Has delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and other forms of discomfort gotten the better of you? Well, a good BCAA supplement such as NutraKey BCAA Optima should help turn things around in your favor, as you’ll find out in this review.
About NutraKey BCAA Optima
NutraKey BCAA Optima “is a specific ratio of BCAAs, taurine, and glutamine that have been dosed to maximize absorption and muscle availability,” per its official website. Formula notes:
- Seven grams of BCAAs per serving. Solid amount for a BCAA supplement.
- Zero calories, fat, and carbs. Only a select few BCAA supplements have these key attributes.
- Awesome taste. One of the better-tasting BCAA supplements on the market.
NutraKey BCAA Optima Supplement Facts (Sour Gummy Worm, 435 grams)
|Serving Size: 1 Scoop (14.7 grams)
Servings Per Container: 30
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||0 g||0%|
|BCAA Recovery Matrix||12,001 mg||**|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCl)||1 mg||50%|
|Citrulline Malate||500 mg||**|
|Taurine Electrolyte Blend||1900 mg||**|
|Taurine, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride|
|Glutamine Advanced Matrix||2600 mg||**|
|Glutamine, Glutamate, Glutamine Alpha-Ketoglutarate acid (AKG)|
|Other Ingredients: Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Malic Acid.|
|Recommended Use: Take 1 serving (1 scoop) with 16 ounces of water or your favorite beverage. For maximum results, take 1 serving 30-60 minutes prior to exercise and 1 additional serving immediately after exercise. Non-training days: Take 1 serving with first meal of the day.|
Turn Your Pains Into Gains
Sometimes, bodybuilding isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it has its upsides (physical health, confidence, influence, etc.). However, it also has its downsides. More specifically, these include injuries and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), to name a few.
We’re thankful there are many post-workout and bone and joint supplements on the market which can help you recover sooner than later. Take Muscle Feast Anabolic Recover, for instance. You can’t go wrong with this post-workout’s whopping 44 grams of protein, six grams of l-glutamine, and five grams of creatine monohydrate per serving. You will experience shorter recovery time, increased muscle mass, and enhanced exercise performance, for sure.
On the other hand, Legion FORTIFY includes clinically-dosed ingredients of curcumin, grape seed extract, Boswellia serrata, and undenatured type 2 collagen to make sure your bones and joints are in tip-top shape. No wonder we gave this product a high grade – we’re confident it’ll help take your workouts to the next level.
With that, let’s not take branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements for granted. “BCAA supplementation with endurance training may augment adaptations in muscle anaerobic power and post-exercise recovery in well-trained athletes,” per The FASEB Journal’s April 1, 2016 issue.
Remember, the body doesn’t synthesize BCAAs because they’re essential amino acids (EAAs). One must obtain them from whole foods and supplements. Consuming a big-name BCAA product such as EVLUTION NUTRITION LEAN BCAA can help increase muscle protein synthesis, boost fat loss, preserve hard-earned muscle mass, and regulate blood sugar levels.
Let’s hope a new player, NutraKey BCAA Optima, can do these and more. This product “is a specific ratio of BCAAs, taurine, and glutamine that have been dosed to maximize absorption and muscle availability,” per its official website.
“In short, adding BCAA Optima to your supplement and nutrition regimen may help ensure that the muscle and lean body mass that you’ve worked so hard for keeps on performing at the highest levels,” per the same source.
We like that. No fitness enthusiast wants his or her gains to go down the drain. Taking supplements such as BCAA Optima ensures you reap what you sow at the gym for years to come.
BCAA Recovery Matrix, 12,001 milligrams
NutraKey BCAA Optima’s Sour Gummy Worm flavor’s BCAA Recovery Matrix takes up 12.001 grams per 14.7-gram scoop. Here, you’ll find the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), vitamin B6, and citrulline malate.
NutraKey BCAA Optima has a total of seven grams of BCAAs per serving. The BCAAs follow the traditional 2:1:1 BCAA ratio. That much is great for a BCAA supplement. Think along the lines of GAT Sport FLEX BCAAs and BlackMarket RECOVERY AMINO – no wonder they lord it over many pretenders.
Leading the charge are 3.5 grams of l-leucine per scoop. This is the most anabolic amino acid which helps kickstart the muscle protein synthesis process. According to The Journal of Nutrition’s February 1, 2006 issue, “Leucine is unique among amino acids for its regulatory roles in metabolism, including translational control of protein synthesis and glycemic regulation.” It also adds, “Supplemental leucine allows for the muscle to achieve maximum protein synthesis and anabolic recovery.”
