A: Our carbohydrate-containing fuels used a corn-derived maltodextrin (complex carbohydrate), which was actually a very good maltodextrin. However, we found that tapioca (cassava root)-derived maltodextrin offers the following advantages over corn-derived maltodextrin, which is why we made the switch:
- Tapioca requires far less processing than corn.
- Unlike corn, there is no GMO content in tapioca to begin with, so even though all the corn-derived maltodextrin we used in our products tested at 0ppb for GMOs, going with tapioca just saves us that hassle.
- Tapioca maltodextrin has naturally lower amounts of sodium and higher amounts of naturally occurring potassium. Given that most everyone consumes far too much sodium as it is, having more potassium and less sodium is a definite plus.
- Tapioca maltodextrin has a more-alkaline pH than corn-derived maltodextrin. Considering that we athletes are “acid-producing machines” during exercise, a more-alkaline pH is a highly desirable during-exercise feature/benefit.
- Tapioca maltodextrin has a lower Dextrose Equivalent (DE), which means lower mono and disaccharide (short-chain sugar) content, and a much higher percentage of polysaccharide (complex carb) content--in essence, a more “complex” complex carbohydrate--for even longer-lasting energy and endurance.
- Tapioca maltodextrin has same Glycemic Index (GI) as other forms of maltodextrin, so you get the fast-acting energy that you’re looking for.
Here are the benefits of maltodextrin, along with information about its effects on insulin during exercise and shortly after it’s been completed.
The Benefits of Maltodextrin
- You can digest greater amounts of calories from maltodextrin than from any short-chain sugar, aka “simple sugar,” such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose (As one nutritional scientist states, “maltodextrin allows one to swallow more energy in less volume.”) With maltodextrin you get the full amount of calories that you need for energy production, and with no delay in exiting the GI tract. Fuels containing simple sugars much be mixed at very calorically weak solutions in order to be digested with any efficiency, so your body won’t be getting the right amount of calories it needs. However, when athletes try to make a “double-strength” mix of a simple sugar fuel, that too-high sugar mixture does not match body fluid chemistry, which means it just sits in the stomach undigested for a lengthy period of time... and that means severe stomach distress. You won’t have that issue with maltodextrin.
- Maltodextrin goes to work extremely quickly in producing energy because it’s a high Glycemic Index carbohydrate; in fact, it’s the same as pure glucose (both are 100). That’s a good thing because you want that energy as quickly as possible, and that’s what maltodextrin will do. Another benefit with maltodextrin is that, because it’s comprised of hundreds of saccharide molecules all weakly bonded together, it will provide a much more consistent and longer-lasting energy than glucose or any other simple sugar, and without that undesirable “peak and valley”, “flash and crash” energy that is typical with simple sugars.
Because of maltodextrin’s high Glycemic Index (GI), many people ask about the insulin release that occurs. The answer to that is that, yes, maltodextrin does elevate blood sugar levels very rapidly and will cause an insulin release. This is not an issue immediately prior to exercise, during exercise, however, as Dr. Misner explains: "During exercise, insulin release is inhibited because sympathetic nervous system hormones are also released and, concurrently, exercise augments muscle uptake of glucose from exogenous intake accompanied by lower insulin levels and effects." Basically, what Dr. Misner is saying is that because energy turnover is very high, and with the release of specific central nervous system hormones, the body is able to deliver glucose to the muscles with very minimal insulin… insulin release is not a significant factor during exercise.
After exercise, when the body needs to have its cells restocked with fuel, maltodextrin’s high Glycemic Index is also desirable… Recoverite and Organic Vegan Recoverite are PERFECT fuels for maximizing recovery.
Those are the only three times—immediately prior to exercise, during exercise, and shortly after exercise—when a high-GI carbohydrate such as maltodextrin should be consumed.
Q: Why do I need to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement if I’m eating a balanced diet?
A: The reason why we highly recommend supplementing with a multivitamin/mineral supplement—Premium Insurance Caps is an outstanding product—is because you cannot obtain all the nutrients your body requires solely from your diet. Here's why:
- There has never been a single clinical study that documents what comprises a balanced diet nor one that has demonstrated one's ability to meet basic nutrient requirements through whole foods alone.
