What We Know About C3G So Far
We know a lot about cyanadin-3-glucoside (C3G). It's a polyphenol compound found in blueberries, grapes, black beans, and pretty much any fruit or vegetable that has a reddish blue or indigo cast to it.
Studies have shown it to have anti-diabetic effects, which means that it makes you more insulin sensitive so that nutrients can be preferentially shuttled off to muscle tissue. We also know C3G has anti-obesity effects and improves exercise capacity by activating fatty acid oxidation.
And now, thanks to Japanese researchers, we have additional explanations as to how C3G regulates exercise and muscle metabolism, along with previously unknown mechanisms that lead to increased performance and muscle gain.
Mice were broken up into test and control groups. Test mice were given C3G for 15 days straight, at a dosage of 1 mg. per kilogram of body weight. Both groups of mice were then made to swim while saddled with a load of 10% of their body weight.
- Control mice were able to swim a little more than 200 seconds before exhaustion. C3G mice were able to swim for almost 400 seconds before exhaustion.
- Lactate levels (a measure of fatigue) were significantly lower in the C3G group.
- CG3 mice had increased gastrocnemius weight and protein content, in addition to heavier body weight in general.
- C3G mice had lower levels of non-esterified fatty acids in their blood.
- CG3 mice had significantly more mitochondria in their cells. As a result, they also had increased ATP production (and of course, greater energy production).
The administration of C3G increased the production of adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK) by a factor of 2.88. This caused a significant upregulation in the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1 alpha (PGC-1 alpha), a "transcriptional coactivator" that greatly affects metabolism.
In short, if you have a muscle-specific over-expression of PGC-1 alpha, you get a concurrent increase in exercise capacity, fatigue resistance, and oxygen uptake. All of that, in conjunction with adequate protein and calories, can lead to additional muscle mass.
Surprisingly, the amount of C3G given to the animals in this study to increase endurance, exercise capacity, and body weight was fairly small: only a milligram per kilogram.
The human equivalent for a 200-pound man would be about 91 milligrams, which is far less than the usual recommended dosage, but the usual recommended dosage is based on what's required to have the best effects on increasing insulin sensitivity, preventing fat storage, and increasing one's ability to handle carbs in general.
As such, stick with the recommended dosage to get all of C3G's varied benefits. On non-training days, take 4 to 6 capsules of C3G – sold as Indigo-3G® – on an empty stomach a half hour before your biggest meal. On training days, take 4 to 6 capsules 30 minutes before starting your pre-workout supplementation.
- Toshiya Matsukawa, et al., "Upregulation of skeletal muscle PGC-1α through the elevation of cyclic AMP levels by Cyanidin-3-glucoside enhances exercise performance," Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 44799.