Hey, ever tried an energy booster which harnesses the powers of amino acids and caffeine?
We’re sure that’s music to any bodybuilding enthusiast’s ears.
We present to you Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY, a product which has a great reputation.
But can it deliver the goods?
Buckle up and enjoy the review, folks.
About Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is a “Unique Combination of Aminos and Caffeine,” per its official website. Formula notes:
- Comprehensive Amino Blend. Versatile from top to bottom.
- Well-rounded energy booster. Consumers can use it as a pick-me-up, pre-workout, or post-workout.
- Has caffeine. More or less equal to an eight-oz. cup of coffee.
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY Supplement Facts (Blue Raspberry, 30 Servings)
|Serving Size: Two Scoops (9 g)
Servings Per Container: 30
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Total Carbohydrate||2 g||1%*|
|Amino Blend||5 g||†|
|Micronized Taurine, Micronized L-Glutamine, Micronized L-Arginine, Micronized L-Leucine, CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, Micronized Citrulline, Micronized L-Isoleucine, Micronized L-Valine, Micronized L-Tyrosine, Micronized L-Histidine, Micronized L-Lysine, Micronized L-Phenylalanine, Micronized L-Threonine, Micronized L-Methionine|
|Energy Blend||160 mg||†|
|Caffeine (From Green Tea)‡, Green Tea Extract (Camellia Sinensis) (Leaf)(Standardized For EGCG), Green Coffee Extract|
|Other Ingredients: Malic Acid, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Tartaric Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, Citric Acid, Sucralose, Gum Blend (Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan), Lecithin, FD&C Blue #2, FD&C Red #40, Inulin.
‡ Total Caffeine from all sources is equal to 100 mg/9 g serving.
|Directions For Essential AmiN.O. Energy: Mix two scoops of ESSENTIAL AMINO ENERGY in 10-12 oz. of cold water.
FOR AN AMINO ACID BOOST: Consume one or more servings first thing in the morning and/or between meals.
FOR PRE-WORKOUT ENERGY: Take 1-3 servings 20-30 minutes before training.
FOR POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY: Take 1-2 servings immediately after training.
Do not exceed more than 5 servings per day.
Unique Combination of Aminos and Caffeine
If you need a solid pick-me-up, energy boosters are the way to go.
Besides, who wants the hassle of making a cup of joe every hour just so you can get through your day?
You want clean energy from natural pathways, such as the insane Vitamin B12 content found in NOW Ultra B-12.
After giving that product a good grade, we were confident we would stumble upon another bona fide difference maker.
Let’s see if Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is up to the task, folks.
The manufacturer describes this bodybuilding supplement as a “Unique Combination of Aminos and Caffeine,” per its official website.
Wow. Unique is an understatement.
Looks like Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is the ideal product for bodybuilding enthusiasts who love amino acids and caffeine.
The folks at Optimum Nutrition think so. In fact, they say this supplement can ramp up your energy levels for your workouts or your normal daily activities.
“You can determine what’s appropriate for any situation, adding a two-scoop serving to water for an afternoon pick-me-up,” per their official website.
You can also increase “the amino acid matrix to 10 grams with a four-scoop pre-workout drink that delivers 200 mg of caffeine from green coffee and green tea extracts,” per the same source.
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is made up of two blends: The Amino Blend (five grams per serving) and the Energy Blend (160 milligrams per serving).
Unfortunately, both of them are shady proprietary blends – the manufacturer fails to divulge the individual ingredient amounts.
With this kind of deceiving marketing ploy, there’s no way you can tell if you’re underdosing or overdosing on a particular ingredient.
We weren’t also expecting this from Optimum Nutrition, a bodybuilding supplement manufacturer with a stellar reputation.
As the name implies, the Amino Blend is comprised of key amino acids which help increase your energy levels.
Despite its proprietary nature, this blend packs a wallop.
First, it has taurine. You can find this amino acid in many post-workout supplements because it helps increase work capacity and shorten recovery.