- Studies show that food alone does not supply all the micronutrients we need to prevent deficiency, let alone achieve optimal health. Nutritional scientist, Bruce Ames, bluntly states, “Inadequate dietary intakes of vitamins and minerals are widespread, most likely due to excessive consumption of energy-rich, micronutrient-poor, refined food. Inadequate intakes may result in chronic metabolic disruption, including mitochondrial decay.” Another study concluded: "Nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations.”
- Very few of us have routine access to fresh, locally grown foods. Much of our diet comes from foods grown far away, picked when unripe, and then sent packing. Nutritional content is questionable and usually depleted.
- Even if we could obtain all the nutrients we need from our diet, it's highly unlikely that any of us eats an ideal diet as consistently as we think we do. The USDA states: “To promote your health, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables—at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables—each day” but really, how many of us do that with any kind of consistency? And that figure may be on the low side, thanks to research from Dr. Dagfinn Aune, who concludes, “Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, ten a day is even better.”
That said, please understand that we’re not suggesting that you can neglect your diet, take scads of pills, and have all of your nutrient needs covered. Supplements should never take priority over the consumption of a healthy diet. At Hammer Nutrition we emphasize both quality nutrition and supplementation. First and foremost, your primary nutritional goal is to consistently consume a healthy diet, which means:
- Eating whole grains and locally grown organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
- Avoiding packaged, processed foods and junk foods, and foods containing artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Minimal sodium and low-to-no simple sugars
The main reason to try and eat the healthiest diet possible—primarily a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables—is NOT so much for their vitamin and mineral content, which is minimal, at best, but instead for the nearly countless health-benefiting phytochemicals that are only found in fruits and vegetables. For example, research has shown that a naturally occurring flavonoid found in various fruits (mainly strawberries) called fisetin has strong antioxidant, neuroprotective, and cardio-protective properties. Eating lots of strawberries will help you get sufficient amounts of this amazing phytonutrient.
Bottom line: If you want to look, feel, and perform your best, the first step is always a diet dominated by nutrient-dense whole foods. But that alone will no longer suffice—supplementation has become a part of modern life. To augment the minimal amounts of vitamins and minerals supplied in the daily diet, and to obtain ideal amounts of these vitally important nutrients, you must supplement. If you want to achieve your best performances in your exercise sessions and events—and, even more importantly, enjoy optimal health (not minimal, optimal!)—then daily supplementation is a necessity, not an option.
Every four-capsule dose of Race Day Boost contains 1,000 mg of sodium phosphate, 300 mg of which is comprised of sodium. The standard loading dose protocol is four servings a day for four days, so you'll be adding 1,200 mg of sodium to your daily total. Over the course of four days that's an additional 4,800 mg of sodium being consumed. The majority of athletes already consume far more sodium than is necessary from their diets, so it's extremely important to lower your dietary sodium/salt intake, especially when doing a loading dose of Race Day Boost.
Yes, sodium tribasic phosphate (also referred to simply as sodium phosphate) is remarkably safe, especially in the relatively small amounts found in Race Day Boost and Perpetuem. Sodium phosphate enjoys FDA "GRAS" (Generally Recognized As Safe) status as an emulsifying agent, Nutrients and Dietary Supplement, a sequestrant (a food additive whose role is to improve the quality and stability of the food products), and for miscellaneous use.
The LD50 of orally dosed sodium tribasic phosphate for rats (the amount of an agent that is sufficient to kill 50 percent of the rats) is 7,400 mg/kg. Translated for a 75 kg/165 lb. athlete, that would mean a dose of nearly 555 grams (555,000 mg), an astronomically high amount that no one would even conceive of trying to take. By comparison:
- The LD50 of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) for rats is 4,220 mg/kg
- The LD50 for rats consuming acetic acid (vinegar is a dilute aqueous solution of acetic acid) is 3,310 mg/kg
- The LD50 of sodium chloride (table salt) for rats is 3,000 mg/kg
We do not use brown rice syrup in any of our products, so you have nothing to worry about with regards to Hammer Nutrition products.
Absolutely not, though the mainstream media would have us believe otherwise, with the blitz of alarming headlines and news stories regarding study results published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute July 2013 issue . We remain convinced that consuming omega-3 fatty acids benefits overall health, including prostate health, and an overwhelming body of research over the years confirms it.
