Black Lion Research Follidrone Launches
Earlier this week a company called Black Lion Research launched a new product called Follidrone. Complete with pictures of genetically altered myostatin deficient animals, and the following claims:
“Follodrone decreases Myostatin levels 49%+ as well as increasing markers of muscle growth.”
“Follidrone Increases strength dramatically and quickly. Treatment for 7 days yielded a bilateral increase in hand strength of 7%, which was accompanied by a significant decrease (-49%) in myostatin.”
“In addition our internal testers reported serious strength gains including
- 100lb increase in Deadlift in 4 days
- 20lbs per arm on DB incline press in 10 days.
- 6 inch gain on vert jump to 53 inches.
- one user compared the strength increase to halotestin.
- Increases in mass were also reported by our internal testers including 10lbs weight gain in 10 days with what appears to be 0 BF% increase.
- Users have also been reporting significant physique changes. Harder, leaner, and overall larger.”
Impressive right? Well my first assumption (a poor one) was that this product was actually tested in a controlled research environment. I mean they do claim “Follodrone decreases Myostatin…” (they literally spelled their own product name wrong, I am not doing that on purpose). So I looked up the study they referenced because it was surprising to see that a small supplement company funded some actual research. Of course upon finding the study the supplement used was not Follidrone . It was however purchased from Sigma Aldrich in the form of (-)-epicatechin or simply epicatechin. Epicatechin is a flavanol found in things like green tea, and cocao. Sigma Aldrich sells a handful of different epicatechin extracts ranging from 90% pure to 98% pure extracted from green tea.
Okay so the study they reference didn’t actually use Black Lion Research Follidrone, but it did use epicatechin which is an ingredient in Follidrone. The Follidrone label states it includes the following ingredients:
- So it’s essentially a prop blend of epicatechin and carb based food additive. The problem of course with prop blends is that we have no idea how much of the active ingredient it contains. Which means it could be 1 mg or 499 mg’s.Serving Size – 1 capsule
- Servings Per Container – 60 capsules
- Proprietary Blend – 500 mg’s
- Epicatechin, Maltodextrin
So “Follodrone” didn’t decrease myostatin, but does Epicatechin?
Back to the study that showed a decrease in serum myostatin. The study was partially funded by Cardero Therapeutics Inc. who is currently conducting clinical studies on epicatechin for the use in a muscle wasting disease. They tested epicatechin in six humans over the course of 7 days, giving them 1 mg of epicatechin per kilogram of bodyweight, or what would translate to about 90 mg’s per day for a 200lb male. There was no control group, and strength was tested with a hand grip dynamometer. After 7 days of supplementation strength increased 7%, which was not statistically significant. It did however increase serum follistatin to myostatin ratio by 49%, although no data was given on how much it actually increased follistatin, and decreased myostatin (it’s possible it did one but not the other). Note how this makes both claims I initially note above mis-leading.
At the end of the day these are fairly lackluster results, on an ingredient that needs more human research to truly say if it’s worth your money or not. For comparison purposes an in vitro study on Vitamin D showed the myostatin response was decreased by 70% (thanks Deeb for this study) .
Leap of Faith
There are a lot of supplements that make claims that certainly are a leap of faith. But this is perhaps one of the more egregious in a while. I would not be so bothered by the claims of Black Lion Research if it weren’t for the use of genetically altered myostatin deficient animals, follistatin based references (which had no use of epicatechin), and the leap of faith that this would be an effective muscle builder based on one non-controlled study in non-training people. To top it all off, it’s a product composed a prop blend with a food additive. This indicates the only reason it is a prop blend is to hide the low dose of actual epicatechin your getting by purchasing this product.
For that reason, amongst others listed, if you are truly interested in epicatechin for other purposes I would suggest spending your money on a cocao powder, which has an average content of 158 mg’s of epicatechin per 100 grams of powder. Don’t believe me? I would encourage you to look it up on the Phenol-Explorer which is a databased of flavanol content in foods built off of scientifically validated references (it also gives you those references). Here’s the search results for (-)-epicatechin – Epicatechin by Food Source.
By Travis DeGraff