Platinum Pre- is the latest pre-workout from the well-known Optimum Nutrition. It contains 30 servings and costs $34.99.
This pre-workout claims to give you:
- Energy and focus
- The ability to “knock down personal bests”
- Increased gym performance
- “Science-backed ingredients”
The marketing for this product proudly states “we saved the best for first.” But every product claims to be the best, so we’re skeptical. Could this pre-workout surprise us? To find out, read our Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre- review…
Ingredients and How They Work
The first thing we look for in any supplement is proprietary blends.
Note: Proprietary blends are sub-formulas that display ingredients, but not doses. Most experts hate proprietary blends because many brands use them as a tool to fool you into believing their products are better than they are.
And we’re dismayed to find Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre- contains two proprietary blends.
See for yourself:
L-Citrulline is found in watermelons, onions, dark chocolate and more.
When you ingest L-Citrulline, your body converts it L-Arginine. This in turn increases the level of nitric oxide to widen your blood vessels and send vital nutrients to your muscles. The result? You enjoy greater endurance, less muscles soreness, and awesome muscle pumps.
How it could be better
However, we prefer Citrulline Malate. This adds Malic Acid, which helps fight fatigue by reducing the level of ammonia in the blood. We’re always disappointed to find L-Citrulline in a pre-workout without the simple addition of Malic Acid.
Beta-Alanine is a modified amino acid that the body converts to Carnosine to combat the build-up of lactic acid. Beta-Alanine has also been shown to increase muscle endurance and decrease fatigue.
But here’s the problem…
Beta-Alanine can cause paresthesia – itching, flushing, and tingling sensations which can ruin your gym session. Many lifters we’ve spoken to describe paresthesia as the feeling of “bees crawling across the skin.”
As a result, we don’t recommend Beta-Alanine.
Marketers claim DMAE (or Dimethylethanolamine) enhances focus and cognitive function. On the face of it, this would seem to make sense, as better focus is a key benefit people expect when buying a pre-workout.
However, there’s zero evidence for these claims. The only published study on DMAE’s ability to boost cognition used Alzheimer’s patients and failed to produce positive results.
DMAE appears to be teratogenic, which means it could cause birth defects. With this in mind, we strongly suggest you stay away from it.
Beet Juice Powder
Beet Juice Powder (or Beetroot Extract) is rich in nitrates. This allows your body to produce more nitric oxide and increase blood flow for greater endurance and better muscle pumps in the weight room.
We love the combo of L-Citrulline and Beet Juice Powder in a pre-workout – we’ve experienced some of the most satisfying muscle pumps using a supplement with both ingredients.
The optimal dose of Red Beet is 300mg, but as it makes up part of a 250mg proprietary blend, it’s safe to say this doesn’t use enough to give you the best results.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape Seed Extract is used in a lot of supplements as a cheap way to add antioxidants to formulas. It’s thought to decrease the muscle damage that comes from lifting weights.
There is evidence Grape Seed Extract can reduce oxidative stress, but it’s uncertain whether this speeds up muscle recovery in humans.
MegaNatural Red Wine Grape Extract
MegaNatural is a standardized form of Red Wine Grape Extract. Red wine contains Resveratrol, which some say enhances workout performance if taken prior to a workout.
However, there isn’t enough evidence to corroborate this. But there is evidence to suggest Resveratrol may HINDER anaerobic physical performance.
And as result, we suggest you opt for better-tested ingredients to ensure better results.
Citrus Bioflavonoids are thought to lower the triglyceride levels in the body. In theory, this could boost energy and fight muscle fatigue.
However, research on Hesperidin (one of the best-tested Citrus Bioflavonoids) suggests it does not significantly reduce triglycerides. And here lies the main issue – there’s no way of knowing which Citrus Bioflavonoids – of how much of them – this supp contains.
As you’re no doubt aware, Caffeine is a popular stimulant. It works by suppressing adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter which causes sleep and relaxation.
Numerous studies also highlight how Caffeine improve exercise through increased endurance, strength and a reduction in fatigue.
The ideal dose of Caffeine in a pre-workout is 150-200mg. Take any more before exercising and you risk an almighty energy crash. But take any less and you may not get the boost in energy, strength, and focus you need.
With all of this mind, it’s great to see Platinum Pre- contains 200mg.
Capsimax Capsicum Extract
Commonly found in fat burners, this Cayenne Pepper Extract helps increase the body’s metabolism by boosting the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. As it’s one of the most potent thermogenics out there, you’ll find Capsicum Extract in some of the best fat burners in the world.
However, Platinum Pre- is not a fat burner, so this otherwise great ingredient is possibly wasted here.
Optimum Platinum Pre- contains ingredients that may cause the following side effects (not exhaustive):
- Paresthesia (Beta-Alanine)
- Birth defects (DMAE)
- Headaches (DMAE)
- Drowsiness (DMAE)
- Lack of sleep (DMAE)
- Constipation (DMAE)
Note 1: Paresthesia is characterized by itching and tingling sensations. These feelings are ultimately harmless, but many users report that they ruin their workouts.
Note 2: DMAE is a seriously under-tested ingredient with a long list potentially harmful side effects.
