Glycerol monostearate has been a performance-enhancing staple component in sports supplements for over a decade now. It’s proven effective over and over again for improving hydration, boosting endurance, and super-soaking skeletal muscle leading to some pretty epic “water-based” pumps.
Yes, glycerol is indeed awesome, but there’s a rather unfortunate side effect that comes along with using glycerol monostearate, or, even its supposedly “improved” successor, HydroMax -- clumping, and lots of it. From mounds of clumpy, solidified powder in your tub of pre workout to little gobs of goo stuck to the sides of your shaker, glycerol just can’t seem to shake its annoying (and costly) collection of drawbacks.
Until now, athletes have had to either endure the frustrations and headaches that come with glycerol supplements
Notice we said, “until now”.
The reason we say that is, there’s a new and improved form of glycerol supplement the brings all of the cell-soaking, performance-enhancing, and muscle-pump benefits of glycerol without the glumping, gobbing, and mess of previous iterations.
The new, improved, and superior form of glycerol we’re talking about is GlycerPump™, developed by the Australian nutraceutical supplier Pinnacle Ingredients.
We’ve got all the info below on why this should be your preferred brand of glycerol and where you can find it. But, before we get into why GlycerPump is the best form of glycerol, let’s give a quick breakdown of what glycerol is and why you want it in your pre workout.
What is Glycerol?
Glycerol is a simple polyol (organic compound containing multiple hydroxyl groups), composed of a sugar alcohol surrounded by three hydroxyl groups, which makes it highly soluble in water. It’s naturally-occurring in the human body as a component of triglycerides and serves as an intermediate in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Glycerol has also been extensively used in manufactured goods as a sweetener, solvent, emollient, and pharmaceutical agent, meaning it can be found in just about anything you’d imagine, including explosives!
A few other monikers you’ll see used to identify glycerol on product labels include:
What Does Glycerol Do?
When discussing how glycerol works, we’re primarily interested in how it works in the body and not how it works in cosmetics. So, in the human body, glycerol accumulates in all of your bodily fluids, except the ones circulating in your brain and eyeballs, where it increases osmotic pressure, and as a result, the total volume of water in the body. In other words, glycerol encourages your body to store more water all over, which is great for improving stamina, endurance and performance.
Additionally, glycerol can also serve as an energy substrate in the body, meaning that if you consume a large enough quantity of it, it can be used for energy during exercise. It’s metabolized through the glycolytic pathway following conversion in the liver to glycerol-3-phosphate. Again, for our purposes, we’re primarily interested in the cell-soaking abilities it offers, so don’t get too hung up on glycerol’s energy-yielding qualities. You’d have to consume A LOT of glycerol for that too happen, far more than you’d find in any of the best pre workouts on the market.
So, back to how glycerol works when taken in and around your workout.
Following ingestion, glycerol is rapidly absorbed and distributed throughout the body to all the various tissues. When you consume a high amount of water (>16oz) with your glycerol, osmotic pressure rises, encouraging your body to retain all of that water you just drank, thereby expanding those fluid compartments in your body that we mentioned previously. This results in “hyperhydration”, which means that your muscles are essentially super-saturated with fluid, leading to better endurance, performance, and pumps![2,3,4]
Benefits of Glycerol for Athletes
If you’ve been training with any sort of regularity over the past decade, you’re guaranteed to have experienced the hydration and performance-boosting effects of glycerol. You’ve probably also experienced the powder clumping and gobs of goo stuck on the sides of your shaker as well, but don’t worry, we’ve got the fix for that up ahead!
Before we get there though, here’s all that you stand to gain from incorporating glycerol into your workout supplements:
Greater aerobic and anaerobic power
Increased endurance (up to 24%!) [2,4]
Lower heart rate during exercise
Decreased urine output and free-water clearance
Increased time to exhaustion
Decreased “thermal burden” of exercise when training in the heat
The last two benefits of glycerol aren’t really documented by researchers, and they’re not related to boosting performance as much as your self-confidence, but supplementing with glycerol also gives you fuller looking muscles and some pretty epic muscle pumps during training.
And to quote the great Deion Sanders:
“You look good, you feel good…
You feel good, you play good…
You play good, they pay good!”
