RAW Nutrition CBUM Essential Charged High Stim Pre-Workout

From Raw Nutritionโ€™s very beginning, the company has been about as pedigreed as supplement companies get. It was founded by renowned bodybuilding coach Matt Jansen and the erudite Dominic Iavacone. Dr. Iavacone, as regular readers of The PricePlow blog surely know, is a certified medical doctor who also co-founded Revive MD, one of the most โ€” if not the most โ€” sophisticated health and wellness brands in the industry right now.

As if that werenโ€™t impressive enough, in 2021, world-class competitive bodybuilder Christopher โ€œCBUMโ€ Bumstead became a co-owner. Almost immediately, Raw launched a product line designed by CBUM himself, and the results have been nothing short of legendary.

Whether youโ€™re talking about the CBUM Mass Gainer, the industry standard CBUM Thavage Pre-Workout, or BUM Energy Drink, every single CBUM release from Raw has hit it out of the park with both casual consumers and supplement aficionados.

Today weโ€™re talking about BUM Essential Charged, a nifty little stimmed-up pre-workout from Raw under the CBUM line.

This formula offers a sizable โ€” but not extreme โ€” dose of caffeine, which clocks in at 350 milligrams. But thatโ€™s pretty standard these days. Whatโ€™s really interesting about BUM Essential Charged is the way it blends caffeine with Dynamine methylliberine and theobromine for a sustained, synergistic stimulant experience.

Raw isnโ€™t the first to do this, but itโ€™s a growing industry trend thatโ€™s gotten amazing feedback from consumers thus far, so weโ€™re super stoked to see CBUM and the Raw team go this route.

In a single 1-scoop (16 gram) serving of BUM Essential Charged from RAW Nutrition, you get the following:

RAW Nutrition CBUM Essential Charged Ingredients

  • L-Citrulline โ€“ 6,000 mg

    Citrulline is a conditionally essential amino acid and chemical precursor to the gaseous molecule nitric oxide (NO).[1]

    By conditionally essential, we mean itโ€™s somewhere between the status of an essential nutrient and a non-essential one โ€“ your body does synthesize citrulline, but only to a limited extent. In order to optimize your bodyโ€™s production of NO, citrulline supplementation is usually necessary, especially if youโ€™re under some kind of stress, such as intense physical training, injury, or illness.

    Your body converts citrulline into NO through the following process:

    Citrulline โ†’ Arginine โ†’ NO**

    If youโ€™re looking at this and wondering why not take arginine instead, thatโ€™s a very good question. After all, itโ€™s generally better to take the most direct precursor to whatever molecule youโ€™re trying to target with supplementation. However, in this case, oral citrulline supplements do a better job at raising serum arginine than arginine supplements, thanks to citrullineโ€™s far superior oral bioavailability.[2,3]

    Why do we want more NO?

    Generally speaking, the more NO we have in circulation during a workout, the better, because NO triggers a process called vasodilation where your arteries expand in diameter. Bigger arteries means blood flows more easily, leading to significant reductions in heart rate and blood pressure.[4-6]

    Because vasodilation can increase fluid retention in muscle tissue, itโ€™s the primary mechanism behind the famous pump that bodybuilders and weightlifters are always chasing. Importantly, cardiovascular microvessels all over the body, not just in the muscles, dilate in response to NO upregulation,[7] which can lead to increased perfusion, especially in peripheral tissues.

    Citrulline Power OutputCitrulline Power Output

    Citrulline didnโ€™t make a huge difference to the subjectsโ€™ oxygen uptake, but it did significantly increase their power output. This suggests that citrulline is helping the body use oxygen more efficiently.

    All the NO-related effects weโ€™ve discussed add up to one important and highly desirable outcome: better performance and recovery as oxygen and nutrients get delivered to cells, and metabolic wastes removed with greater efficiency.

