The Evolution of Nutrition21’s Sports Nutrition Ingredients

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Nutrition21 is a leader in the sports nutrition industry, making huge strides towards supplement research, safety, transparency, and efficacy

Over the years, we’ve covered ingredients developed by Nutrition21, a leading developer and supplier of nutritional supplement ingredients. This article serves to differentiate Nutrition21’s sports nutrition ingredient profile, explaining their differences, use cases, and research studies.

Nutrition21 is an American company that creates novel, patented ingredients designed to improve and maximize human health and performance. Over time, we’ve come to realize that they aren’t just an “ingredient supplier”, but are a research company, having funded and published several placebo-controlled, double-blinded studies.

Nutrition21’s Sports Nutrition Ingredients

Nutrition21 Sports Ingredients

Confused about Nutrition21’s Sports Nutrition Ingredients? This article explains their key characteristics, differences, and how they’ve come to market over time

The company’s four primary patented sports nutrition ingredients include:

  • Nitrosigine – A powerful, non-stimulatory nitric oxide booster taken pre workout that improves blood flow, focus, and perceived energy.
  • nooLVL – A research-backed esports / gaming supplement that increases blood flow and enhances performance in fast-paced competition without stimulants.
  • Chromax – A highly-bioavailable form of chromium, chromium picolinate, with over 35 human studies demonstrating improved weight management, body composition, appetite, insulin function, glucose response, and more when used with a healthy diet and exercise.
  • Velositol – A chromium-driven complex designed to be taken alongside protein to boost muscle protein synthesis (MPS) for enhanced muscle growth and recovery.

Performance enhancement and metabolic enhancement

These four ingredients primarily bring two classes of benefits: performance enhancement and metabolic enhancement. We cover the four ingredients below, but first, be sure to subscribe to our Nutrition21 news alerts so that you catch articles and videos made about the topics that interest you most:

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There’s some overlap between the two major benefits listed above, since improved metabolic health should yield improved performance (and vice versa), but performance and metabolism are the best way to categorize these ingredients:

  • Nutrition21’s Performance Enhancers

  • Nutrition21’s Metabolic Enhancers

    Next we dig into Nutrition21’s two chromium-based ingredients, which can work to fight insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity. This is of paramount importance, since insulin resistance is associated with countless negative health consequences,[20,21] and some estimate that as many as 88% of Americans are not metabolically healthy.[22]

    While we always recommend cleaning up the diet and eliminating ultra-processed foods made from refined carbohydrates and toxic oils whose byproducts drive insulin resistance,[23] we’re always excited to see ingredients that can improve insulin sensitivity and increase protein utilization.

    • Chromax – Chromium Picolinate


      For over 25 years, Chromax chromium picolinate has been improving insulin sensitivity. We argue that it’s only gotten better, as dietary deficiencies have gotten worse over this time period.

      Chromium is an essential mineral whose primary metabolic role assists insulin secretion,[24-26] assisting the body in its carbohydrate-processing functions. Nutrition21’s Chromax is pure chromium picolinate, which is the most well-researched, highest-performing source of chromium. Chromax has been safely sold to dieters for over 25 years.

      In the sports nutrition world, we see Chromax used for diet, weight loss, and appetite support as well as glucose disposal purposes, where athletes are attempting to pack more carbohydrates into muscle tissue as opposed to fat cells.

      Chromium Picolinate / Chromax vs. other forms of chromium

      In a 2014 review, researchers analyzed 25 studies that used chromium supplements to combat insulin resistance. They found that chromium supplements significantly lower blood glucose levels[27] and that chromium picolinate is the best-performing form of the mineral.[27] Additional studies have come to the same conclusion.[28]

      Appetite suppression

      Two studies at higher doses (600mcg and 1000mcg daily) have shown that chromium picolinate can reduce cravings and appetite,[29,30] assisting with an obvious pain point in our modern food environment.

      Weight loss with chromium

      N21 Chromax Weight Loss Graph

      Chromax helps you ditch the fat but keep the muscle! Image courtesy of Nutrition21.

      In terms of weight loss, chromium’s results are mixed, mainly due to studies where users increase muscle mass! One meta analysis has shown weight loss after three months of supplementation,[31] but another saw no change in BMI,[32] likely due to the added resistance training.

      This is why we focus on body composition rather than weight alone, since muscle mass matters. In those cases, research has been successful using doses of 200mcg and 400mcg of chromium daily,[33,34] where higher percentages of lean mass were found – a better tell for overall metabolic health and aesthetic than weight itself.

      Short-term effects for healthy individuals

      While Chromax’s benefits work best in insulin resistant dieters, research has shown that it can facilitate acute blood sugar and insulin responses in healthy users.[35] This has application for athletes looking to ingest high amounts of carbohydrates post workout who don’t want the deleterious effects of prolonged high blood sugar levels.

      N21 Chromax Caloric Intake

      Chromax has been shown to decrease total caloric intake, which would help promote weight loss! Image courtesy of Nutrition21.

      Adding more supplemental chromium with Chromax

      Ultimately, we’re excited about nearly any Chromax-containing supplement because of the disastrous consequences of lack of dietary chromium, such as greater potential for heart disease risks[36,37] on top of increased insulin resistance.

      You can read more about Chromax and see notable supplements using it in our articles titled Chromium Picolinate: The Ultimate Trace Mineral For Insulin Sensitivity and Chromax Chromium Picolinate: 25+ Years of Insulin Sensitivity Improvement.

