As an athlete, weightlifter, or bodybuilder, you likely care about nutrition…or at least you should! Deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other substances can lead to significant performance drops, which is why many fitness individuals are looking for multivitamins and multiminerals to aid their performance.
And no such product has a longer history of use than Animal Pak, which is the focus of this review. It’s likely you’ve heard of Animal Pak before, but perhaps you’re wondering what it’s all about, and if it really works as well as they say.
And in this Animal Pak review, we’ll go over everything about this supplement to see if taking Animal Pak is really the best thing you could do as a lifter. So, let’s dive into this Animal Pak review!
About Animal Pak
Animal Pak is made by Animal/Universal Nutrition, which has become one of the premier bodybuilding supplement companies today. Since the early 80s, Animal has developed a brand focused on the bodybuilding community, and no clearer is this focus than with Animal Pak. Some of the other products in the Animal/Universal Nutrition line include things like Animal Cuts, Animal Test, and recovery products to name a few.
Now, let’s get to what it’s all about.
As mentioned, it is designed to be more than just a multivitamin since it contains many other ingredients of relevance to bodybuilders. As it’s mentioned on the website, Animal Pak is an all-in-one training pack made to be the cornerstone of any serious athlete’s supplement regimen.
We like to say that Animal Pak is designed to be a multivitamin on steroids, pun intended.
Animal Pak comes in a packet with several different tablets. The product is part multivitamin, part multimineral, with amino acids as well as antioxidant and digestive support. Plus, there are ingredients designed specifically formulated for performance enhancement.
All in all, Animal Pak is designed not just for muscle building but also to enhance overall health and energy levels, making it a very popular supplement for folks in the fitness world.
Each packet contains 11 tablets per serving, and it’s these Animal Pak pills that have truly made this a unique and recognized supplement. However, Animal has recently released an Animal Pak powder form for people not wanting to take all of the Animal Pak pills.
Animal Pak Benefits
Put simply, Animal Pak is an all-in-one supplement pack specifically formulated to support your intense training by addressing nutrient deficiencies so you can experience greater muscle growth, recovery, energy, and overall health and wellness.
Addressing Nutrient Deficiencies
Animal Pak was created with one main goal in mind; to meet the micronutrient demands of those that put it all out there in the gym.
After all, it’s well known that the more active you are, the more calories and nutrients you need.
Studies have shown that active individuals and serious athletes are often deficient in many nutrients, especially B-complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and others. This often results in things like poor performance and puts people at risk for injuries, not to mention heightened stress levels and hampered sleep and recovery.
And of course, none of these things are good for the lifter that wants to build muscle mass, improve recovery, boost testosterone levels, and have more energy during training.
Fortunately, these are all of the issues that Animal Pak is designed to address. It contains daily packets of a variety of supplements formulated to provide the micronutrients your body needs to thrive. When these gaps in nutrition are properly filled, you’re able to feel and perform better.
But is Animal Pak actually loaded with beneficial ingredients to aid your goals as a bodybuilder? Or is it just all a bunch of overhyped nonsense? Read on to find out as we continue this Animal Pak review!
Animal Pak Ingredients
Animal Pak’s formula includes multivitamins, multi-minerals, an amino acid complex, a liver detox complex, a protein complex, a performance complex, an antioxidant complex, a digestive enzyme and absorption complex, and an energy and focus complex. Below, we will take a closer look at each of the ingredients and complexes.
Animal Pak has a potent multivitamin backbone in its formulation with all of the essential vitamins. It includes vitamin A, all 8 B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Vitamins are essential to carry out essential metabolic functions from growth, respiration, detoxification, and literally, everything needed to survive.
B-vitamins are commonly associated with energy metabolism as well as central nervous system function; vitamin C is associated with collagen, antioxidant effects, and the immune system; vitamin D relates to musculoskeletal and immune health; vitamin A supports immune and eye health and vitamin E is associated with immune and skin health, as well as antioxidant effects.
When athletes have high energy demands, due to their high strenuous workouts, they also demand more vitamins, particularly the B-complex vitamins but potentially many others too.
And vitamin D is known for boosting testosterone; plus, vitamin D levels are correlated with a number of factors in athletic performance.