    Citrulline research shows that this amino acid can:

    • Increase power by improving oxygen utilization[8]
    • Increase athletic endurance by as much as 50%[9]
    • Decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)[9]
    • Amplify the bodyโ€™s production of growth hormone in response to exercise[10]
    • Prevent the catabolism (breakdown) of muscles and protein[11]
    • Increase muscle growth after workouts[12,13]

    Citrulline, stress, and sleep

    Taking extra citrulline can also upregulate the bodyโ€™s synthesis of ornithine, an amino acid responsible for detoxifying ammonia.[14,15] Since the accumulation of ammonia can cause both mental and physical fatigue, getting rid of ammonia faster by boosting ornithine is just another one of citrullineโ€™s endurance-boosting mechanisms.

    Ornithine can also improve sleep quality and decrease stress, thanks to its impact on the bodyโ€™s ratio of cortisol to DHEA.[15]

  • Beta-Alanine โ€“ 3,200 mg

    Beta-alanine is an amino acid and ergogenic aid, a category that includes any substance or technique that increases the amount of physical work your body can handle.

    Beta Alanine Total Work DoneBeta Alanine Total Work Done

    Beta alanine leads to more work done, which can lead to gains if you take advantage of them!

    Along with fellow amino histidine, beta-alanine is a chemical precursor to a dipeptide molecule called carnosine, which is responsible for detoxifying lactic acid (lactate) from muscles.[16] The less carnosine your muscles have, the longer it takes them to get rid of lactic acid; and the quicker lactic acid accumulates, the faster mental and physical fatigue set in.

    Through beta-alanine supplementation, we can accelerate the bodyโ€™s elimination of lactic acid, which in turn delays fatigue onset.

    Because most people get plenty of histidine from their diet, beta-alanine is usually the limiting factor in the bodyโ€™s ability to produce carnosine.[16] And, moreover, beta-alanineโ€™s oral bioavailability is much greater than carnosineโ€™s, making it a better choice for supplementation.[17]

    Three big meta-analyses concluded that a daily 3,200 mg dose of beta-alanine, can substantially boost athletic endurance by reducing fatigue.[18-20] Interestingly, thereโ€™s a specific intensity range that researchers determined beta-alanine appears to be most effective: any exercise performed continuously for 30 seconds to 10 minutes.[18,19]

    Synergy with creatine

    Creatine is not an ingredient in RAW Nutritionโ€™s BUM Essential Charged, but we know that most PricePlow readers use it on a daily basis. So itโ€™s worth pointing out that beta-alanine has synergistic effects with creatine.[21]

  • L-Tyrosine โ€“ 2,000 mg

    The amino acid tyrosine is one of the building blocks your body uses to make catecholamines โ€” a grouping of neurotransmitters and hormones that includes dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline). Together, the catecholamines control a number of crucial physiological processes, from heart rate to blood pressure, metabolic rate, and stress response.

    In regards to a pre-workout, whatโ€™s most interesting about catecholamines is the role they play as neurotransmitters. Catecholamines have profound effects on neural activity, mood, and behavior, including focus, motivation, and cognition.[22-24] Dopamine, especially, is crucial for all of the above.

    Tyrosine DerivativesTyrosine Derivatives

    Itโ€™s easy to see why we like tyrosine so much โ€“ its derivatives bring the intensity and focus! Image courtesy Wikimedia

    Adrenaline and noradrenaline can help support healthy body composition, thanks to their status as appetite suppressants and pro-lipolytic substances.[25,26]

    Thyroid function

    While tyrosineโ€™s ability to upregulate catecholamine synthesis is obviously important, when it comes to performing well and building lean mass in the gym, perhaps even more important, is the impact tyrosine has on thyroid function. As it turns out, tyrosine is also a precursor to the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).[27,28]

    You need both T4 and T3 for optimal metabolic function, because your thyroid is sort of like your bodyโ€™s metabolic thermostat โ€“ quite simply, the more active your thyroid, the more calories you burn in a day, which is why hyperthyroidism โ€” the over-production of thyroid hormones โ€” is linked to being underweight,[26] just like hypothyroidism is linked to unwanted fat gain.[29]

    If youโ€™re trying to lose fat and build muscle, it behooves you to know that thyroid function can slow down significantly during periods of intense exercise and caloric restriction.[27,28,30] If youโ€™re reading The PricePlow Blog and shopping around for pre-workouts, chances are youโ€™re engaged in at least one of these activities at any given time.