    • Velositol

      With Nutrition21’s decades-long expertise in chromium, they came to some realizations regarding the body composition research discussed above. While Chromax works best for insulin-resistant individuals, it’s important to realize that the ingredient can improve insulin sensitivity in muscle tissue.


      Made by Nutrition 21, the experts in Chromium and Insulin management, Velositol can boost Muscle Protein Synthesis by using chromium and a ‘tickle’ of insulin-spike from amylopectin!

      With that in mind, Nutrition21 took chromium back to the athletes, developing Velositol, a chromium-based ingredient designed to improve muscle protein synthesis when paired alongside protein.[38] Velositol is made of a modified-release chromium complex with a special form of amylopectin. The goal of Velositol is to increase exercise-induced muscle protein synthesis (MPS) when used alongside a protein.

      Velositol can enhance insulinogenic response, boosting amino acid uptake and driving nutrients into the muscles – especially when taken close to a workout. With proper training and protein intake, this should ultimately promote leaner body composition.

      When launched in 2017, Nutrition21 stated the following about Velositol:

      “A patented ingredient designed to double the effects of protein and exercise on muscle protein synthesis (MPS). When added to protein, Velositol’s novel complex rapidly stimulates insulin release and increases the muscle cell’s sensitivity to insulin. This helps to safely increase insulin levels and enhance the body’s amino acid uptake, stimulating and boosting MPS. Velositol has attained GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status for 2 grams, to be used in protein drinks (including ready-to-drink and powder), meal replacement bars, energy and protein bars.”

      — Nutrition21 Press Release

      The Velositol research

      In its first clinical study, researchers tested two groups: a whey protein and exercise control group, and an exercise group that took whey protein mixed with Velositol.[39] They then looked at MPS, as measured by the fractional rate of protein synthesis (FSR) in skeletal muscle.

      Velositol Graph

      Clinical research shows Velositol effectively doubles the power of “suboptimal doses of protein” when the two are consumed together. We’re cautious when we see graphs like this, so keep reading for the larger doses.

      The results indicated that the Velositol + whey group had significantly greater muscle protein synthesis (as measured by FSR) after a single dose![39] It’s worth noting that the whey protein dosages were sub-optimal, a great viability demonstration showing if Velositol could make more from less and showing usefulness in protein bars and amino acid formulas, which generally have less total protein.

      Research at higher protein doses

      Next, Nutrition21 needed to determine if the Velositol complex could work with larger protein doses in animals. Using animal models, researchers used three different supplement with and without a 2 gram human equivalent dose of Velositol:[40]

      • Escalating doses of whey protein (ranging from 6 grams to 40 grams in human equivalents)
      • Pea protein (6g human equivalent), or
      • BCAA (6g human equivalent)

      After a treadmill exercise, the Velositol + protein groups showed significantly greater muscle protein synthesis compared to protein alone.[40] It continued to work with larger protein doses, and although the effect was less pronounced, it was still significant.

      Velositol PricePlow

      New research shows that Velositol in combination with 15g of whey protein boosts exercise performance!

      In addition, all Velositol groups had significantly higher levels of musclin, a myokine (“muscle messenger”) released during exercise that leads to muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy.[41]

      Velositol’s effects on exercise performance

      In a more recent human study, researchers determined that active men using 15g protein combined with Velositol saw significant increases in lower-body muscular endurance and relative squat strength compared to groups not taking the enhanced chromium complex.[42] They also saw improved net protein balance within four weeks, although the non-Velositol group caught up after the full 8 weeks.

      You can read more about Velositol in our articles titled Velositol: Enhancing Muscle Protein Synthesis with Science and Velositol Increases Exercise Performance: New University Study Previewed.

Worth mentioning, Nutrition21 has additional ingredients such as their Lustriva skin care supplement, but that’s out of the scope of sports nutrition supplement ingredients.

CertainT From ADNAS

CertainT is a technology that is going to change the supplement industry in a very positive way!

Trust, but verify: Ingredients backed by CertainT

Nutrition21 is as serious about quality and reliability as they are with their research. In order to verify that every supplement contains Nutrition21’s authentic ingredients, they utilize CertainT technology, which employs a biotagging process that allows them to ensure the proper dose and ingredient origin.

This means that every tub that says 1500mg Nitrosigine per serving contains exactly that, manufactured under Nutrition21’s watchful eye, and nothing less.

Nutrition21: A research company first (but with powerful ingredients)

It’s rare to see ingredient suppliers put so much energy and intensity into research – especially with multiple studies per ingredient. Nutrition21 has set the standard for sports nutrition ingredients, and the most influential brands in the industry use their ingredients because they work.

Nutrition21 Ghost V2 Nitrosigine

One simple reason why the biggest brands are moving to Nutrition21 ingredients like Nitrosigine: Because it works.

After reading about Chromax and chromium picolinate decades ago, we’re impressed to see it more applicable than ever in our modern food environment. Meanwhile, we’ve seen Nitrosigine’s use boom over the years, and believe Nutrition21’s arginine-boosting technology will last the test of time in a similar manner, as every pre workout supplement we try with it brings incredible pumps.

We’re not sure what will come next from Nutrition21, whether it’s a new technology, a new ingredient, or new published research, but we’ll continue to follow it, so you can sign up for it on our Nutrition21 news page or in the box below:

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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