One of our personal favorites around the office is Cistanche tubulosa. Many of us take Cistanche for its testosterone and growth hormone enhancing properties, in addition its beneficial effects on gut health and mood.* Since many of us have had Cistanche in our stacks for years at this point, we’ve had the opportunity to build up lots of stacks around Cistanche. That eventually led to the idea of CistaMAX, a cistanche stack that we’ve dialed in to bring the best properties of cistanche out even more!* To achieve this, we had to do quite a bit of experimentation. One of the first things we did was to build out the Cistanche tubulosa portion of the stack in order to achieve a more full spectrum array of bioactives. To achieve this, we combined our normal high potency Cistanche tubulosa extract with a supercritical CO2 extract which concentrates way more acetoside and a full spectrum non-extracted Cistanche tubulosa powder.
On its own, this Cistanche complex produces very pleasant effects, but we decided to dial it in even further. To this Cistanche tubulosa complex we have added Primavie shilajit, Pregnenolone and DHEA which help boost the effects of Cistanche even further. The overall effects profile feels like a more robust, well rounded and mood boosting version of our regular Cistanche tubulosa.* Interestingly, the ghrelin effects of CistaMAX seem to be much stronger too, because the first few days produce an almost insatiable hunger, which makes CistaMAX ideal for bulking up!* So, if you are looking for a Cistanche tubulosa supplement with a serious punch then look no further than CistaMAX! *
CistaMAX is a unique formulation of Cistanche tubulosa, a very interesting holoparasitic plant which is found predominantly in the deserts of China. The main focus of the CistaMAX formulation is capturing the full array of unique bioactives that Cistanche tubulosa contains.* Most Cistanche tubulosa extracts focus predominantly on its echinacoside content, which makes a lot of sense because this is one of the most studied compounds in Cistanche tubulosa and is responsible for the bulk of its benefits.* However, Cistanche tubulosa contains a lot of other interesting compounds such as acetoside, which we have also been standardizing for in our high potency Cistanche tubulosa extract. Even beyond acetoside and echinacoside, there are lots of other interesting compounds which we’ve been seeing now for a while on our chromatograms of non-extracted cistanche biomass. Take a look at the following chromatogram of our non-extracted Cistanche tubulosa powder as an example:
Figure 1. A chromatogram of non-extracted Cistanche tubulosa.
You can see the clearly labeled peaks of echinacoside and verbascoside (also known as acetoside), but around those two peaks, there are lots of other little peaks which indicate the presence of lots of other similar compounds. Compare that chromatogram, to the chromatogram of our high potency Cistanche tubulosa extract:
Figure 2. A chromatogram of our high potency Cistanche tubulosa extract.
Besides acetoside/verbascoside and echinacoside, there are only a small number of other peaks. This indicates that our high potency Cistanche tubulosa can achieve such high amounts of echinacoside and acetoside by sacrificing other compounds. With this in mind, we considered if any other extraction methods would yield more full spectrum effects. Of course, this meant we went straight to one of our favorite extraction methods; supercritical CO2 extraction! To our surprise, the supercritical CO2 extract displayed more bioactive diversity, while maintaining the potency of our high potency Cistanche tubulosa extract:*
Figure 3. A chromatogram of our supercritical CO2 Cistanche tubulosa extract.
As you can see from the chromatogram, the supercritical CO2 extract concentrates a wide variety of compounds in significant amounts. Most interestingly, it also extracted significantly more acetoside/verbascoside. The supercritical CO2 extract still doesn’t look as ‘full spectrum’ as the non-extracted Cistanche powder and since we wanted to achieve the most full-spectrum profile, we realized we needed to combine different extracts. With this in mind, we combined our high potency cistanche extract with the supercritical CO2 extract and the non-extracted cistanche. We then tested this complex and this is the chromatogram of that test:
Figure 4. A chromatogram of the CistaMAX.
