Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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GAKIC results disappointing

According to the manufacturer Iovate, the pre-workout supplement GAKIC is 'the biggest bodybuilding breakthrough ever'. GAKIC 'can't be compared with anything; not with creatine and not with a stimulant', Iovate claims. Sounds good but the study published by sports scientist Andreas Kavazis of Mississippi State University in Archives of Exercise in Health and Disease paints a very different picture. According to this study, GAKIC has virtually no effect at all.

GAKIC is a mixture of two amino acids - arginine and glycine and the leucine metabolite alpha-keto-isocaproic acid [KIC]. Researchers at Iovate filed a patent for the mixture after studies showed that after taking a dose of GAKIC athletes soon tired less easily and were able to perform at a high level for longer during their training sessions. [Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Dec; 32(12): 2102-8.]

Although in their ads the makers of GAKIC focus mainly on bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, and these two groups are above all interested in supplements that can boost their maximal strength, no studies had been done on the effect of GAKIC on maximal strength. So Kavazis made sure a study was carried out.

Kavazis gave 11 male strength athletes, average age 24, a dose of 10.2 g GAKIC on one occasion and a placebo on another occasion. Forty minutes later he measured how many kilograms they could lift once [1RM] when doing bench presses [Upper Body] or leg presses [Lower Body], and the number of reps they could do for both exercises using 60 percent of that maximal weight [TLV].

The figures below show that GAKIC boosted the maximal strength on the leg press by a minimal amount. Looking at a weak cup of coffee would probably have as much effect on your workout as GAKIC does.

GAKIC results disappointing

GAKIC results disappointing

The inventors of GAKIC suspect that GAKIC in other words alpha-keto-isocaproic acid is a source of extra energy for muscles. There are studies in which alpha-keto acids have indeed shown these effects, although only at pretty high doses. Kavazis tested the theory and measured the concentration of lactic acid in the blood of his test subjects after the tests. He found no effect at all. Apparently even ten grams GAKIC is too little.

Arch Exerc Health Dis 3 (3): 200-206, 2012.

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