From DMAA to Ephedra and now DMHA (aka 2-Aminoisoheptane / Octodrine) ... Is this really the next best stimulant?
You want the strong stuff, don’t you?
While the FDA may not want you to have DMAA, there’s another stimulant that is shaking the industry with lots of hype and promises.
As soon as a popular stimulant like DMAA gets banned by the FDA, there is a rush to fill the void and, inevitably, some new variant comes onto the market that fits into the legal framework.
Often, as time passes, that stimulant also gets banned, and the whole process starts over again.
DMAA is still available but it may not be for long as the only supplier, Hi-Tech was raided recently, (10/07/17).
As expected, the supplement industry has been scrambling for a replacement to DMAA.
DMHA is claimed to be about 80% of the strength of DMAA.
What Is DMAA And Is It Legal?
Methylhexanamine, commonly known as DMAA, is a stimulant that was first produced by Eli Lilly and Company in 1944 as a nasal decongestant.
In 1983, that company withdrew it from the market.
However, since 2006, it has been produced by supplement companies as a workout stimulant.
Within a year many fat burning and pre-workout products were using DMAA as a key ingredient.
It was often paired with caffeine, just as ephedrine had been.
The FDA didn’t take long to get interested in DMAA.
In 2011, they came out and said that it is known to narrow the blood vessels and arteries which can elevate blood pressure and can lead to cardiovascular events ranging from shortness of breath to heart attack.
In 2013, the FDA determined that DMAA was potentially dangerous and did not qualify as a legal dietary supplement.
However, they did not ban the ingredient.
Instead, they sent ‘warning letters’ out to the vast majority of supplement companies, but not all of them.
Virtually every company got the message and removed DMAA from their products.
One that didn’t was Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals (more on them later).
So now we have DMHA to “replace” DMAA’s role in hard hitting pre workouts.
What is DMHA?
With DMAA being pulled from the shelves, it was inevitable that that a schematically similar analog would emerge to take its place.
That product is named DMHA (1,5 dimethylhexylamine) for marketing purposes.
This name cleverly keeps it associated with, and easily confused with, DMAA.
This new analog, DMHA, has an ambiguous claim to being consumed as a natural product that is consumed as a food source, which is required for it to pass the dietary Supplement Health And Education Act (DSHEA) guidelines of 1994.
It is highly unlikely that any brand of DMHA currently on the market is selling an extract of the claimed source Aconitum kusnezoffii or related plants, because the root of those plants contains highly toxic alkaloids that have been attributed to severe, sometimes fatal poisoning (1).
One research paper describes DMHA as being a component of the fruit of the plant Kigelia Africana, which is touted as being the definitive evidence that DMHA has been present in the food supply prior to DSHEA.
The use of a chemically synthesized molecule weakens the argument against the likely stance to be taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that this is not a DSHEA-eligible natural product.
The use of a synthesized chemical as opposed to an extract was one of the FDA’s points in declaring the related ingredient AMP Citrate also called DMBA, as an adulterant (3).
Interestingly the marketers chose not to refer to DMHA by its former name, and the one commonly used in the few clinical papers that are available on this material - octodrine.
Though ‘DMHA’ has the benefit of the ‘DMAA’ phonetic association, it also avoids the uncomfortable realization (for those hoping to keep this product available as a dietary supplement) that octodrine was marketed as a drug (by such suppliers as Medley and James laboratories), which would invalidate its use as a dietary supplement based upon the FDA's prior actions and comments (4).
Similar to DMAA, octodrine was approved for and sold as a decongestant, and is noted for having vasoconstrictor properties.
Though it currently can’t be found in any pharmaceutical products, its current development appears to be directed toward its properties as an antifungal.
We don’t know why it isn’t on the market as a decongestant, but presumably it was either less effective to ephedrine or had similar side effects as DMAA when used as a nasal spray.
The symptoms would be related to the effects of DMHA on the beta-1 adrenergic receptor, as well as being an alpha-2 adrenergic antagonist (similar to yohimbine).
These may include elevated blood pressure, faster heart rate, shortness of breath, anxiety and other signs of distress (5).
DMHA would be too risky for those with heart rhythm abnormalities and hypertension, and may have higher risks when combined with common stimulant ingredients such as caffeine, theobromine and theophylline.
As a vasoconstrictor, DMHA would antagonize (or work against) vasodilators, ingredients which purport to enhance a pump by making the arteries feeding the exercised muscle open sider and make the muscle engorged like biceps on Viagra.
Anecdotal reports are very enthusiastic about DMHA being everything DMAA should have been and more, with no comments about a performance decrement or loss of pump.
Of course, these statements are primarily associated with websites that are selling DMAA-containing products, or affiliates.
It is important to note that no human or animal studies have been published on the use or effectiveness of DMHA as a performance enhancer, stimulant of fat loss promoter.
Those marketing DMHA are depending upon the structural similarities to proven compounds such as DMAA, DMBA and even the PEA-based products (6).
Another potential side effect would be very disadvantageous to bodybuilders, especially those using anabolic steroids that are prone to gynecomastia, is its affinity with the estrogen receptor alpha and actions as an antagonist.
This means that DMHA can stimulate estrogen-sensitive tissue just like estradiol, the female sex steroid but the concentration that this occurs is in the micromolar range, so the safe range of DMHA would be limited to the nanomolar range, which is a very small amount.
This should not raise undue concern, as DMHA is not very potent as an estrogen receptor alpha agonist, but the effect does exist and has to be acknowledged.
The chemical industry develops literature called ‘material safety data sheets’ of MSDS.
The MSDS for octodrine (the same drug as DMHA) lists an acute oral toxicity, meaning that it is harmful if swallowed.
The hazard classification suggests that it would take an unintentional act to induce self-harm acutely (i.e. all at once).
As a category 4 hazard for oral exposure, this means that it would take over 300 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight to approach the LD50 (’average’ lethal dose).
However, this is when octodrine is taken as an isolated ingredient in a healthy person.
Toss a few espresso, train in a dehydrated state with an undiagnosed cardiac dysrhythmia, and it may be good night permanently.
The absence of any clinical trials on performance, body composition, food intake or resting energy expenditure makes it difficult to assess the potential benefits or effects of DMHA as a pre-workout, stimulant or fat-loss aid.
