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Muscle Elements AmiNO Flow Review

Amino Flow is BCAA-based supplement by Muscle Elements which combinese several recovery and performance enhancing ingredients to ultimately form one of the most unique Amino supplements on the market…

Amino Flow

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Amino Flow Ingredients

Amino Flow contains a unique mixture of both performance enhancing and recovery-aiding ingreidents…

BCAAs

The term “Branched Chain Amino Acids”, or BCAAs for short, refers to the three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. Although each of these amino acids has its own unique properties, they all share the same “branched” chemical structure and are generally grouped together when it comes to intra-workout supplements.

Dozens of studies have been conducted at this point, but we’ll just focus on a few that are particularly important.

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 2009 study published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” tested the effects of BCAA supplementation in comparison to whey protein supplementation or simple carbohydrates (from a sports drink) in athletes. All subjects consumed the same diet and participated in the same physical training regimen. At the end of the 8 week study, the BCAA group significantly outperformed both the whey group and carbohydrate group in terms of lean body mass as well as strength.

A major criticism of BCAA supplements is that Leucine alone can achieve a significant increase in muscle protein synthesis. While Leucine does appear to be the most critical in regards to muscle protein synthesis, a 2009 study published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” concluded that BCAAs (2:1:1) have a more pronounced effect on protein synthesis than the same amount of Leucine alone.

So, if you had to choose, you would choose Leucine, but all three is undeniably a better way to go.

AmiNO Flow contains 5g of total BCAAs in a 3:1:2 ratio. Though no “optimal” ratio has been established, it makes sense to include more Leucine than the other two because it is the most potent with regards to protein synthesis.

TAURINE

In a 2011 study from “Cell Biochemistry and Function” Taurine was shown to significantly reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress in skeletal muscle.

These findings were consistent with those of an earlier (2004) study, published in “Amino Acids” which showed that Taurine may decrease exercise induced DNA damage, as well as “enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties”.

A recent 2013 study, also from “Amino Acids” noted a 1.7% improvement in 3k-time trial of runners after supplementing with Taurine, and these findings were further corroborated in a later 2013 study from “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism “ in which Taurine supplementation was able to increase strength as well as decrease oxidative muscle damage.

Muscle Elements has packed 1g of Taurine in each serving of AmiNO Flow, a clinically effective dose with regards to reducing muscle damage and potentially enhancing performance.

L-CITRULLINE

Citrulline is a precursor to the amino acid Arginine, which is a precursor to Nitric Oxide (NO).

As demonstrated in a 2007 study, supplemental Citrulline is significantly more effective at raising plasma Arginine than supplemental Arginine itself, and while results with Arginine are mixed, Citrulline has demonstrated clear efficacy as a performance enhancer.

A 2002 study, published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that Citrulline Malate supplementation (6g/day for 15 days) significantly increased ATP production during exercise in healthy adult males.

A 2009 study, published in the “Journal of Free Radical Research”, found that 6 grams of Citrulline Malate given to male cyclists before a race increased “plasma Arginine availability for NO synthesis and PMNs priming for oxidative burst without oxidative damage”.

A 2010 study from “The Journal of Strength & Conditioning” found that 8g of Citrulline Malate was able to progressively increase the amount of reps performed later in the workout (by as much as 52%) and significantly reduced muscle soreness.

A 2011 study, the subjects of which were rats, found that supplemental Citrulline increased muscular contraction efficiency (less ATP was required for the same amount of power), in-line with the findings of the above-mentioned human study.

Most recently, a 2014 study from the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” found that subjects who received 8g Citrulline prior to resistance training were able to perform more reps later in the workout, thus replicating the results of the prior 2010 study. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study was that the subjects were all advanced weight-lifters, meaning the benefits of Citrulline apply to everyone, not just beginners.

There is preliminary evidence to suggest Citrulline may act in a synergistic manner with Leucine by positively affecting Leucine’s stimulation of mTOR, which is why we like seeing it in amino-based supplements.

