Animal Pak has become one of the premier bodybuilding supplement companies. Animal Pak is a multivitamin on steroids, pun intended. Since the early 80’s Animal Pak has developed a brand focused on the bodybuilding community. The parent company of Animal Pak is Universal Nutrition. Some of the other products in the Animal Pak line include things like protein powders, T boosters, and recovery products to name a few.
Animal Pak comes in a packet with several different tablets. The product is part multivitamin, part multimineral, with amino acids, and antioxidant and digestive support. Each packet contains 11 tablets per serving.
Animal Pak Benefits
Address Nutrient Deficiencies
Animal Pak was created with one goal in mind; meet the micronutrient demand of those that put it all out there in the gym. 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. This often results in things like poor performance and puts people at risk for injuries.
Animal Pak has a potent multivitamin backbone in its formulation. 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, vitamin C is associated with collagen and the immune system, vitamin d relates to bone and immune health, vitamin a supports immune and eye health, and vitamin e is associated with immune and skin health. When athletes have high energy demands, due to their high strenuous workouts, they also demand more vitamins.
Some of the great things to see in Animal Pak is the mixed tocopherols & tocotrienols with respect to vitamin E. This is the complete range of vitamin E forms and not many products include all of them. Along with this, Animal Pak uses cholecalciferol, which is Vitamin D3. Most physicians and experts would agree vitamin D3 is the preferred form over vitamin D2.
However, they use a blend of cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin for vitamin B12. Cycanocobalamin is a synthetic form that is not as well absorbed nor beneficial. And while Animal Pak does have vitamin A it only contains carotenoids and is missing out on the retinols.
Along with vitamins, minerals are required to carry out every function in our body. Without them, life would not exist. For example, magnesium plays a role in over 400 different enzymatic pathways. Many people just associate magnesium with testosterone production and preventing muscle cramps. While everyone is familiar with calcium’s role in bone health, its also the driving mineral behind muscle contractions.
Things like potassium help to maintain electrolyte balance. This contributes to nerve conduction and therefore muscle contraction. Other trace minerals like selenium and iodine play a critical role in thyroid hormone production and metabolism. Chromium is required to allow for proper glucose metabolism.
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. The preferred mineral form would be an amino acid chelate. This means the mineral is bound to an amino acid. Mineral salts are more likely to cause an upset stomach and GI distress. They are often poorly absorbed when compared to mineral chelates.
Amino Acid Complex
Amino acids make up protein and are the building blocks of life. Each amino acid has a unique function. There are 21 amino acids and our body is capable of making most of them from scratch. Nine amino acids (histidine, isoleucine leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) are called conditional amino acids. This 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.
Amino acids must be absorbed individually or as dipeptides. It is difficult to determine whether or not Animal Pak is providing these amino acids individually or in protein form.
Animal Pak has a specific complex of ingredients designed to improve performance. 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.
Choline is heavily concentrated in the brain. It is the building block for our neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter controls things like gene expression, muscle contraction, and mood. Other mood & cognition boosting ingredients in the performance complex include, para-amino butyric acid, eleuthrerococcus, and inositol.
The largest component of the performance blend is Uni-Liver. This ingredient is actually another product that Animal Pak sells. The way it is labeled makes it difficult to determine what makes up the ingredient.
Animal Pak has included several different well known antioxidants in this blend. Alpha lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are probably the most well-known. CoQ10 primarily works in the mitochondria, It is involved in the production of ATP which gives us energy. Alpha lipoic acid helps with blood sugar metabolism and reduces inflammation by attacking free radicals. This is similar to the benefits of pine bark extract thanks to a potent chemical called pycnogenol.
Both CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid are dosed far below the recommended therapeutic window. Most research supports 100-300mg of CoQ10 and 300-600mg of alpha lipoic acid daily. Additionally CoQ10 is fat soluble. Putting it in a product like this requires turning it into a crystal. This form is not well absorbed and is very costly to produce.
Citrus bioflavonoids have potent antioxidant capabilities. There are somewhere around 4,000-6,000 different bioflavonoids. Each one acts slightly different, 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 ingredients efficacy.
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.
Grapeseed extract is commonly dosed above 150mg. Most research looks at using grapeseed extract to support healthy blood pressure.
Digestive Enzyme Complex
We have our own digestive enzymes which help to break down nutrients into their base unites. Our pancreas produces the majority of our digestive enzymes and pumps them into our small intestines.
Bromelain is pineapple enzyme that can help to break down protein. Papain works similarly to bromelain and can break down protein. This makes it easier to absorb the high amount of protein that bodybuilders and other active people tend to consume. Lipase is a type of digestive enzyme that breaks down fats.
Inulin is not a digestive enzyme. In fact, it is a soluble fiber. Inulin helps to support a healthy microbiome and can prevent spikes in blood sugar. It does this by forming a gelatinous barrier around the gut lining. As a result it slows down the absorption of sugar from the gut.
Overall, its difficult to determine the effectiveness of these enzymes. Digestive enzymes should be measured in active units rather than in milligrams. Each class of digestive enzymes has it’s own way of being measured.
Does Animal Pak Work?
Animal Pak does an excellent job meeting their claim to reduce deficiencies. Overall, the vitamins and minerals are dosed appropriately for active individuals. There are vitamins and minerals that could be dosed slightly higher or lower. Several of the ingredients in the proprietary complexes may be unnecessary.
Claims vs Reality
Animal Pak really makes one claim. That claim is to address nutrient deficiencies in weightlifters. In order to address those deficiencies they really just needed to focus on vitamins and minerals. This product was first launched in 1983. While the product may have been updated to include different antioxidants, enzymes, etc. over the years, it doesn’t appear the improved the ingredient quality with time.
Sine 1983 a lot has happened in the supplement industry to improve absorption and bioavailability. Using chelated minerals and active forms of vitamins being the biggest. This not only increases absorption and bioavailability but decreases GI distress and discomfort. It may have also been better to focus on specific nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and vitamin which are most likely to be deficient.
The inclusion of the amino acids may be unnecessary. Most weightlifters tend to get more than enough protein in to meet their demands. Not to mention its safe to say most of them supplement with amino acids separately.
Who is Animal Pak Best For?
This product is best for weightlifters. Especially those that are on the go. The convenient packaging makes it very easy to get a wide variety of nutrients in that most multivitamins cannot match.
Where To Buy Animal Pak
- Animal Pak 44 packets $30.95
- Amazon 44 packets $30.95