Taurine also has other key benefits:
- Helps lower stress levels
- Torches fat
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Ramps up testosterone levels
- Keeps free radicals at bay
- Boosts heart and brain health
- Helps improve sleep quality
We’re glad Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has taurine.
Another versatile amino acid found in this product is l-glutamine.
Glutamine helps preserve muscle mass, regulate gut health, ward off inflammation, increase muscle tissue hydration, and boost human growth hormone (HGH) levels.
With this ingredient, you will enjoy increased vitality and anabolism. Guaranteed.
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY also has l-arginine.
Bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts know this amino acid is a precursor of nitric oxide, a natural gas which helps improve blood flow, regulate blood pressure levels, and boost nutrient uptake.
Plus, nitric oxide helps increase your muscle pumps and reduce lactic acid levels. The latter benefit helps increase exercise performance.
So, if you want a pick-me-up which also doubles as a potent vasodilator, Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is the way to go.
Of course, no amino acid blend would be complete without the three branch-chained amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Just so you know, leucine is the most anabolic amino acid because it helps kickstart muscle protein synthesis.
It’s a shame we don’t know how much leucine Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has.
Leucine and valine’s combined benefits include increased endurance and energy, improved muscle tissue repair, positive nitrogen balance, and healthy blood sugar levels.
Bottom line: BCAAs supply your body with a great dose of energy.
However, Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is much more than a BCAA supplement, as the ingredients list indicates.
Next up is CarnoSyn, a top-notch beta-alanine brand.
If you want to increase your energy levels, beta-alanine is the ingredient of choice, folks.
When you supplement with beta-alanine, you increase your muscle carnosine levels.
That, in turn, results in greater resistance to muscle fatigue and increased work capacity – you’ll find yourself exercising longer and harder like never before.
The downside of beta-alanine supplementation is the dreaded tingling sensation (paraesthisia) it produces.
The good news: The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s July 15, 2015 issue says, “This can be attenuated by using divided lower doses (1.6 g) or using a sustained-release formula.”
The bad news: We don’t know how much beta-alanine Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has.
See? That’s the downside of using deceiving proprietary blends.
Another key ingredient which caught our eye is l-citrulline, an amino acid and watermelon extract found in many pre-workout supplements.
It turns out this energy booster not only has one, but two potent vasodilators.
Just like l-arginine, l-citrulline is a nitric oxide precursor.
So, when you take Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY, you experience twice as many muscle pumps as your ordinary energy supplement.
Now, who in his right mind wouldn’t want that?
Not only that, l-citrulline also helps ramp up your human growth hormone levels (HGH).
Combine that with l-glutamine’s same benefit, you get another incredible double dose.
The takeaway: Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY gives you great muscle pumps and increases your HGH levels like no energy booster could.
On the other hand, its other amino acid components (l-tyrosine, l-histidine, l-lysine, etc.) give you time-tested health benefits. Believe it.
The other half of Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY’s potent one-two punch is 160 milligrams of its Energy Blend per serving.
Here, you will find the usual ingredients with caffeine in a bodybuilding supplement – green tea extract and green coffee extract.
Green tea is one of the world’s healthiest beverages. Check out what it can do for your body:
- Helps boost brain function
- Torches fat
- Keeps free radicals and bacteria at bay
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Increase longevity
We’re stoked it’s in Optimum Nutrition AMIN.O. ESSENTIAL ENERGY.
The final major ingredient is green coffee extract, which helps ramp up metabolism and energy levels, increase satiety, regulate cholesterol levels, and improve blood circulation.
We’ll be honest here: as great as the benefits of caffeine are, it may produce a spike-crash or jittery effect in some individuals.
Of course, any time a particular ingredient produces side effects, it doesn’t sit well with us.
The manufacturer claims Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has 100 milligrams of caffeine per serving.
That is more or less equal to an eight-oz. cup of coffee.
We’re happy to report many customers say this product doesn’t produce the spike-crash effect we mentioned.
