It seems like new supplement ingredients come out every month. Most of these ingredients have weird, trademarked names that don’t actually mean anything. In many cases, these ingredients only appear in one or two products and then disappear, never to be heard from again. But some ingredients and proprietary formulas are designed to leave a permanent impact on the bodybuilding supplement industry.
That’s what the creators of Dendrobex want you to think. Dendrobex is a new proprietary formula found in a pre-workout supplement called Craze. The formula is designed to enhance the body’s performance in a number of different ways, including providing more energy, a better pump, and enhanced endurance.
What is Dendrobex?
Dendrobex is a proprietary formula created by Driven Sports. It’s found in a new pre-workout formula called ‘Craze’, which aims to offer all of the advantages we know and love from a good pre-workout supplement.
Dendrobex is one of the main ingredients in Craze. In the list of ingredients, Dendrobex is the fourth most common ingredient just after creatine, trimethylglycine, and L-Citrulline. Craze calls itself “Performance Fuel” and it aims to provide a better boost than your traditional pre-workout supplement, including “mind muscle stimulation” throughout a workout.
So we know how Dendrobex promises to help your workout. But what is it actually made of? Dendrobex is extracted from something called Dendrobium, a Chinese orchid that most people have never heard of.
What is Dendrobium?
Dendrobex is made from Dendrobium extract. Dendrobium is one of the fifty “fundamental herbs” listed in traditional Chinese medicine. Apparently, the Chinese have consumed Dendrobium for thousands of years as an herbal tea because it was believed to strengthen the immune system and energize the body.
Although ancient Chinese herbalists may not have understood the science behind Dendrobium, today’s scientists can say what, exactly, makes Dendrobium a powerful supplement. Specifically, Dendrobium is rich in phenlyethylamine, also known as PEA, which is the same “neuroamine” found in chocolate. PEA encourages the body to produce norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that is closely linked with the motor coordination of our muscles.
Norepinephrine has been widely studied by scientists around the world and is shown to improve cognition, alertness, and motor control, all of which are important qualities to have during a workout.
So to sum up what we’ve learned so far, here’s an easy list:
-Dendrobex is an extract of Dendrobium
-Dendrobium is an herb that is popular with ancient Chinese medicine, where it was used as an herbal tea
-The secret behind Dendrobium is the presence of phenlyethylamine (PEA), which sends out important neurotransmitters and is responsible for the “runner’s high” or elevated mood many athletes feel when working out
Is Dendrobex a replacement for DMAA?
Some of the biggest fans of Dendrobex and Dendrobium extract are fans of a banned supplement called DMAA. DMAA, also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine, is an amphetamine derivative that was popular in a number of different bodybuilding supplements.
The FDA has been working to remove dietary supplements containing DMAA from the marketplace, after it was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems (it narrowed blood vessels to a point where users felt chest pain and experienced seizures or heart attacks).
Despite the dangers of DMAA, it was a popular ingredient among the bodybuilding supplement community – particularly in pre-workout supplements. Now that it is under scrutiny, supplement manufacturers and bodybuilders have been searching for a DMAA replacement.
So is Dendrobium extract an effective DMAA replacement? As with many of the other effects of Dendrobium, we don’t know enough about the plant to make an intelligent ruling on that. However, until the FDA bans Dendrobium extract (if that ever occurs at all), then Dendrobium extract and Dendrobex will continue to be used as effective replacements for DMAA in a number of pre-workout supplements.
Craze and lawsuits
Craze is currently sold at most popular bodybuilding supplement websites and stores. But Craze’s transition from the laboratory to the supplement shelf hasn’t always been easy. In March of 2012, Craze and Driven Sports were hit with a class action lawsuit in the State of California. You can read the complaint in its entirety here.
Basically, the lawsuit alleges that Driven Sports is engaging in unlawful, unfair, or deceptive business practices. Instead of using natural ingredients like Dendrobium extract, Driven Sports is alleged to have ‘spiked’ the Dendrobex formula with amphetamine, which would be bad and basically put Dendrobex on the same level as heart-attack-inducing DMAA.
Basically, the lawsuit alleged that fitness enthusiasts were being misled by false advertising, and the class action lawsuit advocated for the ban of the supplement.
If you read the comments of Craze fans, then the lawsuit was filed by jealous competitors of Driven Sports. In this article, which was written by a friend of Matt Cahill (the creator of Driven Sports), the writer claims that the big bad supplement companies are ganging up on the little guy because their pre-workout supplements can’t compete with Driven Sports after DMAA was banned.
Well, as biased as that above source may be, he appears to have been right. In February 2013, the lawsuit was dismissed, which is why you can still buy Craze today.
Not FDA approved
Craze is not currently facing a lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean that it’s 100% safe and verified as a bodybuilding supplement. Dendrobex has not yet been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, it’s important to note that other products that contain Dendrobium extract, like Dendrobium Moniliforme Night Sight Pills, were actually banned by the FDA. But those Night Sight Pills were manufactured in China and, in marketing material, the Pills claim to “nourish yin and restore virility…and improve vision.” So that claim is a lot more outlandish than providing a burst of energy during a workout.
Many bodybuilding supplements do not yet have FDA approval. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad or dangerous. Really, the only people who shouldn’t take Craze are those who are sensitive to caffeine. But if you’re looking up information on pre-workout supplements, then your body is probably used to relatively high amounts of caffeine, am I right?
What else is in Craze?
