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MusclePharm Amino1 Black Review

Amino1 Black is MusclePharm’s Black Series amino + energy formula which consists of BCAA, Glutamine, Taurine, and an interesting energy blend…

MusclePharm Amino1 Black

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GLUTAMINE

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (your body can make it) that is involved in a variety of bodily functions, from immune health, to providing a back-up fuel-source for the brain. Aside from its general physiological roles, supplemental Glutamine has shown a lot of promise when it comes to fighting exercise induced immune system suppression.

Our immune systems ultimately benefit from regular exercise, but in the short-term, exercise actually temporarily lowers our immune defenses, thus making us more susceptible to infection during that time-frame. This temporary compromise of the immune system has been proven to correlate with lower levels of glutamine.

For this reason, it is suggested that increased uptake of glutamine may help keep the immune system strong post-exercise. In addition, lower glutamine levels have been recorded in over-trained athletes, suggesting that higher levels of glutamine may help to prevent overtraining.

Amino1 Black contains 3g of Glutamine per serving, about average as far as most amino supplements go.

GLYCINE

Glycine is the simplest of all amino acids but, aside from contributing to the formation of proteins, it has no innate muscle-building properties.  MusclePharm lists Glycine under the “Cellular Energy and ATP Fueler” part of the formula, so we assume Glycine is intended to contribute to ATP synthesis.  Indeed, Glycine is involved in the production of ATP, but there is absolutely no reason to suspect that Glycine supplementation can have any influence on ATP.

In the context of Amino1 Black, Glycine appears to be more of a filler ingredients than a key ingredient.

TAURINE

Taurine is relatively pervasive as a pre-workout/recovery ingredient at this point because it has consistently been demonstrated to reduce oxidative damage in muscle tissue.

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 runnersafter supplementing with Taurine, and these findings were further corroborated in a 2013 study from “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism “ in which Taurine supplementation was able to decrease muscle damage and increase strength (slightly).

With 2g of Taurine per serving, Amino1 Black has what it takes to reduce muscular oxidative damage and possibly slightly improve performance.

BCAAS (LEUCINE, ISOLEUCINE, VALINE)

The term “Branched Chain Amino Acids” (BCAAs) refers to the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine which are commonly utilized together in a 2:1:1 ratio (Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine). 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 thatBCAAs (2:1:1) have a more pronounced effect on protein synthesis than the same amount of Leucine alone, indicating that all three is the best way to go.

Unfortunately, the low dose (3g in a 3:2:1 ratio) of BCAAs significantly detracts from the overall efficacy of the Amino1 Black formula with regards to recovery/muscle-building.

CAFFEINE ANHYDROUS

Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid, oral consumption of which triggers the release of Catcholamines (Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Adrenaline, etc.), generally inducing a state of increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy.

Additionally, Caffeine can enhance calcium-ion release in muscle tissue, which directly increases muscle contraction force. Rather than discuss dozens of studies, we’ll leave it at this: Caffeine is an extremely effective ergogenic aid, though tolerance build-up is certainly an issue to keep in mind.

Amino1 Black contains 100mg of Caffeine per serving, a moderately low dose for most people.

GREEN TEA EXTRACT (EGCG)

Green Tea contains a catechin known as Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and is generally standardized to a specific concentration. EGCG is a moderately potent anti-oxidant, but can also inhibit Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase (COMT), the enzyme responsible for the degradation of catecholamine neurotransmitters (Noradrenaline, Dopamine, etc.).

By inhibiting COMT, EGCG can amplify the effects of stimulants like Caffeine, and therefore may contribute to the overall cognitive effects of Amino1 Black.

PANAX GINSENG

Ginseng has long been used as a non-stimulant cognition/vitality enhancer with a fair amount of human research backing its use.  In the context of Amino1 Black, it helps to round out the energy blend without making the formula overly stimulant-reliant.

THEACRINE

Theacrine is an alkaloid found almost exclusively in Camellia Assamica, also known as Kucha tea. In terms of its chemical structure, Theacrine (1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid) is very similar to Caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine), so its physiological effects are alleged to be similar as well.

We discuss the research behind Theacrine in this article but, to make a long story short, it appears to increase perceived energy levels in humans, further adding to the cognitive effects of Amino1 Black.

COCONUT WATER POWDER

Coconut Water has become extremely popular in the mainstream beverage industry as a sports-drink because it is naturally high in all five primary electrolytes (Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium).  In the context of Amino1 Black, it has essentially the same function.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Amino1’s most notable weakness is the low dose of BCAAs, relative to other BCAA supplements.  The energy blend is actually one of the most well-formulated we’ve seen in any Amino + Energy products so far.  It’s far from a heavy-stim formula, but with 100mg of Caffeine and 25mg of Theacrine, it may provide the average non-caffeine consuming individual with a small but noticeable energy boost.

Still not sure which Amino Supplement is right for you?  Check out our Best BCAA/Amino Supplements List!

References

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  3. Huxtable, R. J. “Physiological actions of taurine.” Physiological reviews 72.1 (1992): 101-163
  4. da Silva, Luciano A., et al. “Effects of taurine supplementation following eccentric exercise in young adults.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 39.1 (2013): 101-104
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  8. Silva, Luciano A., et al. “Taurine supplementation decreases oxidative stress in skeletal muscle after eccentric exercise.” Cell biochemistry and function 29.1 (2011): 43-49.
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