Long story short, your muscles are pining for nutrients such as protein and amino acids after a hard workout. Leucine helps trigger muscle growth because of its ability to signal the release of a special protein known as mTOR. Without this amino acid, all your muscle-building efforts will go for naught.
The good news: leucine is more than just about muscle growth. Some studies also reveal it helps preserve muscle mass, boost fat loss, and keep inflammation at bay. We’re certain 3.5 grams of leucine per serving will help you achieve your fitness goals.
NutraKey BCAA Optima also has 1.75 grams each of isoleucine and valine per scoop. While both help increase endurance and repair muscle tissue, isoleucine also helps regulate blood sugar levels, boost metabolism, regulate blood clot formation, and maintain a positive nitrogen balance.
For its part, valine helps improve sleep quality, quell anxiety, suppress appetite, maintain a positive nitrogen balance, and increase muscle mass. We say 1.75 grams each of isoleucine and valine per serving are the optimal amounts for BCAA supplements. You will reap their full benefits when you supplement with NutraKey BCAA Optima, for sure.
This product also features 500 milligrams of citrulline malate per serving. This is a combination of the non-essential amino acid l-citrulline (which is a natural ingredient of watermelon) and malic acid. L-citrulline has gained serious traction over the years because of its reputation as a powerful vasodilator. In other words, it helps improve blood flow for increased muscle pumps, improve nutrient uptake, and healthier blood pressure levels.
On the other hand, the inclusion of malic acid helps boost endurance. Ergo, citrulline malate is a powerful nitric oxide booster which helps you perform better at the gym. “The use of CM (citrulline malate) might be useful to increase athletic performance in high-intensity anaerobic exercises with short rest times and to relieve post-exercise muscle soreness,” per the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research’s May 2010 issue (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov).
Five hundred milligrams of citrulline malate per serving won’t give you optimum results. Two grams or so would have been better. If you want insane muscle pumps, try a powerful pre-workout supplement such as iSatori MORPH XTREME (which has an otherworldly seven grams of citrulline malate per scoop).
The last component of the BCAA Recovery Blend Matrix is vitamin B6, which takes up one milligram per serving. This vitamin helps boost heart and kidney function, regulate the immune and nervous systems, and maintain healthy hormone levels in the body – all vital health benefits. This supplement gives you a solid 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin B6 (a minimum daily value of 15 percent is high). This much should help boost your health significantly.
Clearly, the star of the show of the BCAA Recovery Blend Matrix is the seven grams of BCAAs per serving. Throw in an above average amount of vitamin B6, you should be able to take your fitness levels one notch higher in conjunction with regular exercise, sound nutrition, and enough sleep.
Taurine Electrolyte Blend, 1,900 milligrams
As the name implies, NutraKey BCAA Optima’s Taurine Electrolyte Blend combines taurine with two key electrolytes for optimum exercise recovery. This takes up 1.9 grams per 14.7-gram scoop.
Taurine is one of the most versatile amino acids. Check out its health benefits:
- Helps keep oxidative stress at bay
- Increases fat loss
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Ramps up testosterone levels
- Increases exercise endurance
- Shortens recovery time
- Improves cardiovascular function and sleep quality
- Enhances cognitive function
Just how valuable is taurine? While studies conducted on this semi-essential amino acid aren’t exhaustive, some say it helps keep oxidative stress among athletes at bay. That bodes well for their long-term performance.
As for the electrolytes sodium chloride and potassium chloride, their electrical charges helps stimulate muscles and nerves. They also help boost hydration and maintain optimal fluid levels in the body. Plus, they help boost heart health. It’s imperative to chug down on electrolytes after a grueling training session to get the best possible results.
Unfortunately, the Taurine Electrolyte Blend is proprietary in nature – the manufacturer fails to break down the individual ingredient amounts. That does not serve the customer well at all. A little honesty would’ve gone a long way.
Glutamine Advanced Matrix, 2,600 milligrams
NutraKey BCAA Optima’s Glutamine Advanced Matrix takes up 2.6 grams per 14.7-gram scoop. The first sub-component is glutamine, an alpha amino acid (the most abundant in muscle tissue) which has an impressive array of health benefits:
- Preserves hard-earned muscle mass
- Increases human growth hormone (HGH) levels
- Boosts gastrointestinal and cognitive function
- Improves athletic performance
- Regulates blood sugar levels
If you’ve doubted glutamine’s ability to shorten recovery time, you shouldn’t any more. “L-glutamine supplementation resulted in faster recovery of peak torque and diminished muscle soreness following eccentric exercise,” per the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism’s October 2015 issue (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov).
