Aminogen – and why your favorite protein is a scam
by Anthony Roberts
If you regularly use a protein powder from a major manufacturer (Optimum, ProSource, AST, Cytosport, etc…), you’re probably buying Aminogen already. It’s actually a great product. It’s a patented blend of proteases (a mold by any other name) that increase nitrogen retention by 32% and boosts overall protein absorption by 100% and BCAAs by 250%. If you were a protein powder manufacturer, why wouldn’t you want to include this enzyme in your product(s)? And many manufacturers have chosen to include it…unfortunately, nobody uses an appropriate amount, and in literally every formula I’ve looked at, the dose is shockingly far from the lowest studied effective dose. So if you’re a consumer, and you want to use this stuff, and (for example) you plug the word “aminogen” into Google, what you’re likely to find more often than not, is a bunch of protein powders that have minimal amounts of the stuff, just so they can get it on the label, trick you into thinking it’s an effective dose, gain a competitive advantage, and jack up the price.
I’m not going to get into the nuts and bolts of the study, other than to mention that it was published by the ISSN (who never met a study they didn’t like) and the lead researcher is a guy from the University of Cameroon who you’ve probably seen on a lot of studies that happen to match the name on the patent for the compound being studied (Irvingia, Cissus, etc…).
Anyway, the study worked like this: They took a group of guys, controlled (standardized) their diet for a week, did an overnight fast, then consumed 50 grams of whey protein concentrate. Nine days later they repeated the protocol but this time the men got either 2.5g or 5g of Aminogen with their shake. And the Aminogen significantly boosted the absorption of the protein.
But as we can clearly see in that chart and in the published article, the lowest (studied) effective dose is 2.5g, right? That’s 2.5 GRAMS, not milligrams (or, alternately, 2500 milligrams). Might it work at a lower dose? Who f*cking knows? Because that wasn’t studies…all we know is that the minimally effective dose, according to the currently available literature, is 2.g grams. That being said, let’s take a look at the actual doses being used in various protein powders, being produced by the biggest and most popular companies:
CytoSport Monster Milk – 500 milligrams per serving (1/5th the lowest effective dose in the study)
Optimum Gold Standard Whey – less than 100 milligrams per serving (no exact amount listed/prop blend)
Optimum 100% Casein – 24 milligrams (i.e. less than 1/100th the effective dose)
AST VP2 Whey Isolate – 125 milligrams (you’d need 20 servings per day to be sure of an effective dose)
Prosource Nytrowhey – 300milligrams
Herbalife Aminogen tablets – 250mgs/tab (you’d need to take ten per meal, and the whole bottle would last 6 meals)
See the pattern here? And we’re looking at some of the biggest protein powder companies in the world, right? I literally couldn’t find a single product that listed an effective amount of Aminogen on the label. Not a single one. These companies have deliberately been using doses that are far too low, and the company producing Aminogen is just as bad, because they’re selling the product to companies who they know aren’t putting enough in their product. So if you’ve been buying a protein powder that boasts about Aminogen in the ad-copy, look closer…because if you’re getting 24 milligrams of Aminogen, it’s probably not doing anything except getting the ingredient on the label so the manufacturers can jack up the price.