I have, from time to time, been known to research products and post my summary. I do this basically for my own peace of mind. But it also benefits others as well. Giving a review is one thing, how it works for some - may not work for others. But understanding the mechanism of HOW it works, and what your putting into your body- well, that's priceless!
I was introduced to Green BULGE a few years ago. All I saw on the BB.com forums was recommendations of Green BULGE + White BLOOD. I was very drawn to these products, because of the names (colors, and verbs like BULGE!) I think the giant hype around these products mislead me into expecting something spectacular. My gains were average at best - which was great results considering my diet and training were a trainwreck.
Fast forward to 2007. Controlled Labs puts out a GREAT creatine product called Green MAGnitude. It seemed to be a step-up from BULGE. It had more servings, more creatine and a great taste. People talked less about the BULGE, and it seemed to take a back seat to it's newer cousins.
After using Green MAGnitude for several months with great success, I decided to 'turn back the clock' and re-examine Green BULGE. Having more knowledge and experience with supplements, along with a sound training and diet plan, I would really put it to the test.
Magnesium Creatine Chelate (MCC)
The days of consuming megadoses of creatine monohydrate is over. We have SMARTER creatine that works better and is healthier for you. The first we look at is Magnesium Creatine Chelate. Dosed @ 2000mg, this may seem like a small amount to the average monohydrate user. But more is not neseccarily better. Working via the ligand-gated cation channel, there have been strong reports both anecdotal and raw animal studies that show MCC outperforms regular creatine monohydrate in a big way, as well as combinations of creatine and magnesium. (1) Patented by Albion Labs, MCC has been shown to boost strength after only 2 weeks of use!
But wait, there's more you say? YES THERE IS!
Controlled Labs has thrown in a generous 950mg "HyperBULGE Complex" which consists of a combination of compounds that help shuttle creatine and nutrients to your muscle, along with give you an extra pump and endurance to boot! Since it is a proprietary blend (to avoid rip-off's), we will have to speculate how much is in it based on Order of Appearance. I will also show how, when you look at the function these compounds serve, it is not underdosed at all.
Betaine Anhydrous, a vitamin derived from choline, is shown to cause fat loss by the oxidation of lipids, lowering homocysteine levels, promoting lean mass gains and appetite, and supporting general digestive function (3) In times of stress, endogenous betaine levels may be insufficient to support optimal immune system function. Under these conditions the body becomes susceptible to injury, illness and disease. (4).
So we can see this used to support hydration and immune function. Two things we need when supplementing creatine, and also training hard.
Taurine Ethyl Ester Di-HCL
We've all heard of Taurine. Taurine has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure (4). It is one of the most abundant amino acids found in muscles and the central nervous system, and is thought to regulate muscle contractions, water balance and energy levels. There is also various feedback on Taurine alleviating depression. It is safe and has little to no side effects for most users. Taurine has shown the ability to lower muscle damage from intense exercise, and improve performance. (5).
So again, we see why this was included. Taurine regulates water balance and energy levels - two things creatine works from! These doses are not for optimal benefit on their own, they are there to work with the creatine, to make the creatine work better. And luckily this form of Taurine has an ester attached, which technically should increase absorbtion and make the 'less is more' approach: more effective, and healthier too.
Arginine Ethyl Ester Di-HCL
One of the most popular amino acids used among bodybuilders is Arginine. Arginine is synthesized from citrulline and plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones. It is a precursor of NO, which relaxes and dialates blood vessels. (6)
In the human body, creatine is synthesized mainly in the liver by the use of parts from three different amino acids. Guess what one of them is? Yep, arginine. And this is esterfied, like we discussed- supposedly increases absorbtion and availability. Once again, it's quite obvious why the good fellas at Controlled Labs would include Arginine. It also helps shuttle nutrients, such as CREATINE, into the muscles. So when you feel the "pump" from Green BULGE, it's not the arginine working alone, it's the synergy that the arginine and creatine make together. It's your muscle cells increasing in volume thanks to this complex.
K-RALA & 4-Hydroxyisoleucine
Unfortunately, training as hard as we do creates unhealthy biproducts called free radicals. Controlled Labs takes into account that having a great muscular body is no use when you are unhealthy, and included two very potent anti-oxidants to keep us safe. This is really where a supplement company shines, because they DO have the consumer in mind when they formulated this product.
K-RALA is the stable potassium salt form of R-Lipoic Acid. Researchers believe that R-lipoic acid may be up to 8 times more active than Alpha-Lipoic Acid. Helps control blood sugar, Increases ATP levels, Functions as a powerful antioxidant against numerous types of free radicals.
WAIT A SECOND, Increases ATP levels? I think I know something else that does that too...
4-hydroxyisoleucine can help support healthy glucose levels and healthy sugar metabolism. Your body’s ability to manage blood sugar may well be the single most crucial factor affecting your health and longevity. It is the active ingredient in Fenugreek, which some users claim exhibits an increase in libido also.
I will continue to use Green BULGE, because the formula for success will not change. This is the most synergenic product I have read into, and it's amazing how the amino acids included utilize and assist in the function of creatine. My hat goes off to the great minds at Controlled Labs as the fire for Green BULGE is once again rekindled and revisited. Great job!
(1)Creatine Potential, December 1999
(2)Bodybuilding.com - Creatine Ethyl Ester Information and Product Listing! Creatine Ethyl Ester FAQ!
(3) Schwab U, Torronen A, Toppinen L, Alfthan G, Saarinen M, Aro A, Uusitupa M. Betaine supplementation decreases plasma homocysteine concentrations but does not affect body weight, body composition, or resting energy expenditure in human subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):961-7.
(4)Betaine Anhydrous. Clayton South Bodybuilding.com - Clayton South - Clayton's Health Facts: Betaine Anhydrous.
(5)5 Dawson Jr R, Biasetti M, Messina S, Dominy J. "The cytoprotective role of taurine in exercise-induced muscle injury." Amino Acids 2002;22(4):309-24
(6)1. Enzymes of arginine metabolism J Nutr. 2004 Oct; 134(10 Suppl): 2743S-2747S; PMID 15465778