LIKE THE HYDRO Flask I looked at recently (here), this is another product that you can’t buy in NZ. Well, that’s not entirely true – certain supplement shops stock Cissus Quadrangularis (CQ) from other brands, but I reckon that this stuff from True Nutrition is so good that it’s worth bringing it in from the USA.
Cissus Quadrangularis? “What the heck is that?” I hear you ask. CQ is a plant that’s part of the grape family; it’s also known as Veldt Grape, Devil’s Backbone or Asthisamharaka. It’s basically been used in Indian folk medicine and other cultures to treat all kinds of ailments. According to the True Protein site, it’s said to be good for tendon injuries, effective against gastrointestinal disorders and hemorrhoids, while also having anti-oxidant and anti-microbial effects, anti-inflammatory actions including the reduction of tissue infiltration by immune cells (a hallmark of tissue injury), and similarly, analgesic (pain reducing) actions.
In addition, CQ contains high levels of vitamin C and carotene as well as the phytochemical quercitin (an anti-inflammatory, vaso-dilating flavanoid found in grapes), and beta-sitosterol (a cholesterol-based compound that also has anti-inflammatory as well as immunomodulating – cortisol reducing – effects). It’s also said that QC can help with body fat loss, and that it might have an anabolic effect leading to increased muscle mass and even bone growth. There are loads of study references on the True Nutrition site.
In short, QC might just be the Swiss Army Knife of supplements. I can’t recall where I first came across QC, perhaps on one of the bodybuilding forums that I used to frequent, but when I finally got off my butt and ordered some, I was left in no doubt as to its effectiveness. In terms of recovery from training, improved performance at gym and on the bike, along with a general feeling of well-being, and energy, there’s little to match it. There’s no mistaking when I’m taking it and when I’m not, and given how good I feel on a day to day basis, that’s quite something.
So it’s a perfect addition to the diet of athletes or anyone looking for a bit of a boost, but let’s bear in mind the very simple basics here – it’s a SUPPLEMENT i.e. it’s an add-on, not the be all and end all. I’m all for adding multivitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids to any diet bar the very best, but exotic supplements like this should always be taken in addition to a healthy diet, not as something you take to make your diet of fast food and refined garbage slightly less nefarious.
The effects I notice while taking QC may have to do with the potency of the True Nutrition supplements – I’ve been a fan of this company for years, and if there’s one reason to move to the USA, it’d be the easy access to their products without the postage costs required to get them to New Zealand. Still – the costs of getting QC out here aren’t all that harsh – I recently brought in 400 grams and the whole lot cost me around NZ$100 landed and delivered. At a half a gram a day, even one 100 gram bag will last a long time. Ordering is easy, and the stuff usually arrives in 10-14 days tops.
There’s a veggie capsule version available too, but I’m a notorious cheapskate, so there’s no way I’m paying more for less, even if it meant that I didn’t have to taste the powder. And the powder is foul. There’s no beating around the bush in that regard – man oh man, is it ever sharp tasting but over the years, I’ve managed to develop a technique that gets it down in a hurry without too much hitting the taste buds. A mouthful of water, a teaspoon with a little bit of QC powder and a quick swallow does the trick most of the time. Someone pointed out that I could just add it to a smoothie, and of course, that’s true but the amounts involved are so small and I hate to think of any being left behind on the sides of the blender and glass.
If you’re looking for a remarkably effective exotic addition to your training regimen, this is the one I’d have at #1 on my list. ASHLEY KRAMER