The media frenzy concerning fish and fish oil supplementation was sparked by the SELECT study (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial), which claims a link between higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood - specifically DHA, EPA, and DPA (all found in EndurOmega) - and an increased risk of prostate cancer
However, the following flaws in the study invalidate the findings:
1) The SELECT study was designed to review vitamin E and selenium intake - not fish oil - on prostate cancer risk.
2) This study did not monitor whether the male subjects ate fish or took fish oil supplements. It is not possible to link blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer if there is no data to confirm how much fish or fish oil supplements, if any, were consumed.
3) The results were based solely on only one blood sample, taken very early in the study, to check for fatty acid levels in the blood. This particular test only indicates what a person ate over the course of a few hours; it has no bearing on medium-to-long-term consumption and certainly not over a six-year period as was the case with this study. Because blood levels of fatty acids rapidly change with short-term dietary alterations, it's misleading to flat-out wrong to link plasma omega-3 levels from a single blood test with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
4) Even if the results of this single blood test are taken into account, the differences are too minuscule to draw any meaningful conclusions. The men who had omega-3 blood levels of 4.48% were less likely to have prostate cancer, while those with a fractional 0.18% increase (4.66%) had astronomically higher rates - 44% greater risk of low-grade prostate cancer and a 71% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. Dr. Peter Bongiorno states, "The authors made a terrific leap by suggesting that this infinitesimally small number was enough to somehow promote cancer. The article also gave no information about how the fish oils could have possibly caused the cancer." 
5) Other factors that contribute to cancer were never taken into account! Over 50% of the men in the study smoked, nearly 65% consumed alcohol regularly, and a whopping 80% were obese. How these vitally important factors could be overlooked or disregarded is astonishing.
Omega-3 fatty acids BENEFIT prostate health!
One study that included nearly 50,000 men showed that increased levels of EPA and DHA - the two fatty acids found primarily in fish and fish oil supplements - was correlated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer .
A study from Harvard that included more than 293,000 men concluded that a significantly lower rate of fatal prostate cancer was associated with increased omega-3 fatty acid intake .
A 2010 meta-analysis of over 15,000 men found a 63% reduction in prostate cancer death rates in those with higher fish consumption .
A study involving 6,300 Swedish men over a 30-year period showed that those who didn't eat fish had a 200% - 300% higher rate of prostate cancer as compared to the men who consumed large amounts of fish .
After evaluating this particular study and how the results were obtained, it is simply not rational to implicate omega-3's as being a cause for prostate cancer, especially given the abundance of existing and undeniably more credible research showing that omega-3's positively influence prostate health. We adamantly don't believe the misleading and inaccurate media hype and neither should you. The bottom line is that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements (EndurOmega) benefit numerous areas of overall health, including prostate health.
 Brasky TM, Darke AK, Song X, et al. Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Jul 10 2013.
 Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Michaud DS, et al. Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and the risk of prostate cancer. The American journal of clinical nutrition. Jul 2004;80(1):204-216.
 Bosire C, Stampfer MJ, Subar AF, et al. Index-based dietary patterns and the risk of prostate cancer in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. American journal of epidemiology. Mar 15 2013;177(6):504-513.
 Szymanski KM, Wheeler DC, Mucci LA. Fish consumption and prostate cancer risk: a review and meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition. Nov 2010;92 (5):1223-1233.
 Terry P et al. Fatty fish consumption and risk of prostate cancer. Lancet 2001; 357: 1764-6
The Vcaps® capsules used are manufactured by Capsugel, and produced using the raw material, hypromellose. Hypromellose is a cellulose material derived from softwood trees, mainly pine and spruce trees that are grown and harvested from plantations in the southeastern United States. The hypromellose that is used to manufacture these capsules complies with all compendia requirements as presented in the harmonized USP (United States Pharmacopeia), EP (European Pharmacopeia) and JP (Japanese Pharmacopeia) monographs.
