Amino spiking, also known as protein spiking or nitrogen spiking, is where the manufacturer adds cheap fillers to their protein.
Amino spiking has been around for years and we're going to do our best to bring it to the attention of the general public aka YOU!
Why is it important to know about amino spiking in protein?
Amino spiking artificially inflates the amount of protein grams in the product… which essentially robs you of product because you get less than the label claims.
You need to know about amino spiking is so you don't waste your money on inferior BS supplements!
Complete proteins are comprised of nine amino acids that the body can’t make itself, and we need complete proteins to recover and build muscle.
By adding cheap amino acids like glycine and taurine to their products, companies have been able to increase the nitrogen content of their protein powders, allowing them to actually avoid meeting label claims of their protein powders.
The addition of creatine and other nitrogen-containing substances is also used.
The first way to detect amino spiking is by looking at the nutritional facts on the supplement.
Sometimes, it is as easy as noticing there are random aminos added in that shouldn’t be present in a complete protein supplement.
For example, in this label below you can see clear as day in the nutritional facts there is an “amino matrix” that includes random garbage we don’t want in our protein powder like Glycine, Taurine, Leucine, Valine and Glutamine.
The addition of these will artificially inflate the nitrogen content of the product, allowing the company to get away with writing that each scoop of their product contains 22 grams of protein, when in fact, it is actually only around 12-15 grams per scoop.
Glycine, alanine and taurine are the most common amino acids to be added.
The reason for this is that they are relatively inexpensive in contrast to other amino acids and whey itself.
Companies do this in a pathetic effort to reduce cost prices and provide a cheaper protein powder to the consumer, falsely leading individuals to believe that their protein is a “better deal.”
If a protein powder is cheap, it is probably complete trash.
So How Is All This Shady Stuff Legal?
To test protein content, companies send their products to a lab and get a Nitrogen Content Test done.
Unfortunately, despite protein having a nitrogen-based bond that shows up on the test, so do amino acids that the product has been spiked with. The result is basically a false reading and vast overstatement of the true protein content of the product.
The FDA sets guidelines for supplement manufacturers to follow, and what can be claimed as a dietary protein.
According to the FDA, pure amino acid products cannot be declared as sources of protein, but nothing is specifically stated regarding protein powders that INCLUDE extra amino acids.
As you can see, this creates a legal loophole. A loophole that greedy supplement companies are more than willing to exploit, and do on a regular basis.
The Difference Between ‘Amino Spiking' And ‘Fortifying With Amino Acids’?
If a supplement manufacturer:
States that they have added amino acids on the label
Provides a “Typical Amino Acid Profile” on the label
Lists the amino acids added in the ingredients section on the label
Then that product is NOT amino spiked, the protein powder is simply fortified with amino acids.
The difference between amino spiking and amino fortification is that all proteins are made up of an assortment of amino acids themselves.
Some protein sources contain a greater amount of certain naturally occurring amino acids than other ones, and occasionally, supplement companies will choose to add (fortify) their protein supplement with more amino acids to make them more nutritionally complete.
This process isn’t the same as amino spiking, because they are simply adding amino acids to an already existing properly labeled and dosed product.
Fortifying protein powders with amino acids is an acceptable thing to do IF supplement manufacturers disclose this information to consumers on the labels of their products.
Amino spiking only occurs when a supplement manufacturer chooses NOT TO disclose that they have added amino acids to their protein powders.
This is because the manufacturers in this scenario are deluding their customers into thinking that the contents of their protein are a vastly overstated amount at a cost much lower than other products that comprise 100% wholefood protein.
How To Check If My Current Protein Powder Is Amino Spiked?
The following points are by no means concrete evidence that a particular protein powder is in fact amino spiked, but they are certainly good indicators that a protein powder may not contain 100% dietary protein.
1. A protein powder that is significantly cheaper per unit size than other similar protein powders on the market is usually a very likely sign that the product is amino spiked.
2. A protein powder that lists glycine and taurine together on the nutritional panel ingredients list straight after the main ingredients is likely amino spiked e.g.Protein Blend (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate,Glycine, Taurine…)
3. A protein powder that does not list the amount of added creatine in grams but lists it fairly high on the ingredients list may be amino spiked with creatine. If it is high on the ingredients list but has no listed amount, it can be inferred that there is a decent amount of it in the whey, but the manufacturer doesn’t want you knowing how much exactly because it is artificially inflating the product’s protein count.
4. A protein powder than contains a “proprietary amino acid blend” that has been added without disclosing what that amino acid blend consists of is likely amino spiked.