This con­tro­ver­sial in­gre­di­ent is one of the most talked about in the in­dus­try; find out why.

Innovate Magazine - - Contents - By Hamish McIn­tosh

The sci­ence of nu­traceu­ti­cals and sup­ple­men­ta­tion is a con­tin­u­ally evolv­ing field. Sci­en­tists are al­ways search­ing for a deeper un­der­stand­ing of how the body works, They then use that in­sight to help in the dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment of new sub­stances that will spur ath­letes’ bod­ies to greater ef­fi­cien­cies and achieve­ments. One such sub­stance – one that is get­ting a lot of press and at­ten­tion in sup­ple­men­ta­tion in­dus­try – is re­ferred to as HICA. While many ques­tions re­main to be an­swered about HICA, it seems to of­fer some ex­cit­ing ben­e­fits for body­builders, and for this rea­son Nutrabolics has in­cor­po­rated it as a key in­gre­di­ent in Anabolic State.


HICA is an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for L-α-hy­drox­y­iso­caproic acid, also known as Leu­cic Acid. This is a prod­uct – or metabolite - of the bet­ter-known leucine, the branched chain amino acid (BCAA) used by the body in the syn­the­sis of skele­tal mus­cle pro­tein. Leucine is an im­por­tant amino acid for ath­letes, be­cause it breaks down faster than other amino acids. This means it is highly ef­fec­tive – some say crit­i­cal - in help­ing to stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of other pro­tein and energy mol­e­cules in the hu­man body. Leucine not only of­fers im­por­tant ca­pac­i­ties in aid­ing mus­cle de­vel­op­ment, but also in slow­ing mus­cle tis­sue degra­da­tion. As an es­sen­tial amino acid, our bod­ies do not pro­duce Leucine nat­u­rally. We in­gest it in our diet in meat and fish, and it has be­come a popular supplement for ath­letes. Re­cent re­search has in­di­cated that HICA – as a metabolite of Leucine – may ei­ther of­fer the same or more ad­vanced mus­cle-build­ing and lean-mass cre­ation prop­er­ties as its pro­gen­i­tor. There is also ev­i­dence that it ac­tu­ally works to com­pli­ment and en­hance Leucine’s ef­fect on mus­cle pro­tein syn­the­sis. The re­search sug­gests that HICA may work in the body in ways that en­sure the fun­da­men­tal mus­cle-build­ing work of Leucine is max­i­mized. Although HICA is a con­ver­sion prod­uct of Leucine, its’ con­ver­sion rate is very small, so sup­ple­ment­ing with Leucine will not pro­vide el­e­vated lev­els of HICA in the body. HICA can be found nat­u­rally in foods such wine, cheese and sake; mostly as a re­sult of the fer­men­ta­tion process act­ing in these foods. But ath­letes who want its ben­e­fits for their train­ing reg­i­men should supplement with it. To sup­port this need, Nutrabolics’ Anabolic State re­cov­ery for­mu­la­tion con­tains 3,000 mil­ligrams of Leucine. Sci­en­tists at Nutrabolics re­al­ized that with its abil­ity to stim­u­late Leucine’s pro­tein pro­duc­tion,

HICA is po­ten­tially the per­fect in­gre­di­ent to add to their Anabolic State for­mu­la­tion. This pow­er­ful re­cov­ery supplement is even more ef­fec­tive with this in­gre­di­ent in it by lever­ag­ing HICA’s demon­strated ef­fects.


The spot­light was turned onto HICA af­ter sev­eral pi­lot stud­ies were com­pleted in Fin­land. In the first (and un­pub­lished) study, the re­searchers had wrestlers supplement with 500mg of HICA three times a day dur­ing a 6-week in­ten­sive train­ing pro­gram. The train­ing pro­gram was one that would nor­mally re­sult in mus­cle and weight loss. At the end of this time pe­riod the wrestlers had added about 2 pounds of lean mus­cle to their frames. They also re­ported a re­duc­tion in the de­layed on­set of mus­cle sore­ness (DOMS). This is the mus­cu­lar dis­com­fort that oc­curs af­ter stren­u­ous ex­er­cise.

Be­cause of these re­sults, the re­searchers de­cided to do a sec­ond study, this time with soc­cer play­ers in a dou­ble-blind ex­per­i­ment. Half the group was given a placebo, while the other half sup­ple­mented with the same 500mg of HICA three times a day. Both groups then par­tic­i­pated in the same in­tense train­ing and game-play­ing reg­i­men, con­sist­ing of 4 prac­tices, 2 weight-train­ing work­outs, and a game each week. At the end of a four-week pe­riod, the ath­letes who had been sup­ple­ment­ing with HICA showed an av­er­age gain of about 1 pound of mus­cle to their legs, while their fat mass re­mained con­stant. The placebo group lost mus­cle, as would be ex­pected from such an in­tense train­ing pro­gram.

These two in­ter­lock­ing stud­ies have showed in­cred­i­bly promis­ing re­sults. Sci­en­tists and nu­tri­tion­ists across the sup­ple­men­ta­tion in­dus­try started look­ing closely at HICA. A pound of mus­cle gain over 4 weeks ex­tremely in­tense work­out pro­gram is im­pres­sive. There isn’t ev­i­dence yet that HICA will pro­duce the same re­sults for ath­letes who are train­ing on a lighter, less in­tense sched­ule. While more re­search is needed, sci­ent­tists at Nutrabolics be­lieve that the in­di­ca­tions are clear about HICA: it’s po­ten­tial for mus­cle build­ing makes it wor­thy of in­cor­po­rat­ing into their ad­vanced for­mu­la­tions.


So how does HICA work? The fact is that no one is com­pletely sure yet. The ev­i­dence so far sug­gests a com­pli­cated process. As we know, in­tense ex­er­cise pro­duces waste prod­ucts in the blood­stream like lac­tate and am­mo­nia. As these waste prod­ucts cir­cu­late through the blood­stream they help to cre­ate that fa­mil­iar sense of fa­tigue. When HICA is in the mus­cle cells it seems to bind acid and so re­duce acid buildup, al­low­ing ath­letes to ex­er­cise harder, and not wear down as quickly. In the blood­stream, it ap­par­ently func­tions like BCAAs to help boost the clear­ing process of these waste prod­ucts. This, in turn, keeps fa­tigue from de­vel­op­ing at its tra­di­tional pace.

More ef­fec­tive ways of in­creas­ing the pro­duc­tion of lean mus­cle mass and re­duc­ing fa­tigue will al­ways be wel­comed by any se­ri­ous ath­lete. Con­tribut­ing to this po­ten­tial HICA of­fers the pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing the proven supplement Leucine func­tion at an even higher level. Ath­letes who are fol­low­ing the cut­ting edge of sup­ple­men­ta­tion are ex­cited at it’s pos­si­bil­i­ties. Nutrabolics is, as al­ways, fol­low­ing the re­search care­fully. Any im­proved un­der­stand­ing re­gard­ing the power and ef­fec­tive­ness of HICA will quickly be fur­ther in­te­grated into their prod­ucts.

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