Yes, Hammer Nutrition products are tested for heavy metals and meet or better-established safety levels. The manufacturer of Hammer Nutrition supplements requires that all potential raw material suppliers provide a Certificate of Independent Laboratory Analysis-covering no less than 15 specific items-with EVERY shipment of raw material. One of those specifics is this:
Statement of, and References to, Industry Accepted Methods of Analytical Processes to establish that Raw Material meets FDA standards for microbial content, heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and results of such analysis. (Must be detailed and include the Name, Contact Person, and Phone Number of the Independent Laboratory that conducted this Testing).
BOTTOM LINE: Hammer Nutrition supplements are tested for heavy metals, with all raw materials in them meeting or bettering FDA standards.
Most Americans, if they consume adequate calories via a balanced diet, obtain more-than-sufficient amounts of iron, negating the need for additional iron from supplements. Lieberman & Bruning (1990) recommend an Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) of 15-25 mg for men and 20-30 mg for women. It is very easy to exceed these values from food alone. If an athlete consumes excessive amounts above Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) levels of dietary iron—which ranges from 8 - 27 mg daily, depending on gender and age—they may experience premature fatigue and, potentially, more serious general health issues.
According to a well-respected source, "Most people have too much iron in their body. Excess iron generates massive free radical reactions. Human epidemiological studies show that those with high iron levels are far more likely to contract cancer and heart disease. A growing body of evidence implicates iron in neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease."
Iron is an extremely important nutrient, especially for endurance athletes. An iron deficiency can negatively affect oxygen transport to the muscles if below-levels of hemoglobin are detected. An iron deficiency can also impair energy production if myoglobin and mitochondrial enzymes are sub-normal. However, too much iron can cause serious health issues, as outlined above. Therefore, because the overwhelming majority of Americans consume sufficient amounts of iron from their diet, and because of the negative health issues associated with excess iron intake, Premium Insurance Caps do not contain iron.
If you aren't sure about your iron status, a CBC (Complete Blood Count)/Chemistry Profile blood test will determine what your iron status is and whether supplementation is necessary.
Q: When would be the most ideal time to use Phytolean?
A: Ideally, Phytolean should be taken with meals, especially if high in starchy carbohydrates.
Q: How many capsules do I need to take?
A: Dosage is typically one to three capsules, depending on how much starch you will be eating. Keep in mind that the starch blocking ingredient (Phaseolus vulgaris) has been shown to block 300 times its weight in starch. That means that each two-capsule dose of Phytolean will block 300 grams (thats over 10.5 ounces!) of starchy carbohydrates from being absorbed and stored as body fat!
Q: Is there any time that I wouldn't want to use Phytolean?
A: Not really. Since it's only blocking starch-based carbohydrates, even during periods of high-volume training you will be able to effectively replenish glycogen stores post-workout, as long as you keep your "good carb" (e.g., whole fruits, leafy greens and low starch vegetables) intake. 7-9 servings per day of low starch, complex carbs will guarantee no disruption to the rapid replenishment of glycogen stores.
Here is a quick list of foods high in starchy carbohydrates:
- Black Beans
A: On average, each Endurolytes FIZZ tablet contains approximately 500 mg of the polyol (sugar alcohol) known as sorbitol. Sorbitol is NOT an artificial sweetener; it is naturally produced in the human body and is found in a variety of foods. The reasons why we use sorbitol in Endurolytes FIZZ are:
- It’s an undeniably better choice than an artificial sweetener like Acesulfame K or Aspartame.
- Unlike xylitol, another natural sweetener, which we use in HEED and Recoverite, sorbitol exhibits excellent tablet binding properties without impeding the effervescent reaction process.
Sorbitol's safety is supported by numerous studies reported in the scientific literature. In developing the current U.S. food and drug regulation which affirms sorbitol as GRAS (“Generally Recognized as Safe”), the safety data were carefully evaluated by qualified scientists of the Select Committee on GRAS Substances selected by the Life Sciences Office of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). In the opinion of the Select Committee, there was no evidence demonstrating a hazard where sorbitol was used at current levels or at levels that might be expected in the future. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's regulation for sorbitol requires the following label statement for foods whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in the daily ingestion of 50 grams of sorbitol: "Excess consumption may have a laxative effect."