Based upon the experiences seen with DMAA, which is structurally similar (with differences that may serve to DMHAs benefit, though again this is unproven - and only speculative from sources with interests in DMHA's market success promote this concept), those choosing to use DMHA products while they are available may see an enhancement in mood, energy or focus in regard to having more drive during a workout.
Again, without and pharmacokinetic data, or data on its transport through the blood-brain barrier, this is based upon the speculation and reports of parties with a vested interest.
One site does address that the degrading enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) would reduce the bioavailability of DMHA, and MAO is present in the gut.
DMHA is unlikely to ever be sold as a solo ingredient, so it is impossible to tell how effective it may be compared to existing products or a couple hundred milligrams of caffeine.
Whether any performance benefit can be claimed, or fat loss enhancement, is unproven.
Until evidence arises that DMHA is safe, can remain on the market as a dietary ingredient and has documented proof of being an effective pre-workout stimulant or fat loss agent, it appears the prudent decision is to wait for further data.
DMHA is the equivalent to being DMAA's chemical cousin.
However, this is like a blind date.
No matter how attractive your well-intentioned friend may be, his / her cousin may not get your blood pumping.
Versions of DMHA
Despite these different names, there are actually only two versions of DMHA:
Of the two versions, 2 amino-5-methylheptane is the most potent.
Octodrine, 2-Amino Isobutane and 1 5 Dimethylhexylamine are all based on the 2 amino-6-methylheptane version.
The letters DMHA come from Dimethylhexylamine.
The ideal dosage for best results in the gym appears to be between 100-150 mg of DMHA (the 2 amino-6-methylheptane version).
This compares with a recommended dosage of 35-50 mg for DMAA. For the more powerful 2 amino-5-methylheptane, the recommended dosage is 75 mg.
DMHA vs AMP Citrate vs DMAA
There are a number of psychostimulants that share a very similar structure.
They are all designed to make you more awake.
These stimulants are:
Because there have to date been no human or animal studies that quantify the specific actions of DMHA, the best we can, when trying to figure out how it works, is to take a look at the common features of these other products.
From the get-go, you need to be aware that DMHA is an advanced stimulant that is designed for hardcore trainers who are looking to push the envelope.
As mentioned, it does NOT have a ton of studies to back up what it can do.
These psycho stimulants work by increasing the levels of key monoamines.
Monoamines are neurotransmitters that contain a single amino group.
The two monoamines that produce the most stimulant like effects to boost your performance are dopamine and norepinephrine.
A compound will only work as a monoamine activator if it is structurally similar to monoamine itself.
DMAA, and the other products that are structurally similar to it such as DMHA, have this structural similarity to dopamine and norepinephrine.
This gives them the ability to release these two powerful neurotransmitters through the activation of trace amine associated receptor 1.
At the same time, they are temporarily prevented from binding to target receptors.
This allows dopamine and norepinephrine to remain active for longer, giving you a prolonged training effect.
The Mental Benefits of DMHA
Not everyone who takes stimulants like DMHA are doing so for enhanced training effects in the gym.
There are a lot of students and others who are more interested in their nootropic effects.
They want to be able to study longer, be more focused and more productive in their studies.
So how does DMHA stack up in this regard?
User experience confirms that DMHA will ‘wake you up’ and allow you to focus more clearly on the task ahead.
But there are benefits beyond that. It appears that the compounds that make up DMHA have the ability to improve memory.
Specifically, they have the ability to increase episodic memory, which is your memory of past episodes.
These are the types of memories that allow us to work out how we will respond to similar events in the future.
As a result, DMHA will help you to work and study with more focus and to be better plan ahead.
Dopamine, which DMHA works to enhance, is known to increase both the desire and the volition to do things.
Volition is what gives you the ability to keep pushing on through obstacles and stumbling blocks.
People who have more dopamine in their system are better able to persevere, work harder and stay on task.
Dopamine also has the ability to affect the pleasure / reward center of the brain.
It enhances our desire to repeat actions that lead to food feelings and our ability to remember the things that led up to the good feeling (7) (8).
DMHA is also being used as in ingredient in fat burners.
Its stimulatory nature gives it a thermogenic effect which speeds up the metabolism, leading to increased calorie burn.
Research / Studies And What They Found
Finding a stimulant that is able to activate monoamine release at a level that is not too strong nor too weak is difficult.
DMAA was so popular – it did it at the ideal level of mildness, and so, apparently does DMHA.
If the stimulant was too strong, it wouldn’t be able to be detached by the body’s enzymes.
The next common features between DMAA and DMHA is the addition of a methyl group on the alpha carbon.
This provides the following three effects:
DMHA is listed as a decongestant, which is precisely what DMAA was categorized by drug suppliers.
2-amino-6-methylheptane was used as the key ingredient in a popular decongestant named Eskays Oralator back in the 1950’s.
It appears to have fallen out of favour with the rise of ephedrine, which can still be used in medications, just not in supplements.
So, why has 2-amino-6-methylheptane been classified as a decongestant.
Let’s dig into the research to find the answer.
During the 1940’s and ‘50’s there were a number of animal studies that are relevant.
In 1952, a study was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology which found the following . . .
The respirations of dogs under chloralose were stimulated by 2-amino-6-methylheptane and the stimulation lasted for sixty minutes.
Chloralose is a sedative and anaesthetic used on animals.
The focus of the above study was a group of compounds known as octylamines, one of which, 2-aminoheptane, is closely related to DMHA.
The authors of this study concluded that 2-aminoheptane had an action that was similar to amphetamine, thought being less stimulatory and cardiovascular, less toxic and having a greater half-life.
In 1947, a study was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics specifically focused on 2-amino-6-methylheptane, or DMHA.
The following results were indicated:
The doses given were as follows:
It should be noted that the rats who took the high doses of 2-amino-6-methylheptane (both oral and injected) became depressed (9).
The most important revelation to come out of the 1947 study was summed up in the following statement by study co-author Edwin Fellowes . . .
While there is an indication of more activity after S-51 (DMHA) than absorbed in normal rats, a typical ‘amphetamine-like’ effect was never noted.
In other words, rats that were given amphetamines were ‘literally’ banging their heads against the walls of their cages, whereas those who were given DMHA were hyped up, but not excessively so.