Along with vitamins, minerals are required to carry out every function in our body. Without them, life would not exist. And as we can see, Animal Pak contains many different minerals, including:
Athletes and bodybuilders need to be particularly mindful of mineral intake due to the fact that they lose a lot of these minerals through sweat and urine when undergoing intense exercise, especially the electrolytes
Magnesium, calcium, and potassium are particularly important as they all are involved in muscular contractions and nerve conduction.
Plus, magnesium is necessary for stress reduction and sleep quality.
And then you have the trace minerals selenium and zinc which are both very important for proper immune system functioning.
Other trace minerals like selenium and iodine play a critical role in thyroid hormone production and metabolism.
Further, chromium is required to allow for proper glucose metabolism and is involved in many other metabolic roles too.
Minerals and Anabolic Hormones
Plus, many minerals are related to or involved in hormonal production, including zinc, magnesium, selenium, and boron. And this is important given the role that hormones have on exercise performance and recovery, such as growth hormone, testosterone, and IGF-1.
So, overall, it’s clear that minerals are vital for bodybuilders’ optimal performance.
Now, it’s important to note that Animal Pak uses mineral salts. This means the minerals are bound to another inorganic compound. In this case, they are mostly chloride & sulfate mineral salts.
However, the preferred mineral form would be an amino acid chelate, which is when a mineral is bound to an amino acid more bioavailable. Chelated forms are more bioavailable and less likely to cause digestive upset than mineral salts.
Amino Acid Complex
Now let’s get into the complexes, the first of which is the Amino Acid Complex.
Amino acids make up protein and are the building blocks of life, and each amino acid has a unique function. There are 21 amino acids and our body is capable of making 12 of them from scratch.
Thus, nine amino acids (histidine, isoleucine leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) are called essential amino acids, which means we must get them from our diet.
Even further, six amino acids (arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline, and tyrosine) are considered conditionally essential. This means if we don’t eat enough or a too stressed, our body struggles to make enough of them.
Finally, there are what’s called branched-chain amino acids, which are three amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine) greatly involved in muscle health.
Amino Acids and Performance
With all of this in mind, we can see that Animal Pak does contain all of these amino acids, including the all-important essential amino acids and BCAAs. Plus, it contains roughly a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to isoleucine to valine, which is supported by research as being most optimal for muscle growth.
And the logic is that amino acid supplementation will increase the production of anabolic hormones, drive up muscle protein synthesis, delay fatigue, and improve recovery. However, in athletes eating adequate protein, amino acid supplementation may not be necessary. But it could aid in supporting lean muscle mass in people who train very hard or who have trouble eating enough.
Liver Detox Complex
One relatively newer complex in Animal Pak is the Liver Detox Complex, which contains milk thistle, Hawthorne, red beet, and turmeric. Essentially, all of these ingredients are designed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress while promoting the liver’s natural detoxification processes. And all of this would help to improve recovery and promote overall well-being.
Another newer complex in Animal Pak is the Protein Complex, which has whey protein concentrate and a beef and liver blend.
It is well-known that whey protein concentrate delivers a bunch of amino acids and can aid recovery and muscle gain, but they only include a little over 3 grams here.
And then there’s the beef and liver blend, which should be a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B12, and other B-complex vitamins, as well as iron. But it’s unclear what the specifics are in this blend, so it’s kind of hard to determine the quality. But liver is no doubt a long-held healthy food and was used by old-school bodybuilders back in the day for energy and overall health.
Animal Pak also has a Performance Complex which is designed specifically to enhance exercise performance in various ways. Some of these ingredients have significant research related to their benefits.
Carnitine, for example, is required for efficient energy production. Carnitine powers an enzyme that shuttles fatty acids to the mitochondria for the production of ATP, which can give you more energy.
Next up we have choline, which is heavily concentrated in the brain. It is the building block for our neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which controls things like gene expression, muscle contraction, and mood.
Other performance-boosting ingredients in the Animal Pak performance complex include para-amino butyric acid, Eleutherococcus, taurine, and inositol.
Eleutherococcus, commonly known as Siberian ginseng, is an adaptogen known for its ability to increase energy levels and fight mental and physical fatigue while promoting greater endurance and exercise tolerance.
Up next is taurine, which is an amino acid that’s abundant in skeletal muscle. It plays a role in energy metabolism, among other things, so it can be beneficial for exercise performance.
Research shows that taurine supplementation can improve strength, power, muscle endurance, aerobic endurance, recovery, and other aspects.