The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has reviewed the safety data and concluded that sorbitol is safe. JECFA has established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sorbitol of "not specified," meaning no limits are placed on its use. An ADI "not specified" is the safest category in which JECFA can place a food ingredient. JECFA's decisions are often adopted by many small countries which do not have their own agencies to review food additive safety.
The Scientific Committee for Food of the European Union (EU) published a comprehensive assessment of sweeteners in 1985, concluding that sorbitol is acceptable for use, also without setting a limit on its use.
- Commission of the European Communities. Reports of the Scientific Committee for Food concerning sweeteners. Sixteenth Series. Report EUR 10210 EN. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 1985.
- Dwivedi, B.K. Sorbitol and Mannitol. In: Alternative Sweeteners (2nd ed.), L.O. Nabors and R.C. Gelardi eds., Marcel Dekker, Inc., NewYork, 1991.
- European Economic Community Council (EEC). 1990. Directive on food labeling. Official Journal of the European Communities. No. L 276/40 (Oct. 6).
- Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The evaluation of the energy of certain polyols used as food ingredients. June 1994. (unpublished)
- Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Evaluation of the health aspects of sorbitol as a food ingredient. Prepared for the Food and Drug Administration. December 1972. (unpublished)
- Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Toxicological evaluation of certain food additives: sorbitol. Twenty-sixth report. WHO Technical Report Series 683, pp. 218-228. Geneva, 1982.
- Office of the Federal Register, General Services Administration. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Section 184.1835, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.
- Sicard, P.J., Leroy, P. Mannitol, Sorbitol and Lycasin: Properties and Food Applications. In: Developments in Sweeteners--2, T.H. Grenby, K.J. Parker and M.G. Lindley eds., Applied Science Publishers LTD, London and New York, 1983.
1) Sorbitol has been used for decades; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has affirmed sorbitol as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) and approved its use in various countries.”
2) Sorbitol is naturally produced in the body and occurs naturally in many foods including fruits and berries (NOTE: Sorbitol is found primarily from the trees of the genus Sorbus).
3) Sorbitol is non-carriogenic and does not contribute to dental plaques or dental carries as it is resistant to metabolism by bacteria in the oral cavity (i.e. it's another "good for your teeth and gums" sweetener).
4) Like xylitol, sorbitol contains one-third fewer calories than other carbohydrate sources—about 2.6 calories per gram versus 4.0 grams—which is why it can be used very sparingly.
Sorbitol, like xylitol, and stevia, are undeniably healthier sweeteners when compared to the artificial ones plaguing the sports fuel market, and that's precisely why—along with the natural flavors we use—they are included in Hammer Nutrition fuels. Sorbitol, because of its dual superior tablet binding and sweetening properties, is the logical choice for Endurolytes FIZZ.
There are two reasons. First, anytime caffeine is added to a flavor it can alter the taste significantly, so we have to be very selective when determining which flavors can contain caffeine. At this time Hammer Nutrition formulates two caffeinated flavors of Hammer Gel - Espresso is a natural in terms of a flavor that can and should contain caffeine (50 mg/serving), and the tart flavor of Tropical makes it suitable to contain a small amount of caffeine (25 mg/serving).
Secondly, the addition of caffeine to any product will make it more acidic. Though the higher level acidity is minor, it may increase the potential for stomach irritation in some people, especially when consuming large quantities of caffeine/caffeinated products.
When creatine supplements were in their infancy and not widely available, we did sell a creatine product. We discontinued it several years ago for a couple of primary reasons, one of which was the ever-increasing number of locations, such as health food and drug stores, online bodybuilding-specific stores, and even supermarkets, where creatine supplements could be found. Additionally, while creatine supplementation certainly has its place (primarily for off-season weight training workouts), we believe there are far better endurance-specific supplements available.
Creatine monohydrate (the most common form of creatine sold) is converted to creatine phosphate in the body. Phosphate molecules are then donated to replenish the short-term ATP-CP (adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate) energy system, which is of benefit primarily-to-solely for strength athletes (e.g., weight lifters, bodybuilders) or athletes engaged in short-duration, high-intensity bouts of exercise or races (e.g., track sprinters).
Race Day Boost and Perpetuem contain sodium phosphate, which we believe to be a much more appropriate creatine-like supplement for endurance athletes. This is because sodium phosphate not only replenishes/restores the short-term ATP-CP energy system, it also enhances the medium-term anaerobic/lactic acid energy system and the longer-term aerobic/oxygen energy system.