The conclusion that we come to from an analysis of these animal studies from the middle of the 20th Century is that DMHA seems to possess the qualities that most people who are after a workout stimulant are after – it enhances your focus and output without making you hype (10), (11).
The general consensus among people who have used DMHA is that it works - really well!
A lot of people felt that DMAA was just a little too over the top, producing a weird, unnatural buzz.
But, DMHA provides you with about 80% of the effect of DMAA, which seems to be about perfect for gym applications.
It is far more potent than other products that purport to be DMAA replacements, such as AMP Citrate.
Users also report that DMHA provides you with a smoother ‘come-down’ than DMAA or even caffeine.
You will not experience a crash, allowing you get on with the rest of your day without any after effects.
For most people the effect of increased focus and energy lasted for several hours, providing you with greater productivity ability even after your workout is finished.
DMHA vs Caffeine
DMHA is a more potent stimulant milligram for milligram than caffeine.
It will provide you with a greater energy level and that level of energy will be sustained for longer.
DMHA’s other big benefit over caffeine is that it will not lead to a post workout energy crash.
It also provides enhanced benefits as far as memory enhancement, due to the increased levels of dopamine that it contains.
Possible Interactions With Prescription Drugs
DMHA containing stimulants should NOT be mixed with prescription drugs.
You should be especially careful not to mix DMHA with stimulatory prescription drugs, as well as antidepressants and MAO inhibitors.
FDA And DMHA
The FDA has a very acute radar when it comes to stimulants.
It doesn’t like them and has put in place stringent compliance requirements.
The bottom line is that if it can be proven that the simulant occurs naturally in the environment, it is likely to meet compliance.
It has been shown that 2-amino-5-methylheptane is found in nature - in walnut bark extract.
The evidence for this is contained in a study entitled Evaluation of Antimicrobial Properties of Two Different Extracts of Juglans regia Tree Bark and Search for Their Compounds Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrum (12).
However, 2-amino-5-methylheptane is not DMHA (2-amino-6-methylheptane).
It is, however, very similar.
2-amino-5-methylheptane is reputedly more potent than DMHA. In order to meet FDA compliance, it needs to be shown that DMHA is derived from either:
In a 2014 study, the third of these compliance options was met.
The study was entitled Metabolomic Profiling of Kigelia Africana Extracts with Anti-Cancer Activity by High Resolution Tandem Mass Spectroscopy.
It identified that DMHA was present in the fruit Kigelia Africana.
The study was published in a well-respected, peer reviewed academic publication that had absolutely no connections with the supplement industry (13).
The discovery that DMHA occurs in a fruit boosts the possibility that DMHA will meet FDA compliance.
There is another naturally occurring herb that may contain DMHA.
It is the plant species aconitum, which is a flowering plant with over 250 species, found mainly in the Northern Hemisphere.
Unfortunately, the aconite family are poisonous.
This is clearly a massive red flag for the FDA.
They are hardly likely to give compliance to DMHA if the natural herb or other botanical in which it is found is toxic.
The question of compliance of DMHA by the FDA is an resolved one at this time.
We expect that the pending court case Hi-Tech Pharma vs FDA will provide some further guidance on the issue (14).
DMHA Banned in Australia
As of October 1st, 2017, DMHA was banned in Australia.
At the same time DMBA will also come under ban.
DMAA has been banned in Australia since 2013.
It is interesting (and alarming) to note that the Australian Government’s Department of Health has not provided a single reason supporting their decision to ban DMHA.
The Australian ban makes it illegal in that country to sell the following:
Should drug tested athletes take a stimulant that contains DMHA?
The answer is NO, even though DMHA, under any of its names, does not currently appear on the WADA banned substances list.
So why shouldn’t drug tested athletes take it?
Because there is a very real possibility that DMHA in your system may cause a false positive result.
This is all the more likely because of the structural similarity between DMHA and some other stimulants that ARE on the WADA banned substances list.
Beyond this, WADA have a clause to include similar substances under their banned umbrella.
Given that DMAA is on their list, DMHA would be included here as a similar product to DMAA.
In addition, it is pretty likely that DMHA will actually be added to the banned list sometime soon.
The bottom line here is that if you're a drug tested athlete, you should stay away from stimulants that contain DMHA.
DMAA is still around / but not banned
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the status of DMAA.
Let's take a moment to clarify things.
Between 2009 and 2012, DMAA was the key stimulant found in a number of powerful workout stimulants, including USP Jack3d and OxyELITE Pro.
Then, in 2012, the FDA sent warning letters to the majority of supplement manufacturers, alerting them to the fact that DMAA was not a dietary supplement ingredient.
Beyond this warning, however, the FDA did not state that DMAA was banned.
The letter was sent to many companies but it was not received by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, despite their having some of the best-selling DMAA containing products on the market.
The majority of supplement manufacturers responded to the FDA warning letter by removing DMAA from their products.
One company that did not do this was USP Labs, the manufacturers of Jack3d and OxyELITE Pro.
The company actually sent a response letter to the FDA, claiming that DMAA was actually a naturally occurring compound, and therefore, passed compliance requirement under DSHEA 1994.
In that letter, the USP Labs guy's cited three studies showing that DMAA was naturally occurring in the geranium plant and was, therefore, compliant with DSHEA 1994.
The FDA responded to USP’s letter with several refutations.
However, because their response is not publicly available, we do not know what these reasonings were.
Around this time, USP Labs announced that it was no longer going to produce DMAA containing products.
However, they cited business rather than legal reasons as the motivator for this decision.
In November, 2013, US Marshals, at the behest the FDA raided the factories of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals.
The Marshals seized more than two million dollars’ worth of DMAA based products. No warning letter was issued of this intention of seizure.
In the wake of this action, Hi-Tech pharmaceuticals have taken the FDA to court.
Their lawsuit is founded on the following grounds:
While waiting for the lawsuit to come up in court, Hi-Tech set about developing new DMAA based stimulants, including HydroxyElite and Jack’d Up.
In December, 2014, the FDA attempted to get Hi-Tech’s lawsuit thrown out of court.
Three months later, the court denied the FDA request.
At this point, we are still awaiting for the phase to come to court.
In the meantime, the actual legal status of DMAA sits in the balance.
It seems that, right now, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is the only company selling DMAA containing products.