    Restores cognitive baseline during insufficient sleep

    Where tyrosine really shines is in mitigating the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on cognitive performance. Research carried out by the U.S. military found that tyrosine is better at this than caffeine, which is saying quite a lot![31,32]

  • Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline 50% (Alpha-GPC) โ€“ 400 mg

    Alpha GPC Caffeine Jump PowerAlpha GPC Caffeine Jump Power

    Caffeine and Alpha GPC are great for brain boosting, but theyโ€™re also awesome for enhancing performance.

    Alpha-GPC is a form of choline thatโ€™s both exceptionally bioavailable and able to transit the blood-brain barrier.[33] Because of its ability to affect the brain, alpha-GPC is often used when formulators wish to emphasize the nootropic effects of choline.

    One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study from 2018 found that regular alpha-GPC supplementation increased motivation scores on a cognitive inventory called the KORKORO scale.[34] Intriguingly, this effect seemed to be greater at night.

    When it comes to human data, alpha-GPC is one of the most-studied forms of choline. Clinical studies have shown that alpha-GPC can considerably improve behavior and psychometric status in patients with Alzheimerโ€™s[35,36] and vascular dementia,[37,38] a kind of dementia caused by diminished cerebral blood flow.

    And although this particular effect hasnโ€™t been studied in humans yet, some interesting animal research has indicated that alpha-GPC can help repair the blood-brain barrier, thus increasing the bodyโ€™s ability to keep neurotoxins out of the neural tissue.[39]

    One study in rats found that when the animalsโ€™ cerebral circulation was impaired, alpha-GPC restored normal blood flow in cerebral microvessels and protected the neurons from ischemia-related oxidative and inflammatory stress.[40]

  • Caffeine Anhydrous โ€“ 350mg

    High Dose Caffeine PerformanceHigh Dose Caffeine Performance

    Known since 1991, very high dose caffeine can seriously boost performance. As you can see, itโ€™s quite variable amongst users โ€“ future research would show that caffeineโ€™s effects depend on your genotype.

    Caffeine is a methylxanthine stimulant. Since the blood-brain barrier is permeable to caffeine,[41] caffeine has a profound ability to modulate the workings of the brain and central nervous system (CNS).

    Because of its effect on the brain, caffeine is fantastic for improving mood, sharpening focus, and helping increase alertness. Although we often speak of caffeineโ€™s ability to give us energy โ€” in the sense of waking us up โ€” itโ€™s more technically accurate to understand this as an anti-fatigue effect. The mechanism of action is caffeineโ€™s antagonism of adenosine.

    Recall that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency for every single cell in your body. In order to use that ATP-bound energy, cells need to break down ATP through hydrolysis, a process that creates free adenosine as a byproduct.

    Your cells need energy to survive, so ATP hydrolysis is constantly taking place, but to a far greater extent during periods of high neuronal activity. Thus, adenosine builds up while youโ€™re awake (a period of high neuronal activity), and dissipates while youโ€™re asleep (a period of low neuronal activity).[42] Adenosine makes you tired, so this cyclical fluctuation of adenosine is one of the primary mechanisms governing the circadian rhythm.

    By blocking the adenosine receptor, caffeine decreases the fatigue induced by adenosine accumulation.[43,44]

    Ergogenic aid

    Speaking of cellular metabolism, caffeine does increase energy in a very literal sense โ€“ by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, which degrades a messenger molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).[43-46]

    Caffeine Sports Performance: 3mg/kgCaffeine Sports Performance: 3mg/kg

    Even a moderate dose of caffeine (3mg/kg, which is about 240mg caffeine for a 175lb person or 200mg caffeine for someone just under 150lbs) can lead to improvements in performance, reaction time, and fewer errors in sports like tennis.

    cAMP binds to and activates protein kinase A (PKA),[47] thereby influencing pathways involved in the breakdown (catabolism) and synthesis (anabolism) of molecules such as glucose and fatty acids. For example, cAMP signaling can activate enzymes involved in glycogenolysis[48] (breakdown of glycogen into glucose) and lipolysis (breakdown of fats into fatty acids and glycerol),[49] thereby increasing cellular access to energy substrates.

