In the recent week, I have had my focus on the best adjustable dumbbells, and while I’m continuing to work on this post, I felt like it was time to write about some supplements as well. With the introduction of C4 Neuro, this was the perfect opportunity. Here goes.
Cellucor is the company behind numerous supplements, and with the latest 4th generation line, a bunch of C4 variations have been developed. I have posted about several of these here on muscles.zone before. Here is a list of the relevant posts:
Introduction to the new C4 Neuro
Now they are about to add a new C4 variation to the line – the new version has been named C4 Neuro, and the focus here is on…. focus.
C4 actually has a couple of years on the back now. It got extremely popular around the same time when Jack3d was popular. The reason? Well just like any other pre-workout that was on the market back then, it contained DMAA. This stuff works, and people naturally loved it for the extreme energy rush you would get from a scoop. Anyhow, the DMAA “ban” kicked in, and the original C4 with DMAA was discontinued. A new version was released, and although it didn’t contain DMAA, it still did a really good job as a pre-workout supplement.
After some time, Cellucor released the 4th generation and this is where we started to get a lot of C4 variations. Here we are today, with the latest addition, C4 Neuro, which is to be released in November 2015 has just been released.
C4 is a pre-workout. C4 50X is C4 just double up on the dosing. C4 Ripped is a pre-workout with a focus on weight loss and C4 Mass is a pre-workout for the gainers (more on this in a future post). C4 Neuro is a pre workout which is designed specifically as a PWO with a focus enhancing element.
Before we take a closer look at the supplement facts, lets first see what Cellucor has to say about C4 Neuro.
RISE ABOVE MENTAL FATIGUE
When mental fatigue threatens your performance, C4 Neuro provides an edge for workouts that require motivation, mental clarity, peak coordination, quicker response times, and a competitive mindset.
THE SMARTEST WAY TO BOOST MENTAL ENERGY PRE-WORKOUT
C4 Neuro helps you stay focused with a formula that features exclusive nootropic ingredients. These nootropics are clinically studied for their positive effects on mental clarity and cognitive performance.* Combine that with the explosive energy blend, and you’ll feel unstoppable.*
Sounds good. But can the product live up to these claims? Lets take a closer look at the supplement facts, and see if we can get a better idea of the potential of C4 Neuro. Here goes..
C4 Neuro – Supplement Facts
- Serving Size: 1 Scoop (7.25g)
- Servings Per Container: 30
- Calories 5
- Total Carbohydrate 1 g
- Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid) 250 mg
- Niacin (as Niacinamide) 30 mg
- Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) 500 mcg
- Folic Acid 250 mcg
- Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin) 35 mcg
- Beta Alanine 1.6g
- Creatine Nitrate (NO3-T™) 1g
- Arginine AKG 1g
- C4 Neuro™ Blend 665mg
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI
- AlphaSize® A-GPC (Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline)
- Zembrin® (Sceletium tortuosum) aerial parts extract
- Toothed Clubmoss (Huperzia serrata) aerial parts extract (standardized for Huperzine A)
- Explosive Energy Blend 350mg
- Caffeine Anhydrous (150mg)
- TeaCor™ Tetramethyluric acid
The first thing that comes to mind here is that the Explosive Energy Blend of 350 mg is exactly similar to the (same) blend in the standard C4 4th Generation, except from the Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) seed extract, (standardized for L-Dopa) which isn’t used in C4 Neuro at all. The Explosive Energy Blend in C4 is 371 mg but only 350 mg in C4 Neuro – which must be because of the missing Velvet Bean.
Actually the only things thats different from C4 to C4 Neuro is the C4 Neuro Blend (along with the above listed missing substance). From a serving size perspective, you get .75 grams more in C4 Neuro. A serving of C4 is listed at 6.5 grams and C4 Neuro at 7.25 grams.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the substances. Here goes:
Supplement Facts in Details
Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid): 250mg
Vitamin C (As Ascorbic Acid) 250mg ; you probably supplement with vitamin C when you have a cold or are about to get one. Vitamine C is also a strong antioxidant, and it comes with several benefits; Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. The vitamin is essential for producing collagen, a protein needed to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. It is important for healing of wounds, and for the restoration and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. But there is more the vitamin C than this. I am sure you have probably noticed that Vitamin C is a very common substance in pre-workout supplements, but what is the reason for this? The short version is that Vitamin C has NO-Boosting qualities. – You can read more about it here.
