May 01, 2020 9 min read 1 Comment
We get it, you've actually taken a look at the back of a supplements label for once and thought ... What in the bloody dickens are these ingredients? At the moment its feeling like a new "innovative patent-pending" ingredient breaking the market every other week, and it sure is making for confusing label reading. But never fear mate, by the end of this article you'll be a library of knowledge on ActiGin®, so that'll be one less confusing ingredient!
To answer "What is ActiGin®?", lets start off with the NuLiv Science line for ActiGin®:
To be more accurate to how we're answering this question, the rephrase "What has ActiGin® been clinically shown to do?" is more accurate. As with all supplementation, the exact effects will vary from person to person and under different conditions. It is always key to keep this in mind when ever you are evaluating the benefits of a supplement, and how you might recommend it to others.
Now before we dive head first into the technical discussion, this ActiGin® promotional video should help paint the general picture of where this is going.
Now to approach the actions methodically, we'll break discussion into three sections according to the NuLiv Science claims that ActiGin® assists to "REenergize", "REcover", and "REgenerate".
Release Energy > Spark Momentum
ActiGin® increases the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is responsible for producing more ATP (energy our body uses).
No surprises, this is the big claim that ActiGin® is marketed and well known for. Everyone wants more energy, and the smallest 1% could mean the difference between a gold medal and nothing for some.
In one clinical trial utilising just a 5mg Rg1 extract orally taken an hour before 60mins of 70% VO2 Max cycling, resulted in a 12% increase in endurance performance. Another clinical trial utilising multiple doses of Rg1 prior to the exercise found a 20% increase in endurance performance.
Great stats, but here is where it gets interesting. For a reason unknown to my research, NuLiv Science seem to be attributing increased POST-EXERCISE citrate synthase activity to providing more energy. They aren't really wrong there, the increase in citrate synthase activity is notable (see figure below). This will even have increased energy implications. But this is more of a recovery benefit than a performance one. However NuLiv has seen it fit to use headlines such as:
"ACTIGIN® INCREASES ENERGY LEVEL IN 60 MIN CYCLING (70% VO2 MAX) BY 47%"
To be frank that's just plain wrong. An accurate (yet less marketing flashy) line would be:
ActiGin® has been shown to increase citrate synthase activity by 47% 3 hours after 60min cycling at 70% VO2 max.
And then they could explain how this is in fact quite valuable, because citrate synthase is a pace making enzyme at the start of the citric acid cycle which produces ATP. This may result in more ATP produced, but citrate synthase is not a direct measure of energy output and there could also be other factors that throttle the increased benefits provided. This really is a classic case of the marketing team bastardising the actual demonstrated result.
Conclusion: Yes we do have evidence that ActiGin® increases endurance performance, but there isn't really evidence to say that it is because it provides more at the time energy via ATP pathways. What we do know, is that the citrate synthase enzyme activity of the citric acid ATP pathway is up-regulated post exercise - and as a pace setting component it is possiblethat this is beneficial to total energy. In reality, more research definitely seems to be required.
Rapid Recovery > Competitive Advantage
ActiGin® supports the reduction of a wide range of exercise-induced inflammation markers such as IL-6, MDA, and more glycogen leading to faster recovery and less soreness.
For recovery effects, there seem to be a number of mechanisms of focus. Some recovery benefits are being attributed to increased glycogen shuttling into the muscles being exercised. Restocking depleted fuel reserves.
"a significantly accelerated rate of glycogen accumulation in exercised skeletal muscle was observed after Rg1 administration"
One notable feature is how Rg1 supplementation has a notable effect on markers of myogenisis, which is the formation of new musclular tissue. Myf5 mRNA expression is commonly regarded as a valuable marker of myogenesis. In one clinical trial Myf5 mRNA expression by 81% immediately following a 60 min cycling exercise. Worth noting, this does not mean 81% more "gains", but it is a notable increase on a factor that should support more "gains". Like with the citrate synthase discussion, this is not a measurement of final outcome.
