According to the ads, Anator-p70 will “forever change the way in which you can build muscle.” It claims to be the “most exciting development in the science of muscle growth ever recorded in history.”
Anator-p70 is supposed to “force your muscle building genes into the ‘on’ position by activating the key signaling cascade mTOR, PKB, and p70 S6K, inducing explosive muscle growth.”
This is the slickest marketing job I’ve seen in a long time, probably on par with the old Cybergenics adverts that were in the muscle magazines in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
The first thing I did was to look at the patent (US Patent #5,968,900) that’s mentioned in the advertising material. Anator-p70 is supposedly “backed by more than five years of clinical research by the world’s foremost supplement scientist, Dr. Paul Greenhaff.”
However, the patent actually has very little to do with Anator-p70 and muscle growth, and was an old one from 1999 about increasing creatine and glycogen storage in muscle. Nothing about “forcing your muscle building genes into the ‘on’ position” or “inducing explosive muscle growth.”
So, the next step was to take a closer look at the ingredients. Is there anything new or exciting in Anator-p70?
Fat 1 g
Carbohydrate 57 g
Protein 20 g
PhenylGene 7.2 g
— Phenylalanine alpha-ketoglutarate
— Phenylalanine ethyl ester
— Phenylalanine alphaketoisovaloric acid
LeuciGene 7.2 g
— Leucine methyl ester
— Leucine ethyl ester
— Leucine alpha-ketoglutarate
— Leucine alphaketoisovaloric acid
— N-acetyl leucine
GeneTOR 5 g
— Creatine Monohydrate
— Alanine methyl ester
Basically, what you get is carbohydrate, protein, creatine and a few amino acids dressed up in fancy names like “PhenylGene” and “LeuciGene” to make them sound more exotic.
The carbohydrate comes from maltodextrin and dextrose, while the protein is a partially hydrolyzed (pre-digested) whey. Hydrolysation produces small chains of amino acids called peptides. Because they’re pre-digested, protein hydrolysates containing mostly di- and tri-peptides are supposed to be absorbed more quickly than free form amino acids and much more rapidly than intact (non-hydrolyzed) proteins.
The idea is that hydrolyzed whey combined with a rapidly digested carbohydrate will increase the insulin response and maximize the rate of amino acid delivery to the muscles immediately after exercise.
Higher insulin levels (which suppress protein breakdown) combined with increased availability of amino acids (to increase protein synthesis) should translate to a greater anabolism and faster muscle growth than an intact (non-hydrolyzed) protein (though the research I’ve seen shows very little difference in terms of changes in blood amino acid levels with whole whey protein compared to hydrolyzed whey) .
As well as protein and carbohydrate, Anator p-70 contains the amino acids leucine and phenylalanine, which have both been the subject of recent research.
Much of the early work in this area comes from a Dutch researcher by the name of Luc van Loon, who found that the addition of leucine and phenylalanine to a drink containing carbohydrate resulted in an insulin response that was far greater than with carbohydrates alone .
Dr. van Loon also reports that amino acid uptake and post-exercise protein balance is increased after the ingestion of a carbohydrate-protein hydrolysate-amino acid mixture compared with carbohydrate alone, possibly because of the greater insulin response .
Over time, this increase in protein balance should (in theory at least) translate into faster muscle growth. The problem here is that the study used cycling rather than weight training, and didn’t measure protein synthesis and breakdown directly.
One study that did measure protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance rather than cardiovascular exercise looked at the effect of carbohydrate (50% as glucose and 50% as maltodextrin) and a whey protein hydrolysate with or without the addition of leucine on protein balance after 45 minutes of resistance exercise (8 sets of 8 repetitions on the leg press and 8 sets of 8 repetitions on the leg extension at 80% of the subjects’ individual 1-RM with a 2-minute rest interval between sets) .
Subjects then received a drink every 30 minutes for 5 hours after exercise. The drink provided 0.3 grams of carbohydrate (50% as glucose and 50% as maltodextrin) and 0.2 grams of hydrolyzed whey per kilogram of bodyweight per hour, with or without the addition of 0.1 grams of leucine (also per kilogram of bodyweight per hour).
And the result?
Firstly, the insulin response during the entire 6-hour post-exercise period was greater in the carbohydrate-protein-leucine trial compared with the carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein trials. Protein balance (the difference between synthesis and breakdown) was also greatest in subjects given the carbohydrate-protein-leucine drink.
At first glance, this study appears to support some of the claims made about Anator p-70.
However, there are a number of important points that limit the conclusions we can draw from this study:
- Firstly, subjects were tested after an overnight fast. It’s unlikely we would have seen the same response if they’d trained in the evening after a day of eating.
- All the subjects were untrained. We know that one of the adaptations to resistance exercise is a reduction in protein breakdown. Would trained subjects respond in the same way?
- How much of a difference would the extra leucine make to muscle growth over a period of weeks and months compared to a basic post-exercise drink containing whey, creatine and/or dextrose?
- Subjects in this study took the drink every 30 minutes for more than five hours after the workout had finished. You’re not going to see the same results with just one post-workout drink.
- The group given the supplement with the added leucine consumed about 50% more protein to achieve what turned out to be a relatively small difference in protein balance. If they’d simply been given more whey protein, we might have seen a very similar increase in protein balance.
What about the claim that Anator-p70 is the world’s first gene regulator?
This refers to recent research showing that amino acids act through a number of signaling pathways and mechanisms to mediate control of gene expression . But this is down to the amino acids contained in Anator p70 and is not unique to the product itself — you could probably say the same thing about a chicken breast or a glass of milk.
So, what’s the take-home message here?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Anator p-70 — it’s just a cleverly marketed and expensive combination of protein, carbohydrate, creatine and a few amino acids. It’s my opinion that you’ll get similar (and cheaper) results with a basic homemade post-exercise recovery drink.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORChristian Finn is the nation’s leading authority on science-based, joint-friendly ways to build muscle. A former "trainer to the trainers," he holds a masters degree in exercise science, and has been featured in or contributed to major media on two continents, including the BBC and Sunday Times in the U.K. and Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness in the U.S.
1. Calbet, J.A. L., & Holst, J.J. (2004). Gastric emptying, gastric secretion and enterogastrone response after administration of milk proteins or their peptide hydrolysates in humans. European Journal of Nutrition, 43, 127-139
2. van Loon, L.J., Saris, W.H., Verhagen, H., Wagenmakers, A.J. (2000). Plasma insulin responses after ingestion of different amino acid or protein mixtures with carbohydrate. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72, 96-105
3. van Loon, L.J., Kruijshoop, M., Verhagen, H., Saris, W.H., & Wagenmakers, A.J. (2000). Ingestion of protein hydrolysate and amino acid-carbohydrate mixtures increases postexercise plasma insulin responses in men. Journal of Nutrition, 130, 2508-2513
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5. Jefferson, L.S., & Kimball, S.R. (2005). Amino acids as regulators of gene expression at the level of mRNA translation. Journal of Nutrition, 133, 2046S-2051S