Since its introduction we have been watching this anabolic discovery set the bodybuilding world on fire. X-Factor is reported to have a huge impact on muscle growth in trained athletes, and is quickly filling the void left by the pro-hormone ban.
So, what is this incredible discovery he calls X-Factor? How does it work? Why is it so significant? We sat down with the inventor William Llewellyn to get the 411 on this new anabolic powerhouse.
[ Q ] So William. Thanks for doing this. First, for those unfamiliar with this supplement, can you explain what X-Factor is?
A: It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me. To answer your questions,
X-Factor is a muscle building and definition-enhancing supplement that contains arachidonic acid.
Arachidonic acid is an essential fatty acid, which sits at the very core of the body's physiological response to weight training.
When you lift weights, you damage your muscle fibers, and arachidonic acid is released. Its release alters local chemistry, causing a shift that favors anabolism. It is a very powerful nutrient, and perhaps the most fundamental to skeletal muscle growth.
By taking X-Factor, more arachidonic acid is retained in your muscles, and the anabolic response is much stronger with training. I feel like the name X-Factor is extremely appropriate, as arachidonic acid was indeed the unknown "X-Factor" of muscle growth bodybuilders didn't understand all this time, and is only now coming to light.
[ Q ] Is this what you mean when you call it an "Anabolic Response Amplification" supplement?
A: Yes. The general anabolic cascade, which begins with arachidonic acid release, will be greatly amplified in the presence of more arachidonic acid.
This means more androgen receptors (increasing testosterone sensitivity), heightened IGF-1 signaling (increased satellite cell proliferation), greater vasodilation (augmenting blood flow and nutrient uptake), and even enhanced lipolysis (fat loss).
Ultimately your body will synthesize much more protein than it did before, and muscle size, strength, and often definition, will increase.
[ Q ] How effective is this supplement at building muscle? Does it work, or does it "really work"? Who is using it?
A: If I do say so, it is the most effective non-steroidal muscle-building agent yet introduced to the supplement industry. You've heard this claim a lot, I know. But it really is true this time! As to who is using it, I think a large part of its following is in the "hardcore" sector already.
Many are combining it with their steroid cycles, in order to optimize androgen receptor levels and maximize prostaglandin biosynthesis and overall anabolism. We even have a number of drug-tested athletes using it with excellent success as well.
I know the statement I've made about it being, 'the most effecting anabolic supplement,' is very strong, and I definitely don't make it lightly. Once you come to understand how basic and fundamental arachidonic acid is to growth, however, it doesn't seem so far fetched.
[ Q ] What do you mean "basic"? The whole science behind it seems a little complicated, if you don't mind me saying.
A: No, not at all. I think you can look at this supplement in two ways, really. It works (in a technical sense) by enhancing prostaglandin biosynthesis, which increase protein synthesis rates, androgen receptor levels, IGF-1 signaling, and vasodilation (nutrient availability).
There is a giant cascade involved here, and yes, you can easily get lost trying to navigate the science of it. More fundamentally, though, arachidonic acid availability dictates how strongly this anabolic cascade will be stimulated with training.
The more arachidonic acid you have in your muscle tissue, the easier it is to liberate and trigger growth. So it is very basic in that all growth revolves around this nutrient, at the very core.
[ Q ] Do levels of arachidonic acid vary in bodybuilders? Do some have more than others?
A: Yes, there is a great deal of variance here depending on many factors including dietary intake. More importantly, however, levels are lowered with training. The arachidonic acid normally stored in your muscles starts to get used up, and is replaced with other (inactive) fatty acids, dampening the anabolic response.
This is one of the key reasons we find it harder and harder to trigger soreness and new growth when we train regularly. The "plateau effect" can be attributed to arachidonic acid depletion in many cases. In fact, an arachidonic acid deficiency exists in many advanced athletes and bodybuilders.
This nutritional factor is poorly understood to most sports doctors at this point, as it is such a new thing to look at. But in time I expect muscle tissue phospholipid testing for arachidonic acid will be an important part of the conditioning of elite athletes, even some regular bodybuilders with the resources to do it.