All of the other companies have seen the writing on the wall and gone down the DMHA route.
DMHA In Nature
DMHA has been found to occur in nature.
It is, according to a 2014 study, found in the plant Kigelia Africana.
This is a tropical plant that grows in Northern and Southern Africa.
It grows a fruit that can get up to two feet in length and looks somewhat like a sausage.
The Kigelia Africana plant has well established anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and pain relieving properties.
It also has a long history as a euphoria inducer.
It therefore produces a natural stimulatory effect.
There are sources that also state that DMHA is a component of the aconitum species of plant.
This plant species, commonly known as aconite, comprises more than 250 different plants.
However, aconite is one of the most poisonous plants that are out there.
Two Versions of DMHA
2-amino-5-methylheptane is one of the two versions of DMHA.
It differs from 2-amino-6-methylheptane in that it has one less methylheptane.
It is believed that 2-amino-5-methylheptane is the naturally occurring version of DMHA, whereas 2-amino-6-methylheptane is the synthetic version.
2-amino-5-methylheptane is claimed to be more potent that 2-amino-6-methylheptane.
As 2-amino-5-methylheptane is from a natural source, it is far more expensive to source than its synthetic version.
Therefore, products that contain 2-amino-5-methylheptane will be very expensive.
DMHA is a powerful stimulant, even though it is only about 80% as potent as DMAA.
You need to ensure, however, that you are not taking too much (or too little) of it.
For that reason, you should never purchase a product that contains DMHA as part of a proprietary blend.
Proprietary blends tell you what is in the product, but do not disclose the amount of each of those ingredients.
In fact, we believe that all proprietary blends should be made illegal.
Apart from the fact that proprietary blends force the consumer to guess at how much of each ingredient is in the product, they also attract the attention of the FDA.
They are bad news all round and should be done away with.
When you first start to use a stimulant that contains DMHA, we suggest that you take a half dose.
Then assess how your body responds.
Take your blood pressure and wear a heart rate monitor.
If you don’t have hyper reactions, then slowly build up to a full dose.
The Future of DMHA (Octodrine)
As mentioned at the outset, one of the many names that is given to DMHA is Octodrine.
It is very interesting to note that Octodrine has been found (in two studies in 2015) to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
One of the studies stated that . . .
Was shown to be one of the most effective drugs in killing serum-grown Candida-albicans without significantly affecting the survival of host macrophages and skin cells.
In another study, Octodrine was seen to kill e. Coli bacteria after five days of exposure.
As we can see, then, Octodrine (or DMHA) has real potential to be used as a prescription antibacterial, anti-fungal yeast infection drug.
This is a huge market potential that completely overshadows the fitness stimulant industry.
If DMHA gets made into a prescription drug, it will automatically be banned as a supplement ingredient (15).
Pre Workouts with DMHA
In establishing what other ingredients work best with DMHA we need to take a look at the most popular DMHA containing supplements on the market.
The common ingredients that these products pair with DMHA with are caffeine, Eria Jarensis, Higenamine and Hordenine.
The average dosage of DMHA in these products is 100 mg per dose.
These ingredients combine to provide a great blend of energy, focus, concentration and mood enhancement.
Looking for the next best thing to Craze?
Yes that's right.
Excelsior has the same build up of euphoria, energy and motivation that we all crave for in a pre workout.
Yes we know this is all in a prop blend, but are you really taking this for the betaine or do you just want whatever you felt with Craze?
Sure there's plenty of pre workouts with DMHA and similar ingredients, but this is quite different.
And that's probably why it isn't cheap.
It's around 60 dollars per bottle with 30 scoops.
Most people find the sweet spot to be around 1.5 scoops but some take up to 3 scoops.
In comparison, Craze was priced all the way up to $150 or more when it was discontinued.
Excelsior's price point is quite fair in that sense. And it's never priced any lower nor does it ever go on sale.
Grab it before another great pre workout disappears from the market.
If there's one thing that makes up the strength of a pre workout it's the stimulants.
More DMHA, more Eria Jarensis, and more of everything is what it takes to turn a Superhuman into Superhuman Supreme.
The usual performance bust through with full dosages here.
For enhanced recovery and increased intensity, it has citrulline malate and beta alanine.
Beta alanine is the stuff that makes you feel tingly, maybe as a Spiderman as it turns you into Superhuman?
Now the good stuff is doubled to what the original formula has.
It has twice the DMHA and now includes Eria Jarensis for some good old fashion euphoria.
But the good stuff really starts with the pumps.
Thanks to the new nitric oxide booster, S7, it is above and beyond for pumps as it already has Nitrosigine.
Supreme was launched with a limited supply, so even if you don't get your hands on this, you can still get the original but strong Superhuman formula.
If you know Driven Sports, then you know Craze.
Some say it's the best pre workout that's way ahead of it's time.
Rize isn't supposed to replace Frenzy but it is in the same category of aggressive energy.
Similar to the original Craze, Rize provides a nice gradual increase in focus and energy, without any sudden spikes or bursts.
The reviews say that the energy lasts around 5 hours, which lines up to what Driven Sports is promising.
The energy is strong, but yet the focus is still there.
So you'll be zoned into your sets with a steady but strong flow of energy.
Don't expect anything to be "clinically dosed", as this is mainly a pre workout for energy.
Stack it with a nitric oxide booster for massive pumps.
It's not meant to be used as a study aid and definitely not on a daily basis.
I Am Suprem3 is a reboot of the extremely popular pre-workout from Olympus Labs - Conquer Unleashed.
It contains J. Regia, also known as Persian Walnut or English walnut. J. Regia is a species of walnut tree indigenous to Southwest China and the Himalayas.
More importantly, J. Regia is loaded with a number of alkaloids, which work to significantly enhance focus and energy.
It is believed that J. Regia is extracted for 2-amino-5-methylheptane, which would make it a form of DMHA. J. Regia is slightly more powerful than other forms of DMHA, which means that you do not need as much of it.
A major improvement over Conquer Unleashed is the taste and mixability.
I Am Suprem3 not only provides you with a great energy kick, it also tastes great.
The formulation consists of a three specific proprietary blends to target energy, focus and pump enhancement.
Eria Jarensis has been added to provide a potent energy boost.
The result is a smooth flow of energy and long term endurance, reduced fatigue and no post workout crash.
