1.What Is It?
Epicatechin is a very specific flavanol that has been shown to yield some interesting benefits. Flavanols are a specific class of flavonoids unique to their studied health benefits. Several foods have been found to contain these bioactive compounds known as flavanols, such as cocoa, grape seeds, tea, berries & apples.
2.What Does It Do?
Epicatechin has been studied to increase levels of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a molecule that is responsible for telling our blood vessels to relax, which is a process known as vasodilation. Vasodilation allows for better blood flow and circulation around the body which therefore results in increase oxygen and nutrient delivery through the blood. Increased oxygen and nutrient delivery can have a massive positive effect on athletic performance. Increased muscular endurance, power, recovery and growth can all be results of increased vasodilation from increased nitric oxide levels.
Epicatechin causes this increase in nitric oxide by inhibiting the process that breaks down nitric oxide in the blood. The less nitric oxide that is broken down will result in more being available in the blood and therefore cause an increase in vasodilation and the performance benefits that come from increased vasodilation.
The main claim to fame for epicatechin is its suggested ability to inhibit Myostatin and therefore upregulate Follistatin. Myostatin and Follistatin are known as Myokines that are released and produced by muscle cells. Myostatin acts a regulator/ suppressor for muscle growth, limiting how much we grow. Follistatin, on the other hand, promotes muscle growth as it hinders the signalling of myostatin. Myostatin and Follistatin work together in ratio, as Follistatin increases, Myostatins regulating ability decreases as it is inhibited by the increase in Follistatin and vice versa.
Myostatin inhibitors are seen as the holy grail for muscle building supplements. Bodybuilder toddlers & muscular cows; there have been both humans and animals that have shown exceptional muscle growth and development. After testing they put this growth and development down to myostatin being inhibited, often by a mutation in their genes.
So, does epicatechin actually inhibit myostatin and therefore unlock our natural growth potential? There are a number of studies on the effect of epicatechin on muscle growth, with increases been shown however more testing needs to be done to establish a more concrete connection and understanding of the interaction of epicatechin on Myostatin in humans.
3.How Much Do I Need To Take?
Studies have looked at various dosages of Epicatechin, all with various benefits and results A daily dose of epicatechin between 200 – 300mg appears to be enough to elicit the effects and benefits that we have mentioned. However, more studies in humans need to be conducted for a true clinical dose to be identified.
4.When Do I Take It?
Epicatechin can be taken at any time of the day as it shouldn’t cause any kind of stimulatory effect. To maximise on the effects of the increased nitric oxide levels, taking epicatechin pre-workout would be ideal.
5.How Long Does It Take To Work?
Various studies have noted different durations for the effects of epicatechin to be experienced. The various effects of epicatechins will be experienced after different rates of time of consistent usage.
Studies looking at the increased nitric oxide levels from epicatechin supplementation saw significant results after 5 days of consistent supplementation. Consistent use yielded greater effects.
As mentioned above, while there isnt enough conclusive evidence on the effect of epicatechin on increasing follistatin and therefore inhibiting myostatin in humans, the studied effects of epicatechin in rats was noted after a minimum of 14 days of supplementation while some studies only noted significant effects after 30 days of consistent supplementation of epicatechin. Consistent use of epicatechin will yield the best results.
6.What Are The Top Products?
The top products containing epicatechin are: