What is the most important supplement you take?
You'd probably consider your primary goal the consideration factor for this answer; fat loss, muscle gain, even recovery, but are you even ready for these types of supplements?
One thing everyone, especially an athlete, should be taking on a daily basis is a multivitamin. Universal Supplements' Animal Pak is one of the best multivitamins for athletes. They did their research, and provided us with a top-of-the-line product. Included in one of these "paks" is even a multivitamin(s) geared towards performance.
If you're not taking a multivitamin on a regular basis, you don't need to worry about other supplements just yet. Below is a breakdown of the ingredients found in Animal Pak, followed by my final assessment.
Of course, as a multivitamin, there are going to be multiple vitamins; the most prevalent being Vitamin C, Vitamin E complex, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and lots of Vitamin B6. The ingredient profile is fantastic, exactly what is needed for athletes who put their body through constant abuse. I've only found one other multivitamin to give Animal Pak a run for its money, Orange Triad, but we'll debate which one is really better at a later time.
Let's look at some other ingredients athletes should be paying attention to.
Animal Pak provides a nice handful of amino acids, something many multivitamins fail to provide. You'll find the essential amino acids, which aren't naturally produced by our bodies, and the branched chain amino acids, which are provided in the usual 2:1:1 ratio (Leucine: Isoleucine: Valine).
Alongside those are an increased amount of Arginine, which promotes nutrient absorption and nitric oxide in the muscles; and Glutamic Acid, which is said to increase alertness and muscle recovery.
According to the label, there is a "Performance Complex". Included in this complex is Uni-Liver and Eleuthero Root among others.
Uni-Liver is a standalone product made by Universal Supplements. According to them, it derives from "grass-fed...cattle which have been raised without steroids, hormones, or pesticides." It is rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals including heme iron, riboflavin, folic acid, and Vitamin B12.
Eleuthero Root has a number of benefits, and was first used by Olympic coaches and athletes in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Once America got wind of this, scientists went to work putting it through numerous studies to verify it's effect on athletic performance. Here is what was found:
Some other benefits that have been noted include an increase in alertness and immunity proficiency.
Although there is a handful of antioxidants, we'll just look at the two main ones in Animal Pak, Citrus Bioflavonoids and Pine Bark Extract. These promote general health. Citrus Bioflavonoids helps reduce cholesterol, fights and prevents cancer cells, and prevents heart failure. Pine Bark Extract boost kidney function, improves eye sight, and may reduce inflammation.
Again, we'll just look at the two most prevalent digestive enzymes, Pancreatin and Inulin. Obviously, both of these aid in digestion, but they also have other benefits. Pancreatin has been said to fight heart disease and help the immune system fight cancer. Inulin, considered a prebiotic, increase calcium absorption.
Overall Impressions and Value
Obviously the long list of ingredients and their proposed benefits is hard to ignore, especially with all of the positive feedback sitting behind it. My experience with it was very positive. If you've ever taken a multivitamin, you never really feel it like you do a pre-workout, which is designed to boost your energy. In general, you will feel healthier.
Each "Pak" contains different tablets of all shapes and sizes, and this can be a problem for some, as some of them are gigantic. If you can train yourself to take them, the benefits are well worth it.
There was one instance where I had a problem digesting one of the tablets (don't ask how I know), but if digestion is of major concern, I'd recommend giving Orange OxiMega Greens a try. I experienced very noticeable differences in digestion (and lack of indigestion) with OxiMega Greens, mostly due to the probiotics. I blame this on the fact that tablets are harder to digest than powders or drinks.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
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