Because this nutrient exists in a state of flux, it does open the door for arachidonic acid "loading", which is why X-Factor works so well.
[ Q ] Ever since you let members on our forum try X-Factor and report their progress, it has been selling like hotcakes. The numbers looked really good during that online trial. Can you highlight some of the results you have seen?
A: Well, we have 15 people whom have completed the 50-day "Bodybuilding.com online X-Factor trial" so far, and of them all 15 have reported great success with the product. The average gain has been just about 8.25 lbs. of lean muscle tissue over the 50-day period, which in most cases was combined with significant fat loss.
That is one of the really amazing things about this supplement. Many users are building mass and shedding fat at the same time. We even had one tester, Michael Elias, use the product for cutting/lean mass preservation before a recent bodybuilding show. Not only did Michael end up winning his weight class, he also won the men's overall title and secured a WNSO pro card in the process.
People all over the country are experiencing similar results to those of his and others during the trial. The product really has been taking off like wildfire, and we owe most of it to word of mouth.
You Can View All The Results At This Link.
[ Q ] Are there any side effects to using X-Factor?
A: The main side effect seems to be increased post-workout soreness. But I don't usually like to think of this is a side effect. Soreness is one of the things that occur during the process of tissue healing and repair.
If anything, this as an indicator the product does what it is supposed to - heighten the repair/growth process.
Prostaglandins do mediate inflammation in the body, so if you have any type of an inflammatory disease (arthritis is a common example), taking X-Factor may exaggerate its symptoms.
Such conditions would probably dictate your doctor having you monitor your diet for arachidonic acid intake already, however.
If you are in doubt, ask your doctor if it is O.K. to use. It might also increase pain signals, so it is best not to take when you are healing from injury.
[ Q ] There is a lot of focus lately on Omega 3 fatty acids. How does arachidonic acid fit into this?
A: I do think Omega 3 fatty acids are important, and can be very useful and healthy. I try to keep my intake of them higher most of the year, and will eat more cold-water fish and use
flax in my protein powders when I am not trying to bulk. I also eat a lot of olive oil, which is known to be a potent anti-inflammatory, and to offer some health benefits as such.
X-Factor is not unhealthy, but it doesn't offer the health benefits of high Omega 3 intake. So I look at X-Factor as a short break from that, for the sake of building muscle. It would be very much like the Atkins' Diet for many. On Atkins, many people rely on a lot of red meat, which is very rich in arachidonic acid.
Some people criticize the Atkins' Diet for being too "pro-inflammatory". But realistically, taking in high levels of arachidonic acid periodically, for a few months of dieting at a time, is not unhealthy. Neither is X-Factor, and both practices (arachidonic acid supplementations and high arachidonic acid containing Atkins-type diets) have been proven safe in medical studies.
[ Q ] You mention medical studies. What kinds of studies have been done on arachidonic acid already?
A: Quite a number actually. The last several years, arachidonic acid has been a popular addition to baby formula.
It was shown to be important to infant growth, and helps promote healthy weight gain and neurological development. It was absent in store-bought baby formula before, and many doctors and scientists felt it important to include. So as you can imagine, there was a great deal of safety studies done before they started giving it to babies.
As far as fatty acids go, it is one of the most widely studied. It is very important to a wide number of body functions, so it makes sense. Nobody had just ever thought of using it to build muscle in adults before. It is an unusual situation we are in, as most "new" supplements have little medical study behind them.
We usually find an obscure compound, which had one or two papers published on it many decades earlier, and deduce its safety anecdotally, and by looking at how it works in the body.
With arachidonic acid, however, we literally have thousands of papers to review, some with very similar dosing protocols to what we recommend. Only our focus is different. The safety data and protocols remain just as relevant.
[ Q ] There are a lot of people who are just so skeptical of every new anabolic supplement. What do you say to the skeptics that this is probably another supplement that doesn't work?
