New study expands Gencor’s ActivAMP metabolic-health ingredient to athletic performance: Natural Products Expo West report


At Expo West, the company explained why these latest study results broaden applications for ActivAMP beyond weight management to athletic performance.

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Two new studies demonstrated significant athletic-performance benefits of ActivAMP, a branded ingredient from Gencor (Irvine, CA). At the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, in March, the company explained why these new results broaden the audience for ActivAMP beyond just those pursuing weight management to those seeking significant gains in aerobic performance.

ActivAMP is an extract derived from the leaves of Gynostemma pentaphyllum standardized to two key saponins, gypenoside L and 20(S)-ginsenoside Rg3. At Expo West, Christopher Bailey, PhD, Gencor’s director of scientific affairs, explained that the ingredient activates the enzyme 5’ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPk).

“AMPk is a metabolic regulator of energy in both muscle and fat cells, so it helps to promote the availability of the energy,” Bailey explained. “In fat cells, it trends towards lipolysis to increase availability of free fatty acids. In muscle cells, it helps increase availability of energy in the mitochondria.” In press materials, the company further explains that “AMPk is often called the ‘master metabolic regulator’ and switches on the same fat-burning and energy-producing metabolic processes that exercise does.”

“Typically,” Bailey said, “AMPk is activated only by exercise.” But studies demonstrate that Gencor’s ingredient ActivAMP can achieve this via supplementation.

Previous clinical research, including a 16-week clinical study in adults1 published last year, focused on weight management. Studies showed that ActivAMP helps improve body composition and support weight management, including helping to reduce visceral and gynoid fat, reducing body mass index, and reducing total fat mass.

At Expo West, Gencor announced two new studies showing that ActivAMP significantly helped to improve aerobic exercise performance. One study is pending publication, and the other was recently published in Phytotherapy Research.2

The published study was conducted in 100 healthy Korean adults aged 19-60. Subjects were randomized to take either a placebo or ActivAMP for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, the treatment group demonstrated a significant increase in VO2max and O2 pulse, indicating increased aerobic endurance because subjects can utilize more oxygen during exercise and absorb more oxygen per pulse. In addition, ActivAMP subjects had a significantly higher level of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in their blood, indicating increased blood flow thanks to expanded blood vessels and thus improved energy supply to the body through the blood. The researchers concluded that oral supplementation with ActivAMP “has a positive effect on resistance to exercise-induced physical and mental fatigue.”

At Expo West, Bailey further reported that a new study now being prepared for publication further supported these athletic-performance gains. After supplementing with ActivAMP, subjects in the unpublished study completed a 20-kilometer distance session on a cycle ergometer. Supplemented subjects completed the session 4% faster compared to placebo subjects.

Said Bailey, “You might not think 4% is a huge amount, but when someone’s running a marathon and an elite athlete is finishing in 2 hours, we’re talking about over a 4-minute reduction in time. It literally gives them a 4% advantage.” And, he said, the ingredient is a legal substance under the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Expanded Audience

These new studies not only expand ActivAMP’s audience beyond weight management and into sports performance, but it may also support healthy lifestyles in general. As Bailey explains, “You need a certain VO2max or aerobic capacity to do activities of daily living—carrying the groceries, walking up and down stairs—and the higher your VO2max is, the relevant intensity is lower. If you can maintain a higher VO2max over your entire life, then those regular daily activities are not so taxing.”

Not only that, he pointed out, but by expanding the use of ActivAMP to everyday fitness and athletic activity, consumers are more likely to use it more than just seasonally, which is how they tend to treat weight-management supplements. “Weight management tends to be a cyclical or a season product,” he explained. “For instance, in January, people are really motivated…But with athletic-performance products, people want to be active every day…So from a product-development standpoint, it serves two different purposes” of broadening the consumer audience and also broadening usage opportunities.


  1. Rao, A.; Clayton, P.; Briskey, D. The Effect of an Orally Dosed Gynostemma pentaphyllum Extract (ActivAMP) on Body Composition in Overweight, Adult Men and Women: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2022, 35 (3), 583-589. DOI: 10.1111/jhn.12936
  2. Ahn, Y.; Lee, H.S.; Lee, S.H.; Joa, K.L.; Lim, C.Y.; Ahn, Y.J.; et al. Effects of Gypenoside L-Containing Gynostemma pentaphyllum Extract on Fatigue and Physical Performance: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial. Phytother Res. Published online March 6, 2023. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.7801
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