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What Is Nitro-Tech?
MuscleTech's Nitro-Tech is a protein supplement. It is made up primarily of whey protein, with some added creatine monohydrate, taurine, papain (papaya extract) and amylase (a naturally occurring enzyme). This supplement can be used by anyone looking to quickly and easily boost the protein content of their diet, but it is primarily targeted at serious bodybuilders and athletes who frequently have trouble getting enough protein for muscle gains from their diet alone.
MuscleTech is a sports nutrition supplement brand that is owned by Iovate Health Sciences International. This particular brand first debuted in 1998 with Cell-Tech, a creatine and carbohydrate supplement. Cell-Tech is still available, but the company has since added dozens of other products to their lineup. MuscleTech currently has a wide range of other fitness-related products, some of the best-known of which are the fat burner Hydroxycut and the meal replacement product Meso-Tech Hardcore.
Iovate Health Sciences International owns a number of other fitness brands, including Epiq, Purely Inspired and Six Star. The original MuscleTech was acquired by Iovate in 2003. MuscleTech is currently the best-selling fitness brand in the United States and has held that distinction since 2006.
How Nitro-Tech Works?
Nitro-Tech is designed to deliver highly bioavailable protein quickly so that it can be used for muscle support. Nitro-Tech comes in a powder form that can be ingested as-is, but is much more commonly mixed with water or another liquid and then ingested before, during and after a workout in gradual sips. Most of those who regularly use protein powder supplements keep a “shaker cup” for this purpose, into which the scoops of protein and an appropriate amount of liquid are simply deposited and shaken to incorporate them.
Protein is a basic dietary necessity for all human beings, not just bodybuilders. The FDA currently recommends that all adults who are eating a 2,000 calorie diet get at least 50 grams of protein per day, even if they are sedentary. Bodybuilders and athletes require a higher protein intake, however, usually at least twice as much as the general population does. It can be difficult to fit this much protein into a normal diet, so protein supplements like Nitro-Tech are designed to deliver high-quality protein without adding extra calories from carbs and fat.
In terms of muscle support, protein provides the basic building blocks needed to create and repair muscle tissue. Muscle tissue breaks down during exercise, and has to be rebuilt from ingested protein. But the body also attacks muscle when it is not in use, as it is expensive in terms of calories to maintain and is rich in the amino acids that are needed to support all of the vital functions. Protein supplementation with a product like this one is thus vital to those looking to build and maintain significant amounts of muscle mass.
While most of the product is composed of protein, there are also some other support ingredients. Creatine monohydrate and taurine also help to improve muscle development. Papain and amylase are enzymes that help to break down the ingested protein.
Ingredients of Nitro-Tech
Protein – 30g
The forms of protein used in this product are whey-based. Whey is a protein derived from milk that is mainly made as a byproduct of the making of cheese. It is extremely common in protein supplements as it is inexpensive yet has a very good amino acid profile, containing good amounts of all of the essential amino acids that can only be obtained from food or supplementation.
Protein itself can simply be thought of as a collection of these essential amino acids. Each source of protein has its own amino acid profile, with some lacking in certain areas more than others. Some will also contain non-essential amino acids that may or may not be helpful. The goal of the whey protein supplement is to deliver the nine essential amino acids in the most effective way possible at a reasonable price point, without bloating the formula up with needless added calories.
In its natural state, whey does also contain some carbohydrates and fat, however. The whey used in supplements like this one is filtered to remove the majority of everything but the protein from the whey. The first level of filtering is whey protein concentrate, which is usually filtered down so that 80% of the content is protein.
The majority of the protein content in this product is actually whey protein isolate, however, which is the next level of filtering. At the isolate level, the whey is filtered so that there is almost no content in it that is not pure protein. So why not just use nothing but whey protein isolate? Aside from driving the retail cost up, there is actually some benefit to having some whey protein concentrate present, as it increases the bioavailability of the protein (since protein does need some amount of fat to be broken down properly).
Nitro-Tech is also supplemented with added L-Valine, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Glutamine. Collectively these represent the branched chain amino acids, commonly abbreviated as BCAAs. They are among the nine essential dietary amino acids, but these particular aminos are the most vital in supporting and repairing muscle tissue. Glutamine is the exception, as it is not an essential amino acid or a BCAA, but supplementation of it has been shown to slow down the degradation of muscle tissue.
Creatine Monohydrate – 3g
Creatine is an amino acid that is not essential, but is very beneficial to the muscles. It helps to more quickly convert adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary fuel source for working muscles. Higher ATP levels allow you to put in longer sessions at higher weight in the gym, which in turn grows the muscles more quickly.
