Kinetic is is a combination of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and Silk Amino Acids (SAAs) which tend to be sold as seperate products…[Skip to Bottom Line]
SILK AMINO ACIDS:
The term “Silk Amino Acids” (SAAs), or Serecin, refers to a group of amino acids (or protein) produced by silkworms, the major constituents of which are: L-Alanine, Glycine, L-Serine, L-Valine (also one of the branched chain amino acids), and L-Threonine (in weights of 34%, 27%, 9%, 3%, and 2% respectively). One serving of Kinetic contains 4 grams of a combination of these five amino acids (most likely in weights close to the ones described above). Following these five amino acids on the label is the listing of “silk amino acids”, which most likely means this ingredient is the same five amino acids actually extracted from silk, as opposed to the previous five ingredients which are just the free-form amino acids that compose SAA. This most likely makes no difference, but is worth mentioning for those who are confused by the stated ingredients. Now, on to the science.
A 2010 study found that mice who were given an SAA formulation (containing roughly the same weights mentioned above) had significantly reduced tissue damage during exercise (swimming) resulting in increased stamina. Furthermore, the same study noted that SAA supplementation was able to effectively recover blood testosterone levels in the exercising mice. Judging by these results, SAA seems like the new miracle ingredient for workout supplements. However, it is important to keep in mind this study was done on mice. Currently there are no published scientific studies regarding the effects of SAA supplementation in humans, let alone exercising humans.
BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS:
Leucine is an amino acid that is part of what are known as the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). If you have ever purchased a BCAA product, you may have noticed that it contains more leucine than the other two BCAAs (isoleucine and valine). The ratio is generally something along the lines of 2:1:1. Leucine is probably the most studied branched chain amino acid out of the three. Supplemental leucine has been shown to increase protein synthesis in rats as well as humans. A 2012 study found that supplementation with 12 g of L-leucine per day resulted in improved protein synthesis in elderly males consuming a low protein diet. While 12 grams is far more than the amount of leucine found in most BCAA containing supplements, these results simply lend credibility to already established notion that supplemental leucine improves muscle protein synthesis.
While Leucine does appear to be more important in regards to muscle protein synthesis, isoleucine’s importance for muscle growth pertains more to its ability to induce glucose uptake by (muscle) cells. Valine has actually not been proven to be as beneficial for muscle building as the other two, but is grouped in because it shares a similar (branched chain) chemical structure. Amino acids are rapidly depleted during intense exercise, so replacing BCAA’s allows for more protein synthesis to take place. A 2004 study conducted by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences found that BCAA requirement was significantly increased by exercise and that supplementation had “beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis”. A second study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, found that, while BCAA intake did not seem to affect amino acid concentration during exercise, it did have a protein-sparing effect during recovery. If you consume a diet rich in complete proteins, then you already receive enough dietary BCAAs to fulfill all normal physiological functions. However, given the litany of studies proving the muscular/exercise-related benefits of BCAA supplementation in non-protein deficient humans, we conclude that BCAAs are among the most scientifically validated ingredients currently marketed as exercise supplements (second perhaps to creatine).
Carnitine appears to possess some exercise enhancing properties, via several potential mechanisms of action. While commonly marketed for weight loss, carnitine has actually shown the least amount of potential in that area, relative to physical performance. Certain forms of carnitine have been shown to increase anaerobic exercise capacity (thought be via increased oxygenation in muscle tissue) in humans. However, all these effects were observed using much higher doses of Carnitine than what can possibly be contained in the 631mg energy blend found in Kinetic. Within that 631mg blend, Kinetic also contains 100mg of Vitamin C and at least 100mg or more of Raw Coconut Water Extract. This leaves (at most) around 400 mg of LCLT. So, while Carnitine, in various forms, may possess some benefits in regards to exercise performance at certain doses, we question the efficacy of the dose found in one serving of Kinetic.
RAW COCONUT WATER EXTRACT:
Coconut Water has become quite popular in the beverage (specifically sports drink) industry because of its electrolyte profile. Yes electrolytes are incredibly important for proper inter-cellular communication, and the need for electrolytes may increase with prolonged exercise. However, Neon could just as easily have put the same five electrolytes (potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus) in the formula in their free-form states with virtually the same benefit. Furthermore, as far as electrolytes on the label, only calcium is listed which causes us to question the electrolyte content of the extract. The claim made by Neon, that coconut water extract helps to “maximize cellular energy”, is unsubstantiated to say the least. Without further elaboration form the company, we cannot truly analyze this ingredient for efficacy and must disregard this claim.
Normally, we do not comment on the inclusion of Vitamin C in workout supplements, but since it is included in the proprietary blend we feel compelled to address it. Vitamin C possesses antioxidant properties and is essential for a variety of functions in the human body. Studies have failed to link Vitamin C supplementation to: increased exercise capacity, reduce soreness resulting from exercise, or improve immune response to exercise. Furthermore, Vitamin C is very inexpensive, with about 250 grams sold for $2-$5. While we do not object to the inclusion of Vitamin C in workout supplements, it simply is not much of a selling point.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Kinetic attempts a “best of both worlds” approach by including SAAs as well as BCAAs in the blend and, based on the available evidence in favor of SAA use, this may currently be the best approach. While SAAs have been shown in rodents to produce some significant exercise benefits, no human studies currently exist. BCAAs, on the other hand, have plenty of human studies to back their use. At about $1.25/serving, Kinetic is just 25 cents more than certain SAA products that solely contain SAAs at the same dose (4 grams).
- Shin, Sunhee, et al. “Silk amino acids improve physical stamina and male reproductive function of mice.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 33.2 (2010): 273-278.
- Shin, S. H., et al. “Stamina-enhancing effects of silk amino acid preparations in mice.” Laboratory Animal Research 25 (2009).
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- Anthony, Joshua C., Tracy Gautsch Anthony, and Donald K. Layman. “Leucine supplementation enhances skeletal muscle recovery in rats following exercise.”The Journal of nutrition 129.6 (1999): 1102-1106.
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- MacLean D.A..Graham,T.E. and B. Saltin. “Branched-chain amino acids augment ammonia metabolism while attenuating protein breakdown during exercise.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism 267.6 (1994): E1010-E1022
- Jacobs PL, et al. Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine produces enhanced anaerobic work capacity with reduced lactate accumulation in resistance trained males. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2009)
- Karlic, Heidrun, and Alfred Lohninger. “Supplementation of L-carnitine in athletes: does it make sense?.” Nutrition 20.7 (2004): 709-715.