Niacin (As Niacinamide): 30mg
Another very common substance in pre-workout supplements. Personally, I am a big fan of Niacin, mostly due to the Niacin Flush”, but lots of people hate this effect. The most commonly listed benefits from supplementing with Vitamin C includes, converting carbs into glucose which is burned to produce energy, help to metabolize fats and protein, give healthy skin, hair and liver and cholesterol lowering. But there is also some suggesting the Niacin has a posetive effect on NO production.
Vitamin B6 is another very common substance in pre workout supplements but what exactly is the reason for this? This site explains it very well. I have listed the key points relevant from a PWO perspective, below:
Much of the body’s chemistry depends upon enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions take place. Because vitamin B6 is involved with more than 100 enzymatic reactions, its function in the body is diverse and far-reaching.
Synthesis of essential moleculesIt is difficult to find a chemical category of molecules in the body that do not depend in some way on vitamin B6 for their production. Many of the building blocks of protein, called amino acids, require adequate supplies of B6 for synthesis. Nucleic acids used in the creation of DNA in our genes also require this vitamin.Because amino acids and nucleic acids are such critical parts of new cell formation, vitamin B6 can be regarded as an essential part of the formation of virtually all new cells in the body.
Heme (the protein center of our red blood cells) and phospholipids (our cell membrane components that allow messaging between cells) also depend on vitamin B6 for their creation. Processing of carbohydrates:The processing of carbohydrate (sugar and starch) in our body depends on availability of vitamin B6. This vitamin is particularly important in facilitating the breakdown of glycogen (a special form of starch) stored in our muscle cells and to a lesser extent in our liver.
Because carbohydrate processing plays such a key role in certain types of athletic events, researchers have looked closely at the role vitamin B6 plays in carbohydrate processing during physical performance.
Folic Acid and Folate are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in food, and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin. Folic acid is often seen as part of vitamin b complexes. But what exactly is the reason for including it in C4 Neuro? Well first of all, folic acid is critical for the production and maintenance of new cells; although this is a nice benefit from supplementing with folic acid, it’s not specifically relevant from a pre workout perspective. There is however, more to folic acid than just the cell production aspect, and that is the role it plays in converting arginine to nitric oxide which helps! This will improve pumps and this is exactly what the PWO clients are looking for.
Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin) has been proven to support post-workout recovery, for one but what are the benefits from a pre workout perspective? Today you almost cant find any pre workout without vitamin B12, and the main reason is that it has been shown to elevate energy and amplify peak performance.
Beta Alanine is one of my personal favorite substances and it has been proven beneficial from a bodybuilding perspective, over and over again. I have posted more details about beta-alanine here and here. The short version is that supplementing with beta alanine will improve endurance, performance and strength, and combat fatigue. The downside is the dosage here, where we only get around half of the typical recommended dose.
Creatine Nitrate (NO3-T™) is one of the newer creatine variations, which has gained a lot of attention recently. Althought we have seen lots and lots of creatine variations during the last ten years, I dare to say that creatine Nitrate and Creatine HCL has gained more attention than any other creatine variation, during the last many years. Creatine nitrate is one of the only variations that has actually shown to be superior to creatine monohydrate, although the studies on this is very limited. The thing is that nitrates on it’s own is a brilliant pre workout substance, so regardless of creatine nitrate being more or less beneficial than monohydrate, you will still get the benefit from nitrates. One thing to question here, is the dosage, of 1 gram. Even if creatine nitrate is superior to creatine monohydrate, we are not even close to the typical recommended dose.
L-Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that, among others, is involved in the production of nitric oxide. L-Arginine has demonstrated its ability to increase the NO (nitric oxide) production in blood vessels in several different studies. L-Arginine AKG should be superior to L-Arginine from a delivery and absorption perspective, giving the user longer and better “pumps”.
C4 Neuro™ Blend 665mg
This stuff is commonly known as ALCAR, and its becoming a fairly standard substance in pre workout supplements. Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCL is basically an amino acid containing acetate and L-Carnitine. Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCL is believed to be superior to L-Carnitine specially in terms of bioavailability as ALCAR is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. ALCAR is a popular substance in modern fat burners, but its aslo getting popular for nootropic reasons, and I believe this is the reason for the inclusion in C4 Neuro. ALCAR is, amongst others, used for the process to synthesize acetylcholine which is a potent chemical that present a vital role in memory formation, learning capacity and overall cognition. In addition to this, ALCAR acts as a potent anti-oxidant. Finally, numerous studies have linked ALCAR supplementation to improved blood flow, which is definitely interesting from a pre workout perspective.