However, it’s always best to dwell on the safe side: Follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
Let’s check out the formula ingredients:
- Calories, 10: Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY’s calorie content is what you can find in most energy boosters. There’s no doubt it won’t compromise your nutritional goals.
- Total carbohydrates, 2 g: This product’s carb content is near non-existent at a paltry one percent of the daily value (anything less than five percent is low).
Amino Blend, 5 g
- Micronized taurine: A versatile amino acid which helps increase work capacity, shorten recovery, reduce stress, burn fat, increase testosterone levels, ward off free radicals, and improve heart and brain health.
- Micronized l-glutamine: Another versatile ingredient which helps preserve muscle mass, increase human growth hormone levels, and regulate digestive system health.
- Micronized l-arginine: An amino acid precursor of nitric oxide, which helps improve blood flow, increase vasodilation and muscle pumps, regulate blood pressure levels, and boost nutrient uptake.
- Micronized l-leucine: The most anabolic amino acid which helps kickstart the muscle protein synthesis process. Some studies suggest leucine also helps preserve muscle mass and torch fat.
- CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine: A top-notch brand of beta-alanine which helps increase muscle carnosine levels for increased exercise capacity.
- Micronized citrulline: A watermelon extract and non-essential amino acid which has the same benefits as l-arginine, a fellow nitric oxide precursor.
- Micronized l-isoleucine: A BCAA which helps increase energy levels, shorten recovery time, regulate blood sugar levels, and maintain a positive nitrogen balance for more muscle growth.
- Micronized l-valine: A BCAA which helps increase satiety, improve sleep quality, boost muscle tissue repair, and increase endurance.
- Micronized l-tyrosine: An ingredient which helps boost the absorption of other amino acids and lower stress levels.
- Micronized l-histidine: An essential amino acid which assists in protein formation and regulate metabolism.
- Micronized l-lysine: An essential amino acid which helps ward off free radicals, reduce anxiety levels, and increase calcium absorption.
- Micronized l-phenylalanine: An amino acid which helps boost mood and improve brain function.
- Micronized l-threonine: An essential amino acid which supports bone, connective tissue, liver, and immune system health.
- Micronized l-methionine: Helps keep free radicals at bay, strengthen bones, boost weight loss, and support liver health.
Energy Blend, 160 mg
- Caffeine (from green tea): The caffeine content from green tea is fantastic because it’s not as potent as coffee’s. Don’t expect any unwanted jitters from this caffeine source.
- Green tea extract (Camellia sinensis)(leaf)(standardized for EGCG): One of the world’s healthiest beverages which boosts heart health, stops free radicals dead in their tracks, torches fat, and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Green coffee extract: This coffee’s beans do not go through the roasting process, which helps preserve its impressive antioxidant content. Green coffee also helps increase energy and metabolism, torch fat, and regulate cholesterol levels.
At first glance, Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O ENERGY is any bodybuilding enthusiast’s dream pick-me-up.
When you harness the powers of amino acids and caffeine, many good things are bound to happen.
This product’s Amino Blend is one of the most comprehensive we’ve ever seen for an energy booster.
We laid out all of the facts for you, folks: an increase in energy levels is just the tip of the iceberg.
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY’s amino acid arsenal will also help you increase endurance, preserve muscle mass, boost protein synthesis, improve blood flow, and increase vasodilation, among other things.
Expect shorter recovery time, better blood pressure levels, and better cardiovascular health as well.
Oh, and don’t forget about the potent muscle pumps (from l-arginine and l-citrulline) and increased human growth hormone levels (from l-glutamine and l-citrulline).
It’s just an awesome blend from top to bottom.
The Energy Blend is just as impressive. You’ll find the usual ingredients (green tea extract, caffeine, and green coffee extract) in many energy boosters on the market.
We already told you we’re a bit iffy when it comes to supplements with caffeine (spike-crash effect, jitters, etc.).
