%, 36%, 25%,45%, 33%, 58%, 41% and 53%.

Since most people will consume BCAAs, EAAs or creatine during their training, the Astragin may improve their absorption into the blood stream and therefore increase concentration in transport.

 

Bioperine - 10mg

Bioperine is a very interesting compound. It is a combination of black pepper and piperine that has been created as a “bioenhancer”. Pre-systemic metabolic degradation of drug molecules occurs mainly by the cytochrome P450 enzymes located in the intestinal enterocytes and liver hepatocytes. Studies have identified multiple mechanisms by which piperine can cause bioenhancing effects such as inhibiton of P-gp efflux and inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes (Khajuria). If a compound inhibits cytochrome P450, this reduces the breakdown of the “ingested drug/compound” and therefore increases its time in circulation. A study that investigated the effects of piperine on the serum levels of resveratrol (3,5,40 -trihydroxystilbene) when orally co-administered to C57BL mice, showed that AUC and Cmax were increased by 229% and 1,544%, respectively (Johnson et al, 2011).

But, the issue that we have is that bioperine is tested in cell culture or in digestion models. The complexity of the gut in vivo means that, even if we use piperine to block glucuronidation, there are other enzymes which can modify the compound you want to absorb (depending on the compound).

 

Conclusion

This is certainly an interesting product on paper, and it will be very interesting to see any physical improvements from athletes who will try this. I expect an increase in endurance performance, less time to recover between sessions and there may be improvements in wellbeing, but this will be very subjective.

 

 

 

References

Lambert JD, Elias RJ. The antioxidant and pro-oxidant activities of green tea polyphenols: a role in cancer prevention. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics. 2010;501:65–72.

Fox, CD., Garner, CT., Mumford, PW., Beck, DT., Roberts, MD. 2020. Higher doses of a green tea-based supplement increase post-exercise blood flow following an acute resistance exercise bout in recreationally resistance-trained college-aged men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 17(27).

Reiter, C.E., Kim, J., Quon, MJ. 2010. Green tea polyphenol Epigallocatechin Gallate reduces endothelin-1 expression and secretion in vascular endothelial cells: Roles for AMP-Activated Protein Kinase, Akt and FOXO1. Endocrinology. 151(1): 103-114.

Khajuria, A.; Thusu, N.; Zutshi, U. Piperine modulates permeability characteristics of intestine by inducing alterations in membrane dynamics: Influence on brush border membrane fluidity, ultrastructure and enzyme kinetics. Phytomedicine 2002, 9, 224–231

Johnson, J.J., Nihal, M., Siddiqui, I.A., Scarlett, C.O., Bailey, H.H., Mukhtar, H., Ahmad, N. 2011. Enhancing the bioavailability of resveratrol by combining it with piperine. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 55: 1169–1176.

Jiannine, L.M., Antonio, J. 2019. The effects of The Effects of Lepidium Meyenii on Grip Strength, Fatigue, and Sexual Behavior. Journal of Exercise and Nutrition. 2(1): 6 

 

Dordling, C.M., Fisher, L., Papakostas, G., Farabaugh, A., Sonawala, S., Fava, M., Mischoulon, D. 2008. A double-blind, randomised, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. Meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual function. Natural Sciences. 14(3): 182-191

Dordling, C.M., Schettler, P.J., Dalton, E.D, et al. 2015. A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant induced sexual dysfunction in women. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015. 949036

Toda, K., Hitoe, S., Takeda, S., Shimoda, H. 2016. Black ginger extract increases physical fitness performance and muscular endurance by improving inflammation and energy metabolism. Heliyon. 2(5): e00115

Toda, K., Kohatsu, M., Takeda, S., Shimizu, N. 2016. Enhancement of physical fitness by black ginger extract rich in polymethoxyflavones: a double-blind randomised crossover trial. Integr Mol Med. 3.