Dendrobex is one of the main ingredients in Craze. But just like any pre-workout supplement, there are a number of different ingredients at work here. In fact, we don’t even know for sure if Dendrobex contains very much Dendrobium extract at all, since other supplement companies have been accused of creating similar ‘natural’ proprietary formulas in the past, only to find that there were far more chemicals than natural ingredients.
The problem with determining what else is in Craze – or in any bodybuilding supplement – is that supplement companies can effectively hide ingredients inside their proprietary formulas, making it difficult for us to see what we’re actually putting into our body.
But we do know about a number of other ingredients in Craze because they’re featured directly on the ingredients list. Here’s how those ingredients help your body prepare for an upcoming workout:
Caffeine: It’s tough to find a pre-workout supplement without high levels of caffeine, and Craze is no exception. Caffeine has been shown to enhance mental and physical performance and even have a direct effect on the growth of muscle cells. At any rate, caffeine improves alertness and mental focus while providing a physical boost to the body’s performance during a workout.
Citramine: Citramine is another proprietary formula in Craze. Just like Dendrobex is an extract of the ancient Chinese herb Dendrobium, Citramine is an extract of Citrus reticulate, a tangerine extract that plays important roles in Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine as well as Chinese herbal medicine. In the past, Citrus reticulate was prized because it was thought to promote the flow of natural energy through those who consume it. Today, we know that this effect is due largely to the presence of alkaloids in the formula. Alkaloids block a receptor called alpha-2 adrenergic in order to increase stimulation and increase the body’s burning of fat.
Creatine Monohydrate: You probably already know the benefits of creatine supplementation, but here’s a basic explanation of how creatine monohydrate enhances Craze – creatine encourages muscle growth and helps muscles expend more energy during a workout. Creatine also leads to better lean mass gains and increases the hydration of muscles, which aids recovery. Creatine is widely recognized as a safe supplement and it’s an important part of Craze’s ingredient chart.
Trimethylglycine: Trimethylglycine is a popular ingredient in many fat burning formulas and pre-workout supplements. The ingredient promises to help the body burn adipose tissue (fatty tissue), although these effects have never been proven in independent scientific studies on humans. Although trimethylglycine has been shown to decrease adipose tissue in pigs, it has shown to have no effect on body weight, body composition, or energy in humans.
Other ingredients and chemicals: Along with the ingredients listed above, Craze includes Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, natural and artificial flavoring, and dyes like Red #27. These ingredients are mostly chemicals that are designed to enhance the flavor of the formula. Acesulfame Potassium, for example, is a popular calorie-free sugar supplement, while Red #27 is simply a colored dye.
Unless otherwise cited, the information in this article has been taken directly from Driven Sports and affiliated websites. In its promotional material for Craze, Driven Sports seems to rely on reputable publications, including a number of reports from the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Why doesn’t Craze have arginine?
Arginine is one of the most important ingredients in today’s most popular pre-workout formulas. But Driven Sports claims that the benefits of arginine are not just overblown – they don’t exist at all. At the sales page for Craze, visitors learn that “Arginine does not give great pumps. In fact, it doesn’t even give mediocre pumps – it gives NO PUMPS.”
To reinforce that claim, Driven Sports cites a placebo-controlled study where ten elite athletes showed “absolutely no effect from arginine supplementation when administered in large amounts (6g per day).”
So for that reason, Craze does not include Arginine. Fair enough.
Dendrobium extract is found in more than just Craze
Although I’ve mostly talked about Craze in this article, it’s not the only supplement that contains Dendrobium extract. After noticing the popularity of Craze, supplement giant Gaspari Nutrition decided to develop their own Dendrobium extract formula using the stem of the Dendrobium plant. That supplement is called Gaspari Nutrition Detonate, and it’s more of a thermogenic supplement than a pre-workout supplement (although the differences between those two categories can be negligible).
Currently, Gaspari Nutrition and Driven Sports are the only two major bodybuilding supplement companies to use Dendrobium extract, although a number of smaller companies are starting to release Dendrobium-based supplements. So far, Dendrobium extract supplements are always either pre-workout formulas or fat-burning thermogenic supplements.
Dendrobium side effects
Dendrobium, like most magical herbs from China, comes with a number of side effects. WebMD recently published an article about the use of Dendrobium as well as its potential side effects on the body.
Unfortunately, the WebMD page on Dendrobium is fairly inconclusive because “there isn’t enough information to know if Dendrobium is safe or what side effects it might case.” However, WebMD does suggest that people avoid taking the supplement while pregnant or breastfeeding. Dendrobium could also “potentially increase the chance of seizure in some people.”
WebMD urges that more scientific studies need to be done with Dendrobium in order to make an accurate summary of its effectiveness and side effects on the body.
Dendrobium extract is a natural ingredient found in a number of bodybuilding supplements. Driven Sports has created a proprietary formula derived from Dendrobium extract called Dendrobex.
Dendrobex is used in the popular pre-workout supplement called Craze.
The effects of Dendrobex have not been widely studied, making it difficult for those searching for a new pre-workout supplement to learn about Craze. However, the FDA has not banned Craze and a class action lawsuit against Driven Sports was recently dropped, which suggests that Craze is safer than other pre-workout supplements have been in the past.
Here’s what we do know about Craze: it’s a powerful pre-workout formula that has won over thousands of fans across the world. Although Dendrobex is one of the main ingredients in Craze, Craze also uses a number of other scientifically proven ingredients, including caffeine and creatine. If you’re looking for a good pre-workout supplement, then Craze may be worth a try.