    Additionally, cAMP signaling can also affect mitochondrial function and biogenesis,[50,51] which are crucial for cellular energy production through oxidative phosphorylation.

    So, you can think of cAMP as a need-energy-now hormone โ€“ upregulating cAMP increases the rate at which organisms burn calories.[52]

    Increased cAMP levels also trigger the release of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline), which boosts coronary and skeletal blood flow, and has a powerful endurance-boosting effect by improving lactic acid (lactate) detoxification.[53]

    Bottom line โ€“ caffeine is an ergogenic aid capable of improving multiple dimensions of athletic performance, including strength, speed, power, and endurance.[43,45,54]

    Increases fat burning

    Caffeineโ€™s upregulation of cAMP/PKA signaling is particularly good for increasing the rate of lipolysis (fat burning).[54] One study found that caffeine administration can cause your body to burn fat 50% faster,[55] which is a pretty huge effect size. A 2020 meta-analysis on caffeine, looking at 19 different studies, found that caffeine increases lipolysis with doses as small as 3 mg/kg body weight.[56] Of course, youโ€™ll need to pair caffeine with aerobic exercise for the best fat-burning results.

    Cognitive effects

    Caffeine can also improve attentiveness, alertness, and working memory, while speeding up reaction times.[57-59]

  • Pink Himalayan Salt โ€“ 200mg

    Pink Himalayan salt is a valuable addition to pre-workout formulas primarily because it replenishes sodium and other electrolytes lost through sweat during exercise.[60,61]

    Regarding concerns over high-sodium diets, itโ€™s important to remember that sodium is essential for efficient muscle contractions and overall athletic performance. Himalayan pink salt not only provides a significant amount of sodium, but also includes trace amounts of other minerals and electrolytes.

    A 200 milligram dose of this salt delivers about 75 milligrams of sodium, helping with electrolyte balance and hydration without excessively increasing total sodium intake, although monitoring overall consumption is advised. This balance is crucial for optimizing training and recovery.

  • Dynamine (156mg)

    Dynamine is a trademarked form of methylliberine, a stimulant alkaloid that occurs naturally in Camellia sinensis (true tea) leaves.[62,63] Just like its close chemical relative caffeine, methylliberine can upregulate dopamine and noradrenaline while decreasing fatigue through adenosine antagonism.[62-65]

    Dynamine LogoDynamine Logo

    Despite being a stimulant, methylliberine does not cause vasoconstriction.[62]

    Dynamine is a great ingredient for giving a little extra energy boost, without the downsides that usually accompany stimulant supplements.

  • Theobromine (100mg)

    Theobromine is also a methylxanthine alkaloid stimulant. Itโ€™s a metabolite of caffeine, but also occurs naturally in the cocoa beans, which are the seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). Although thereโ€™s not a ton of research on the subject, theobromine has been advanced as one possible explanation for the health benefits linked to cocoa intake.[66]

    Again, although research is scarce, the preliminary research that does exist on theobromine is pretty intriguing. One study showed that theobromine administration in mice can increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), thereby improving psychomotor learning performance.[67]

    Theobromine EffectsTheobromine Effects

    Interesting: High-Dose Theobromine can dial up the โ€œfeelsโ€.

    This pro-BDNF effect is linked to one aspect of methylxanthines as a class that we discussed above in the caffeine section of this article โ€“ cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) upregulation via phosphodiesterase downregulation. By elevating cAMP, methylxanthines like theobromine can modulate BDNF signaling through a transcription factor called cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB).[67,68]

    A study in rats found that theobromine administration can significantly increase working memory, as measured by performance on a maze test. Furthermore, researchers actually dissected and analyzed the animalsโ€™ brain tissue and found increased concentrations of phosphorylated CaMKII (p-CaMKII), phosphorylated CREB (p-CREB), and BDNF, which supports the theory that theobromine increases BDNF expression through the CaMKII/CREB/BDNF pathway.[68]

  • While the caffeine-dynamine-theobromine trifecta is what really makes Essential Charged stand out, weโ€™re glad to see a bigger dose of tyrosine, which we think is generally underdosed. Evidence suggests the 2-gram dose in BUM Essential Charged is significantly more effective than the standard 1 gram.

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