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Food & Supplements

  • BSN Amino X vs. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

    What is BSN Amino X?

    BSN Amino X is the amino acid supplement from a company you know and trust. Featuring 10 grams of BCAAs per serving, Amino X is one of the best in the industry.


    Highlights of BSN Amino X

    • The 10 grams of BCAAs included in this blend is double the dose of what you’ll find in Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy. While Amino X may have a higher dosage, it’s important to remember that Amino Energy is a pre-workout AND amino acid supplement. Amino X is ONLY for amino acid supplementation.
    • Amino X uses fewer amino acid types, deciding to focus on the amino acids that have been the subject of the most scientific studies: leucine, valine, and isoleucine.
    • Amino X also includes Vitamin D, which is key for muscle recovery and hormone support. (1-10)


    Why You Should Use BSN Amino X

    Per serving, Amino X provides 10 grams of the following BCAAs:

    • L-Leucine
    • L-Valine
    • L-Isoleucine
    • L-Alanine
    • Micronized Taurine
    • Micronized L-Citrulline


    Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy may have more types of amino acids; however, the essential amino acids that have been proven for fitness results such as leucine and valine are in smaller quantities. That means you may have to double or triple the dose to get the same dosage as Amino X.


    Things to Watch Out for With BSN Amino X

    Amino X is a proprietary blend of amino acids. This can be problematic as you don’t know exactly how much of each ingredient you are receiving with every serving. However, considering that each serving provides 10 grams of the amino acid blend and there are only six BCAAs within, you can rest assured that you’re most likely getting the scientifically verified dosage that was used in several of the amino acid studies. (1-6)



    What is Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy?

    Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy is the super charged BCAA supplement from O.N. Amino Energy is a pre-workout first and an amino acid supplement second. While it does have a lower dosage of amino acids per serving than Amino X, Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy makes up for this with a potent energy blend.


    Highlights of Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

    • Provides a greater number of amino acid types compared to BSN Amino X.
    • Its provides a unique energy blend sourcing the caffeine from green tea and green coffee bean, which may support fat loss.


    Why You Should Use Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

    Optimum Nutrition delivers an impressive product that captures both the muscle support benefits of amino acid supplementation and the energy amplifying effects of its energy blend.


    Amino Energy features 14 amino acids, all of which can help to play an important role in helping you with recovery, muscle building, and fat loss. Amino X, on the other hand, only has six amino acid types. With that said, with fewer amino acid types, the dosage for each will be higher, ensuring you are getting the levels you need for results. (1-6)


    Amino Energy provides you with 160 mg of caffeine, which is slightly more than most big-name brands in the industry. The caffeine content is coming from green tea and green coffee bean extract, which suggests a metabolic benefit as well.


    Things to Watch Out for With Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

    While Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy does contain more amino acid types than BSN Amino X, the dosage is only half. If you are someone who wants muscle support and doesn’t need the energy boost, then Amino Energy may not be the supplement for you.



    Both of these products are fantastic in their respective categories. Amino X from BSN is an amazing amino acid supplement. It delivers a high dose of proven BCAAs. Amino Energy is a unique pre-workout and energy supplement in that it delivers both a hard-hitting energy blend AND a variety of amino acids.


    If you’re focus is on heavy duty muscle building and recovery, go with Amino X from BSN.


    If you want energy AND muscle support, then Amino Energy is perfect for you.



    1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002
    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
    1. Norton, Layne, Layman, Donald. Leucine Regulates Translation Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Skeletal Muscle after Exercise. J. Nutr. February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 533S-537S.
    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.
    1. Mourier A, Bigard AX, de Kerviler E, Roger B, Legrand H, Guezennec CY. Combined effects of caloric restriction and branched-chain amino acid supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in elite wrestlers. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jan;18(1):47-55.
    1. De Lorenzo A, Petroni ML, Masala S, Melchiorri G, Pietrantuono M, Perriello G, Andreoli A. Effect of acute and chronic branched-chain amino acids on energy metabolism and muscle performance. Diabetes Nutr Metab. 2003 Oct-Dec;16(5-6):291-7.
    1. Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jul 19;357(3):266-81.
    1. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854. Epub 2010 Dec 10.
    1. Sue Penckofer, PhD, RN, Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD, Mary Byrn, BSN, RN, and Carol Estwing Ferrans, PhD, RN, FAAN. Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine? Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010 Jun; 31(6): 385–393.
    1. Lars Rejnmark, PhD. Effects of Vitamin D on Muscle Function and Performance: A Review of Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials. Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2011 Jan; 2(1): 25–37.
  • 5 Reasons Why You Need to Use Guarana

    How long have you been trying to lose weight?

    Have you been chasing after those last 5 kilos for weeks or months?

    Do you feel like you could use some extra help outside of your diet and exercise program?


    While diet and exercise are the key to a successful weight loss, there are certain supplement ingredients at your disposal that may be able to help you achieve your ideal body faster.


    Guarana, an herbal remedy used in tribal ceremonies in the Amazon, has recently become a worldwide sensation thanks to the studies affirming it as an effective ingredient for weight loss support.


    Let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons you need to use guarana.


    1. Weight Loss

    Let’s kick off the list with the reason that most people buy this supplement ingredient: enhanced weight loss.


    Studies show that when used as a part of a healthy diet and exercise program, guarana may be able to support your weight loss goals.


    One study in particular was published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders and it showed that subjects who supplemented with guarana showed a significant reduction in bodyweight over the course of 8 weeks. (1)


    1. Energy Levels

    Now to some of the lesser known benefits of guarana. Looking for a way to naturally boost your energy levels without over doing it on caffeine? Guarana may be the answer.


    A study published in PLOS One put guarana up against caffeine and it demonstrated that guarana provides an effect similar to caffeine. The stimulant effect was twice as powerful when guarana was paired up with caffeine. (2)


    1. Exercise Performance

    Riding the stimulant effect of guarana may help to boost your exercise performance during a workout. Instead of opting for your usual caffeine-based drink before a workout, consider a guarana supplement. Guarana has been shown to boost energy levels along with your mental focus. (2-3)


    1. Focus and Alertness

    Speaking of mental focus, guarana is useful outside of the fitness scene. A study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior showed how guarana can be effective in boosting focus and alertness. Subjects showed improvement across tasks after supplementing with guarana including speed and completion time. (3-4)


    1. Memory and Learning

    Lastly, another benefit of guarana that can be helpful inside and outside of the gym is its ability to support memory and learning.


    In the study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, subjects didn’t just demonstrate an improvement in task completion, they also showed an enhanced learning ability. Subjects were able to complete the task with greater retention of the information at faster speeds. (3-4)



    Looking for a pharmaceutical grade form of guarana?

    Want to combine guarana with other powerful performance boosters like caffeine?

    Why not design your own custom energy and weight loss supplement?


    Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder!


    Amino Z understands that it’s tough to find a supplement that meets your needs. That’s why we created the Amino Z Supplement Builder, which allows you to control the ingredients and dosage that is perfect for YOU.


    Check out the Amino Z Supplement Builder now to get started!




    1. Boozer CN, Nasser JA, Heymsfield SB, Wang V, Chen G, Solomon JL. An herbal supplement containing Ma Huang-Guarana for weight loss: a randomized, double-blind trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Mar;25(3):316-24.
    1. Moustakas D, Mezzio M, Rodriguez BR, Constable MA, Mulligan ME, Voura EB. Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model. Holscher C, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0123310. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123310.
    1. Pomportes L, Brisswalter J, Casini L, Hays A, Davranche K. Cognitive Performance Enhancement Induced by Caffeine, Carbohydrate and Guarana Mouth Rinsing during Submaximal Exercise. Nutrients. 2017 Jun 9;9(6). pii: E589. doi: 10.3390/nu9060589.
    1. Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11.
  • Top 3 Ingredients You Must Use for Muscle Mass

    Have you been pushing yourself in the gym to gain muscle without success?

    Is your dietary program lacking in proven supplements to support muscle?

    Ready to arm yourself with three scientifically-backed ingredients for muscle mass?


    Successful supplementation can feel like a game of chance. When you want to build muscle mass, you need to give your body every advantage you can. That’s where scientifically proven supplement ingredients can help.


    Let’s review the top 3 ingredients you must use for muscle mass. We’ll even show you how you can make your own supplement.


    Whey Isolate

    First and foremost, when you want to build serious muscle mass, you NEED protein. Why? Protein breaks down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Not only do amino acids help to build lean muscle tissue but they also protect the muscle you already have.


    Whey isolate is a unique type of protein in that it is filtered to the point where it is 99% protein. What’s more, it is the most bioavailable type of protein. This is important as the higher the rate of bioavailability, the better your body can absorb and assimilate the protein. (1-4)


    Whey isolate is fast digesting with a bioavailability of 101 out of 100! This makes it ideal for a post-workout supplement when your muscles require immediate amino acids.



    Whey isolate isn’t the only protein you should consider using. While whey isolate is ideal for a post-workout meal, it is rapidly digested, meaning your body gets a giant shot of amino acids all at once and that’s it.


    When you want to build muscle, you need to ensure that your body is in a steady state of anabolism. The way to do that is with protein-focused whole foods and a slow digesting protein supplement. The way to do this is with casein protein.


    Casein protein is a very slow digesting protein that releases a steady stream of amino acids. One unique feature of amino acids is that they may be able to trigger protein synthesis and promote a higher level of anabolism. Due to the steady stream of amino acids, your muscles will be in an ideal environment to grow. What’s more, casein protein may help protect you from protein catabolism, or breakdown.



    Last but not least, we have creatine monohydrate. Creatine has long been used in the bodybuilding world to ensure maximum muscle growth.


    Once ingested, creatine provides the muscle tissue with its preferred source of fuel in the form of adenosine triphosphate. Creatine monohydrate is known for being quick to absorb and extremely bioavailable.


    Once creatine gets to work in the body, it may be able to boost your performance during your workouts. That may mean extra repetitions and sets. This additional workload may help push your muscles into the ideal range for hypertrophy. Creatine may also be able to support your recovery post-workout.



    Tired of not being able to find a supplement that has what YOU need?

    Finished with wasting money on supplements that are under-dosed?

    Why not create your own supplement?


    Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder. With this revolutionary supplement builder, you control what goes into the supplement down to the dosage. If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure what you’d like to include, we’re here to help. We have a variety of pre-made supplements that feature scientifically verifided AND dosed ingredients for your specific goal.


    Check out the Amino Z Supplement Builder now to get started!



    1. Tsutsumi R, Tsutsumi YM. Peptides and proteins in whey and their benefits for human health. Austin J Nutri Food Sci 2014;1(1): 1002.
    1. Phillips, S. M., and L. J. Van. "Dietary Protein for Athletes: From Requirements to Optimum Adaptation." Journal of Sports Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011. Web.
    1. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan; 136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
    1. Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.
    1. Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, Beelen M, Wallis GA, Gijsen AP, Senden JM, VAN Loon LJ. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1560-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363.
    1. Kreider RB. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94.
    2. Robert Cooper, Fernando Naclerio, Judith Allgrove, and Alfonso Jimenez. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012; 9: 33. Published online 2012 Jul 20. doi:  10.1186/1550-2783-9-33.
  • Cellucor C4 Ripped vs. Cellucor C4 50X

    What is Cellucor C4 Ripped?

    Cellucor C4 Ripped is a popular upgrade to the traditional C4 formula that focuses more on leaning out and getting shredded than its predecessor. Packed with a thermogenic punch for metabolic boosting, C4 Ripped is effective as an all-around pre-workout with a fat burning boost. However, when it comes to all-out energy, C4 Ripped can’t compare with C4 50X.



    • C4 Ripped can be broken down into two categories: energy boosting and fat burning. Its energy blend provides nearly 400 mg of the following: Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean, and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. These ingredients are an excellent line-up for when you need a big boost in your energy levels. (1-3).


    • Despite the energy boosting line-up, C4 50X is going to be the better pick for energy. It provides you with 200 mg of caffeine per serving from THREE different caffeine types including Anhydrous, XCelicor, and TeaCor. Compare that to the 150 mg of caffeine found in C4 Ripped. (1-4)


    • C4 Ripped also contains a thermogenic (fat burning) blend that features scientifically proven ingredients including L-Carnitine, Green Tea Extract, and Capsicum. This is where C4 Ripped shines as the thermogenic compounds help to promote weight loss and fat burning. C4 50X contains no thermogenic compounds as it is strictly an energy-focused blend. (1-2, 5-6)


    Why You Should Use Cellucor C4 Ripped

    While not as powerful of a pre-workout as C4 50X, C4 Ripped is going to be the ideal choice for when your focus is a boost in energy AND you also want to support lean gains or begin a cutting phase. It packs an industry standard blend of energy boosting ingredients but the real strength of C4 Ripped is in the thermogenic compounds that trigger a higher level of fat burning.


    Things to Watch Out for With Cellucor C4 Ripped

    C4 Ripped is definitely an improvement over the traditional C4 formula; however, using C4 Ripped is going to depend heavily on what your personal fitness goals are AND your tolerance to thermogenic compounds.

    If your primary goal is to skyrocket energy levels and you need a higher dose of caffeine to do that, then C4 Ripped may not be your best option. Instead, you’d want to choose C4 50X.

    If, however, you want to focus on fat loss, then C4 Ripped has your back. It provides an excellent fat burning blend WHILE boosting energy levels to a level that is considered normal when compared to products across the industry.


    What is Cellucor C4 50X?

    Another upgrade to the C4 series, Cellucor C4 50X is every bit as powerful as the name suggests. It still holds the foundation of the original formula; however, what sets it apart is the increase in energy boosting ingredients across the board.



    • C4 50X is solely focused on your energy levels and it makes this abundantly clear by offering you 200 mg of caffeine per serving from THREE different caffeine types including Anhydrous, XCelicor, and TeaCor. These three forms of caffeine have been shown to be effective at amplifying energy levels for an extended period of time. Best of all, there is no crash.


