I’ve never paid much attention to branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements until recently. Branched chain amino’s just doesn’t sound all that exciting when you have all these hyped up muscle builders such as various forms of creatine, nitric oxide boosters, and testosterone enhancers out there. However, I’ve done a lot of research on supplements in general over the past few years and I now have a completely different outlook on BCAAs as I now see their vital importance.
I guess advertising really does work. Statements in supplement ads, even though greatly exaggerated, can really catch your attention and half the time you won’t even realize it. But hey, that’s part of advertising. I hate to admit that I’ve fallen naïve to this at times. But I have, and chances are, we all have at some point. BCAAs have never really had the tag lines that other top selling muscle builders have. These days, most supplement formulas contain BCAAs, but at a very low dosage.
Whereas most every major supplement carries some sort of BCAA product, I ran across Scivation’s Xtend about a year ago, and I’m glad I did. Before I get further into this, let me first say that this is not one of those supplements you ‘feel’ or will gain massive amounts of muscle in a short period of time with. Some immediate effects I notice though are less soreness and quicker recovery. I also notice that with taking this during my workout, my muscles have more sustainable energy. Since I do take a pre and post workout drink, I use Xtend during my workout and on my off weight training days, I use it during cardio. The reason for this, which is the reason BCAAs are so important, is because when you work out you’re breaking down the muscle. But if you’re feeding your muscles BCAAs during the process, you counteract this affect.
Xtend, unlike most other BCAA products has a generous dosage of BCAAs at 3.5 grams of leucine, and 1.8 grams each of isoleucine and valine (this 2:1:1 ratio is known to be most effective). Xtend also contains a moderate dose of glutamine and citrulline malate. I don’t know a ton about citrulline malate other than it’s known to enhance performance. At one gram though, I can’t imagine you’ll feel the effect of this unless you take multiple servings of Xtend. The amount of glutamine Xtend contains per serving is 2.5 grams. There have been several studies to that show just two grams of glutamine can increase natural growth hormone levels. Glutamine is also important for recovery. So this is an extremely valuable addition.
The recommendations for this product are to take it before, during, and after workouts and anywhere from two to six scoops (two scoops equals one serving). Again, I take this product only during my workout and/or during my cardio sessions (two, sometimes three scoops). I think it’s extremely important to take this during cardio to prevent muscle breakdown. If you’re not taking anything for pre and post workout, this product is excellent to take for those times as well, especially post workout (your post workout mix should always contain a high level of BCAAs). I’ve also experimented taking Xtend before bed time. When taking this at night, I noticed deeper and more restful sleep. This is probably more due to the glutamine in the product.
My opinion on Scivation’s Xtend is this: It’s the best BCAA supplement on the market in regards to quality and price per serving. In most stores you’ll find the 30 serving containers of Xtend for $25-30 a pop, but I’ve been able to find this product at a few online retailers for around $15. Of course you have to consider shipping, but you’re still saving a substantial amount of money. I’ve told people that if I were broke and could only afford one supplement (other than whey protein), this would definitely be it.
Review of Scivation’s Xtend – Bodybuilding Supplements by Jason Stallworth