Since this product’s caffeine content (100 milligrams per nine-milligram serving) is more or less equal to an eight-oz. cup of coffee, we urge you to take this product in moderation.
Other pluses: Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is low in calories and carbs.
Probably its most impressive upside is its versatility: it’s an energy booster which acts as a convenient pick-me-up, pre-workout, and post-workout.
Heck, it could even be an effective intra-workout supplement, too.
Just how many energy boosters are as well-rounded as this one? Wow.
Now, for the drawbacks.
We already mentioned Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has not one, but two shady proprietary blends.
For that, we give the manufacturer a D for transparency (at least it reveals the calorie and carbohydrate amounts).
Plus, this energy booster’s Blue Raspberry flavor has several dirty ingredients:
- Sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda): Artificial sweetener which may increase appetite and weight gain.
- Carrageenan: Beware. The Cornucopia Institute describes this additive as a “potent and widely-recognized carcinogen.”
- FD&C Blue No. 2/FD&C Red No. 40: Two artificial food colorings with certain side effects.
We certainly didn’t expect these shortcomings from Optimum Nutrition, one of the more respectable bodybuilding supplement manufacturers.
Has it lost its touch?
We nope not.
Finally, customers have given this product’s taste mixed reviews. Some think it’s pretty good, while others say it’s just downright bad.
Our take: it depends on the flavor and your individual preference.
While Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY’s taste is good, it’s not the best we’ve tried among energy booster supplements.
In our humble opinion, the aforementioned NOW Ultra B-12 tastes better. Ironically, it’s an unflavored energy booster.
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY Benefits
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has the following benefits, per its official website:
- Impressive amino acid profile
- Improved muscle recovery
- Increased energy and focus
We agree with all of these claims. Optimum Nutrition harnesses the power of amino acids and caffeine to create a one-of-a-kind energy booster.
Who Takes It?
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY is intended for healthy and active individuals who are at least 18 years of age who want to increase energy levels, boost nutrient uptake, increase vasodilation, muscle pumps, and HGH levels; shorten recovery time, and achieve their daily fitness goals.
Any Side Effects?
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY has 100 milligrams of caffeine per nine-milligram serving. While some customers say otherwise, it may still produce unwanted side effects in some individuals.
This product also contains the amino acid beta-alanine, which may produce a tingling sensation in some people.
In addition, this supplement also has sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda), carrageenan, and several artificial food colorings which have certain side effects.
If these, or any other ingredient, make you feel doubtful, please consult a physician before consulting.
The manufacturer also issues a warning:
Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY Summary
- Comprehensive Amino Blend. Increased energy levels and a ton of other health benefits.
- Increased muscle pumps and HGH levels. Courtesy of l-arginine, l-citrulline, and l-glutamine content.
- Low in calories and carbs. Awesome.
- Versatile. Consumers can use it as a pick-me-up, pre-workout, or post-workout.
- Great reputation. Customers have given it good marks online.
- Energy Blend. While potent and beneficial, it does have caffeine, which may be detrimental to some folks.
- Proprietary blends. Manufacturer fails to divulge most of the individual ingredient amounts. Thumbs down.
- Dirty ingredients. Sucralose, carrageenan, and artificial food colorings. Boo.
- Taste. Customers have given it mixed feedback.
Pricing & Buying Info
- 1 270-gram Bottle (30-Day Supply): $19.99
- Available online and in retail
Final Word on Supplement Name
It seems another highly-touted bodybuilding supplement from a big-name manufacturer fails to meet expectations.
Honestly, Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY’s impressive ingredients had us stoked.
However, that fizzled out in the end as the product continued to unravel by the minute: dirty ingredients, proprietary blends, caffeine content, so-so taste. etc.
Good thing its versatility offset these in a way.
To answer an earlier question, no, this supplement doesn’t deliver the goods – it has too many flaws for our liking.
In the end, we say you try Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY, but with reservations.
We don’t recommend you buy it. Better yet, try a cleaner energy booster without the caffeine for best results.