We worked diligently for almost two years in the hopes of making an energy cube, block, or similar product. Unfortunately, after countless attempts we found that it simply couldn't be done without the inclusion of copious amounts of simple sugars in the formula. As you probably already know, we are very much anti-simple sugar; we believe they are inappropriate carbohydrate sources for both athletic performance and overall health. So even though it certainly would have been profitable for us to produce a "Hammer Cube" to sell to athletes, to do so would be hypocritical and completely inconsistent with our fueling recommendations. We're much more interested in your athletic performance and overall health, which is why we do not produce a simple sugar-filled gelatinous energy product. For more information regarding why we do not recommend the use of simple sugars please read the article, Proper Caloric Intake During Endurance Exercise.
Traditionally, supplements were labeled with an expiration, "Best by," or "Use by" date-usually four years from the time of manufacturein accordance with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) guidelines. However, the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines and regulations have been recently updated. Therefore, a number of Hammer Nutrition products now display a "Manufacture" date on the label (oftentimes listed as MFG).
For example, a product manufactured on January 17, 2012 will display "MFG 011712."
In addition, to make determining a Hammer Nutrition products shelf life more convenient for our customers, as of August 16, 2012, we are also including a "Best by" date on gels and powders. The "Best by" date is the recommended date by which you should consume a product for best results.
- Hammer Gel has a "Best by" date of two (2) years from the time of manufacture.
- All Hammer Nutrition powdered fuels and Perpetuem Solids have a "Best by" date of three (3) years from the time of manufacture.
Hammer Bars and Endurolytes Fizz will still list an expiration date on the label. For optimal quality and freshness, these products should be used/consumed prior to the expiration date, which is within the following time frames from the manufacture date:
- Hammer Bars 18 months (produced after 1/1/13)
- Endurolytes Fizz two (2) years
Hammer Nutrition supplements will list a "Manufacture" date on the label, shown as MFG. One should have no concern regarding the quality or freshness of our supplements, as long as the product has not aged more than four years since the MFG date shown on the bottle or label (making sure that products avoid excessive heat and/or sunlight).
All Hammer Nutrition Products are made with natural flavors and derived from non-allergenic chemical sources unless stated otherwise on the label. The chemicals are naturally occurring in natural foods. For example, a natural orange flavor may be actually derived from several different citrus fruits. The chemicals can be used from other foods to make the orange flavor, as long as the chemical does in fact naturally occur in an orange as well. The chemicals used to make up the flavors in Hammer Nutrition products are in accordance with the FDA definition for natural flavor found in 21 Code of Federal Regulations 101.22 (3)
(3) The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants listed in 182.10, 182.20, 182.40, and 182.50 and part 184 of this chapter, and the substances listed in 172.510 of this chapter.
What this means is that the natural flavors we use:
1. Follow FDA guidelines and regulations
2. Are derived from the fruit itself
3. May be derived from another fruit or food source, as long as the chemical used in the other fruit/food source naturally occurs in the fruit whose flavor we're trying to replicate
4. Are derived from non-allergenic sources
ADDITIONAL QUESTION: The FDA rules regarding "Natural Flavors" seems to offer an awful lot of latitude for companies to then use a range of ingredients that customers may or may not want to ingest. Can you comment on that?
First, it is important to note that the procedures and guidelines we are required to follow from the FDA are unbelievably strict, far more than most anyone could ever conceive. Yes, the FDA may list several acceptable source materials that may (key word “may”) be used to obtain the Natural Flavor in a product, but that finished product must be absolutely pristine and devoid of impurities, no matter what the original source was.
With that in mind, it’s safe to say that the easiest route to obtain a Natural Flavor is what the manufacturer will source and use, though it does have other acceptable options, as per FDA regulations. As an example, the chocolate flavoring for Chocolate Whey Protein is from cocoa and the vanilla flavoring in Vanilla Whey Protein is from vanilla bean. Other examples: the orange Natural Flavor will most easily be derived from an orange, the strawberry Natural Flavor from strawberries, and so on.