Yet another complex in Animal Pak is their Antioxidant Complex.
Animal Pak has included several different well-known antioxidants in this blend. of which alpha-lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are probably the two most well-known.
CoQ10 and Alpha-Lipoic Acid
CoQ10 primarily works in the mitochondria; it is involved in the production of ATP which gives us energy. And research shows it can significantly increase antioxidant capacity while also reducing inflammation.
Alpha-lipoic acid helps in nutrient absorption as well as blood sugar metabolism. And it is a powerful antioxidant and is able to reduce inflammation by attacking free radicals.
Next up is a group of ingredients called citrus bioflavonoids, which also have potent antioxidant capabilities and can help fight against oxidative stress and inflammation. There are somewhere around 4,000-6,000 different bioflavonoids. Each one acts slightly differently, has unique benefits (more or less), and should be dosed differently.
Using the general term “citrus bioflavonoids” for labeling makes it impossible to determine the efficacy of the ingredients.
Lutein, Lycopene, and Grapeseed Extract
Continuing on, let’s look at lutein and lycopene, which are both carotenoid compounds.
Lutein is an antioxidant that has been shown to primarily benefit the eyes. Lycopene is another antioxidant that works with lutein and vitamin A to support eye health. There is little research looking at other areas of benefit for these compounds.
Finally, grapeseed extract has similar actions to all of these in that it can increase antioxidants and ward off oxidative stress.
Essentially this complex contains ingredients that all help the athlete’s body to recover from the stress that’s often induced by intense training. And most research supports the use of these compounds to reduce inflammation, so it may make a noticeable difference in workout recovery.
Digestive Enzyme and Absorption Complex
The second to last complex in Animal Pak is the Digestive Enzyme and Absorption Complex, which consists of bromelain, papain, inulin, lipase, acid protease, ginger root, and BioPerine black pepper.
We have our own digestive enzymes that occur naturally and help to break down nutrients into their base units. Our pancreas produces the majority of our digestive enzymes and pumps them into our small intestines, but there are also many produced even in the saliva and by the stomach too.
Bromelain and papain are enzymes found in pineapple and papaya, respectively. They both are proteolytic enzymes meaning they help to break down protein.
And this is complemented by acid protease, which further helps to break down protein.
Thus, these three enzymes make it easier to absorb the high amount of protein that bodybuilders and other active people tend to consume, which can not only reduce digestive symptoms but also enhance muscle protein synthesis and recovery.
Another digestive enzyme in Animal Pak is lipase, which is a type of digestive enzyme that breaks down fats.
Ginger and BioPerine
Ginger and BioPerine are other ingredients very well-researched for supporting digestion.
Ginger is particularly helpful for reducing nausea and bloating.
BioPerine is a form of black pepper extract known to enhance the bioavailability of many vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds, so they can be more effectively used. Plus, BioPerine helps with digestion in general.
And finally, we have Inulin, which is not a digestive enzyme, but rather a soluble fiber. Nonetheless, inulin helps digestion by supporting a healthy microbiome via its prebiotic fiber content. And it also forms a gelatinous barrier around the gut lining, which slows down the absorption of sugar from the gut, thus preventing spikes in blood sugar.
Overall, it’s difficult to determine the effectiveness of these enzymes, although they should help some. Digestive enzymes should be measured in active units rather than in milligrams since each class of digestive enzymes has its own way of being measured.
Energy and Focus Complex
Well, we’ve reached the final complex in Animal Pak, which is the Energy and Focus Complex. This consists of tyrosine, green tea leaf extract, glucuronolactone, and coffee bean extract.
The most notable effect of tyrosine is that it can increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which can improve mood, alertness, and other aspects of cognitive function, particularly under stressful situations.
Green Tea Leaf and Coffee Bean Extracts
Both green tea leaf and coffee bean extracts should provide a dose of caffeine, which can increase energy levels by acting on the central nervous system. Plus, they might aid fat loss due to their thermogenic and metabolic-enhancing effects.
Finally, glucuronolactone is purported to increase energy, stamina, and endurance, but there is little evidence for these claims.
Does Animal Pak Work?
Animal Pak does an excellent job meeting its claim to reduce deficiencies. Overall, the vitamins and minerals are dosed appropriately for active individuals. In particular, the mega-dose of B-vitamins and high amounts of minerals are what many athletes need to fuel their intense training.
