Essential Amin.O. Energy Plus Electrolytes Sparkling Hydration Drink (Amino Energy, for short) is a carbonated energy drink that’s caffeinated and enriched with amino acids and electrolytes.
This 3-in-1 drink comes from the legendary sports nutrition company, Optimum Nutrition and has been designed to complement your active and healthy lifestyle.
Besides giving you an energy boost, it is expected to aid your muscle recovery, help you focus better, and improve your physical performance and endurance.
This sugar-free beverage contains 5g of amino acids and 100mg of caffeine derived from natural sources.
It’s the latest addition to an already popular brand that comprises protein powders, multivitamins, nutrition bars, and ready-to-drink shakes.
However, while this quirky drink apparently does it all, is it also suitable for everyone, including vegans?
Well, wonder no more. Let’s get down to some real answers in this post.
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Is Amino Energy Drink Vegan?
Here’s the quick answer: No, it’s not. Amino Energy drink isn’t vegan.
I found this little nugget of information about the drink’s non-vegan status from a reply given by a rep from Team Optimum Nutrition. It was mentioned in the Q&A section of their Amazon page.
So there you have it.
However, Amino Energy drinks can still be considered vegetarian. More on that later.
For now, let’s talk about why this drink isn’t vegan friendly.
It’s likely due to the drink’s signature ingredient: The Amino Blend.
Trouble here is that Optimum Nutrition didn’t disclose anything about the sources of their BCAA.
It’s best to err on the side of caution since some sports nutrition companies are known to use animal-based sources in their products. And it seems like Optimum Nutrition may be one of them too.
So, Amino Energy isn’t vegan.
However, since the rest of the ingredients in the drink seem to be either plant based or synthetic (I’ve got the list of ingredients listed for you below), you could say that Amino Energy is vegetarian, but not vegan.
Amino Energy Drink Ingredients
Each 12 fl.oz can of Amino Energy contains:
- 5 calories
- 100mg caffeine
- 5g amino acids (This is the Amino Blend that I was talking about. More details on this later.)
- 0g total fat
- 0g saturated fatty acids
- 1g total carbohydrate
- 0g total sugar
- 0g protein
- 100mg salt
Amino Energy is not a significant source of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, added sugars, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium.
The drink also contains other ingredients such as:
- Carbonated water
- Natural flavors
- Artificial flavors
- Citric acid
- Malic acid
- Sodium citrate
- Potassium sorbate (preservative)
- Potassium benzoate (preservative)
- Sucralose (artificial sweetener)
- Potassium chloride
- Magnesium phosphate
- Tartaric acid (only used for the grape and strawberry flavors)
- Acesulfame potassium (artificial sweetener used in grape flavor only)
What is Amino Blend?
Amino Blend is literally what puts the word “Amino” into Amin.O. Energy drink.
Now, that’s quite a mouthful. And I’ll get to what that means in a moment.
For now, here’s a complete list of the eight essential amino acids that make up the Amino Blend:
- Sustamine L-Alanyl
- Micronized Taurine
- L-Lysine Hydrochloride
So when you see the 5g of amino acids mentioned above, that’s what’s actually in it.
Okay, so let’s get back to the topic of BCAAs.
What Are BCAAs?
As mentioned earlier, BCAA stands for Branched-Chain Amino Acids.
Whenever we talk about BCAA, we are referring to a group of three essential amino acids: Valine, leucine and isoleusine.
In the case of the Amino Energy drink that we have here, we’re looking at the L-Leucine amino acid that has been included as part of the Amino Blend.
The main function of BCAAs is to help with muscle growth in your body.
More specifically, here are some of the ways BCAA benefits us:
- Reduce exercise fatigue
- Increase muscle growth
- Decrease muscle soreness
- Prevent muscle wasting
- Fight off liver disease
Our bodies can’t make their own BCAAs, so the only way for us to get them is through our diet. This is probably why BCAAs have become a rather popular ingredient in many health and fitness supplements nowadays.
But we have a problem here with the Amino Energy drink: The manufacturer, Optimum Nutrition didn’t disclose the percentage of each amino acid that it included in its Amino Blend. All that we have is an unclear description stating there’s “5g of amino acids”.
This isn’t very helpful because we have no way of knowing how much of an impact these amino acids will have on our bodies since the quantity is unspecified.
It’s really important to be aware of how much BCAA we take in from our diet. This is because overdosing on BCAAs will cause bad side effects in the long run.
Some research studies have shown a link between BCAAs and the occurrence of the fatal diseases such as:
But of course, you shouldn’t become overly paranoid either. There isn’t exactly a mountain of BCAA contents in your Amino Energy drink.
So, your average one to two cans of the beverage per day is fine.
Unless, of course, you’ve got a pre-existing health condition. You may want to consult a doctor first before even drinking any Amino Energy at all, if that’s the case.
What Flavors Are Available For Amino Energy Drink?
Amino Energy drink features 10 refreshing flavors:
- Blueberry Lemonade
- Juicy Strawberry
- Green Apple
- Mango Pineapple Limeade
- Peach Bellini
- Ginger Ale
- Mix Berry Sangria
How Much Caffeine Is In A Can Of Amino Energy?
The Amino Energy drink contains 100mg of caffeine per 12 fl.oz can.
That’s roughly equivalent to your average cup of coffee, which has about 95mg of caffeine.
As a guideline, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises us to limit our daily caffeine consumption to a maximum of 400mg.