For its part, glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter which helps boost brain function, enhance immunity, strengthen bones, and regulate muscle function. More impressively, it acts as a precursor to the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) which, in turn, helps increase HGH levels. That benefit alone would catch the attention of many bodybuilding enthusiasts.
The final component of the Glutamine Advanced Matrix is glutamine alpha-ketoglutarate acid (AKG). Simply put, this is a combination of l-glutamine and alpha-ketoglutaric acid. Experts believe it helps ramp up energy levels, regulate immunity, builds muscle mass, and shortens recovery time.
Once again, the manufacturer resorts to a shady proprietary blend. It would’ve been better if it divulged the individual ingredient amounts Nonetheless, we like the components of the Glutamine Advanced Matrix – harnessing the powers of glutamine and BCAAs (two time-tested ingredients from the Golden Era of Bodybuilding) should help you muscle up and recovery faster from your workouts.
Let’s check out the formula ingredients:
- Calories, 0: NutraKey BCAA Optima has no calories whatsoever. This is one of the rare BCAA supplements with that distinction. Might as well grab the opportunity.
- Total fat, 0 g: This supplement also has no fat content whatsoever. That is awesome, to say the least.
- Sodium, 80 mg: NutraKey BCAA Optima is not a significant source of sodium at just three percent of the daily value (a maximum daily value of five percent is low).
- Potassium, 90 mg: This product is also not a significant source of potassium at a scant three percent of the daily value.
- Total carbohydrates, 0 g: The clear takeaway: this carb-free BCAA supplement complements any low-carb nutrition plan perfectly.
- Sugars, 0 g: NutraKey BCAA Optima may not have any sugar content, but it does have the artificial sweetener sucralose, which has links to obesity and other side effects. That’s not good at all.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCl), 1 mg: This vitamin helps improve cardiovascular and renal function, boost the immune and nervous systems, and maintain healthy hormone levels in the body. You’re sure to reap these benefits from a solid 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin B6.
- Leucine, 3,500 mg: The most anabolic amino acid which helps kickstart the muscle protein synthesis (MPS) process. Leucine also helps preserve muscle mass, boost fat loss, and keep inflammation at bay.
- Isoleucine, 1,750 mg: A BCAA which helps increase endurance, repair muscle tissue, promote healthy blood sugar levels, ramp up metabolism, regulate blood clot formation, and maintain a positive nitrogen balance.
- Leucine, 1,750 mg: A BCAA which helps increase endurance, repair muscle tissue, improve sleep quality, keep anxiety at bay, suppress appetite, maintain a positive nitrogen balance, and ramp up muscle mass.
- Citrulline malate, 500 mg: This is a combination of the potent vasodilator and non-essential amino acid l-citrulline and malic acid. Citrulline malate helps improve blood flow, increase nitric oxide levels and muscle pumps, regulate blood pressure levels, and ramp up exercise endurance.
Taurine Electrolyte Blend, 1,900 mg
- Taurine: A versatile amino acid which helps ward off oxidative stress, boost fat loss, improve sleep quality, insulin sensitivity and heart health; increase testosterone and endurance levels, shorten recovery time, and enhance cognitive function.
- Sodium chloride: Simply known as salt, this electrolyte helps regulate water levels in cells, ward off muscle cramps, regulate blood pressure levels, supports thyroid function, improves insulin sensitivity, and regulate hormone balance.
- Potassium chloride: An electrolyte which helps regulate the nervous system, maintain an optimal fluid balance, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels, ward off muscle cramps, and improve heart health.
Glutamine Advanced Matrix, 2,600 mg
- Glutamine: The most abundant amino acid which helps preserve muscle mass, increase human growth hormone (HGH) levels, improve athletic performance, and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Glutamate: An excitatory neurotransmitter which helps improve brain function, regulate immunity, strengthen bones, regulate muscle function, and act as a precursor to GABA (which helps ramp up HGH levels).
- Glutamine alpha-ketoglutarate acid (AKG): A combination of l-glutamine and alpha-ketoglutaric acid which helps increase energy levels and muscle mass, regulate immunity, and shorten recovery time.
The manufacturer says you can “turn your pains into gains” when you consume NutraKey BCAA Optima. After a thorough analysis, we agree with the company’s assessment. The supplement facts speak volumes.
Like we said, this product’s most impressive feature is its branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) content. You can’t go wrong with an insane seven grams of BCAAs per 14.7-gram scoop. This much should help increase protein synthesis, boost fat loss, support hormone balance, ramp up exercise endurance, preserve muscle mass, ward off delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and regulate blood sugar levels. Bear in mind BCAAs are essential amino acids – your body doesn’t synthesize them. Supplementing with NutraKey BCAA Optima is a great way to get your BCAA fix.