There are vitamins and minerals that could be dosed slightly higher or lower. And several of the ingredients in the proprietary complexes may be unnecessary. But many of the micronutrients in here are needed in high amounts by bodybuilders and other athletes for proper exercise performance, recovery, and overall health and wellness.
Beyond the vitamins and minerals, other solid ingredients include the various antioxidants (esp. CoQ10 and Alpha-Lipoic Acid), BCAAs, taurine, tyrosine, Siberian ginseng, and the protein-digesting enzymes; all of these provide the greatest benefits for energy, recovery, and performance.
And the ingredients not mentioned still should be helpful, just not as much as these “powerhouse” ingredients.
Finally, it’d be ideal if they were able to figure out a way to contain all of these ingredients in fewer pills since that is a common complaint by many.
Claims vs. Reality
Animal Pak really makes one claim. That claim is to address nutrient deficiencies in weightlifters.
And in order to address those deficiencies they really just needed to focus on vitamins and minerals. Although adding in more ingredients certainly isn’t a bad call; in fact, it’s relatively intelligent, given the unique needs of bodybuilders.
This product was first launched in 1983. Unfortunately, while the product may have been updated to include different antioxidants, enzymes, etc. over the years, it doesn’t appear that they improved the ingredient quality with time, especially with regard to the forms of vitamins and minerals.
Sine 1983 a lot has happened in the supplement industry to improve absorption and bioavailability with the introduction of chelated minerals and active forms of vitamins being very important. This not only increases absorption and bioavailability but decreases GI distress and discomfort.
Unfortunately, Animal Pak doesn’t have these forms of vitamins and minerals in all of their micronutrients, so it decreases the potential effectiveness. They do have methylcobalamin and some other active forms, but most are the old-school, likely less-absorbable versions.
Also, the inclusion of amino acids and Protein Complex may be unnecessary. Most weightlifters tend to get more than enough protein in order to meet their demands. Not to mention it’s safe to say most of them supplement with amino acids or other protein supplements separately.
Who is Animal Pak Best For?
Animal Pak is best for weightlifters, bodybuilders, and other athletes in need of extra nutritional support, especially those that are on the go. The convenient packaging makes it very easy to get a wide variety of nutrients that most multivitamins cannot match.
And you can take one pack or two packs, depending on your needs. (They recommend one pack unless you’re a competitive strength athlete or elite bodybuilder and in a nutritional deficit, which requires two packs).
The company also offers specialty supplements like Animal Test that can be combined with Animal Pak.
Where To Buy Animal Pak
You can buy Animal Pak on the Universal Nutrition/Animal website here.
You have the option of buying 30 or 44 packs, both of which can be bought at a regular price or at their 10% discounted subscription price.
So, here’s how much it costs to purchase Animal Pak:
If you choose to get a subscription, you can have Animal Pak delivered every 4, 6, or 8 weeks.
As a reminder, you can also purchase the Animal Pak Powder if you don’t like taking so many capsules.
The powder form comes in a container with 44 scoops. The regular price is $40.95, or you save 10% with the subscription discount, lowering the price to $36.85.
With all options, there is a 90-day money-back guarantee, if you’re not satisfied for any reason with Animal Pak.
Is Animal Pak Safe?
Now with so many ingredients, many people wonder if Animal Pak is safe to take.
In general, it shouldn’t pose too many issues, but there are some things to note.
For example, it contains a huge dose of many of the B-complex vitamins, which could lead to anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and other related symptoms.
The fact that this version has an energy and focus complex could also lead to similar issues above for stimulant-sensitive people.
Also, with its many ingredients, there’s always the possibility of digestive symptoms, such as nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, etc.
Lastly, since it provides high levels of many different vitamins and minerals, there is a chance that you could be taking in more than you need, which could cause problems down the line, especially with certain minerals and fat-soluble vitamins.
That’s why it’s always important to talk with your doctor or other healthcare provider before taking any supplement.
FAQ: Animal Pak Review
When should I take Animal Pak?
You can take Animal Pak with breakfast or any other meal. Ideally, it’d be with breakfast due to the energizing nature of some of the ingredients.
Can I take Animal Pak with other Universal Nutrition/Animal Products?
Animal Pak acts as a “baseline” to any stack and can thus be used with any other product in the Animal line-up
Does Animal Pak contain steroids?
Animal Pak is free from steroids and any other WADA-banned substances