Use coupon code: FITFREK5
Any company that has "Labz" in it is usually suspect to underdosed prop blends, but Centurion Labz is an exception.
They're not only using fully disclosed labels, but most ingredients are decently dosed.
Aside from the microdose of choline and huperzine, the ingredients dosed here are quite good and will provide lots of energy and focus.
It has Eria Jarensis for mood enhancement and 200mg of DMHA for long lasting energy.
Jitters and anxiety will probably non-existent as caffeine is moderately dosed at 250mg and there is no yohimbine.
Use this coupon code for a discount: FITFREK5
Super Human is a unique pre workout that doesn't only focus on energy but also on overall performance.
It combines several ingredients to ignite pumps, energy, and strength gains to help push you to the next level.
While it underdoses on VASO6 (150mg instead of 300mg) it has other ingredients that will help with pumps like 7g citrulline malate and norvaline.
The addition of 350mg theanine will smooth out the stimulants, helping reduce crash and prolonging focus and energy for those hard workouts.
Overall, Super Human is a fine addition to the hardcore market of pre workouts.
Use coupon code FITFREK5 for 5% off.
Hydrazine provides a very potent ingredient mix that delivers a strong stimulatory effect.
It also enhances your focus so that you can zoom in on your workout with laser like precision.
The effect will kick in within minutes of taking it - and those effecst will last for at least a couple of hours.
Hydrazine includes Bauhinia Purpurea Extract, which has been clinically proven to speed up cell regeneration and increase muscle building potential.
It also includes the natural stimulant Cymbidium Goeringii Extract.
DMHA is included through the kigelia africana extract, though we do not know what the dosage is.
It will provide you with central nervous stimulation, focus and energy enhancement.
At first glance, BZRK looks epic.
And it is, don't get us wrong.
But we're disappointed by the prop blend portion of it.
It has a nice formula that's fully disclosed but the prop blend isn't something we'd expect as it starts out great.
The formula starts with strong performance enhancers that's all clinically dosed.
But we don't even know how much caffeine or DMHA is in here.
It is still a strong pre workout that's powered by DMHA and a few stimulants.
Use coupon code FITFREK5
When you think about hardcore pre-workouts, one name comes to mind - Arez by NTel Pharma - and there isn’t just one!
There’s Arez White, Arez Black, Arez God of the Gym and now there’s Arez Titanium God of the Gym.
The most recent version comes out of the gate with a fully disclosed label and a pump complex that consists of a 3 gram dose of pure citrulline, and 500 mg of agmatine.
That’s it as far as pump ingredients, but is that enough?
This complex does have clinically dosed (3.2 grams) beta-alanine – but this might need either another pump enhancer, or higher dosing of the two ingredients it does have to produce world-class pumps.
Next we have the GODlike Energy Surge complex - and it means business!
First up is PEA (or B-PEA to be precise), eria jarensis (a little under-dosed) and a huge 175 mg dose of juglans regia - the natural form of DMHA, which is very similar to the artificial version but absorbs much better and gives a cleaner energy so the overall experience is stronger.
These 3-ingredients alone are enough for increased energy and focus, but there’s more!
We still have synephrine, yohimbine bark, a strong 350 mg of caffeine, 250 mg of choline and finally 10 mg of yet another stimulant – hordenine, but with a very low 10 mg dose.
So, while there’s a pump complex, this is a pre that’s more about energy, focus and mood elevation.
Yes, there is beta-alanine – but that’s not enough to make this an all-around pre-workout.
A few tweaks and this could be an even more amazing formula, as it is, it’s amazing as far as the stims/cognitive complex goes, even with a couple of under-dosed ingredients.
It’s not really a great value with 25 servings,1 scoop per serving, and a higher than average price.
You are getting a potent stim complex, add in some pump ingredients and this could really be the God of the Gym.
Dust X was created for advanced users with a high stim tolerance – make no mistake, this is not meant for beginners.
These guys know what hardcore is all about!
Dust X features full disclosure labeling and starts off with 4 grams of citrulline malate – a little under-dosed, but also contains a solid 1 gram dose of agmatine, producing a decent but not amazing pump complex.
Next, we have a 2.5 gram dose of beta-alanine, again, a little under-dosed.
Like many of the pre-workouts on this list, Dust Extreme is more about the stims, which means if you want bigger pumps and more performance, you’d have to stack this with a stim-free pre-workout.
This formula is all about energy/focus/mood elevation and it starts off with a decent dose of DMAE, an organic, amino acid compound that is naturally produced in the brain and a supplement that’s been around for decades.
DMAE is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is essential for optimal cognitive function, and DMAE has benefits that are similar to choline.
Next up is PEA, very well dosed at 500 mg and one of the better cognitive ingredients – PEA stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitters.
It does more than induce euphoric feelings, it also improves mental stamina and clarity.
There’s a solid 350 mg dose of caffeine to help rocket things up, and that’s followed by DMHA (150 mg), higenamine (75 mg), and huperzine (300 mcg), all well-dosed and ready to go.
To say this is a potent energy/mental complex is an understatement. No wonder it’s meant for advanced users only!
Dust X is not a great value with 25 1-scoop servings and priced at the high end, but for everything you get in this, it’s not a bad value either.
The downside to this is, if you decide to stack it with a pump based, stim-free pre-workout, it won’t be a cheap investment.
Overall, however, as far as stims and cognitive enhancement, Dust X is a great choice.
Dihydromyricetin, Maslinic Acid 20%, Caffeine Anhydrous, Eria Jarensis, DMHA, Sinomenine, 7-Keto DHEA, Stearoyl Vanillylamide.
Hydrapharm is a company that’s out to make a name for itself and it wants to do it with innovative, often unique, products.
Hydralean is a great example of this and it’s one of the most unique fat burners we have seen, breaking the typical stim-based fat burner mold by using several ingredients that you won’t find (yet) in many fat burners.
Hydralean was designed to be a complete fat loss formula, not just a thermogenic/energizer.
If there’s a downside, it’s the 426 mg prop blend – it’s under-dosed at the suggested 1 capsule per serving, but if you work up to the max suggested strength, 3 caps per day, that’s an entirely different story!
This formula starts off with DHM (dihydromyricetin), an AMPK agonist that helps breakdown fatty acids to be used as energy.
