If there's one ingredient in the supplement industry that is growing rapidly in popularity, it's epicatechin.
Simply put, epicatechin can inhibit the enzyme that prevents muscles from getting too big.
Whether you're a natural or a geared up bodybuilder / athlete, you'll like epicatechin.
Research shows that Epicatechin can inhibit Myostatin, which is responsible for how much muscle you can gain.
Using it allows your muscles to grow more than normal, allowing for more muscle growth, strength, and blood flow.
However not all epicatechin supplements are created equal.
Since it's hard to trust any supplement company, we've listed the best supplements with epicatechin here.
And we've also broken down what Epicatechin is...
What is epicatechin?
Epicatechin is a natural flavanol compound, that can be found from things like green tea, and dark chocolate.
Not all food sources have equal sources of this plant based phytochemical.
Dark chocolate has the most, with 1-3mg per gram but this can vary on the brand.
Although there are multiple flavanols in cocoa extract, epicatechin is the only one that has the most benefits for performance.
Technically, epicatechin is known as (-)- epicatechin, or minus epicatechin.
Some other foods can also have epicatechin, but generally there won't be enough to see benefits.
Per 100g of these foods there's this much epicatechin:
But by far, chocolate sources have the most epicatechin:
Epicatechin has massive benefits as research has shown it it's ability to:
Alright let's get straight to the science..
Epicatechin is known to increase muscle size and strength.
But how does it work?
The reason why this compound is popular for athletes is because of it's ability to inhibit Myostatin, and by doing this it can increase follistatin.
Follistatin has positive benefits for muscle size when it's increased.
There's also research showing that epicatechin can increase nitric oxide levels in humans.
More blood flow, means more nutrients get transported to muscles, and more pumps and muscle fullness.
It also has benefits for strength, as one study showed that consuming epicatechin increased hand strength by 7% after just 7 days.
This one of the most popular benefits of Epicatechin as it can increase follistatin.
Follistatin is an antagonist of myostatin as it can bind to it, allowing the effects of myostatin to be inhibited.
Since myostatin can limit muscle growth, follistatin can reduce the negative effects of myostatin.
Because it's responsible for regulating levels of myostatin, follistatin can directly prevent myostatin from controlling and reducing muscle growth.
By increasing follistatin, you can build more muscle and allowing you to gain at a much faster rate.
Using the study of the "Effects of (-) epicatechin on Molecular Modulators of Skeletal Muscle Growth and Differentiation", they found within just 7 days at 1mg per kilo per day, had 49.2% increase in follistatin levels, with 16.6% decrease in myostatin levels.
They also found the subjects had a 7% increase in hand strength. However, they didn't have a placebo group to compare the results to.
Another study used 17 healthy subjects that had dosages that ranged from 50 to 200mg.
On day 5, the average follistatin levels were 2.5 times higher than the first day of the study, and also that subjects reported zero side effects.
This proves that epicatechin can increase muscle building and is one of the most effective natural anabolics we've seen so far.
And since epicatechin is a natural flavanol, it also has a multitude of benefits, which you'll find below...
For pumps, epicatechin can have great benefits.
One study conducted by a group of scientists at the University of California found a wide range of cardiovascular benefits from epicatechin.
They found higher levels of epicatechin usually went hand in hand with enhances blood flow.
They also found subjects who had flavanol rich cocoa had elevated levels of nitric oxide in the blood, compared to those who had low flavanol cocoa beverage.
Another study assessed the relationship between cerebral blood flow and a single 450mg dose of flavanols from flavanol rich cocoa.
They found flavanol rich cocoa increased cerebral blood flow, which suggested the potential of cocoa flavanols for treatment in diseases like vascular impairment, such as dementia, strokes and more.
This research, although it was only a pilot study, it proved that there are a wide range of benefits from epicatechin in cardiovascular and brain health.
Epicatechin is popularly known for it's muscle building benefits, but what most may not know is that it can increase muscular endurance.