As you can see from the chromatogram, CistaMAX sports a high concentration of diverse bioactives, which is exactly what we were going for! Do keep in mind while looking at these chromatograms that they only tell a small part of the story. This is because the sample preparation methods have been optimized for echinacoside and acetoside and thus only compounds that are similar to echinacoside and acetoside will show up on these chromatograms. There are a lot of compounds in Cistanche tubulosa which are not similar to echinacoside and acetoside and these are thus not showing up on the above chromatograms. Furthermore, we also are not able to see volatile compounds on these chromatograms as that requires a different analytical test. However, one of the reasons why we also selected a supercritical CO2 extract of Cistanche tubulosa is because it may contain interesting volatile compounds and supercritical CO2 extraction would be a great way to capture these. Thus, as our library of Cistanche tubulosa analytical methods grows, we will likely discover some very interesting things about our new Cistanche extracts and non-extracts!*
Despite dialing in our cistanche complex, we weren’t fully satisfied yet and wanted to include other supporting botanicals and compounds in order to further boost the effects of our cistanche complex.* We added in Primavie shilajit because it works hand in hand with cistanche to enhance the activity of the steroidogenic enzymes, which are important for testosterone synthesis.* We then rounded out the CistaMAX stack with two compounds that are very important in the process of steroidogenesis: pregnenolone and DHEA. With these additions, the main focus still remains on the cistanche complex, but they solidify the effects just a touch more!*
Our main goal with CistaMAX was to dial up the effects of Cistanche tubulosa as best we could. We realized very early on that the best way to achieve this would be to expand our scope of bioactives that we would be focusing on. While there is very little research on compounds besides acetoside and echinacoside in Cistanche tubulosa, previous experience has taught us that higher bioactive diversity can lead to some very interesting effects.* Based on what we discovered with the Cistanche supercritical CO2 extracts (high bioactive diversity), this may also be one of the reasons why we are generally partial to supercritical CO2 extracts like our coriander, myrrh, holy basil and ultra concentrated red reishi. By combining the supercritical cistanche extract with our high potency cistanche extract, our non-extracted Cistanche powder yielded some very interesting results!* The mood enhancing properties felt much more robust but above all, this Cistanche complex produced a much stronger appetite stimulating effect.* This increased appetite enhancing effect could be due to a ghrelin based mechanism, which also plays a role in cistanche’s growth hormone boosting effects!*
The Cistanche tubulosa complex as a standalone was already very interesting to us and achieved our main goal of enhancing the bioactive diversity quite nicely!* However, we wanted to add in a few complimentary compounds and botanicals that could further solidify the effects. One of the main benefits of Cistanche tubulosa supplementation is that it upregulates key steroidogenic enzymes that play a major role in steroid hormone synthesis.* This is one of the main mechanisms by which Cistanche tubulosa enhances testosterone production. Another botanical that has beneficial effects on these steroidogenic enzymes, is shilajit. With this in mind, we decided to beta-test a combination of shilajit and the cistanche complex and we found that it further dialed in the robustness of the cistanche complex.* The mood elevating effects came up slightly, as did the confidence and libido effects.* In theory, the combination of the cistanche complex and shilajit should lead to even more efficient steroidogenesis, which made us look even further into the process of steroidogenesis.*
Two of the most important compounds in the process of steroidogenesis are pregnenolone and DHEA. In fact, lots of people, including ourselves, had already been stacking Cistanche with pregnenolone with great effects. Thus, it made perfect sense to add DHEA and pregnenolone to the mix because they may have highly synergistic effects with the steroidogenesis upregulating effects of the cistanche complex!*
Last but not least, the gut health effects!* Cistanche tubulosa appears to produce the bulk of its mood promoting effects through a gut-brain axis mechanism.* This can be partially traced back to Cistanche tubulosa’s ability to enhance the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), especially butyrate. These SCFAs can have very positive impacts on mood and cognitive function.* To further enhance this gut mechanism with CistaMAX, we included non-extracted Cistanche tubulosa powder. When we perform extracts, we tend to initially remove many of the fibers and starches of plants. However, these fibers and starches could act as pre-biotics and thus, including some Cistanche tubulosa fibers and starches in CistaMAX could further help with the formation of SCFAs!*
Testosterone Stack: CistaMAX + Tongkat Ali Extract Capsules
The combination of Cistanche tubulosa and tongkat ali has been very popular for quite a while now due to their synergistic interactions. So, what better way to further elevate this synergistic interaction than by stacking CistaMAX with our strongest tongkat extract?*
Growth Hormone Stack: CistaMAX + GABA Capsules
In addition to enhancing testosterone levels, Cistanche tubulosa can also increase growth hormone levels. Another supplement we carry that can enhance growth hormone levels is GABA. Stacking CistaMAX and GABA together should result in even more growth hormone enhancement and the effects are also very synergistic for mood!*
Gut Health Stack: CistaMAX + Pomella Capsules
One of our favorite aspects of cistanche is that it can positively influence gut microbes to produce more short chain fatty acids (SCFA). This effect should work synergistically in the context of a good prebiotic, and pomegranate extracts have recently been shown to be excellent pre-biotics. Thus, combining CistaMAX with pomella should produce some very beneficial gut health effects!
As a dietary supplement, take one capsule of Cistamax daily.
To gain more insight, see the Cistamax reviews and experiences below.
Nootropics Depot offers 60ct. or 120ct. jars of high-quality Cistamax. Nootropics Depot’s Cistamax has been lab-tested and verified for both product purity and identity.
|*Attention: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.