The key thing to remember is that no matter what the original source may be for a Natural Flavor, and again, the easiest, most obvious choice (e.g., strawberry flavor derived from strawberries) is what is universally used, by the time it goes from original source to the “finished product”—extract, concentrate, oleoresin—it has been so thoroughly processed that there is nothing left at all except that no-impurities extract, concentrate, etc. Put another way, you won’t be ingesting (for example) edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf, or other sources that are listed as FDA-acceptable sources for obtaining Natural Flavors; all you are getting is the pure “end product” (i.e., Natural Flavor) from that original source.
Another good example is the complex carbohydrate (maltodextrin) that we use in all our fuels (Hammer Gel, HEED, Sustained Energy, Perpetuem, Recoverite). The Classic version contains corn-derived maltodextrin, and 2.0 version contains cassava root/tapioca-derived maltodextrin. In both cases, by the time it goes from source ingredient (corn or cassava root) to the “end product” (maltodextrin), the DNA of the source material is destroyed, as is the protein component, which is where the allergen lies. By the time the processing is completed there is nothing left at all—nothing—except the carbohydrate component (maltodextrin).
This example absolutely applies to the Natural Flavors used in our products.
Yes. None of the Hammer products contain any Chinese-sourced ingredients, nor do they come from other questionable sources. In addition, we only work with well established, FDA certified facilities that follow the strict GMP (good manufacturing practices) guidelines. Brian Frank (the owner of Hammer Nutrition) has been doing business with most of these vendors for over 20 years and they are generally industry leaders in their area. Each one of them will and does provide periodic, random assays.
Dr. Bill Misner (the now-retired head of our R & D) states:
"Between 1996-2008, I reviewed both Certificates of Analysis from manufacturers of Hammer Nutrition products, including independent lab analysis that confirmed manufacturer's Certificate of Analysis. Whether the Certificates of Analysis' or independent lab analysis' level of detection limit was set at PPM (parts per million) or PPB (parts per billion), all confirmed each product contained only the ingredients listed on the label plus 1-4% above the listed amounts described on the ingredients list. I retired from active employment February 2006 but serve as an advisor to Hammer Nutrition upon request. Hammer Nutrition has maintained integrity and quality in their entire line. My wife, I, and members of our family take Hammer products daily for health and fitness."
You can consume all flavors of Hammer Gel other than Peanut Butter without concern for cross contamination. Peanut Butter Hammer Gel is produced in a completely separate facility and location than where other Hammer Nutrition fuels are produced. Additionally, when Peanut Butter Hammer Gel is run on a given day, no other flavors of Hammer Gel are run on the same day. Finally, the machinery is always sanitized several times, using a special allergen sanitation process, and whoever is working that particular shift must change clothing (including gloves, of course) and go through a sanitation process as well.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an extract from a natural legume, Griffonia simplicfolia, not from the fermented form of the isolated amino acid, tryptophan. 5-HTP is actually a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan, a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Tryptophan is also a precursor for serotonin but is two metabolic steps away from serotonin.
Yes, every Hammer Nutrition supplement is 3rd party tested in compliance with the FDA’s regulations, 21 CFR Part 111 – Dietary Supplements. All the raw materials for each supplement we produce are tested for purity, strength, identity, and integrity. In addition to raw material testing, every Hammer Nutrition supplement is also tested in every stage of production—blending, encapsulation / powder-filling, packaging components and finished goods—before being released for distribution.
Q: I've noted what I would describe as a sharp smell when I open a container of Recoverite or Whey Protein. What is the cause and is this normal?
A: The strong scent naturally occurs from the amino acids that make up the whey protein isolate in both Recoverite and Whey Protein, and it is completely normal. One reason why the scent may be more pronounced in these products is because virtually all of the fat and lactose have been removed, yielding a more potent amino acid profile—over 90% actual protein—as compared to whey protein concentrate, which only yields, at the most, about 75-80% actual protein. The other reason is because we only use natural flavors in both products; these "mask" the naturally occurring smell of the amino acids much more subtly than artificial sweeteners, which we definitely do not want to include in the products.
While we do not currently have a collagen product in our line, we are definitely looking into the possibility of producing one. No ETA yet, of course, but if/when this happens, we’ll be sure to announce it.