Platinum Pre Pros and Cons
- One or two strong ingredients
- Some great reviews
- Two proprietary blends – hide vital dose info
- No Creatine or L-Theanine
- L-Citrulline inferior to Citrulline Malate for endurance and muscle pumps
- DMAE is teratogenic (it could cause birth defects)
- Beta-Alanine can cause unpleasant flushing, itching and tingling
- No evidence oral supplementation of Grape Seed Extract reduces muscle damage
- Unclear which Citrus Bioflavonoids are used (some better than others)
- Despite early promise, there are better-tested ingredients than Red Wine Extract
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre- Review Conclusion
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre- is both a good and bad supplement.
The good stuff
It contains Caffeine, L-Citrulline and Beet Juice Powder (Red Beet/Beetroot) – all of which are staples of some of the best pre-workouts we’ve ever tried.
Caffeine is proven to boost focus, alertness and strength in the gym, and L-Citrulline battles fatigue. Meanwhile, Beet Juice Powder works alongside L-Citrulline to boost endurance and enhance muscle pumps.
It’s also great to see this supp use an optimal dose of Caffeine.
The bad stuff
First, ON Platinum Pre- uses TWO proprietary blends. This hides vital dose info and gives you no way of knowing exactly what you’re paying for.
Second, the pre-workout contains two ingredients we DON’T recommend: Beta-Alanine (which can cause paresthesia) and DMAE (which may cause a range of mild-to-severe side effects.
And third, while ingredients like Grape Seed Extract and Red Wine Grape Extract are promising as pre-workout ingredients, there’s not enough research to justify their use.
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre is too much of a mixed bag to recommend. It’s never enough to throw in some good ingredients. To look after your health, the whole formula has to be good – and you should never buy anything less than the best.
- Wolf, M. (2018). Foods Containing L-Citrulline. [online] LIVESTRONG.COM. Available at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/321823-foods-containing-citrulline/ [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Morita, M. et al (2014). Oral supplementation with a combination of l-citrulline and l-arginine rapidly increases plasma l-arginine concentration and enhances NO bioavailability. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 454(1), pp.53-57.
- Pérez-Guisado, J. and Jakeman, P. (2010). Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(5), pp.1215-1222.
- Men’s Health. (2018). Can Nitric Oxide Supplements Really Boost Your Workout?. [online] Available at: https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19717792/nitric-oxide-supplements/ [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Qiang, F. (2015). Effect of Malate-oligosaccharide Solution on Antioxidant Capacity of Endurance Athletes. The Open Biomedical Engineering Journal, 9(1), pp.326-329.
- Stout J.R., Cramer J.T., Zoeller R.F., Torok D., Costa P., Hoffman J.R., Harris R.C., O’Kroy J. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino Acids. 2007;32:381–386.
- Liu, Q. et al. (2012). Mechanisms of Itch Evoked by -Alanine. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(42), pp.14532-14537.
- Dubois, B. et al (2012). Effect of Six Months of Treatment with V0191 in Patients with Suspected Prodromal Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 29(3), pp.527-535.
- Ntp.niehs.nih.gov. (2012). Dimethylethanolamine (DMAE) [108-01-0] and Selected Salts and Esters: Review of Toxicological Literature (Update). [online] Available at: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/dimethylethanolamine_508.pdf [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Cold, F., Health, E., Disease, H., Disease, L., Management, P., Conditions, S., Problems, S., Disorders, S., Checker, S., Interviews, E., Boards, M., Answers, Q., Guide, I., Doctor, F., Medications, M., Identifier, P., Interactions, C., Drugs, C., Pregnant, T., Management, D., Obesity, W., Recipes, F., Exercise, F., Beauty, H., Balance, H., Relationships, S., Care, O., Health, W., Health et al (2018). The Truth About Beet Juice. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/truth-about-beetroot-juice [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Research Gate. (2014). Grape seed extract antioxidant and antimicrobial properties: Use in active packaging. [online] Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293171613_Grape_seed_extract_antioxidant_and_antimicrobial_properties_Use_in_active_packaging [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Grases, F. et al (2015). Effect of consuming a grape seed supplement with abundant phenolic compounds on the oxidative status of healthy human volunteers. Nutrition Journal, 14(1).
- Scribbans TD, e. (2018). Resveratrol supplementation does not augment performance adaptations or fibre-type-specific responses to high-intensity interval training in humans. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25211703 [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Morin, B. et al (2008). The Citrus Flavonoids Hesperetin and Nobiletin Differentially Regulate Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor Gene Transcription in HepG2 Liver Cells. The Journal of Nutrition, 138(7), pp.1274-1281.
- AM, R. (2018). Caffeine and adenosine. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20164566 [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].
- Carr, A. et al (2011). Induced Alkalosis and Caffeine Supplementation: Effects on 2,000-m Rowing Performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 21(5), pp.357-364.
- Grgic, J. et al (2018). Effects of caffeine intake on muscle strength and power: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1).
- Smirmaul, B.et al (2016). Effects of caffeine on neuromuscular fatigue and performance during high-intensity cycling exercise in moderate hypoxia. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117(1), pp.27-38.
- Janssens, P. et al (2013). Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance. PLoS ONE, 8(7), p.e67786.
- Cold, F. et al (2018). Deanol: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. [online] Webmd.com. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-524/deanol [Accessed 28 Sep. 2018].