In other words, if glycerol’s pump-inducing benefits enhance your confidence and motivation while training, you might be able to push a little harder and bang out some extra muscle-building reps, meaning bigger, better gains
History of Glycerol in Supplements
When sports nutrition companies first started using glycerol in their products, it was included in the form of glycerol monostearate (GMS), which consists of glycerol and stearic acid. The downside to glycerol monostearate, aside from the inevitable clumping, is that it actually only contains 25% at most of glycerol, with the other 75% being mostly saturated fat..
Why is this less than ideal?
Well for a couple of reasons. First, the high fat content means that glycerol monostearate doesn’t have a very long shelf life, meaning it will eventually spoil and go rancid. Additionally, the solubility of glycerol monostearate was poor (due to the high amount of fat), which manifested itself in the form of tiny clumps and “gobs of goo” stuck to the sides of your shaker bottle, leaving you to have to scrap the inside of your shaker to get those highly sought after glycerol molecules in your body or leave them in the shaker and miss out on the benefits of glycerol completely. As a result, most companies included glycerol monostearate that really only contained between 5-12% actual glycerol, meaning you got a lot of unwanted saturated fat in your pre workout and not much real glycerol.
Eventually, a “new and improved” form of glycerol debuted on the market a few years ago touting itself as the first shelf-stable, high-yield form of glycerol. That new form of glycerol supplement was HydroMax by Glanbia Nutritionals.
Initially, HydroMax was lauded as the heir apparent to the glycerol throne, promoting a longer shelf life, better stability, and higher glycerol content (65%). Supplement companies flocked to the new form of glycerol and quickly began replacing the glycerol monostearate in their products with HydroMax. All seemed well and good at first, but the honeymoon with HydroMax didn’t really last.
Consumers soon experienced the same clumpy tubs of pre workout and goo gobs in their shakers that they had experienced with glycerol monostearate. But, consumers really didn’t have a choice, either get by with HydroMax, or avoid the supplement entirely, thus missing out on the performance-boosting qualities of glycerol.
Well, consumers now have another choice, a superior source for their glycerol supplementation needs in GlycerPump™ by Pinnacle Ingredients.
What is GlycerPump™?
GlycerPump™ is a new and improved, shelf-stable form of glycerol powder, containing 65% glycerol by weight.
What makes GlycerPump an improvement over monostearate and HydroMax?
GlycerPump uses silicon dioxide for it “carrier”, and Pinnacle Ingredients’ proprietary spray-drying method is responsible for the improved stability, solubility, and shelf-life. In fact, Pinnacle Ingredients has suggested that GlycerPump may potentially enhance the stability of certain supplements, such as pre workouts or intra workouts.
What Supplements Contain GlycerPump?
You won’t have to look very far to find a well-dosed supplement using GlycerPump. Primeval Labs has developed two of the best sports nutrition supplements available utilizing the new leader in glycerol supplements in:
The premier pre workout on the market, Mega Pre contains everything you need to push longer, harder, and stronger in your workouts, including a full 2 grams of GlycerPump. In addition to the cell-saturating effects of GlycerPump, Mega Pre also contains L-Taurine and betaine anhydrous to further support hydration, performance, and hydration during training.
Properly hydrating prior to training is essential, but it’s equally important to replenish those fluids lost during exercise, too. As such, Primeval Labs has Included a full gram of GlycerPump in their industry-leading intra workout supplement, Intracell 7.
Intracell contains a mix of high-performance carbohydrates (Cluster Dextrin and Palatinose), along with all of the essential amino acids (EAA’s ) needed to sustain performance and support muscle repair and growth during and after training.
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van Rosendal SP, Osborne MA, Fassett RG, Coombes JS. Guidelines for glycerol use in hyperhydration and rehydration associated with exercise. Sports Med. 2010;40(2):113-129. doi:10.2165/11530760-000000000-00000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20092365
Lyons TP, Riedesel ML, Meuli LE, Chick TW. Effects of glycerol-induced hyperhydration prior to exercise in the heat on sweating and core temperature. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990;22(4):477-483. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2402207
Montner P, Stark DM, Riedesel ML, Murata G, Robergs R, Timms M, Chick TW. Pre-exercise glycerol hydration improves cycling endurance time. Int J Sports Med. 1996;17:27–33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8775573
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Bartos, Jeremy. “HydroMax Glycerol Powder 65% White Paper.” Glanbia Nutritionals. N.p., Aug. 2014 https://www.glanbianutritionals.com/sites/default/files/white-paper/uploads/HydroMax_WhitePaper.pdf