There has been some gossip and chatter that creatine supplementation can harm the kidneys, but no actual evidence of this has been found by medical studies. Creatine is produced naturally by the body and is also found in abundance in all types of meat. Creatine monohydrate is simply highly purified creatine. Supplementation is desirable because the cooking of meat greatly breaks down the creatine content, causing you to need to eat a ridiculous and diet-busting amount of meat to get the three to five grams per day you need to see benefits in muscle training.
L-Alanine – 2g
L-Alanine is another naturally occurring amino acid that the body will produce on its own if adequate amounts of the essential amino acids are being taken in. It is responsible for the “alanine cycle”, the state in which the body converts excess amino acids to glucose for use as energy. It also helps to protect muscle tissue from breakdown, which is where supplementation in large amounts (like the two grams included here) is very helpful.
Alanine is a natural substance. It is produced naturally by the body when muscles contract. It can also be found in the muscle tissue of animals, so you take in some amount of it when you eat meat. In addition to supporting muscle function, alanine draws nitrogen from muscle and various other forms of body tissue to the liver, a basic physiological function needed for daily life.
Glycine – 1g
Glycine is another amino acid, but is generally not considered to be a protein. As with alanine, it is produced naturally in the body, but supplementation can help greatly in fighting the inflammation that occurs when you engage in heavy resistance training. It also helps to improve insulin sensitivity and boost the processing of glucose (simple sugar) when it is taken in supplement form. This makes it particularly helpful for those who like to mix their protein with juice or some other beverage sweetened with a type of sugar.
Even though glycine is a blood sugar and insulin regulator, it tastes sweet. This helps to flavor the overall mixture without adding empty carbs. The body generally produces enough on its own if your diet is otherwise adequate, but supplementation helps to alleviate the extra dietary strain brought on by resistance training and recovery.
Some studies have also shown glycine is a sleep aid, helping to ease the symptoms of insomnia. Why is that important to a muscle-building supplement? Because the majority of the repair of your damaged muscle tissue occurs while you sleep! Ask any professional bodybuilder who has been at their craft for a long time and they will tell you that a proper night's sleep is vital to building and maintaining body composition.
Taurine – 1g
The primary benefit of taurine is to improve blood flow. It is sometimes advertised as an athletic performance enhancer in sports drinks, but there is little real evidence to support this contention. The overall improvement of blood flow is very beneficial to muscle growth, however, helping muscle tissue to more quickly and readily take up the vital nutrients and substances it requires.
You may see some people refer to taurine and glycine as “bad” proteins. There is nothing about them that is inherently bad for you, nor are they actually proteins. In fact, they both have a wide range of benefits to overall physiological function. The reason people in bodybuilding circles refer to them as “bad” is simply that they are commonly used as a cheaper substitute for proper dietary proteins. In this case, however, MuscleTech is disclosing on the label exactly how much content of each you are getting.
Papain – 50mg
Papain is a digestive enzyme. It digests all types of food, but is particularly effective in digesting large amounts of protein. It can be obtained just by eating a ripe papaya, but the extract used in supplements is usually taken from papayas that have not yet ripened, where it is more concentrated.
Amylase – 50mg
Amylase is actually naturally produced in saliva, but the kind you find in supplements is extracted from seeds. It is used to break down carbohydrates into sugar. This provides immediate energy for a workout.
There are some additional ingredients depending on which flavor you are using. Nitro-Tech has a very wide range of flavors: Cookies and Cream, Decadent Brownie Cheesecake, Milk Chocolate, Mocha Cappuccino Swirl, Strawberry, Vanilla and Vanilla Birthday Cake. The exact ingredients vary between flavors, but generally these are sweetened with zero-calorie sweeteners. They usually have only about one gram of sugar per serving and a total carbohydrate content per serving of about four grams.
A high level of protein intake is a virtual necessity for anyone who is looking to make serious muscle tissue gains. The timing of protein ingestion is also important. For best muscle support, some amount of protein should be taken before, during and after workouts. While you can get 100 grams of protein by eating two good-size steaks, it's difficult to eat steak in the middle of a workout! Protein powder provides an easy means of controlling protein doses during exercise sessions, does not require any special preparation and is more affordable than many other natural protein sources.
Nitro-Tech employs whey, which is a highly bioavailable form of protein with a strong amino acid profile. The balance of whey's content and low cost of production have made it the go-to standard in terms of fitness supplementation. Whey is superior to some other commonly used protein types, such as soy protein isolate, which is artificial and has an inferior amino acid profile.