One milligram of vitamin B6 per serving. may not seem like much on paper, but it does account for a solid 50 percent of the daily value. We’re certain this much should help boost heart and kidney health, regulate immunity, and maintain healthy hormone levels. These are vital health benefits which should help keep you on track.
Taurine and glutamine are as versatile as they are impressive. Their combined benefits include lower oxidative stress, increased fat loss, HGH, and testosterone levels; improved sleep quality, gut function, and muscle preservation; and healthier blood sugar levels. We love their inclusion in NutraKey BCAA Optima.
We’re also confident the additions of glutamate and glutamine AKG will work wonders for your health and fitness. However, we’re not too sure about the sodium chloride (three percent of the daily value), potassium chloride (three percent of the daily value), and citrulline malate (500 milligrams per serving) components. We feel their doses are insufficient to produce the best possible results.
On the flip side, three percent of the daily value for sodium won’t compromise your blood pressure levels in any way. If you’re monitoring your sodium intake, NutraKey BCAA Optima is a safe bet. We would’ve loved it if this product had at least 15 percent of the daily value for potassium. Any time a supplement has a higher amount of potassium than sodium, it bodes well for your heart health. Ask any doctor.
We also love the zero-calorie, zero-fat, and zero-carb content. What BCAA supplement can boast of these attributes? Not too many, and we’ve seen them all.
NutraKey BCAA Optima also enjoys a great reputation among customers – they say it tastes great and complements their fitness routine perfectly. We agree on both fronts.
We’re not so gung-ho about the manufacturer’s transparency. Like we said, it didn’t reveal the precise ingredient amounts of the Taurine Electrolyte Blend and Glutamine Advanced Matrix. That doesn’t bode well for consumers at all.
We also didn’t like the inclusion of sucralose, the artificial sweetener which has links to obesity. Stevia, a natural alternative which helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels, would’ve been the far better option.
Nonetheless, NutraKey BCAA Optima’s pros outweigh the cons. It’s still a worthy investment and good addition to any bodybuilding supplement stack. It may not be the best on the market, but it sure can turn your pains into gains.
NutraKey BCAA Optima Benefits
NutraKey BCAA Optima helps “reduce muscle inflammation and soreness, burn more fat, and recover faster,” per its official website.
We agree with these claims. NutraKey BCAA Optima’s impressive combination of ingredients should help you achieve your fitness goals.
Who Takes It?
The manufacturer intended NutraKey BCAA Optima for healthy and active individuals who want to increase muscle mass, boost fat loss, shorten recovery time, boost long-term health, and achieve their daily fitness goals.
Any Side Effects?
NutraKey BCAA Optima contains sucralose, an artificial sweetener which has links to obesity and other side effects.
If this, or any other ingredient, makes you feel doubtful, please consult your doctor before buying NutraKey BCAA Optima.
The manufacturer also issues a warning:
NutraKey BCAA Optima Review Summary
- Impressive formulation. Should help turn your pain into gain.
- Seven grams of BCAAs per scoop. Solid amount for a BCAA supplement.
- 3.5 grams of leucine per serving. The most anabolic amino acid.
- Contains vitamin B6. Impressive 50 percent of the daily value.
- Features glutamine and taurine. Two time-tested bodybuilding supplement ingredients.
- Zero calories, fats, and carbs: Should complement any low-carb nutrition plan perfectly.
- Great reputation. Customers have sung this product’s praises.
- Awesome taste. BCAA supplement that’s easy on the taste buds.
- Flavor options. Comes in tasty Blue Raspberry Thunder, Grape Crush, Strawberry Watermelon, and Tahitian Fruit Punch flavors.
- Questionable ingredient amounts. Not too sold on the sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and citrulline malate amounts.
- Bad transparency. Taurine Electrolyte Blend and Glutamine Advanced Matrix are shady proprietary blends.
- Sucralose. Artificial sweetener with links to obesity.
Pricing & Where to Buy
- 1 435-gram container (30-Day Supply): $33.99
- Available online and in retail
Final Word on NutraKey BCAA Optima
If you’ve long wanted to turn your pain into gain, worry no more: NutraKey BCAA Optima is here to save the day. We say its impressive ingredients, great reputation, and awesome taste make it a good – not great – BCAA supplement.
It may have a few chinks, but it’s still worth buying. We recommend you buy NutraKey BCAA Optima. It should help you conquer your killer workouts from here on out.