AlphaSize® A-GPC (Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline)
Choline supplements are water-soluble nutrients, and often used in supplements with the intention of enhancing cognition and focus. Choline often forms part of b-vitamin complexes. AlphaSize® A-GPC is a choline supplement, and its considered to one of the best on the market, mainly from a bioavailability perspective.
The benefits from a pre workout perspective includes improved cognition, mood and focus. Although this isn’t directly PWO related, it has also been shown to improve GH levels. Here is what cheminutra has to say about AlphaSize® A-GPC:
Therefore, AlphaSize® A-GPC is a very special nutrient that has been shown to significantly increase acetylcholine (AC) levels in the brain.In fact, AlphaSize® A-GPC is considered to be one of the most effective brain nutrients in the world, and is used widely in clinical settings around the world involving memory loss, cognitive dysfunctions, and dementias of various kinds.
AlphaSize® A-GPC has interesting utility in “mind-to-muscle” sports nutrition formulations, where it acts to optimize muscular power output, sharpen agility, and also delay mental fatigue. This is due to its action involving motor unit activation of muscle fibers and subsequent muscle contraction, as well as due to its mental sharpness benefits.
There is one thread over at Reddit with a guy who has some bad experiences with this stuff, which you might want to check out, before going all in (do keep in mind, the dosage he has been using is different from what you get in C4 Neuro, but we can’t tell for sure how different, due to the use of a prop. blend). Here is the key part from the thred:
I’m studying and trying to boost my attention and memory capacities. I recently bought some Alpha GPC from Peak Nootropics. I started taking it on Saturday, about 250mg/day, until yesterday (I took less yesterday).
After four days of use, I feel really horrible. Instead of being able to concentrate more, it made me really sleepy, yawning a lot, irritable, depressed, anxious and restless.
This morning, I didn’t take any more. Now I can hardly get out of bed. If you’ve ever tried crystal meth, that terrible physical fatigue you get after using it for a while, well this feels similar. I tried it once, and this bone aching tiredness put me off it forever. Obviously with alpha GPC, this is not as pronounced, but it reminds me of that physical and mental exhaustion I felt back then.
I can’t concentrate at all, can’t do more than five minutes of math before I have to crawl back into bed. Struggle to even sit upright and use my laptop.
On Saturday, when I started taking it, I got really nauseous. I took some, then had to go to a conference on a bus. Felt like throwing up on the way there. Once there, yawning non-stop, sore stomach, head ache and very drowsy. Bleak mood. Depressed mood continues until today. I am usually very upbeat and energetic, going to gym every morning, but everything has been irritating me these past few days. And I didn’t have any energy to go to gym yesterday or today.
I’d like to hear about other people’s experience with this substance. I bought a lot of it, and it was quite expensive, so I’m a bit bummed that I might have to throw it away, but I feel really crap, and there’s no way I plan on taking more of it. Instead of helping with studying/energy/concentration, I can’t get anything challenging done at all.
Please share your stories. I hear that some people have positive results. I wonder what they are doing differently.
With that being said, do a search for this substance and you will find lots of stories with people who love this stuff and have had good experiences.
Zembrin® (Sceletium tortuosum) aerial parts extract
Sceletium tortuosum is a plant found in South Africa, which is also known as Kanna. Zembrin is the trademarked name for this stuff. This is often seen in nootropic complexes, as it has been shown to boost cognition and reduce anxiety. There are lots of experiences posted online about this, and most people seem to agree that Sceletium tortuosum induces mild stimulation and mood elevation.
Toothed Clubmoss (Huperzia serrata) aerial parts extract (standardized for Huperzine A)
Huperzine A is often used in nootropics, mainly as a memory-enhancing supplement which is also being investigated as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and age-related memory loss. It is believed to promote better learning, focus and neuroplasticity, and now almost seen as a standard substance in pre workout supplements
Explosive Energy Blend 350mg
The explosive energy blend is, as mentioned above, the exact same as what you will find in the other C4 4th generation supplements (except from C4 50X which contains more of the same stuff – more on that here). But in order to finish this review off, in an orderly fashion, lets just cover the substances used in this matrix, briefly. Here goes:
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, often referred to as just NALT, is the well-known L-Tyrosine with the addition of acetic acid, which supposedly improves the bioavailability. NALT supplementation has been shown to increase the production of noradrenaline and dopamine. The effects you can expect from this stuff includes improved memory formation and energy, focus and concentration while simultaneously reducing stress and anxiety.