New Muscle Cells > For Longevity
ActiGin® has shown in a human clinical study that it can actually promote the removal of old cells and replenish with new healthy muscle cells.
ActiGin® is has been designed to provide increased macrophage function during exercise. Take these snippets from their patent application:
"Accordingly, the present invention provides an anti-aging method aiming to eliminate senescent cells in skeletal muscle using exercise after consumption of an herbal composition that potentially stimulates phagocytic function of macrophage for in situ senescent cell clearance."
This activity was demonstrated in thisdouble blind, cross over study with 12 young athletic males (NuLiv funded), where they received a relevant dosage (5mg) of Rg1, or placebo was received one hour prior to exercise. After one hour of 70% VO2 Max Cycling exercise, more than 60% of pre-existing markers of deteriorating cells had been cleaned out in Rg1 users. Negligible difference was observed for Placebo.
For readability, this chat regarding the clinical tests and outcomes have been (obviously) summarised to what I identified as key details. As with any clinical trial there are a number of nuances and specific variations in each one, so best to give the papers a read for yourself to accurately understand the full picture! (See them in the references below).
Overall, the more you look into this product the better it seems the Rg1 component functions for recovery and cell health maintenance. And while energy performance benefits seem evident, NuLiv really needs to be more careful in how they communicate it in order to stay truthful. As with all standardised compounds, it's also excellent to know a herb has been controlled for quality, not just by adulterants but also for the seasonal and conditional variations that cause differing ratios of bio-actives.
While it is frustrating that NuLiv do not disclose the exact concentrations or ratio of Ginsenoside Rg1 and Rosa roxburghii, it is comforting to know that by the patent application, their minimum potential dosages are relevant and beneficial. The only caveat I have there, is that clinical trials do tend to have a knack for proving what they are looking to prove, and not reporting the failures. So when there is financial incentives in the mix, it always pays to consider outcomes in a balanced manner. One study I would particularly like to see is how ActiGin® specifically performs compared to a standard Notoginseng or Panax ginseng extract alone. This would prove the value of their innovation above what was already available on the market. This feels particularly required because all of their referenced supporting research is actually based on Rg1 supplementation alone, not in pairing with Rosa roxburghii as is the case with ActiGin®.
Conclusion: ActiGin® appears to be a beneficial ingredient on paper and in clinical settings for the use cases of Recovery and Cell Regeneration. It has shown "at-the-time" performance benefits, though the mechanism by which this occurs is to be determined. Time is yet to prove its value in real day-to-day use cases, how much of a role the Rosa roxburghii is playing, and if ActiGin® holds value above a standardised ginseng extract alone. But at the end of the day, Rg1 has certainly proven to be an awesome compound, so even by this component alone - ActiGin is likely a very beneficial ingredient in a supplement stack.
Based on the scientific literature, as well NuLiv science's own documentation, here is how we would recommend supplementing with ActiGin® to achieve the intended functions:
At The Cave Nutrition Store New Zealand, we only stock one product that includes ActiGin® itself. That is CreaMAX by Strom Sports Nutrition. This is a Creatine Monohydrate product true to Strom in covering the basics of what we know is good, then including a touch of modern innovation to provide that beneficial edge as compared to competitor products.
Each serve of CreaMAX includes:
You can check it out in store here:
Otherwise, if you're just interested in the more Ginsenoside 'Rg1" related effects, be sure to check out these Panax ginseng including products:
BRAIN GAINS: Nootropic Brain Fuel
Contains Panax Ginseng Extract (400mg) and Ginsenosides (16mg).
Contains AstraGin, a Ginseng and Astralagus based absorption enhancing compound.
Any questions at all, just shoot me an email over at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll gladly help out in anyway I can.
- Your Dweller of Caves,
Aotearoa Caretaker for The Cave Nutrition Store