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What is Amentoflavone?

Amentoflavone is a plant alkaloid which is found naturally in a number of different plants, including Gingko biloba and St John's Wort. Initial research has shown that this naturally occurring chemical has a lot of potential benefits for health and the treatment of disease. It also has a number of benefits for exercise, and amentoflavone has caught the eye of a number of athletes, trainers and supplement manufacturers, primarily appearing in fat burners and pre-workouts.

Where does Amentoflavone come from?

Amentoflavone is found in many plants. Ginkgo Biloba and St John's Wort are probably the best known, but it is also able to be extracted in large quantities from Selaginella tamariscina. A proprietary whole plant extract from this moss relative, called AmentoMAX, contains 20% Amentoflavone by weight and is sold commercially.

Amentoflavone Benefits

Amentoflavone is an alkaloid with a huge number of benefits, which first came to the attention of the scientific community when it was discovered that it possessed anti-inflammatory properties (1). Further research indicated that Amentoflavone also has anti-viral properties (2), and has been shown to inhibit various cancers via a number of different methods (3,4). One of these methods is the inhibition of an enzyme based protein in the body called fatty acid synthase. Fatty acid synthase inhibition not only inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells but also prevents the replication of some viruses, and may stop the body from storing excess energy as fat (5), and there is some evidence that amentoflavone can increase lipolysis, or fat breakdown (6)

Amentoflavone is also a vasodilator, relaxing the blood vessels to allow greater blood flow (7). It also increases the strength of muscle contraction  by increasing the release of calcium from muscle cells (8).

Due to its interaction with the GABA and adrenal receptors, amentoflavone can boost mood and reduced feelings of anxiety (9), and it may act as a central nervous system stimulant (10).

Amentoflavone Benefits for Bodybuilding

Many of the actions of this naturally occurring substance are very beneficial to bodybuilders and athletes. Firstly and most obviously are the ergogenic benefits. Increased calcium release means increased contraction strength and the ability to lift heavier weights, while the vasodilatory effect promises a killer pump at the same time. On top of this, the mood boosting effects make amentoflavone a perfect addition to pre-workout supplements.

The fact amentoflavone not only prevents fat storage, but enhances fat breakdown, make it a great ingredient to have in a fat burner supplement. The mood boosting effects of this supplement can also help alleviate the negative feelings that can come with dietary restriction.

Amentoflavone Side Effects, Safety & Negatives

At first sight, Amentoflavone appears to be some sort of miracle drug. It may well be, but we can't say anything for sure at this stage, because the majority of the research into the effects of this plant alkaloid has been conducted in animals or cell lines, rather than in human trials.

There is also very high potential for interactions between amentoflavone and other drugs. This is because amentoflavone suppresses enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 family, which account for about 75% of all drug metabolism in the human body (10). This means that anyone taking medication should consult their doctor before supplementing with amentoflavone or any herbal extract containing this plant alkaloid.

Amentoflavone Dosage & Timing

Amentoflavone is a supplement with acute and cumulative effects, and is frequently taken before a workout to reap the short-term benefits to strength, mood and blood flow. When it is being used to assist weight loss, a common schedule would be one dose first thing in the morning, and a second mid-afternoon.

There is no consensus on dosage of amentoflavone, and individual doses vary from less than 100mg to 1000mg per day. Most people start with a single dose of about 200mg and increase or decrease this to give them their desired effect. A common dose is 400mg of amentoflavone extract prior to a workout.

Amentoflavone Supplements

Amentoflavone is increasingly featured as an ingredient the formulations of supplements. Supplements containing Gingko biloba or St John's Wort are also going to contain amentoflavone.

Stacking Amentoflavone

Amentoflavone stacks well with other pre workout and weight loss ingredients. Scientists know that this alkaloid burns fat in a different way to L-carnitine, so putting these two together can maximise fat burning potential.

On the other hand, there may be some overlap between the activities of caffeine and amentoflavone. A better option for anyone who wants a pre-workout stimulant kick, is a natural amine alkaloid, like N-methyltyramine, higenamine or synephrine.

(1)Kim HK, Son KH, Chang HW, Kang SS, Kim HP. Amentoflavone, a plant biflavone: a new potential anti-inflammatory agent. Arch Pharm Res. 1998 Aug; 21(4):406-10.
(2) Birt DF, Widrlechner MP, Hammer KD, Hillwig ML, Wei J, Kraus GA, Murphy PA, McCoy J, Wurtele ES, Neighbors JD, Wiemer DF, Maury WJ, Price JP. Hypericum in infection: Identification of anti-viral and anti-inflammatory constituents. Pharm Biol. 2009;47(8):774-782.
(3)Tarallo V, Lepore L, Marcellini M, Dal Piaz F, Tudisco L, Ponticelli S, Lund FW, Roepstorff P, Orlandi A, Pisano C, De Tommasi N, De Falco S. The biflavonoid amentoflavone inhibits neovascularization preventing the activity of proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factors. J Biol Chem. 2011 Jun 3;286(22):19641-51.
(4) Lee S, Kim H, Kang JW, Kim JH, Lee DH, Kim MS, Yang Y, Woo ER, Kim YM, Hong J, Yoon DY. The biflavonoid amentoflavone induces apoptosis via suppressing E7 expression, cell cycle arrest at sub-G₁ phase, and mitochondria-emanated intrinsic pathways in human cervical cancer cells. J Med Food. 2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):808-16.
(5) Lee JS, Lee MS, Oh WK, Sul JY. Fatty acid synthase inhibition by amentoflavone induces apoptosis and antiproliferation in human breast cancer cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009 Aug;32(8):1427-32.
(6) Dell'Agli M, Bosisio E. Biflavones of Ginkgo biloba stimulate lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. 2002 Jan;68(1):76-9.
(7) Kang DG, Yin MH, Oh H, Lee DH, Lee HS. Vasorelaxation by amentoflavone isolated from Selaginella tamariscina. Planta Med. 2004 Aug;70(8):718-22.
(8) Suzuki A, Matsunaga K, Mimaki Y, Sashida Y, Ohizumi Y. Properties of amentoflavone, a potent caffeine-like Ca2+ releaser in skeletal muscle sarcoplasmic reticulum. Eur J Pharmacol. 1999 May 7;372(1):97-102.
(9) Ishola IO, Chatterjee M, Tota S, Tadigopulla N, Adeyemi OO, Palit G, Shukla R. Antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of amentoflavone isolated from Cnestis ferruginea in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012 Dec;103(2):322-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2012.08.017. Epub 2012 Aug 24.
(10) von Moltke LL, Weemhoff JL, Bedir E, Khan IA, Harmatz JS, Goldman P, Greenblatt DJ.Inhibition of human cytochromes P450 by components of Ginkgo biloba.J Pharm Pharmacol. 2004 Aug;56(8):1039-44.

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