Additionally, it has the exciting function of pulling carbs into the muscles separately from insulin under exercise related conditions, keeping excess carbs from being stored as fat.
100 mg for this is an effective starting point.
Next is maslinic acid 20% (from olive leaf) which is primarily involved in reducing joint pain with some fat loss potential as well.
Clinical studies have been conducted using 50 mg per day.
For stims/mood enhancers, there’s caffeine, the most popular energizer on the market and an effective thermogenic, the dose is not listed.
Next up is eria jarensis for energy, mood and focus and should be dosed around 200-250 mg.
This is followed by the natural form (kigelia africana) of DMHA, a well-known, very effective stimulant and mood enhancer that also has powerful fat loss effects, breaking down stored fat to be used for energy, and controlling appetite.
Dosing should be 100-150 mg.
That’s it for stims, from here Hydralean is rounded out with Sinomenine, a natural beta-2 agonist, 7-oxo DHEA for cortisol regulation, and stearoyl vanillylamide, which has the thermogenic properties of capsaicin without the gastric discomfort.
Hydralean is a good value with 90 caps and a 1 capsule serving size, but for max results, 3 per day is suggested, the value drops but you still get 30 days out of one bottle.
One look at the label (the fully disclosed label!) of Broken Arrow and one thing becomes clear pretty quick – this is a pre-workout that’s all about energy and focus!
However, the other thing that becomes clear is that several ingredients are under-dosed.
It starts off great with a solid 6 gram dose of citrulline malate, along with 1 gram of taurine for pumps – and that may be enough, but another pump enhancer wouldn’t hurt.
Then there’s betaine, a great strength and power enhancer that’s similar to and synergistic with creatine, that’s under-dosed at only 1.5 grams (it should be at least a gram higher).
However, beta-alanine is well dosed at 3.2 grams and is effective as a fatigue blocker and endurance enhancer – in fact it works so well it has become a standard in virtually every pre-workout on the market.
So for pumps and performance, Broken Arrow will get the job done, but it won’t hit that hard in the process.
Where it will hit a little harder is in the stim/cognitive ingredients – starting with 1 gram of tyrosine that works very well with the 350 mg of caffeine.
Next we have a low dose (300 mg) of alpha gpc for mood elevation and mental stamina.
The dosage on this could easily have been doubled or even tripled. Finally, there’s the potent stimulant/focus ingredient DMHA with an effective 150 mg dose.
DMHA has numerous benefits, including energy and focus, it also stimulates production of the hormones dopamine and noradrenaline, the “feel-good” hormones.
Overall, Broken Arrow is a little disappointing, just when you think you’ve got a killer pre-workout, you have several under-dosed ingredients.
Make no mistake, it’ll come through as far as energy, focus and mood elevation, but it could have been even better with a higher dose of alpha gpc.
It’s not bad for pumps and performance – but it could rock big time with more betaine and more pump enhancers.
As far as value, it’s priced just a little on the high end with 30 servings and 1 scoop per serving.
Tweak this pre-workout a little and you’d have a winner, right now, it just isn’t quite there.
DVST8 is a revamped version of what was already one of the top rated pre-workouts on the market.
The addition of DMHA provides both a fat burning and an energy and focus boost to DVST8.
You will get more pump, focus, energy and mood enhancement with this one.
This product includes three different forms of caffeine within its 325 gram total.
The addition of yohimbine and synephrine further enhance the endurance boosting effects of this product.
Although the main focus of this product is a pre-workout energy enhancer, DVST8 is a better fast burner than many fat burners on the market.
The unique combination of ingredients work to burn fat and suppress appetite.
With this in mind, if you are trying to pack on mass, be sure to get in your post workout protein meal.
Use coupon code: FITFREK5
Note: AREZ White is back in stock but in very limited quantities.
AREZ God of the Gym is a pre-workout that contains a total of 623 mg of powerful energy enhancing stimulants to rev up your workout.
This includes 125 mg of DMHA to give you that tunnel vision and extras strength boost that you’re looking for.
Eria Jarensis is added to give deliver a major cognitive enhancing effect by increasing the levels of dopamine and noradrenaline in your body.
Beta alanine and citrulline add a strong pump effect, while 350 mg of caffeine anhydrous deliver a major stimulatory effect on the central nervous system, heart and muscles.
The overall combination of ingredient mix is a very potent energy hit that comes on fast and lasts for around two hours.
You do get a slight crash effect post workout that may have you wanting to take a nap.
This product mixes well with a spoon or in a blender bottle and has a pleasant taste.
Note: AREZ Black has been replaced by Titanium, which not only had the stronger version of DMHA (Julgans Regia Extract).
AREZ Black is an enhanced version of AREZ that includes a blacklisted blend that includes 150 mg of DMAA, ephedra and octopamine.
This combination provides a smooth energy boost that kicks in within about twenty minutes of taking it.
You’ll experience greater energy for about two hours and then will come down gently without any post workout crash.
You will also experience a significant boost to your cognitive functioning thanks to the synergistic effects of Eria Siamensis extract and synephrine HCL.
Beta alanine and citrulline, at a combined dosage of 4 grams, will open up your blood vessels to deliver a strong pump effect during your workout.
DVST8 Diamond Reserve is an enhanced stimulatory version of the original DVST8 that delivers 200mg of DMHA to complement the 200mg of caffeine.
This combination provides a huge improvement in your mental sharpness and focus, while also delivering a solid energy kick after about 15 minutes.
The formulation includes electrolytes, raw coconut water and B Vitamins to help you get the best out of your training.
All three flavors of DVST8 Diamond Reserve taste great and the powder mixes well with a spoon or in your shaker bottle.
You won’t have to put up with the jittery effect that is common with other stim pre-workouts, but the beta alanine may cause a tingling sensation in your extremities.
You should start with one scoop to allow your body to get used to this powerful product.
The average pre workout will contain 150mg DMHA and 300-350mg caffeine.
However Assassin is a new breed of pre workouts that is made to make you shake with energy.
It not only has 300mg DMHA but also 600mg caffeine (100mg of caffeine is slow digesting).
Sure it is a lot, but this means you can take half a scoop, and still get a load of stimulants as it also has eria jarensis, theacrine, higenmaine, synephrine and yohimbine.