A: I'd simply say that X-Factor is the first supplement to truly deliver, in real solid muscle tissue, on the non-hormonal anabolic promise.
If you are skeptical, I don't think you should buy it. I am as skeptical as the next person, and wouldn't fault anyone for doubting what I am saying. I know the claims are very bold. In this case they just happen to be true. In time, hopefully, even the hardest of skeptics will realize it.
[ Q ] It looks like it is already on its way, judging by the orders we have for it. We sold out of what we had several weeks ago, and are waiting on more from your company. Will we have more soon? [Editors Note: X-Factor is now back in stock]
A: Yes, you will. That is my fault too so let me apologize. I insisted on changing the dosage for the next run, as I wanted to make the supplement a little more cost effective.
With the new 250mg version you only need to take 4 caps per day, and you now have 100 softgels instead of 90. Just two bottles will allow you to complete a full 50-day cycle instead of three. I apologize for this delay, but felt the change was important.
[ Q ] Is X-Factor compatible with other supplements like creatine and other anabolic nutrients?
A. Yes, absolutely. As I explained earlier X-Factor (arachidonic acid) is released during exercise as muscle tissue is damaged. It initiates the anabolic cascade that rebuilds the muscle tissue. X-Factor supports androgen receptor activity, IGF-1 signaling, vasodilation, protein synthesis, and lipolysis.
Because X-Factor is at the top of the anabolic cascade, our research indicates that it should be an essential component, rather than an optional component, of any muscle building supplement program.
And like I also said before, hardcore athletes taking steroids have seen significant improvements in response to adding X-Factor to their cycles. So, X-Factor is proving to be essential to all bodybuilders, natural or otherwise.
[ Q ] I know you filed a patent on X-Factor. How is that coming along?
A: Actually, the patent was just recently approved, on January 11th 2005 to be exact. All of our marketing materials should be reflecting this very soon.
[ Q ] What was it that made you first think of using arachidonic acid for muscle growth?
A: I guess the seed was planted many years ago, when I first began to wonder why exercise was necessary to build muscle. No matter how many drugs you take, it is a "given" that you need to lift weights so they work for you.
I wanted to understand the underlying factors that continued to regulate the local growth of tissues, even in the face of strong anabolic drugs, and if they could be exploited to further enhance anabolism.
One day I came across a paper showing drugs that inhibited prostaglandin formation (anti-inflammatory drugs) also inhibited protein synthesis after exercise.
This reinvigorated my interest in local tissue physiology, and I started looking very deeply into this system. It sort of all just came together from there, with a lot of work, and a lot of trial and error, of course.
[ Q ] Is there a reason you are focusing so much on this one product only right now?
A: We could sell other things, but I just don't think it is the best decision for us now. I feel like I have something huge here with X-Factor.
The word "epic" has been used to describe it. We've tapped onto something so fundamental to muscle growth, so effective as a supplement, that the entire company feels excited to put the bulk of our time and resources behind it.
I've said before that I feel we have a serious job to do here. I believe this product will change the way we look at muscle growth, let alone supplementation, so we mustn't get distracted.
[ Q ] I know you have a lot of work to do, so I will leave you at that. I want to thank you for giving us your time.
A: You are welcome, and thank you. I was a member of BB.com long before ever doing business with you, and love the site. I can always make some time for you guys.
[ Q ] Well in that case I hope we can get you back again, perhaps even doing some writing for the site.
A: I'd love to. We'll talk and get it started. I guess I should close by saying "Until Next Time" then.
So, there you have it. Molecular Nutrition has gone from a full line of prohormones, protein powders, and other products, to one single anabolic supplement called "X-Factor". It seems William Llewellyn is staking his reputation, and the future of his company, on this one product.
He insists it is a breakthrough innovation. If everything we've heard is correct, he's right. Be sure to look right here, to bodybuilding.com, for future news and updates. We are also very excited to announce that William will be back with us, writing his own column for Bodybuilding.com on a semi-regular basis. So indeed, until next time William!