You might have noticed that sport supplement companies produce different versions of their products for different markets. Today we will take a closer look at the labeling on the US version and the adapted EU version of the popular BSN product Amino-X. Amino-X is an amino acid powder that mixes easily with water and mainly contains amino acids.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I do not claim to be a nutrition expert. This is only my interpretation of the products. This is not medical advice. Explosive Mode is not affiliated with BSN.
Vitamin D 500IU (approx 12.5 mcg)
10g Amino Acid blend (L-Leucin, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, L-Alanine, Taurine, L-Citrulline)
2g blend of malic acid, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate and cholecalciferol.
+ 2.5g of ?
Vitamin D 2.5 mcg
+ 4.5g of ?
The EU regulation appears to be more restricted when it comes to Vitamin D amounts and the regulation requires also more detailed information regarding the content of the product. You can say that the consumer is better protected. Of course the regulations vary in all European countries and international brands will not produce different version for every single country.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country that allows you to order both versions of a product, you can compare the products yourself. The Amino-X product mentioned above has for instance a clearly different taste depending on the version.
It is worth noting that the labels do not reveal the whole truth about the ingredients. Judging from the descriptions, it appears as if about 30% of the product is sort of undefined fluff.
Interestingly the EU flag has not been applied (either on purpose or by mistake) on the labeling of the EU version. Somehow this symbolizes quite well the state of the sport supplement industry. Strategic labeling as well as misprinted labels are to be expected.
The US version's 500IU of Vitamin D corresponds to one standard pill. How much is a pill? Approximately 2 cents. The EU version's 2.5 mcg of Vitamin D is only 20% of that. So the Vitamin D content is not worth paying for. In case you disagree with the European restrictions on Vitamin D, it's no issue to add some yourself. Along with the taurine, the Vitamin D could give a small energy boost.
So let's look at the BCAA's. The 10 grams of amino acids are of course not branch chained amino acids. The EU version shows that the L-leucin, L-Isoleucin and L-Valine together account for 4 grams of BCAA per serving. That corresponds to about six BCAA pills that should not cost you more than 70 cents. Ok, I buy that. But that's not all I'm paying for.
Usually we pay for a great placebo effect. But the Amino-X apple flavor tastes actually really good. So in this case I'm personally paying for flavoring the water that I probably wouldn't otherwise consume. I admit I charge a bit of the cost on the leucine content as well. There's no telling how much of the synthetic BCAA's are actually absorbed by the body, but hopefully more than the allegedly harmful other artificial ingredients. Nevertheless, both the EU and US versions come in handy when you are thirsting for something else than water around your training session. People that use pre-workout drinks, might want to try mixing in Amino-x for some added BCAA's. People that hate protein drinks might want to try Amino-X after a workout. Even though the labeling is different for the US and EU versions, the perceived effect still depends largely on the drinker.