Does FORCE™ TOTAL BODY OXYGENATOR work?
This blog comes at the request of a twitter follower and I will be writing about some more supplements in the near future, so feel free to contact me if there’s anything you’d like me to look into! For now lets focus on Force, a pre workout supplement by Limitless World Wide.
What does FORCE™ TOTAL BODY OXYGENATOR do?
Many professional athletes travel to high altitude locations to train. Training in an area with ‘thinner air’ means that their body must compensate for the decrease in oxygen. The body does this by producing more red blood cells and hemoglobin. Oxygen binds to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells and the cells deliver the oxygen around your body. So increasing these two components increases oxygen delivery to your muscles, allowing you to sustain aerobic respiration longer. Aerobic respiration is our most efficient means off creating ATP, or energy, so this means you can exercise longer before becoming fatigued. Altitude training has the same effect as blood doping – but is a hell of a lot more work and legal. More red blood cells = more oxygen to your muscles = better physical performance. Force claims to be a ‘total body oxygenator’ that has the same effect as high altitude training, allowing you to train longer or get through the day easier.
First, the term oxygenator generally refers to a device that exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide. Surgeons use these during heart operations to make sure the patient is still receiving oxygen. They may also be used in fish tanks to make sure the oxygen levels in the water are high enough. However, a very general definition for the term oxygenator is something that causes the infusion of oxygen, which, I guess is what the marketers of this product were going for. So, does Force infuse your body with Oxygen?
Is FORCE™ TOTAL BODY OXYGENATOR an oxygenator?
In a study (presumably run by the makers of Force), 24 subjects were tested on an ergometer for 30 minutes. Pulmonary ventilation, peak oxygen intake and heart rate were continually monitored throughout the test. Pulmonary ventilation and peak oxygen intake significantly increased when the subject took Force one hour before hand. What does this mean? Pulmonary ventilation is just the rate at which gas enters and leaves your lungs. It is the sum of tidal volume, how much air is in each breath, and ventilation rate, the amount of breaths taken per minute. So, for pulmonary ventilation to increase, either the size of your breath must increase or the amount of breathes you take, or both.
Peak oxygen intake refers to the absolute most amount of oxygen an individual can transport and use, this is considered the best way to determine an individuals cardiovascular fitness. What factors affect peak oxygen intake? First is the supply and transport of oxygen into the mitochondria (where the energy is produced), and the second is how quickly the mitochondria can use the oxygen to produce energy. Generally the supply of oxygen to the mitochondria is the limiting step. Since a supplement cannot increase the volume of your blood or the amount of blood vessels in your muscles in one hour, Force most likely increases peak oxygen intake by increasing the diffusion of oxygen from the lungs to the blood or increasing the amount of blood the heart pumps each beat.
It is also worth mentioning here that when they claim there was a significant difference in pulmonary ventilation they say their p-value (a way of determining how statistically significant something is) is less than 0.07. The scientifically accepted p-value for significance is 0.05, meaning most scientists would not consider these results to be significant.
What is in FORCE™ TOTAL BODY OXYGENATOR that causes the increase in Pulmonary Ventilation and Peak oxygen Intake?
The makers claim the key component is notorious in Eurasia for increasing health and longevity and promoting wellness, though they don’t tell you what the component is. A look at the supplement facts shows that it contains Niacin (or vitamin B3), Rhodiola rosea root extract, Beta alanine and Cayenne fruit powder. The Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root or rose root, is most likely the active ingredient. It is not currently approved by the FDA to treat any disorders and the FDA has actually forcibly removed some products containing it from the market. A study in 2000 showed that it reduced mental fatigue among physicians working a night shift. Similarly, another study in 2003 showed reduced cognitive fatigue. Finally, it caused a significant increase in blood oxygen saturation in men living at high altitude. So there is substantially scientific evidence that the active ingredient of Force does actually causes a similar effect to high altitude training.
So there you have it, there may actually be something to FORCE™ TOTAL BODY OXYGENATOR, but we really need someone outside the company to do a study on its effectiveness before we get too excited!