As I was getting something at my local Wawa recently, I noticed several packets of Frog Fuel Ultra, placed near the cash register. This caught my eye because I usually see 5 Hour Energy placed at this location. I'd only vaguely heard of Frog Fuel and thought this was the perfect opportunity to review it. So I bought a packet. Does Frog Fuel Ultra help you exercise better? Does it improve your energy levels? If you were as curious about the benefits of Frog Fuel Ultra as I was, keep reading and see what I discovered.
What Is Frog Fuel?
Frog Fuel is a dietary supplement, which according to the product's website (FrogPerformance.com) was developed by two Navy Seals (also known as FrogMen) to improve performance during exercise. When I looked at the product website, I saw there are different versions of Frog Fuel. This review will be on the version called Frog Fuel Ultra.
Frog Fuel Ultra Nutrition Facts
The packet I purchased contains 36 ml (1.2 oz). Each packet contains the following Nutrition Facts:
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Total fat 0g||0%|
|Sodium 20 mg||1%|
|Potassium 50 mg||1%|
|Total carbohydrate 10 g||3%|
|Sugars 3 g||N/A|
|Caffeine 80 mg||N/A|
|Protein 10 g||20%|
As can be seen from the table above, each packet of Frog Fuel Ultra has 80 milligrams of caffeine. It also has 10 grams of protein which I'll discuss below. Other ingredients listed include some carbs and electrolytes. These other ingredients, if depleted, can reduce exercise ability. So, adding carbs and electrolytes to something used by those who work out for long periods of time, makes some sense.
I'm glad they listed the amount of caffeine (80 mg) in Frog Fuel Ultra as some energy supplements don't do this. The caffeine in the product is the reason people might notice a jolt if energy after taking it. Caffeine not only can help mental alertness, it can also reduce feelings of pain. This is why some OTC headache products contain caffeine. I believe the caffeine is one of the main active ingredients in Frog Fuel Ultra.
Protein in Frog Fuel Ultra
Frog Fuel Ultra contains 10 grams of protein. As a rule, that's not much, so if you are using Frog Fuel Ultra as a protein supplement, I think there are other alternatives out there.
From the ingredients list below, we see that the protein is hydrolyzed collagen protein. The collagen is said to be “enzyme hydrolyzed” which means enzymes have been used to pre-digest or break down the collagen, presumably to make it easier to absorb or be absorbed faster.
In healthy people, I don't know if hydrolyzed collagen is better than non-hydrolyzed collagen or other types of protein like whey. Most people can break down collagen into its respective amino acids pretty easily.
Older adults (probably not who Frog Fuel markets to) however may have digestion issues. In this case, maybe hydrolyzed collagen might be better absorbed.
Collagen is an incomplete protein, meaning it's not as effective at helping build muscle as complete protein because it's missing some essential amino acids. Sure, the collagen can be supplemented with the amino acids it's missing, to make it “complete” and while that's good, I think collagen is used in the product for another reason – reducing arthritis pain.
Collagen has some evidence that it might help reduce arthritis pain. People who workout intensely -weight lifters, Navy Seals, etc., are at a greater risk of arthritis because of the wear and tear they place on their bodies.
There have been some studies that type II collagen might help arthritis pain. Type II collagen is what the cartilage in our joints is made of. Frog Fuel contains hydrolyzed collagen. This may or may not be type II collagen. I could not tell from the product website what form of collagen it contained. I'll assume it's type II collagen.
On the Benefits Page of FrogFuelPerformance.com they list evidence for some of their ingredients. For collagen, they list a paper titled “Collagen Hydrolysate And It's Relationship to Joint Health.” This does not appear t0 me to be a published peer reviewed research paper.
The paper does state that daily ingestion of 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen might benefit joint cartilage. Frog Fuel Ultra does contain 10 grams of collagen. So, if that research is substantiated, that might be a good thing.
One study, which looked at a specific collagen product called AR7 Joint Complex. The study lasted 12 weeks. People getting the AR7 Joint Complex reported less joint pain and tenderness compared to those who took a placebo. X rays however showed no changes between groups. This leads me to speculate that AR7 worked in ways not detectable by X rays.
One issue with this study is that AR7 contains more than just type II collagen. It also has other ingredients which might play a role in pain.
Arthro-7is the product most often associated with the AR7 Joint Complex.
It's also worth noting that type II collagen -itself – is available as as a stand alone product. Here are all thetype II collagen supplements I found on Amazon.
For what it's worth, I'm on the fence when it comes to collagen supplements for arthritis. I have met people who tell me it helps, but I remain skeptical until I see more research. For those who were wondering, collagen is different than glucosamine (click to read that review).
Frog Fuel Ingredients
Here are all the ingredients in Frog Fuel Ultra. I've listed them in the order they appear on the packet. Read the list left to right. This will tell you which ingredients are present the most and least. For example, since water is listed first, Frog Fuel Ultra contains mostly water.
|Water||Enzyme-hydrolized collagen protein||Maltodextrin|
|Dextrose||Citric acid||Beta alanine|
|Taurine||Citrulline malate||Potassium chloride|
|Natural flavors||Calcium chloride||Benzoate of soda|
|Potassium scorbate||Sodium chloride||Sucralose|
Let's now look at some of the more interesting ingredients in the product and see what the research says about them.
This is a type of amino acid. We make it naturally and it's scientific name is 3-aminopropanoic acid. People who workout intensely often experience a burning sensation inside muscles as well as muscle fatigue.
