As you might recall from our Combat Powder review, MusclePharm is a relative newcomer to the supplement industry, but has quickly built a strong and loyal customer base and picked up several awards for their products.
Most of the supplements they offer are basically their own version of others, which is normal in such a competitive market. However, here’s one a little different from the norm. Instead of being touted as a pre or post workout drink or supplement, the people at MusclePharm have developed Amino 1:
“To be your all day recovery and hydration drink that allows you to bathe your body in BCAAs”
Well, I don’t know that I’d think about bathing in it, but as a recovery and performance drink I think it needs a closer inspection.
What is Amino 1?
Basically it’s mixture of the regular pre and post workout amino acids found in most pre workout drinks, with added electrolytes.
The advertising says it has “over 10,000 mg of amino acids” and it is designed to help you really power through your heaviest sets and workouts, increase recovery and reduce recovery time.
This is a big ask of one supplement.
The Ingredients and how they work
The amino profile of Amino 1 is broken into 3 sections, so here we’ll briefly look at each section and its main sub-ingredients along with their benefits.
Instantized BCAAs 3:1:2 Blend
The people at MusclePharm have a patent pending on this mixture of three aminos. The 3 are Leucine 1500mg, Isoleucine 500mg and Valine 1000mg.
Leucine: Leucine assists in sustaining nitrogen balance and supplies energy to the body during training and by doing so it helps to preserve glycogen used for muscle contraction. Leucine also raises awareness for focus during your workout.
Possibly most important is that Leucine is essential for protein synthesis. If you have a low level of Leucine, your body won’t be able to convert protein efficiently, no matter how much whey, casein or other protein you use.
Isoleucine: Acts as a precursor for glutamine and alanine, needed for intense physical activity like weight training. It’s also used as fuel by muscle cells, again preserving muscle glycogen and is important for protein synthesis and also for its anabolic and anti-catabolic properties.
Valine: Is important to the growth and repair of tissue and helps to maintain the nitrogen balance in your body. It can also be used as a source of energy for muscles, therefore preserving glucose stores.
Cellular Energy & ATP Fueler
The aminos in this blend are all specific to the production of ATP which is the energy source for your body.
L-Glycine: Helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle by elevating your body’s level of creatine. Glycine is found in muscle tissue, skin and other connective tissues. About 1/3 of collagen, which enables skin and connective tissue to remain firm and flexible, is made up of glycine.
L-Alanine: Combines with glucose to provide energy and reduce fatigue during workouts.
L-Carnitine: Maintains muscle endurance by minimizing lactic acid build up in muscle tissue (Acidosis)
Coenzyme Q-10: Is essential in the production of ATP and also assists in recovery.
Amino Hydrate System
The blend here contains a number of electrolytes and minerals to rehydrate you and boost recovery. The two most important are:
Coconut Water Powder: This is gaining huge popularity by sports drink manufacturers and the fitness industry in general. It shouldn’t be confused with coconut milk, which is a blend of the water with crushed or scraped coconut pulp and is very high in fat. Coconut water is naturally high in electrolytes and minerals such as Potassium, Manganese (a natural metabolism booster) and Phosphorus. It’s also high in fibre. As an added bonus it is all natural, not man made.
Taurine: Assists the electrolyte and mineral uptake in muscle tissue. People prone to muscle cramps caused by heavy exercise often benefit from supplementing with taurine. It is also strongly linked to cardiovascular health.
It’s interesting to note that with all these blends of the different amino acids, the actual total dosage of BCAAs is only 3gm. There are other products on the market that offer double this amount for a similar price. This has been reflected in a number of reviews by users who state while it tastes great, they felt there was no real boost in intensity or endurance.
However, considering MusclePharm suggest sipping it over the course of the day, following their recommendation boosts these levels.
Apart from the aminos and electrolytes, the nutrition profile of Amino 1 is hardly worth considering with only 5 calories per serve.
Serving size: 14.38gm (1 scoop)
From Fat: 0
Taste and Mix-Ability
Amino 1 comes in 5 flavors, all getting the thumbs up, with “Orange Mango” being the winner from 144 users at Bodybuilding.com.
In terms of mix-ability, the instantized formula of the amino acid profiles give you a drink that mixes completely in little time with no clumping of ingredients.
Amino 1 comes in 15, 20, 32 and 50 serve tubs and the recommended retail prices are $24, $28, $38 and $55 respectively.
The cheapest promotions I found were at Amazon, where you could pick up a 15 serve tub for $14 and Bodybuilding.com at $35 for a 50 serve tub.
It’s overall cost effectiveness increases with the size of the tub you buy with the best being $0.70 per serve. That’s reasonably cheap, but remember this is touted as an anytime drink.
Drink more, costs more.
Pros and Cons
- Combines BCAAs and Electrolytes for endurance and recovery.
- Outstanding mix-ability.
- Tastes great.
- Some very good prices available.
- Low BCAA dosage requiring you to use more doses than similar products.
- Users report little or no “edge” after using it. Again this may be related to low dosage.
This is a tough one to call. On one hand I like the combination of an amino and rehydration supplement.
But weighing it up against low dosage profile and the potential cost increase to raise the amino profile, I really think there are better products on the market at present.
That’s not to say that MusclePharm won’t improve the formula and if they do you’ll read about it at supplementtester.com first.