If you can take a full scoop and not feel much of it, then it's time for a stim break (you don't say?).
Use coupon code FITFREK5 for a little discount.
You're getting 40 scoops if you take half servings so it'll be the same price or even better than most pre workouts.
Olympus Labs has once again given the people another legendary formula.
BloodShr3d Black Magic will cause havoc on fat and it does so with a powerful formula.
Each scoop contains DMHA, Eria Jarensis, caffeine and much more compounds that'll make you sweat.
This sequel to the previous BloodShr3d is better with its formula, and it costs roughly the same.
CT Fletcher’s Sidewalk Kraka is a high potency stimulant pre-workout that pushes the envelope in terms of dosages.
Fletcher markets himself as an outrageous, over the top sort of guy, and his product, naturally, carries on that trend.
The stimulants (Caffeine, DMHA and Eria Jarensis Extract) combine to deliver 625mg of concentrated energy.
This will definitely allow you to push through your workout at hyper speed, but it will also deliver a wired, unnatural jittery sensation, and will probably result in a substantial post workout crash.
You should experiment with this before using it at the full dose.
Start with a half dose just two or three times per week and monitor how your body responds for a while before taking it to the full extent.
It uses 2 sources of DMHA, along with 250mg caffeine for maximum energy and focus.
The best part is there's no crash.
The mix of caffeine sources will have both quick and long lasting effects on your focus.
The addition of Synephrine makes this one strong pre workout that isn't the best choice for beginners.
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Double Tap has been designed to increase your metabolic rate, increased body temperature, and decrease your appetite.
You will also get a seriously high surge of energy to power you through your training.
This is a very strong fat burner and stimulant, so you need to work your way up to full potency, which is 3 capsules twice per day.
Start with half that amount and assess how your body reacts.
The Acetyl L-Carnitine in this product has been added to start mobilizing body fat.
There are two forms of caffeine, to provide a total of 300mg, which is relatively high. Teacrine has been added to enhance the effects of creatine.
It amplifies the effect and keep the energy running smoothly through your entire workout.
Octopamine increases body temperature so that you burn more calories throughout the day.
DMHA is dosed at 100 mg here, which is a little lower than we normally see.
However, it will act synergistically with the two caffeine's to provide an enhanced stimulatory effect.
Convict is a super powerful stimulant based pre-workout that provides you with a serious energy jolt to power you through your workouts.
At 225 mg, it contains the most DMHA that we have yet seen in any stim pre-workout product.
On top of this you get 300mg of caffeine anhydrous which is, in itself, a high dosage.
The combination of these two ingredients alone will get you hyper charged, both mentally and physically, for a great session.
An ingredient that you don’t often see in a pre-workout is Noopept, which has recently developed a reputation as a very effective nootropic.
It will get your focused and motivated.
In addition the 6.5 gram combination of citrulline and beta-alanine will open up your blood vessels to allow for a sensational pump effect while you are training.
This is a hardcore product that is designed for the serious, experienced trainer.
We recommend starting with a half dose and working up from there.
Begin taking Convict two to three times per week until your body gets used to it.
You can expect to feel wired and jittery and to experience a post workout crash on this product.
Kraken provides you with one of the highest dosages of DMHA that we have yet seen in a pre-workout stimulant at 200 mg per serve.
This will boost your focus and energy while suppressing the appetite.
Pairing this with 250 mg of Eria Jarensis extract to stimulate the central nervous system makes for a powerful synergistic combination.
The combination of citrulline malate, beta alanine and hydromax to engorge the muscle with water delivers one of the most effective pump results that you will find in any pre-workout product currently on the market.
Krakan will provide you with smooth, clean energy that is jitter free and that does not come with a dramatic post workout crash.
The flavors all taste great and mix easily with nothing more than a glass and a spoon.
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Arsyn is a well formulated, hardcore fat burner that features full disclosure labeling and consists of thermogenics, energizers, mood enhancers and targeted “stubborn fat” ingredients.
Here’s a product with quite a few ingredients that can manage full label transparency, yet we have numerous products with far less on their label that hide behind a prop blend.
Arsyn earns points right off the bat for their label alone.
With Arsyn, you can expect clean energy which gets you through your day while increasing the metabolism, ramping up thermogenesis to burn more calories, increased focus as well as mood elevation and appetite control.
The stim/cognitive complex consists of tyrosine ( a little under-dosed), caffeine (300 mg), DMHA (good dose), noopept ( very well dosed), synephrine (dosed low), higenamine (well dosed), hordenine (well dosed) and huperzine (well dosed)– that’s quite a complex, and it’s almost entirely dosed effectively.
Tyrosine is a little under-dosed but that’s made up for with a high dose of noopept and a high dose of DMHA, in fact it’s one of the highest doses we’ve seen of this potent stimulant.
DMHA is a powerful energizer and increases focus, elevates mood as well as has having excellent fat burning benefits.
This is a stim/focus/mood complex that will get you ramped up and ready to go, no matter how tough of a diet you may be on.
As a pre-workout, this will definitely give you what you need to power through a training session, but we’d suggest stacking it a stim-free, pump and performance pre-workout for best results.
There isn’t much else here as far as ingredients, you do have white willow bark, often used as part of a natural ECA stack, cayenne (capsicum) for additional thermogenesis and grapefruit extract, a diet aid that’s been around seemingly forever.
Arsyn is a decent value with 60 2-capsule servings per container - a 30 day supply.
The name Arsyn is well-chosen and you can expect hardcore results with this impressive formula.
MyoBlox LOCO is a pre-workout that has gone beyond the pre-workouts of the past - this is a high energy, explosive Pre!
LOCO offers a partially disclosed label that features 1 scoop dosing and 2 scoop dosing.
Overall, it looks to be a strong formula that should give you good energy, focus, mood elevation, strength and pumps.
It starts off with a solid dose of betaine (3 grams/6 grams), which we’re glad to see, betaine, also known as TMG, is an exciting, somewhat newer compound that is similar to creatine, and promotes strength as well as power output.
LOCO packs effective dosing of beta-alanine, taurine, and glycerol, although this version of glycerol is not the best when it comes to absorption, but it works.
It’s interesting to note that this and taurine are the only pump ingredients, and it’s a water-based pump – there’s nothing here that stimulates N.O. production.
Things are looking good – then we get to 3 prop blends!
