Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ask Dr. Andro: Are There NO Changes in the New N.O.-Xplode 2.0 Advanced Strength Formula?

The official SuppVersity Supplement Shoot-Out!
The longstanding veteran, NOXplode AVPT,
is challenged by a clone of its own, 
NOXplode 2.0 Advanced Strength -
which will be the last pre-workout standing?
Question Dr. Andro: What the... is BSN trying to scam costumers? At first sight the labels of the old and the new Advanced Strength version of N.O.-Xplode seem to be absolutely identical.

Answer Dr. Andro: I am usually not soliloquizing, but in this case I thought that many of you may have had the same thought, when they spotted the new(?) BSN N.O-Xplode 2.0 - Advanced Strength in the "new products" column of their favorite supplement vendor: a lot of boastful claims in the product description, but no eye-catching changes in the actual formula.... Reason enough to devote a few hours of my precious time to scrutinize the labels of the old N.O.-Xplode AVPT and the purportedly "new" N.O.-Xplode 2.0 Advanced Strength.


N.O.-Xplode AVPT vs N.O.-Xplode 2.0 - Fight!

Well, let's start with the most obvious. The packaging got redesigned! I would not mind, but actually I find the new "darker" design looks a little cooler... well, I guess the ugly blue "now 25% more" sticker was bordering unfair competition, anyway. After all, BSN has been selling this "value" *lol* edition of the AVPT version of NOXplode for years now. So, if you are looking for a nice-looking addition to your supplement stash and red is your favorite color, the new BSN NOXplode 2.0 container could be just what you've always been waiting for  :-)

If, on the other hand, you are more interested in the content of the fancy new container, I suggest you follow my lead, click at the image above and have a look at the labels... let's see, what have we got here?

The basics - Calories, Carbs, Vitamins and Co.

The FDA approved nutritional information is the part of the label that - the information on the carb content aside - will interest people the least, I guess. Nevertheless, I had hoped to see improvements in the types of vitamins the guys from BSN used. An adequate dose of methylcobalamine (B12), some pyridoxal-5-phosphate instead of the inactive pyridoxine HCL, we are bombarded with in all protein containing supplements, anyways, and some active methyl-tetrahydrofolate instead of the folic acid that the FDA is forcing upon you in each in every foodstuff you eat, would have been nice, yet obviously too expensive improvements (cf. table 1)

AVPTNOXplode2.0Dr. Andro's thoughts
Total calories25kcal25kcalidentical
Total carbs6g6gidentical
Total sugars0g0gwtf! As if a glucose polymer was no sugar
Vitamin B6 from pyridoxine HCL25mg20mginstead of reducing the amount BSN had better invested in some P5P, the bioactive version of pyridoxine
Folate from folic acid400mcg300mcgobviously someone @BSN got wind of the studies which show that the cheap folic acid (in excess) does more harm than good... I guess you know why they did not replace it with a reasonable dose of the active methyl-tetrahydrofolate
Vitamin B12 from cyanocobalamine120µg120µgidentical, but still not absorbable (cf. "Want B12? Drink Milk")
Calcium from Calcium Phosphate75mg75mgidentical & insignificant
Phosphor from various phosphates535mg200mgsomeone got wind that the average Western diet already contains way too much phosphate and that the phospates in the original formula were the reason for diarrhea in some people
Magnesium from various phosphates360mg60mgin view of the lack of magnesium in typical Western diets, the higher dose in the old formula was better - as long as your stomach could tolerate it ;-)
Sodium from various phosphates 235mg300mgwell, isn't that great? Cut down magnesium, ramp up sodium... I guess its more stomach friendly, but is it also healthier?
Potassium from various phosphates75mg75mgit is unfortunate and ridiculous that the FDA does not allow more than this amount per serving
Table 1: Comparison of the fundamental nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the formula
(based on nutritional information from BSN and a major online vendor)

The Problem... ahh, I mean "Proprietary" Blend ;-)

Now, things are getting a little complicated. How do you evaluate a supplement where you know that something is in there, but have no clue in which amount? Well, I guess this would not matter if we were talking about the FDA-invented difference between sugar and glucose polymers (isn't it interesting that the FDA let's the supplement companies make a difference, here?), it is however of tremendous importance to know whether the undisclosed overall amount of the AVPT or ASPM (Advanced Strength & Performance Matrix) part of the 18.0g and 19.6g proprietary blend in NOXplode AVPT and NOXplode 2.0 Advanced Strength contain 90% or 30% glucose polymers. With the latter being the first ingredient on the label, we can only be sure that it is the major ingredient in this part of the formula and since we know that we get 6g of non-sugar carbs, there probably is little room for the additional working ingredients in this part of the formula, anyway.

I hope you understand the problem we are facing here. The one (and only) thing, we can do, is to compare the order in which the ingredients are listed (the latter complies to the relative amount of the individual ingredient, with those ingredients with the highest amounts being listed first) and evaluate whether the changes BSN has made in terms of the specific ingredients and their ratios do make sense.