This study found that Epicatechin benefiting endurance by increasing resistance to fatigue.
The researchers stated that combining epicatechin with exercise increased oxidative phosphorylation complex proteins, mitofilin, porin and capillarity, than epicatechin alone.
And also another study have also had similar findings as they found data that suggested that epicatechin to be suitable to help maintain mitochondrial capacity as well as exercise induced improved capillarity, even when exercise is discontinued.
This means you'll be able to grind out more volume and maintain gains even when you're taking time off from training.
For bodybuilders, insulin is one of the most important anabolic hormones in your body, and it can also regulate thermogenesis.
Insulin functions as transportation for glucose from our blood to our muscles.
When insulin is delivered to our muscle cells, it can increase protein synthesis, allowing for muscle growth.
And there's also the possibility of having too much insulin.
Too high of insulin can negatively impact muscle building as it will reduce the glucose transported from the bloodstream to the muscles.
This can occur from having too much carbohydrates, which can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes as well as other cardiovascular related health diseases.
Epicatechin can has been theorized to help with insulin levels as one study performed by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating 100 grams of dark chocolate decreased blood pressure and enhanced insulin sensitivity in healthy individuals.
While epicatechin wasn't directly used for this study, it is likely that it can be possible that it can have similar benefits.
Another study found that consuming 88mg epicatechin from 100 grams of dark chocolate in just two weeks had lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, improved insulin sensitivity and more.
If you just want epicatechin for it's health benefits, then anywhere from 30-50mg of dark chocolate is generally a decent amount.
But the dark chocolate should not be processed with alkali and should have minimum 85% cocoa.
You're probably interested in epicatechin in it's anabolic effects.
For it's anabolic properties, you'll want to take anywhere from 200mg-250mg daily is an widely accepted dose.
Getting this much from food would be difficult so I would recommend supplementation.
A supplement like Epitech can help you as it has 250mg per 2 capsules.
And we recommend Huge Supplements, as you'll see they have plenty of anabolic but natural supplements to help maximize muscle growth.
As you've seen from the research above, it generally takes around 7 days to see benefits, but benefits can continue with prolonged use.
Since there are no known side effects, it's safe to use it for 8 weeks.
Anecdotally, users have been taking this compound for months without side effects.
But since there hasn't been long term studies, it's hard to say if it's safe for long term usage.
In our opinion and experience, it's best when used for at least 8 weeks.
Because epicatechin has such a strong muscle building profile, it's amazing when it's combined with laxogenin.
Laxogenin works by increasing muscle protein synthesis, inhibit cortisol levels and reduce bodyfat.
Combined with epicatechin it can result in some really nice gains.
There's already a pre made stack called Insanity Stack by Huge Nutrition which we recommend as it's the strongest epicatechin stack by far.
Not all supplements are created equally.
Some have higher quality formulas, while others are questionable with proprietary blends and undisclosed dosages.
Both men and women can take advantage of epicatechin, as it won't interfere with hormone levels.
Epicatechin has multiple benefits, from increased nitric oxide levels to more gains.
Huge Nutrition is known for making the strongest natural anabolics.
They have lived up to their anabolic line up with Epitech, which is their epicatechin supplement.
Epitech is the best option for epicatechin right now.
Because it contains Astragin and Bioperine, you'll be maximizing the absorption of epicatechin in here.
Each capsule has 125mg of Epicatechin, meaning you have a full months supply here as there's 60 capsules here.
You'll be getting the maximum 250mg dose here.
Epicatechin is by far the best natural anabolic we've seen so far.
Since it doesn't effect or change hormone levels, there are no side effects or even toxicity on the organs.
And there isn't a need to cycle it either.
Although it's not a magic pill, taking it for at least 4-8 weeks will have you noticing more improvements in your physique and strength.
Aim to take at least 200mg on a regular basis on a empty stomach, before training or in the morning.