This fatigue/burning sensation in muscles is often attributed to the build-up of “lactic acid”. While the actual process is more complicated than this, there are several studies hinting that beta alanine might reduce muscle fatigue and hence, improve exercise performance.
The idea is that beta alanine helps us make another compound called carnosine. It's the carnosine that is thought to reduce/buffer “lactic acid” levels and in doing so, reduce muscle fatigue and muscle burning during intense exercise.
Several studies have noted that beta alanine supplementation might work. Most studies have used between 3-7 grams of beta alanine spread out over the course of the day. Several studies I've seen have used a specific brand of beta alanine called CarnoSyn.
I don't know how much Beta Alanine is in Frog Fuel Ultra because the amount is not listed. That said, I speculate it might be in the range because it's #6 in the ingredients list.
To be fair not all studies have shown beta alanine works. If beta alanine is going to work, I think it would be best suited to exercise that causes the most lactic acid to be made such as exercise lasting between 1-4 minutes. It might not help people who do exercise bouts lasting longer than 5 minutes.
Something else to consider is that while studies are all over the place in terms of how much beta alanine might help, one review of 15 different investigations noted that the average improvement in performance was less than 3%. In other words, this says to me that while this might help elite athletes (and Navy Seals), some people might not notice a difference with beta alanine supplementation.
This is a non essential amino acid (often called “L citrulline”) that helps us make arginine, another non essential amino acid. Watermelon is a good source of citrulline. My guess is that cirulline is used in Frog Fuel Ultra because arginine helps us make nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator.
In other words, nitric oxide opens up blood vessels (makes them wider) allowing more blood to reach muscles and also help remove waste products faster.
I'm honestly not sure if citrulline helps people exercise better or not. That's because of the lack of good research on it. In this 2006 study, young men who got 3 grams of citrulline pooped out faster on the treadmill than those who got a placebo.
In other words, citrulline decreased exercise performance. Does it work better in Frog Fuel Ultra because of the other ingredients in the product? Maybe. I'm not sure either way.
This is a non-essential amino acid which we make naturally. Like arginine, it's also sometimes called a conditionally essential amino acid because under some conditions (like extreme exercise) we might need more than we can make. Taurine does many things. With respect to exercise, there have been some interesting studies noting that taurine might help the hearts of people with heart disease pump better. There is also some evidence it might help healthy people exercise better too, although not all studies show this effect.
I don't know how much taurine is in Frog Fuel Ultra. It's listed at the #7 position in the ingredients. Studies involving exercise that I've seen have used 1-2 grams per day. I'll assume the amount in Frog Fuel is in that range.
Frog Fuel Research
I'm not able to locate any research on Frog Fuel itself. I searched the National Library of Medicine for “Frog Fuel” and “FrogFuel” and no relevant research studies showed up. The product website also showed no research studies.
Frog Fuel Taste
It's easy to tear open the pouch that contains Frog Fuel Ultra. That's good for people on the go (such as cyclists, triathletes etc.) who don't want to fiddle with twisting open cans or bottles. It didn't taste bad and I tasted it when it was warm. It had a berry-flavor to it.
I didn't feel flushed after taking it and it didn't make me feel queasy either. My reaction was better than when I tried 5-Hour Energy (click to read review). I did not feel a quick surge of energy, or any more energy during the day either, but that may be due to my adaptation to caffeine?
It was not as gel-like as I thought it would be, but it was not watery either. I thought its consistency was just right for what someone on the go would want.
Frog Fuel vs. Other Energy Drinks
There are more energy drinks out there that you can shake a stick at. A few I've looked at previously include:
Is Frog Fuel Ultra better than these and the others? I can't say either way because I have not seen any head-to-head comparisons. One advantage of Frog Fuel is that it's small and easy to stick in your pocket. This comes in handy for those on long bike rides or runs who don't want to be weighed down by cans of energy drinks.
Frog Fuel Ultra Side Effects
While I think in healthy people, Frog Fuel Ultra is safe, there are a few things I think are worth mentioning.
- Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should speak to their doctor before using Frog Fuel Ultra or other energy products.
- Stop all supplements at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- Beta alanine might cause a tingling sensation to be felt by those who take it.
- People with heart issues should speak to their doctor/pharmacist before using Frog Fuel Ultra or other caffeine-containing supplements. Caffeine, in excess, can not only keep people awake at night, it can also raise heart rates and blood pressures.
- Energy drinks (like Red Bull and Rock Star) have been linked to death in apparently healthy people. This is rare and there is not much caffeine in Frog Fuel Ultra, so I believe the risk is very low if using one or two a day. The risk in some people might increase when using other caffeine-containing products.
- I believe people with emotional /psychological issues should speak to their doctor before using any energy drink.
Bottom line, if you have any health issues, speak to your doctor first.
Does It Work?
I think the question of “does it work” depends on who you are. If you are high performance athlete, Marine, Army Ranger or Navy Seal and are looking for something that's lightweight and easy to carry that has calories, electrolytes and caffeine, then I think this might be something to look at. While I personally think the main ingredient in Frog Fuel Ultra is caffeine, it has some other ingredients that I think are interesting, although I'm not quite sold on how much they work.
If, on the other hand, you are me – the average Joe who sees Frog Fuel Ultra at the cash register at Wawa, 7-11 or elsewhere – save your money. Other than maybe the jolt of caffeine (that you can get from coffee etc.), I just don't think you'll notice any differences. That's my opinion. Take it for what it is.
Here's Frog Fuel On Amazon to see what others are saying.