AVPT NOXplode2.0Dr. Andro's thoughts
Total weight of proprietary blend18.0g19.6gthis means that BSN has generously rounded up the +1.6g diffrence in what they advertise as "2 more grams of active ingredients" (cf. BSNOnline)
N.O. Meta-FusionL-Arginine AKG, L-Citrulline Malate, RC-NOS™ (Rutacarpine 95%), L-Citrulline AKG, L-Histidine AKG, NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (Leaves & Stem) (Gypenosides 95%)L-Arginine-Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid, L-Citrulline-Malic Acid Interfusion, L-Citrulline-Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid, L-Histidine-Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid, NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), Gynostemma (90% Gypenosides) (Leaves & Stem)BSN has removed the rutacaropine, which induces vasodilation via CGRP (Duan. 2007) and added a lower amount of l-histidine AKG which does of course figure in the generation of NO, but has of yet not been shown to independently induce vasolidation; maybe the BSN-guys thought it would fit well with the (probably) extended amount of beta alanine, since β-alanyl-L-histidine, i.e. carnosine is what we actually want
AVPT / ASPMModified Glucose Polymers (Maltodextrin), Di-Creatine Malate, Trimethylglycine, Creatine Ethyl Ester -Beta-Alanine Dual Action Composite (CarnoSyn®), Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Creatine Phosphate Matrix, Creatinol-O-Phosphate-Malic Acid Interfusion, Glycocyamine, Guanidino Proplonic Acid, Cinnulin PF® (Aqueous Cinnamon Extract) (Bark), Ketoisocaproate Potassium, Creatine AAB (Creatine Alpha-Amino-N-Butyrate)Modified Glucose Polymers (Maltodextrin), Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn®), Di-Creatine-Malic Acid Interfusion, Betaine HCL, Sodium Bicarbonate, Creatine-Sodium Phosphate Matrix, Creatinol-O-Phosphate-Malic Acid Interfusion, Glycocyamine, Creatine Ethyl Ester HCL, Guanidino Propionic Acid, Cinnamon Extract (Bark) (Cinnulin PF®), Ketoisocaproate Potassium, Creatine-Alpha-Aminobutyric Acid Matrix (Creatine AAB™)the same fancy creatines without any substantial research supporting their superiority over creatine monohydrate as in AVPT (personally I see no reason to boast with the slogan "no creatine monohydrate", after all CM is the only form of creatine that has proven in scientific studies time and again that its working!); it seems, though, as if the beta alanine content increased - while this would be a good thing, its mere speculation based on its position within the list of ingredients in the proprietary blend; why BSN replaced the 'real' betaine (trimethylglycine) with the 'digestive aid' betaine HCL eludes me
Ener-Tropic Xplosion™L-Tyrosine, Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Methylxanthine (Caffeine), L-Tyrosine AKG, MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides)[Coconut], Common Periwinkle Vinpocetine 99%, Vincamine 99%, Vinburnine 99% (Whole Plant)L-Tyrosine, Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Methylxanthine (Caffeine), L-Tyrosine-Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid, MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides), Lesser Periwinkle (95% Vinpocetine, 98% Vincamine, 98% Vinburnine [Whole Plant])BSN is trying to trick you on this one by just using a different name for the same ingredient - the common and the lesser periwinkle denote the same plant, the only difference is that the purportedly improved NOXplode 2.0 contains an inferior extract
Phospho-Electrolyte Replacements / CompositeDi-Calcium Phosphate, Di-Potassium Phosphate, Di-Sodium PhosphateDi-Calcium Phosphate, Di-Potassium Phosphate, Di-Sodium Phosphateits telling that the "replacement" in the AVPT became a "composite" in NOXplode 2.0 - I already alluded to the inferior mineral composition of the "new" version in table 1
Glycerol Hydrating Polymers™ / Glycerol Polymer ComplexPotassium Glycerophosphate, Magnesium Glycerophosphate, Glycerol StearatePotassium Glycerophosphate, Magnesium Glycerophosphate, Glycerol StearateI suppose BSN changed the name to "polymer complex", because it sounds way more sophisticated; in fact, its the same stuff as in the AVPT version
Table 2: Detailed analysis and comparison of the ingredient profile of the proprietary blends of NOXplode AVPT and NOXplode 2.0 Advanced Strength (based on nutritional information from BSN and a major online vendor)
As you can see from the juxtaposition of the ingredient profiles in table 2, the changes are mediocre at best and the potential increase in the beta alanine content is the only improvement I can find... what about you?

Conclusion - Love It or Hate It!

I guess, some of you are expecting me to rip BSN's marketing coup apart. Well, I guess I could, but let's be honest, obviously there was and still is a huge amount of trainees out there who loved the old formula and kept buying it even when everybody told them that arginine was not working, the new XY was all the rave and their first generation pre-workout would not be worth the cost of its container. In case you are one of those patrons who made the old NOXplode the best-selling preworkout supplement of all times, chances are you will like its almost identical twin, as well. If, on the other hand you, you hated the old version and/or are satisfied with your current pre.workout regimen, I see no reason to invest the 35.99$ into a professionally redesigned redesigned red plastic container.