Our stance on prop blends is clear – there’s no reason for them.
However, we have an energy blend, which contains caffeine, DMHA for energy and focus (we have no idea how much), synephrine, which is a milder version of ephedra, eria jarensis for mood elevation, higenamine, another stimulant and an interesting Micro Peptide Technology containing “fibroblast growth factors” (this ingredient supports tissue repair and regeneration).
Next up is a vitamin prop blend, and finally an absorption ingredient that’s a form of black pepper extract.
All in all, this is an interesting formula that’s hurt by the prop blends, especially with no breakdown of the stim/nootropic ingredients.
It should promote energy, and it will definitely promote strength as well as cell volume.
If the prop blend is dosed right, you’ll experience focus and mood elevation as well – but we have no way of knowing.
The value of this product depends on whether you use 1 or 2 scoops.
It’s priced at the high end regardless, but 1 scoop gives you 38 servings, 2 scoops only 19.
Havok Hardcore is without a doubt a hardcore pre-workout that’s meant for serious bodybuilders and athletes.
One look at the formula and you’ll see what we mean.
Havok starts off right by boldly proclaiming right on the label “full-disclosure pre-workout” and they mean exactly what they say – Havok is a hardcore formula that doesn’t hide beyond useless prop blends.
This formula pushes big time pumps with 6 grams of pure citrulline – most products use citrulline malate.
The distinction is two-fold – you get less pure citrulline with the same dosage, but you gain the advantage of malic acid, which is involved in the ATP system of muscular energy.
Which version is better?
It’s really a matter of personal preference and you will see both.
Here, we end up with more pumps, and they get even bigger with agmatine and the cell volumizer taurine.
This combination produces a very well rounded pump complex that hits you with nitric oxide pumps and water-based pumps.
We also like the fact that betaine is included – this compound is similar to creatine and promotes strength as well as increased power output.
Top this part of the formula off with beta-alanine, and you have an excellent pump/performance complex.
Next up is a potent stim/focus complex that includes 250 mg of caffeine but adds another 75 mg of di-caffeine malate to buffer and extend the effects, so we’re looking at about 300 mg total caffeine (75 mg of di-caffeine malate should provide about 50 mg of caffeine).
This formula also includes n-acetyl-l-tyrosine for mood and focus enhancement and this ingredient works very well when it’s complexed with caffeine.
There’s eria jarensis, which is dosed on the low end, for maximum energy and mood elevation, and hordenine, as well as a very good dose of DMHA which is great for energy and mental performance.
All of these are exotic stims – but there’s still yohimbine, which is under-dosed.
However, when you step back and look at the total complex, and the dosing of key stims like DMHA and caffeine, it’s effectively dosed and will promote hardcore energy, focus and mood elevation.
Overall, this is a well put together formula that’s really meant for hardcore users – in other words, if you’re new to using a pre-workout, or haven’t used them for long, this is not the one you should be using next.
If there’s a downside, it’s in the price/value – you’re getting 25 1-scoop servings, but it’s priced at the high end, even with everything this product has, it’s expensive.
Is it worth it?
That’s up to you – one thing’s for sure, if you try it, you’ll be getting one of the most hardcore pre-workout experiences on the market.
Reclaim by Outbreak Nutrition is a thermogenic designed to dramatically enhance the fat burning process by jacking up your core body temperature.
Reclaim gets off to a great start with full disclosure labeling and features a good mix of stims/focus enhancers and thermogenics.
However, dosing is low, sometimes well below clinical levels on many ingredients, and double-dosing is not a good idea because the stim complex is too well-dosed to double up on.
So, what we have, then, is a thermogenic with effective dosing of carnitine, caffeine, rhodiola and a decent dose of DMHA – but everything else is too low.
We therefore have 4 ingredients in Reclaim that will ramp up energy, improve mood and spark thermogenesis – with minimal help from the rest of the formula.
DMHA is in the form of juglans regia, a natural source of DMHA that is similar to the synthetic form with comparable effects -such as energy, alertness, enhanced cognitive function, increased levels of the “feel good” hormones and the fat loss benefit of hunger control.
From 50 to 100 mg is considered an effective dosing range, here its 80 mg, not bad but not as high as you’ll find in many other similar products.
As far as value, its priced a little high even though you get 30 servings, you’re paying for just 4 effective ingredients.
Our take on this is that while it’d be great for energy and focus, there’s other much better choices out there.
Pathogen is a no BS pre-workout that gets right to the point with full disclosure labeling that’s effectively dosed.
There’s only 8 ingredients in this formula but they are 8 well-chosen ingredients.
We start off with the full clinical dosing of citrulline malate that’s complexed with 350 mg potassium nitrate, a newer compound that’s reported to be a potent nitric oxide booster – so right away we have an unusual and reasonably effective pump complex.
Dosing is somewhat speculative on this compound, but based on what we’ve seen, it’s well-dosed in Pathogen.
With only two pump ingredients, this complex may be a little light, but we expect decent nitric oxide pumps form this formula.
Next comes a stim complex that contains a strong 350 mg of caffeine, with TeaCrine and theobromine to help extend and smooth the effects.
Then we have juglans regia, a natural form of DMHA that’s very similar to synthetic DMHA.
This type of DMHA provides clean energy, increased alertness and enhanced cognitive function, including good mood elevation.
This is very well-dosed at 100 mg per serving. From here, we have the popular and effective choline for enhanced cognitive function, and beta alanine for extended endurance –and that’s the entire formula! Like we said, there’s only 8 ingredients.
Overall, this is a very effective pre-workout that will provide extreme energy, intense focus, increased alertness and good mood elevation, along with good pumps as well as extended endurance.
The only possible drawback here is that with just two ingredients, the pump complex may not be as effective as it could be.
Outbreak Nutrition has been making quite a name for themselves, from their apocalyptic packaging to their fully disclosed, effectively dosed products.
This is a simpler formula compared to some of the products we’ve looked at, but it should be one of the most effective.
As far as value, it wins out there as well, with a reasonably priced 28 1-scoop servings.
There’s none of this new trend of an advertised 30 servings but if you want effective dosing you have to use 2 scoops stuff.
One scoop is all you need when it comes to Pathogen.
There’s no doubt about it - overall, Outbreak has another winner with Pathogen!