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

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Pure ATP supplement for more muscle power

Creatine works because it makes more ATP available to the muscle cells. But of course, you could just give athletes pure ATP, thought researchers at the Cooper Institute in Dallas. In a study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, they showed that this strategy works, though they are not sure how.

For their study, in which 30 male test subjects took part, the researchers used a product from TSI Health Sciences the sponsor of the study. The product is called Peak ATP [] and it consists of microscopic spheres containing ATP. The spheres only open in the small intestine, and not in the acid conditions of the stomach. When the ATP is released it is absorbed into the gut cells.

Pure ATP is also an ingredient of complex sports supplements like Gaspari Nutrition's SizeOn, BSN's NO Explode NT and Berry de Mey Nutrition's Beta-Alanine ProElite. These are not the same as the simple product that the Cooper Institute used for its study, although the amount of ATP that users get from the complex supplements corresponds with the doses used in the study.

The researchers gave some of their subjects a placebo, another group were given 150 mg ATP per day [low dose] and a third group were given 225 mg ATP [high dose]. They tested the subjects' condition and muscle power 75 minutes after the first intake [acute]. The tests consisted of a bench press protocol in which the men started with 1 rep at maximal weight followed by as many reps as they could do with 70 percent of their maximal weight.

After 14 days of taking the supplements the researchers repeated the tests [post].

The only statistically significant effects were recorded in the bench press tests. In the high-dose group, the amount with which the men could just manage 1 rep increased by an average of 8 kg. The number of reps rose in the first set too.

Pure ATP supplement for more muscle power

Pure ATP supplement for more muscle power

The table above shows how many kg extra the men could shift with bench presses during the acute and the post measurements. As you can see, there are a couple of best-responders that have a strong influence on the group result. The researchers suspect that diet determines the amount of ATP the body absorbs. It's possible that the best responders had foods in their stomach that helped the ATP uptake.

The researchers are not sure how the supplement works. Because the post effects were not better than the acute effects, they wonder whether the ATP actually makes it to the muscles. If it doesn't, how on earth does ATP [chemical structure below] work? We want to share with you the mechanism they suggest.

"Participants in the high-dose group reported to feel better during treatment", they write. "This improvement in sensation is physiologically plausible as ATP acts as a neurotransmitter in both the central and peripheral nervous system and can also modulate the release of other neurotransmitters." [...]

Pure ATP supplement for more muscle power

"This may be particularly true if the ATP ingested during our study was degraded, leaving only the parent molecule, adenosine as further evidence on pain strongly suggests that the effects of ATP on pain are dependent on ATP being broken down to adenosine. These antinociceptive effects are mediated through activation of A1 and A2 receptors in the substantia gelatinosa of the spinal dorsal horn. Similar mechanisms of action have also been reported with the adenosine blockers theophylline and caffeine, which attenuate the analgesic effects of morphine."

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Jun;36(6):983-90.

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