Amino acid products tend to get a lot of mixed thoughts on whether or not they are worth it, what they actually do, and how they should be properly dosed. More often than not, BCAA’s and EAA’s are overpriced, overhyped, and often not looked at the way that they should be. EAA’s are 8 Essential Amino Acids, not produced by the body, and must consumed through the food we eat, or supplementation. These amino acids won’t be what we are focusing on today. BCAA’s or Branch Chain Amino Acids, on the other hand, make up a large portion of the muscle tissue in the human body. We consume BCAA’s every time we devour some form of protein; whether it is a supplement, a piece of steak, or even some cottage cheese. BCAA’s have many benefits ranging from sparing muscle to balancing hormones, but right now we are going to take a look at the main use of BCAA’s during weight training.
It is important to understand that BCAA’s will NOT cause you to gain a large amount of muscle or increase strength just from taking it. BCAA’s should be used as a way to spare muscle when in a caloric deficit, if you have a prolonged training session and do not have access to a meal, or you are deficient on protein. In fact, studies have shown that the average human generally consumes enough protein per day to deter the use of a BCAA supplement. However, if you are reading this, chances are you’re not just an average human and you can use the additional BCAA’s either during a long workout, or while you’re in between meals.
For those of you who have been consumers in the supplement industry for a while, you’ll know BLR has made some phenomenal products that are widely utilized by more seasoned strength and physique athletes. All of their products have had amazing feedback and reviews and as of recent, they have took a dip into the less “hardcore” side of supplementation, creating Nootrol, their nootropic product, as well as Amino Infusion.
Black Lion Research takes pride in sourcing only the purest and finest ingredients to make their supplement line; Amino Infusion is no different. Before we dive into what makes Amino Infusion unique, we are going to cover something that may jump out at you on the label:
Well, for those who are unaware where BCAA’s come from, most often they are animal sourced, but you probably don’t know which animal, or how. While not all companies source from the same supply, many BCAA’s are commonly derived from duck feathers, human hair, pig hair or fur, or other sources that are rich in keratin.
Amino Infusion is offered in one flavor at the moment; Kiwi Strawberry. We tested this, one scoop at a time, with anywhere from 16oz-32oz of water. In our opinion, more water=better flavor with this product, with about 24 oz of water being a sweet spot for us. Not to say less water made it too sweet, but some flavors just shine when it isn’t a bold slap in the face. The strawberry kiwi is definitely a thumbs up from us, resembling that of a powdered drink mix with a bit of a twist. The flavor is a bit more sour than other aminos, but we think that may have something to do with the fermentation process of the sourced aminos. One thing that we did notice is a little bit of a bitter aftertaste, rather than a sweet aftertaste, common among unflavored aminos. For us, this is neither a positive or a negative, but one thing to note is occasionally aminos will have a fairly sweet aftertaste because of the natural and artificial flavoring. This can leave a film in your mouth and lead to an unfavorable taste throughout your workout. Although Amino Infusion does use both natural and artificial flavors, we do like that there isn’t a “filmy” layer after sipping throughout the workout. Overall, the Kiwi Strawberry flavor is good and a solid choice if you enjoy other products with a similar flavor.
This is generally one thing that most supplement users are concerned with when it comes to using a BCAA product: the white flaky residue that doesn’t always dissolve in water. With Amino Infusion, there is some flakes that are left when you mix with 24oz of water or less, but the more water you add, the better the product dissolves. We did notice, just like other amino acid products, when shaking it up in a shaker, there is some bubbling. We found the bubbling subsides rather quickly however, so if you are someone who does not like a foamy amino acid product, wait a few seconds after shaking and the bubbles go away rather quickly. Regardless of the foaming and occasional white specks, this product still has some top tier mixability and is ranked high with some of the other amino products we’ve had the opportunity to try. Unless you are exceptionally picky with how your BCAA’s mix, you will be pleased with the dissolving properties of Amino Infusion.
First off, it is important to note that a 2:1:1 ratio is what is considered “optimal” and has been scientifically and clinically tested with effective feedback. This means you are getting 4g of Leucine, 2g of Iso-Leucine, and 2g of Valine in each scoop of Amino Infusion. We discussed above the importance of BCAA’s and what they do, so you already know the anti-catabolic properties, as well as their importance as the building blocks of protein.
With the fermented corn sourced vegan BCAA’s, the purity and higher grade are what separate these types of BCAA’s from the animal sourced. Not often is a company transparent with their sourcing for their amino acid product. Know that with Amino fusion, you are getting the purest BCAA’s available to help you recover from long strenuous workouts, or if you’re just needing an added protein boost in your diet.
HICA (alpha-hydroxyisocaproic acid)
A Modern Athletic Health staff favorite. HICA which is also often described as Leucic acid, is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine.
Leucine is known as the powerhouse and driving force behind protein synthesis in the body. HICA, is thought to be more anabolic than leucine by itself and certain studies have shown that supplementing with 1g-1.5g of HICA per day can result in an increase in lean body mass, a decrease in fat mass, and an increase in recovery. While more studies need to be concluded to prove the effectiveness of HICA as compared to leucine with regards to lean mass gain, fat loss, and recovery, current studies do show that HICA appears to be more potent at lesser amounts. When paired with BCAA’s, HICA may play a key role in continuing protein synthesis throughout the day. The inclusion of properly dosed HICA combined with Vegan fermented BCAA’s makes for a very high quality supplement that shows BLR takes what they do seriously
Sodium Citrate/Potassium chloride
It is worth nothing that Amino Infusion uses 100mg of both Sodium Citrate and Potassium chloride in each scoop. Sodium and Potassium are both key electrolytes that we so often lose through sweat during our workouts. In fact, most Americans are deficient in potassium which can lead to cramping and muscle spasms even if you are NOT a serious athlete. The two electrolytes are big players in this formula to ensure hydration throughout your workouts and make sure that muscle contractions can stay at full force from start to finish. Some may look and think that this isn’t a big deal, but have you tracked your daily potassium intake? A little extra in your intra or pre workout product is sure to provide a subtle but important difference in your workouts.
Aside from the flavor, mixability, and ingredients being awesome, the price for Amino Infusion is something that turns heads by itself! Right now, on Black Lion Research’s website, you can get a tub of Amino Infusion for $20. While that sounds like a pretty slick deal, if you use the code MAH25, you will get an additional 25% off your Amino Infusion, and anything else that you put in your order! Between the 8g of BCAA’s, HICA, electrolytes, and insurance of top quality sourcing and purity, you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal ANYWHERE. In fact, some standalone HICA products retail for more than this. This is a bargain and a half.
Our Final Thoughts
From a price standpoint alone, Amino Infusion can’t be beat. From an ingredient standpoint, it's giving you everything you could want in an amino acid product, and then some. From a quality and purity standpoint, vegan sourced BCAA’s take the guess work out of where your aminos are actually coming from. The taste is great and the mixability is pretty good as well. While this isn’t something that you are going to “feel” in the gym, it is something that you will notice affecting your workouts and recovery in a positive manner, especially if you put in long hours at the gym. Aside from the BCAA’s, the HICA and electrolytes are a great addition that will ensure optimal protein synthesis and help to eliminate those stubborn cramps you may occasionally get during workouts or post workout. We definitely loved Black Lion Research’s Amino Infusion and want to give a huge shout out to our friends over there for letting us try this product. To all of those who are reading this, swing by Black Lion Research’s website and pick up a tub of Amino Infusion if you are looking to take workouts and recovery to the next level. This is a serious amino acid complex for a serious athlete!