Woah, woah, WOAH! Wait a minute! … 300%?! It can’t be… Can it? Right now, we’re going to delve into the research behind the patented ginseng supplement, ActiGin, and figure out exactly what it can do for glycogen resynthesis rates and performance and if it’s made the cut for an EndurElite premium supplement.
The Stress of Exercise
But first, here is a brief overview of exercises negative effects on the body that must be understood before we can understand how ActiGin can help. Yes, that does say negative – it’s not a typo. Exercise is a significant physiological stressor, and you’ve all experienced this at some point by being out of breath, exhausted, sore, or even injured. For brevity, here are the negatives relating to today's topic in a convenient bulleted format:
- Glycogen depletion, requiring replenishment prior to subsequent training sessions
- Muscle damage
- Oxidative stress and free radicals
But we have to train to get better. Thus, steps must be taken to accelerate recovery, so we can get back out there and outwork our competition! ActiGin is awesome and helps reduce the negative aspects of exercise before they even take root.
What is ActiGin?
First and foremost, we want to definitively state that all of the studies discussed herein were conducted as human clinical trials using ActiGin. These were not cell cultures or animal studies that are untranslatable to humans or using unrealistic doses of the supplement.
ActiGin is a pharmaceutical-grade ingredient composed of several standardized bioactives sourced from Panax ginseng and Rosa roxburghii fruit. “Standardized” is a very important term because research on plant-based ingredients is highly subjected to geography, soil quality, harvesting season, and other factors negatively impacting the concentration of bioactive ingredients, which is one reason why supplements can get a bad rap for being “ineffective.” With ActiGin, we know we’re getting the goods!
What Does the Data Say About ActiGin for Glycogen Replenishment?
We know glycogen replenishment is paramount for endurance performance both in an immediate sense, such as during competitions, and in a prolonged sense, such as before the next training session. ActiGin was tested in male cyclists who sacrificed a tiny bit of blood and their precious leg muscle tissue for 3 separate biopsies before and after a 1 hour bout of exercise at 70% VO2Max (1). Blood samples were used to quantify blood glucose levels, and the muscle tissue samples were used to quantify glycogen and glucose transporter (Glut-4) concentrations.
Thigh muscle glycogen concentrations were reduced immediately following exercise in both the ActiGin and placebo treatments, demonstrating that ActiGin does NOT interfere with glycogen utilization during exercise (VERY important). However 3 hours after exercise, glycogen concentrations were increased 370% more with ActiGin than the placebo! This coincided with ActiGin also decreasing blood glucose throughout exercise independent of a change in Glut-4 and enhancing citrate synthase activity (Step 1 of the Krebs cycle – also VERY important!).
What Does the Data Say About ActiGin for Muscle Damage, Oxidation, and Inflammation?
If the benefits for muscle glycogen aren’t good enough, there are some additional benefits to ActiGin for athletes. In the same study, the researchers measured markers of lipid peroxidation (TBARS) and inflammation (IL-6, IL-10, TNF-a). In another study, muscle damage (CK) was evaluated. ActiGin reduced each of these markers of lipid peroxidation, inflammation, and muscle damage!
Here’s something interesting about inflammation. Acute inflammation, such as that experienced with exercise, is a good thing – it promotes the healing process for rebuilding a stronger, more enduring human. Chronic inflammation is no bueno. Those supplementing with ActiGin had an attenuated acute inflammatory response. Yes, you read that right too, it does sound contradictory. But WHY did ActiGin have lower levels of inflammation?
One mechanism through which ActiGin is working is by stabilizing the cell membrane. Some components of ActiGin are incorporated into the membrane and these molecules help the cell adapt to temperature changes, in this case, heat generated from exercise. We know this is occurring in the present scenario because of the reduced TBARS levels within the study.
So in this case, reduced inflammation is a good thing because it suggests that 70% VO2Max was not difficult for the individuals supplementing ActiGin, implying training sessions could be more vigorous and more beneficial for athletes. Moreover, the study examining muscle damage found that ActiGin did not prevent the damage altogether, but it accelerated recovery much quicker over the 4 days following versus placebo.
That’s All Well and Good, But I Want to Perform Elite!
Well then you’re in luck! Remember how ActiGin decreased blood glucose during exercise, sped muscle glycogen replenishment, helped cells maintain their physical integrity in response to heat generated by exercise, and all that good stuff? Each of those factors contributes to improving your performance and besting your competition.
Cyclists performing a time to exhaustion trial at 80% of their VO2Max cycled 20% longer and had a 20% greater work output with ActiGin than they did when they were given the placebo! This is pretty damn significant with the consideration that a performance increase of only 0.6% makes a difference in your placement during races (2). In other words, ActiGin could improve your finishing position by 34%! I don’t know about you, but I’d sell my pinky fingers for 34% better placement in my races!
Find ActiGin in PerformElite
For those that skipped to the end, we don't blame you! Science is tedious work. The answer is YES, the ginseng extracts in ActiGin increased glycogen resynthesis rates by ~370%! You can see why ActiGin was included in PerformElite. Huge increases in muscle glycogen replenishment rate and reduced muscle damage get you back to training faster and have a huge implication in your race-day performance. Try it for yourself!
- Hou, C. W., Lee, S. D., Kao, C. L., Cheng, I. S., Lin, Y. N., Chuang, S. J., ... & Kuo, C. H. (2015). Improved inflammatory balance of human skeletal muscle during exercise after supplementations of the ginseng-based steroid Rg1. PloS one, 10(1), e0116387.
- Paton CD, Hopkins WG. Variation in performance of elite cyclists from race to race. Eur J Sport Sci. 2006;6:25–31