    • C4 50X also contains a variety of proven pre-workout ingredients including Beta Alanine, Creatine, and Arginine. All of these ingredients may be able to promote performance and results. What’s more, they are dosed appropriately, according to previous studies and research. In other words, you are getting the dosages that are most likely to provide the best results. (1-4)


    Why You Should Use Cellucor C4 50X

    Cellucor C4 50X is made exclusively to ensure you have an incredible workout. If you are someone who has built up a tolerance to caffeine or you just want to ensure you can crush your workout after a long day then C4 50X is for you.

    50X doesn’t feature the weight loss compounds like C4 Ripped; however, it isn’t marketed as a weight loss supplement. If you want a boost in your fat loss and you’re not too worried about energy levels, then C4 Ripped is the better pick.


    Things to Watch Out for With Cellucor C4 50x

    Celucor C4 50x contains 200mg of caffeine per serving along with several other pre-workout ingredients. If you have a caffeine sensitivity, then C4 50X may be too much to handle. We’d recommend trying a less aggressive pre-workout such as C4 Ripped or you can simply halve the dose.



    1. Spradley BD, Crowley KR, Tai C-Y, et al. Ingesting a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine before exercise delays fatigue while improving reaction time and muscular endurance. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2012;9:28. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-28.
    1. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
    1. F. L. Dodd, D. O. Kennedy, L. M. Riby, and C. F. Haskell-Ramsay. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology. 2015; 232(14): 2563–2576. Published online 2015 Mar 13.
    1. Kuhman, Daniel J., Keanan J. Joyner, and Richard J. Bloomer. “Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women.” Nutrients 7.11 (2015): 9618–9632. PMC. Web. 2 Aug. 2017.
    1. Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.
    1. Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):651-59.


    Quick Facts:

    • Considered one of the pioneers of what we now know as the supplement industry, Optimum Nutrition began in 1986. For more than 30 years, they have been providing elite quality fitness supplement products. Whether you need a premium whey protein or a way to boost your testosterone levels, Optimum Nutrition has you covered.
    • Optimum Nutrition offers a wide range of products available in powder, tablet, and ready-to-eat form. These product categories include Whey Protein, Casein Protein, Protein Bars, Mass Gainers, Pre-Workouts, Post-Workouts, Amino Acids, Creatine, Glutamine, Multi-Vitamins, Fat Burners, and Fitness Accessories.

    Top Products:

    1. Gold Standard 100% Whey
    • This combination of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides has become the shining example of what real, high quality protein should be across the industry.
    1. Gold Standard Pre-Workout
    • Featuring a unique high-energy blend of ginseng, caffeine, and l-citrulline malate, this product sets the bar high for other pre-workouts.
    1. Serious Mass
    • When you want to gain size and strength, nothing comes close to the power of Serious Mass. This product is one of the best mass gainers for those in need of size in the entire industry.
    1. Micronized Creatine Powder
    • The use of creatine for athletic performance and fitness results has become commonplace thanks to O.N. This pure, pharmaceutical grade creatine helps support recovery and gains.
    1. Opti-Men
    • Not all multi-vitamins are created equal. Opti-Men was specifically formulated and designed to help a man achieve optimal health.

    Who Uses Optimum Nutrition?

    • Optimum Nutrition is a brand that is accessible and available to all types of fitness enthusiasts. Whether you only see the gym once in a while or you practically live there, Optimum Nutrition has a product for you. In particular, Optimum Nutrition is very popular with those looking to build muscle, burn fat, boost recovery, and improve strength levels. It has a unique line of supplements that apply to every type of fitness goal.
    • Bodybuilders
    • Weight lifters
    • Athletes
    • Power lifters
    • Wanting to lose weight
    • Looking to improve overall health

    Fitness Goals & Which Supplement to Use?

    1. Muscle Building

    When you want to increase lean muscle mass or if you simply want to maintain your current levels, two of the best products in the entire industry come from Optimum Nutrition. Using an elite quality whey will provide you with muscle building amino acids. Using a creatine product before and after your workout will help supply energy to muscle tissue.

    1. Fat Loss

    Nutrition and exercise are key when you want to burn fat; however, everyone can benefit from extra help. Thermogenic supplements help to promote weight loss by triggering a metabolic response and directly supporting fat burning. O.N. has one of the most user-friendly thermogenic fat burners in the industry.

    1. Energy

    We all know the feeling of coming home from a long day and STILL needing to get to the gym on top of everything else. When you’re in need of a serious pick-me-up that won’t leave you with a crash, O.N. has you covered. O.N. produces an industry-shattering pre-workout that contains scientifically proven ingredients. Best of all, there’s no crash! Get your energy with O.N.

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