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Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy combines a 5 g Amino Blend and 160 mg Energy Blend to create a bestselling amino supplement for pre-workout energy and post-workout recovery.
But even with thousands of highly rated reviews on Amazon, how can you be sure it’s the best amino powder for your strength and fitness goals?
To help you decide, we’ll be taking a closer look at the full ingredient list, which includes branched-chain aminos (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine), L-Glutamine, and L-Arginine.
We’ve also chosen a selection of caffeine-free alternatives. These could be a better option if you workout late at night or need an amino powder without stimulants. This includes a comparison between Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy and other bestselling amino powders, such as Scivation Xtend and BPI Sports Best BCAA.
O.N. Amino Energy Ingredients
Amino Blend (5g)
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They are essential for building lean muscle, but also have a range of other functions, including forming antibodies and enzymes, and reducing the rate of protein breakdown in the body (catabolism).
Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy contains a blend of sixteen amino acids, including Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and almost all of the essential aminos. Most amino acids in this formulation are micronized, meaning that the particles are smaller to improve the speed at which the formula dissolves in water. This helps to improve its bioavailability in the body.
Each of the amino acids have been carefully selected to promote workout preparation and recovery.
Essential Amino Acids
These are the amino acids that cannot be made by the body, and thus must be consumed either through foods or through supplements. Essential aminos are primarily responsible for building muscle, especially as we grow older.
Eight of nine essential amino acids are found in Amino Energy. They are: L-Histidine, L-Isoleucine (BCAA), L-leucine (BCAA), L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Threonine, L-Valine (BCAA).
Taurine supplementation may help to reduce exercise-induced DNA damage and protect cells, potentially even extending exercise capacity. It is generally considered safe to ingest up to 3 g of supplemental taurine per day.
Taurine is only one of 16 amino acids totaling 5 g per serving, meaning the taurine provided in Amino Energy is considered safe.
One of the conditionally essential amino acids, L-Glutamine can be made by the body in limited amounts. However, this may not be enough for muscle recovery after strenuous exercise on a regular basis. Our bodies need more, which is usually taken from food and supplements (usually up to 10 g per day, split across 2 servings).
Glutamine helps to boost energy storage by entering the Krebs cycle as a non-carbohydrate source of energy. Your body then converts the glutamine to glutamate for the production of ATP.
A semi-essential amino acid found in animal protein, but also made by the human body. Research has found that supplementation with L-Arginine is one of the amino acids that improves peak power performance, and exercise capacity of people with certain health conditions.
BCAAs L-Leucine, and L-Isoleucine
L-Leucine and L-Isoleucine are two essential Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which help to prevent exercise-induced muscle damage and promote muscle buildup.
An amino acid that is used by the body to make noradrenaline and dopamine. These are hormones that influence stress reduction, but research has also found that L-tyrosine can improve exercise capacity, especially while training in the heat.
After performing exercise that works the muscles, we can feel an acute soreness in the hours and days after exercising. Citrulline is an amino acid that can improve exercise performance by detoxifying ammonia (which results from energy depletion in the muscles after anaerobic exercise). Citrulline helps to relieve muscle soreness after exercise.
CarnoSyn Beta Alanine
CarnoSyn is a patented form of beta alanine, which forms carnosine in the muscles. Carnosine is found in the muscles and the brain, and has antioxidant effects that may have a role in preventing muscle ageing and nerve damage.
Research shows that while Beta-Alanine does not improve strength or lung capacity, it can improve the anaerobic threshold and the time it takes to reach exhaustion.
In other words, CarnoSyn can help you train longer and harder.
Energy Blend (100mg)
In addition to the amino acid blend, Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy also includes an energy-boosting component.
Each serving includes caffeine from three main sources:
- 1. Green Tea
- 2. Green Tea Extract
- 3. Green Coffee Extract
Who is It Designed for?
Amino Energy is recommended for weightlifters and other athletes who are performing exercises that increase muscle, based on its ability to support muscle development and recovery.
When is the Best Time to Take It?
You can take Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy before or after workouts, or in the morning or evening.
For pre-workout energy, is recommended to take 4-6 scoops (2-3 servings) 20-30 minutes before training or, for post-workout recovery, 2-4 scoops (1-2 servings) immediately after training.
If you are looking for a morning wake-me-up or an afternoon pick-me-up, it is recommended you take 2-4 scoops (1-2 servings).
What Flavors and Sizes Are Available?
You currently have a choice of 14 Flavors:
- Concord grape
- Cotton candy
- Fruit fusion
- Green apple
- Iced Café Vanilla Latte
- Peach lemonade
- Iced Mocha Cappuccino
- Strawberry lime
- Orange cooler
- Iced Caramel Macchiato
- Lemon lime
- Iced Chai Tea Latté
There are also 2 sizes available (30-serving tub available in a pack of three):
- 30 servings
- 65 Servings
Who Are Optimum Nutrition?
With over 30 years in the sports nutrition industry, Optimum Nutrition currently produces some of the bestselling sports nutrition products in the world. These have been designed to improve your strength and recovery, health and wellness, and help increase your protein intake, such as their Gold Standard 100% Whey.
To find out more about their protein powders, bars, ready to drinks, BCAAs, glutamine, pre-workout supplements, creatine, multivitamins, and weight loss products, we recommend our Optimum Nutrition buying guide. This includes a summary of the health benefits you can expect from each product, which sizes and flavors are available, and dosages for the top ingredients.
We’ve also added in-depth reviews and comparisons with other top rated nutrition companies, to guarantee you only buy the best supplement for your fitness goals.
Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy is currently one of the most popular amino supplements on the market. The range of flavors is excellent, and the price is very reasonable considering the number of amino acids in each serving.
But personally, I prefer to keep track of the exact dose for each ingredient where possible. When such a large number of amino acids (including BCAAs) are listed in a 5 g dose, you really have no information about the specific levels.
This makes it difficult to do much testing around your supplement routine. You might want to compare the effects of 5 g BCAAs against 2.5 g BCAAs to see if there’s a noticeable difference in strength or recovery. As a blend, you can’t even tell the ratio of BCAAs.
In summary, Amino Energy has much lower levels of BCAAs compared to supplements like Scivation Xtend or even Optimum Nutrition’s own Pro BCAA powder. At least with pro BCAA you can see you’re getting a high dose of each ingredient, even if the cost per serving is a little high.
If Optimum Nutrition were to double the serving size and detail the quantity of each amino, while keeping the price below $1 per serving, it’s certainly something would be interested in.
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