AmiNO Flow contains 2g of L-Citrulline per serving which, despite not being a “clinical” dose, is more than most intra-workout BCAA supplements (like Xtend).

AGMATINE SULFATE

In the past few years, Agmatine has gone from a rare ingredient to pre-workout staple, though it remains seriously under-researched relative to other popular pre-workout ingredients. Agmatine has been demonstrated to up-regulate Endothelial Nitric Oxide (eNOS), sometimes referred to as the “good” NOS, while inhibiting the other NOS enzymes (the “bad” NOS) in vitro, but human studies are non-existent.

AmiNO Flow contains 250mg of Agmatine Sulfate per serving.

L-HISTIDINE

As mentioned in the Beta-Alanine section, Histidine is required to form Carnosine, and since it is an essential amino acid, it must be acquired through diet (or supplemented). However, while Histidine deficiency can certainly lead to Carnosine deficiency, supplemental doses of Histidine have proved ineffective at boosting muscle Carnosine above baseline, whereas Beta-Alanine (assuming the right dose) is quite effective at doing so.

AmiNO Flow contains 125mg of L-Histidine per serving.

ORNITHINE

Ornithine is an amino acid used alongside Arginine and Citrulline in the Urea Cycle, the process by which Ammonia is metabolized into the harmless substance Urea. Prolonged exercise generally brings about increases in Ammonia, which causes fatigue in the working muscle after enough has built up.

As evidenced in a 2010 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, supplemental Ornithine, at a dose of 100mg/kg, has failed to influence fatigue in short duration exercise.

However, a 2008 study from “Nutrition Research” noted a significant reduction in fatigue during prolonged exercise in healthy volunteers who consumed 2g Ornithine daily for 6 days and 6g prior to testing. Unfortunately, because of the structure of this study, it is unclear whether Ornithine requires “build-up time” or if acute supplementation is effective.

Either way, it appears Ornithine will only be noticeably effective during prolonged exercise, when Ammonia would usually cause fatigue.

However, AmiNO Flow contains only 125mg of Ornithine HCl per serving, far less than what was used in the above-mentioned studies.

GRAPE SEED EXTRACT

Grape Seed Extract is often standardized for Proanthocyanadins (as is the case in Muscle Elements’ PreCre formula), a class of polyphenols found in many plants, which appears to have some benefits pertaining to Nitric Oxide production.

A 2012 study, published in the “British Journal of Nutrition”, found that Grape Seed Extract was able to reduce exercise induced oxidative stress while simultaneously increasing Nitric Oxide levels in rats.

These findings were replicated in a 2013 study from “Phytotherapy Research”, also using rats.

Despite these promising preliminary findings, there are no human studies to test whether these benefits extend to humans, let alone exercising humans. However, given the popularity of Grape Seed Extract in recent years, such studies are likely underway.

Amino Flow Ingredient Takeaway

What we have here is no doubt one of the most unique BCAA supplements.  Not only does Amino Flow contain ingredients that will enhance recovery and reduce muscle soreness, but it also has the potential to enhance exercise performance.  If you’re looking for a Nitric Oxide boosting BCAA powerhouse, Amino Flow has you covered!

Is Amino Flow Safe?

Since Amino Flow contains absolutely no stimulants, it is entirely safe.  It is possible that individuals who have initially low blood pressure would experience a drop in blood pressure to unhealthy levels because Amino Flow does contain several potent vasodilators.  If that’s the case, then you should consult with your doctor before taking Amino Flow or any other Nitric Oxide boosting supplement for that matter.

THE BOTTOM LINE

AmiNO Flow is no doubt one of the more comprehensive/effective BCAA-based formulas available. It contains much more than just BCAAs to enhance recovery.  You can also expect better muscular endurance during your workouts, less muscle soreness, and some pretty awesome pumps!

If you’re still not sure which BCAA supplement is right for you, check out our Best BCAA/Amino Acid Supplements List.

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