Caffeine Anhydrous (150mg)
The good old caffeine and at a decent dosage. We all know what this stuff does, but just in case you have been you have been living under a rock, here is the short version: It will give you a physical and mental energy boost.
This is done in different ways, for one by boosting the effects of serotonin, acetylcholine and dopamine. It also blocks adenosine receptors and increase the release of catecholamines. All in all this allows your body to send more blood to your muscles, release sugar for energy and make your heart beat faster.
TeaCor™ Tetramethyluric acid
TeaCor / Theacrine / Tetramethyluric Acid – a compound very similar to caffeine, but hyped like crazy because it’s supposedly shouldn’t build a tolerance in the same manner that caffeine does. That’s all good, but the effect from it should not be much different from that of caffeine.
Pump, Energy, Focus & Endurance
It should be noted that I have not personally tested C4 Neuro as of yet, so this is solely based on the supplement facts outlined above. I think it’s safe to say that focus it the key aspect of C4 Neuro. There are a lot of very potent and interesting focus / mental energy enhancing substances. In fact, there are more of these, than anything that will give you a normal energy- or pump boost. This is not to say you won’t get any pump from a scoop of C4 Neuro, but I think of this more as a bonus, and not the reason for a purchase. If you are looking for a pump enhancing PWO, there are better choices. But from a mental energy perspective, this is definitely a top notch choice! I think the move towards typical nootropical substances is interesting, as there is no doubt that the mental energy / focus is equally important to a solid workout session, as the energy you get from say a dose of caffeine.
The right mindset can take your workout sessions to new highs, and C4 Neuro will definitely support this aspect!
Now without having tested this stuff, it is, of course, not easy for me to say exactly how much of a boost you get from a scoop of C4 Neuro, but there is a good mix of solid substances. Nitrates from the creatine nitrate will add to the pump and the same is true for the beta alanine. The dosage might be a bit on the low side but considering this isnt the main focus of C4 Neuro, it’s nice to that it does contain something, to give you a bit of pump as well. Caffeine and TeaCor will give you solid energy for the energy, and then it contains a lot of stuff to give you that mental boost.
Overall, I think it is a very good combination of solid substances, although it’s difficult to tell exactly how much of what we get, due to the use of prop. blends.
Nitrates can possibly give a bit of headache, but I think you will need more than one you get from one scoop of C4 Neuro. Beta Alanine might give you a bit of the well-known tingling sensation, which some people hate and others love; however, at 1.6 grams, you probably won’t notice too much of it anyway. Mens Fitness highlights potential dizziness, vomiting and loss of consciousness from prolonged use of Arginine AKG (which I think they got from this study, but I am not sure; that study seems to conclude the side effects are caused by Arginine AKG, although the supplements highlighted in the study contains a bunch of other substances as well).
Price per serving and ratings
As this supplement is completely new, there isn’t a lot of reviews posted yet. Because of this, C4 Neuro still doesn’t have a rating on supplementreviews.com. On bodybuilding.com it currently holds a rating of 9.2 out of 10, which is based on a total of 5 reviews. As the supplement on has been on the market for a couple of days, you still can’t find it for sale on Amazon, unfortunately. But you can get it at bodybuilding.com for a total of $34.99 for a jar with 30 servings, meaning that the price per serving comes out at $1.16 which seems to be a very fair price point.
Verdict of C4 Neuro from Cellucor
I dont like the use of prop. blends. It makes it very difficult to tell how much of what we get. The creatine nitrate seems to be underdosed and the same is true for beta alanine. The caffeine level of 150 mg is my sweet spot and the addition of TeaCor makes it a good combo. The neuro and energy blend clearly comes with a bunch of interesting substances, and there is no doubt that this is solid mix that will get you going. I think its nice to see a combination of energy, focus enhancing and pump amplifying substances all in one PWO. However, the nootropic pre workout supplements is still a new thing on the shelves, and most people are used to normal stim and pump based, so this is not for everyone. Personally, I think if you are looking for a stim bomb, this isnt for you. The same if true if you are looking for some crazy pumps. But if you want a nice combination, where mindset is key, this might be for you.
Personally, I would love to give this a try! If you have tested C4 Neuro from Cellucor, please do share your thoughts on it, below.