The 100mg of caffeine you’ll be getting from your Amino Energy drink makes up a quarter of this recommended daily amount. This means that you can safely consume up to four cans of the beverage. However, it’s best to stick to just one or two, since you will probably be getting caffeine from other foods you are eating as well.
The reason that we need to limit our caffeine intake is to avoid the side effects of caffeine overdose which includes:
Given that there’s only a moderate amount of caffeine in Amino Energy, I’d say this drink is probably safer to consume than most of the stronger energy drinks in the market.
Still, as with any other caffeinated products, always be mindful of how much you are taking on a regular basis.
Is Amino Energy Drink Bad For You?
I personally don’t think that Amino Energy drink is bad for you.
But it’s good to be aware of the side effects that you might experience from consuming energy drinks so that you know when you’re going overboard.
Possible issues you might face if you take too many energy drinks include:
- Weight gain
- Sensitive teeth
- Caffeine overdose
- Sugar crashes
You should know your own caffeine tolerance level and keep your consumption of Amino Energy within those limits.
Meanwhile, you shouldn’t have any problems with cavities and sugar crashes when drinking Amino Energy as there’s no sugar in it.
Another concern that you might have may be about how acidic the drink is since it’s carbonated.
However, the acidity in a carbonated drink will not impact your own body’s acidity levels. Your body maintains a pH value that’s slightly alkaline (between 7.35 to 7.45) regardless of what you eat or drink.
Essentially, Amin.O. Energy drink is just very lightly carbonated water with fruity flavoring. It’s not as effervescent as Red Bull or Monster Energy drink.
Is Amino Energy Drink Vegetarian?
Yes, Amino Energy drink is vegetarian.
This is based on a response I saw from an Optimum Nutrition rep on the product’s Amazon Q&A page.
Amino Energy would probably suit your vegetarian diet if you’re the kind who practices a diet that’s free of meat, but you’re not too strict about animal by-products (eg eggs, dairy, honey).
This is because, as I said earlier, Optimum Nutrition did not disclose where they sourced their BCAA for the Amino Blend from, so we can’t tell whether it’s from plants or animals.
Does Amino Energy Drink Help With Weight Loss?
Nope, Amino Energy drink on its own doesn’t help you lose weight. But it can make a difference if paired with an exercise routine.
There have been studies out there claiming that caffeine consumption before physical exercise helps you to burn more fat. Hence, it is believed you’ll lose lots more weight this way as compared to having a workout session with zero caffeine intake.
While this is true, the important thing to remember here is that drinking energy drinks alone won’t do the trick. You’ll need to pair energy drinks with exercise for it to actually help you in your weight loss goals.
In my opinion, Amino Energy drink is a strong candidate for a pre-workout supplement as it doesn’t contain sugar and it has an ideal amount of caffeine that lets you burn your calories in the gym without all the unnecessary side effects.
Is Amino Energy Suitable For Keto Diets?
Yes, in my opinion, Amino Energy drink is suitable for keto diets.
For a successful ketogenic diet, you’ll need to stay away from carbohydrates and sugar at all cost.
Amino Energy is a sugar-free drink. That means it contains zero carbs.
Well, it still has artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium (ace-K) as sugar substitutes. However, you can rest assured that both of these low-carb sweeteners are considered keto-friendly and fit into your low-calorie diet perfectly.
If you’d like more insights about how various artificial sweeteners might impact your keto diet, check out this video:
Where Can I Buy Amino Energy Drink And How Much Is It?
Like all other Optimum Nutrition products, Essential Amin.O. Energy Plus Electrolytes Sparkling Hydration Drink can be easily found at close to 10,000 specialty retail stores, drug stores, fitness centers, gyms and chain grocery stores across the US.
The company’s official website also states that its products are distributed in more than 70 countries globally.
So it shouldn’t be hard to find yourself some Amino Energy drinks no matter where you’re at.
However, there’s always the option of purchasing it online too, either from the official website itself or from other places such as Amazon and the like.
Just as a reference point, a 12 fl.oz can of Amino Energy was selling for around $2 last I checked.
Alternatives To Amino Energy Drink
If you’re on the lookout for other vegan friendly energy drinks, check out some of these top brands in the market:
- Pure Bio Energy Drink (contains 100% natural ingredients)
- Coca Cola Energy
- Red Bull
- REIZE (best option for vegans)
As a vegan, you’ll be glad to know that every ingredient in REIZE is animal-cruelty free.
Although REIZE is enriched with 1000mg taurine, you needn’t worry about it impacting your vegan diet as it’s synthetically sourced and not derived from any animal-based products.
Besides that, REIZE also offers you plenty of other nourishing ingredients such as ginseng and B vitamins.
REIZE is a sugar-free beverage as well, thus it contains no carbs. In fact, it only has 11 calories per serving. So it’s great if you’re watching your sugar and calorie intake, and it’s an especially ideal drink for you if you’re on a keto diet.
You may also be glad to know that each REIZE sachet contains only 50mg of caffeine, so you can consume caffeine moderately while getting the energy boost that you need.
With REIZE, you can prepare your energy drink using any of your favorite beverages, be it water, juice, or infused tea. And the versatility doesn’t just end there.
You can also adjust the potency of the drink to your liking by adding or cutting down on the volume of liquid you mix with your REIZE powder. (Though we usually recommend a ratio of 8.4 fl.oz to 1 sachet of REIZE).
Last but not least, each REIZE sachet costs only $1, and that’s including shipping costs too.
Don’t wait any longer, check out REIZE today.
In my opinion, it’s the best complement for your vegan lifestyle.