Nitro-Tech also has the advantage of containing creatine. The dosing per serving is three grams, which is considered to be an effective dosing that has shown results in studies related to fitness and muscle building. Most bodybuilders consider a solid dose of creatine to be almost as essential to their efforts as a good protein supplement is, and Nitro-Tech rolls the two into one package.
The combination of digestive enzymes and non-essential amino acids also provides an added boost above and beyond simple protein content. General digestion is improved, the protein will be taken up by the muscles more efficiently, and you'll have improved energy during workouts as well.
MuscleTech submits their products to third-party laboratories for safety and content testing. However, the company does not specify which laboratories or list any test results on their website. Bottles of Nitro-Tech do list a lot number on the bottom, however, and also have a Current Good Manufacturing Practices certification from the FDA.
The independent lab testing website Labdoor has tested Nitro-Tech on their own and has given it an overall grade of “B.” The product rated very high in purity and nutritional value and was average in projected efficacy and ingredient safety. Nitro-Tech passed purity tests for heavy metals, but was dinged in the safety ratings for containing Acesulfame Potassium, a calorie-free sweetener that is considered safe by the FDA but is watchlisted by Labdoor as a potential carcinogen. The label accuracy score was lower than average as Labdoor's tests found 20.8 grams of protein per serving, contrary to the label claims of 30 grams per serving.
MuscleTech sponsors professional competitive bodybuilders Santi Aragon and Marc Megna, both of whom incorporate this product into their workout routines. Santi Aragon is an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness professional bodybuilder who has won a number of top-level NPC shows in recent years including the Nationals, Southern States, USA Championships and Teen Nationals. Marc Megna is a personal trainer and coach who formerly played professional football in both the CFL and the NFL and is a regular columnist in major men's fitness magazines.
Awards & Media Coverage
MuscleTech has won the Bodybuilding.com Breakout Brand of the Year Award and regularly cleans up there and in other online supplement awards each year. As the top-selling brand by dollar amount in the United States, there is definitely no shortage of attention on this company.
Money-back guarantees will vary depending on which store Nitro-Tech is purchased from. Please check the policies of the individual source you are buying from to verify that they offer some form of guarantee.
As with the money-back guarantee, there are a very wide range of stores that carry Nitro-Tech. Each one will need to be checked individually to determine what their shipping policies are. Many stores are offering free shipping if the total order exceeds a certain dollar amount. The availability of overnight or rush shipping will also vary between stores.
MuscleTech does not provide direct customer service by way of phone or email. They do maintain accounts at Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to which questions can be directed, however. The company also has reps that are active on the major fitness forums who can be reached with questions about the products.
The individual store that you purchase the product from may be able to provide more direct customer support. They should be the first point of contact for inquiries about product returns or exchanges and for concerns about a defective product.
Safe & Secure Checkout
Each site will offer its own policies regarding checkout, but any legitimate site should at least offer SSL encryption on its pages (observable by the “https” at the beginning of the URL).
MuscleTech does offer free samples of their products, including Nitro-Tech. They ask that those requesting samples sign up for their newsletter and submit some basic personal information. A form on their website asks for name, address, phone number, valid email address, year of birth, and estimate of monthly spending on supplements before they will provide more information on free samples.
Nitro-Tech is sold in containers of two and four pounds. Two pounds is generally in the price range of $32.47 to $49.58 at most stores. Four pounds is generally in the price range of almost 50 USD, again depending on the individual store. You can generally get a better deal if you are flexible on the flavor, as flavors that are not selling as well are usually the ones offered at the lower end of the price spectrum.
- Nitro-Tech comes from an established and very large brand and is widely available.
- The product provides quality protein and a good dose of creatine monohydrate.
- It is not bloated with sugar or other forms of empty-calorie filler.
- The pricing tends to be competitive since many different stores carry the brand – it is not uncommon to find good sales on it.
- Independent lab testing has found it may contain closer to 20 grams of actual protein than the advertised 30 grams per serving.
- The product contains some whey concentrate, so those who are lactose intolerant may not be able to take it.
- MuscleTech does not disclose who their third-party testing labs are or the results of those tests.
Summary: MuscleTech's Nitro-Tech is a whey protein product intended for muscle development. The product contains a mix of whey protein isolate and concentrate along with creatine monohydrate, taurine, added BCAAs and digestive enzymes. It is artificially flavored and has very low sugar and carb content. MuscleTech is a major manufacturer of fitness supplements and has led the United States market in total dollar amount of sales for nearly a decade.