Amino, nitrogen & protein spiking

Amino, nitrogen & protein spiking

With consumers becoming more educated about the quality and content of their supplements, a rising concern and discussion is amino or protein spiking.

In a perfect world, supplement companies would be able to deliver 100% untouched supplements at cheap prices. This is, however, not a perfect world. This blog will discuss some compromises and disclosure issues that will help you find the best value and quality products for your money.

We, at USN, strive to bring ultimate value at an affordable price. We make use of cutting-edge research and stay abreast with international trends to formulate all our products with precision and care. USN will always disclose the full formulation on the products’ packaging. It is important to us that you know exactly what you consume.

What is Amino, Nitrogen & Protein spiking?

Amino acid spiking (Nitrogen or Protein spiking), is when free form amino acids are added into a protein powder with the end goal of increasing the nitrogen (dietary protein) content of the protein powder, without disclosing this to the consumer. Thus, reflecting total protein amount calculated from nitrogen amount and not from true (whole) protein.

What is the difference between true protein and nitrogen protein?

True protein:

A measurement of the intact protein that comes directly from the source, e.g. whey or casein.

Nitrogen protein:

This is the total amount of nitrogen in the product, which includes nitrogen from the actual true protein and nitrogen from the added amino acids.

Total protein:

The total amount of protein that is calculated by using the total amount of nitrogen in the product. Therefore, this amount reflects the total amount of protein from the true protein and the added amino acid. Usually the total Protein content of a product is calculated using the total true protein amount, not from the total nitrogen.

When does the presence of nitrogen in protein qualify as protein spiking?

When a protein-based product contains more protein from amino acid sources than from true protein, it is possible that the product is spiked. In addition, when the total amount of protein in the product includes added amino acids but the company did not disclose it, it can be classified as protein spiking due to non-disclosure.

Why do companies add amino acids to protein?

Hundred percent true forms of protein are expensive and increase product cost. Supplement companies aim to ‘keep prices low’ for the consumer and increase their own profit. High protein contents are disclosed, but not the sources of the nitrogen that provide the Protein content. Free form amino acids are mostly cheaper than true protein.

When the amount of added amino acid values (e.g. glycine and taurine) are disclosed on the label, the protein is fortified with amino acids in order to make the protein powder more nutritionally complete. This is totally expectable.

The matter of fact

No disclosure of amino acids added to protein value = Protein spiking.

More protein from amino acids than from true protein = Protein spiking.

Essential amino acids adding to total protein value = Not protein spiking.

More true protein than amino acids adding to total protein value = Not spiking.

Disclosure of amount of amino acids added to total protein value = Not spiking

With USN you will always have a true reflection of the product content on the label. We disclose what type of protein and how much of these proteins go into our elite formulations. USN also does a complete breakdown of the sources of protein and which amino acids are added in the nutritional label. This will give you a good indication of how our products are formulated.

Our product nutritional files are available on the product pages in the USN Online Shop, just below the add to basket button.

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