Scivation Xtend Free – All Natural BCAAs

Scivation Xtend Free

Scivation has released an all new version of Xtend, named Xtend Free, that contains no artificial sweeteners or dyes but still packs 7g of BCAAs.

Ever since the initial research came out on the numerous benefits of BCAA supplementation, the original Scivation Xtend has been the go-to BCAA supplement of choice for gym rats for nearly 10 years. Many others have tried to emulate Xtend’s panoply of flavors and effectiveness, but more often than not, we’re left with sad pretenders instead of real contenders.

In the dawn of the new “clean” era of supplementation, more users are crying out for more natural products free of artificial sweeteners, dyes, and other ne’er-do-wells that researchers haven’t really cleared one way or the other in terms of long term safety.

We see the trend continue in our Best BCAA Supplement buyer’s guide, where more and more users are clicking to see what all-natural products are out there. The honest truth is that it’s slim pickings.

To answer this particular user base, Scivation has developed Xtend Free, that contains all the same greatness you’ve come to know with the original BCAA bad ass, but free of all artificial sweeteners and dyes.

Can 100% natural BCAAs become a reality?

Why so few players in this market? BCAAs are notoriously very difficult to flavor and sweeten. They taste nasty and bitter, and it takes quite a bit of sucralose (an artificial sweetener) to make it happen.

But if there’s one company who can do this right, it’s Scivation – after all, they’re the ones who first made BCAAs taste good in the first place! Can they do it again?

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Xtend Free Ingredients

As was the case with the original Xtend, the new version utilizes a mostly open label, so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body to fuel your intense training sessions.

  • BCAA 2:1:1 (7g)

    Scivation Xtend Free Ingredients

    Xtend Free still contains the same great mix of ingredients to fuel your intense workouts, now it’s just free of artificial substances!

    True to form, Scivation sticks to the research-backed BCAA ratio of 2:1:1. This means in each serving of Xtend Free, you’ll get 3,500mg of Leucine, 1,750mg of Isoleucine, and 1,750mg of Valine.

    The big take away here is that we’re getting 3.5g of Leucine, which is often thought to be the main anabolic activator of the mTOR pathway in the body.[1] Thereby enabling you to get more muscle-building done even when not downing gobs of protein.

    Furthermore, BCAA supplementation has also been proven to delay the onset of muscle soreness and speed recovery following intense workouts.[2,3]

  • L-Glutamine (2g)

    Glutamine brings an element of recovery to Xtend Free. No, it’s not the muscle-builder that it was once advertised to be, it is beneficial for “muscle-saving.”

    Glutamine encourages greater storage of muscle glycogen,[4] prevents muscular cell death caused by any damage from high intensity exercise,[5] and reduces ammonia levels in the blood,[6] and which reduces soreness.

    Much is made about glutamine being unnecessary, but in terms of recovery and recharging your body, it can certainly have a very beneficial effect.

  • Electrolyte Blend (1,170mg)

    Tons of electrolytes are lost via sweat during high intensity exercise, and even a 2% loss in hydration levels can lead to severe cramping, reduced performance, and impaired CNS function.[7] To prevent this from occurring, Xtend Free includes an electrolyte blend consisting of Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate, Potassium Chloride, and Sodium Chloride.

    Sodium is one of the primary electrolytes in the body that performs several key functions in the body. It’s not only responsible for maintaining adequate fluid levels in the body, but also heavily involved in muscle contraction and nerve function.

    Potassium is another crucial electrolyte involved in muscle and nerve function, most notably the heart.[8] Depleted levels of potassium in the body can induce cramping, fatigue, and delayed reflexes, none of which you beneficial during exercise.

  • Citrulline Malate (1g)

    Scivation Xtend Flex

    You can still enjoy all your gains with Xtend Free without worrying about the potential detrimental effects of fake dyes and sweeteners.

    Most associate Citrulline Malate with being an incredibly effective nitric oxide booster in the body.[9] However, that’s just one of the many hats citrulline malate wears.

    It’s also an incredibly effective endurance booster in the body, thanks to its role as an intracellular buffer in the body.[10,11] Now, we typically like to see 6-8g of citrulline malate to get the full clinically proven benefits; however, given this is to be taken intra workout, this extra gram will go to complement however much cit mal is included in your pre workout.

  • Sweeteners

    The big difference between Xtend Free and original Xtend is the removal of all artificial dyes and sweeteners. Stevia has replaced Sucralose and Ace-K as the main sweetener in Xtend Free. In addition, citric acid has been added to keep things on the level (this is normal).

    The big question is, can a relatively bittersweet sweetener in stevia overcome the bitterness of BCAAs?

    Stevia refinement has gotten better and better at making it palatable, and Scivation – the company that mixes Science and Innovation – has always been at the forefront of this game. Are we there yet?

  • Anti-clumping agents

    To keep it natural, Scivation’s using Tapioca Starch here.

  • Coloring

    All artificial dyes have been removed and replaced with natural coloring agents like Red Beet Root Powder.

    We wish we’d see this more often (do we really need bright blue supplements? No.)

Flavors Available

Scivation Lauren Miller

Enjoy your BCAAs during training or any other time of day just like Team Scivation Athlete Lauren Miller .

Sadly, Xtend Free doesn’t contain the wide array of flavors that it’s big brother does. However, there are two flavors available for those who opt for the “Free” edition: Crisp Apple and Mixed Berry.

Should the line really become a big seller, and the masses demand it, Scivation could easily expand the line of flavors and hopefully include one of our favorites, Pineapple!

Wrap Up

To keep up with current times and user demand, Scivation is evolving and stepping up to meet the cries of its users. More people are shying away from artificially sweetened products in favor of more “natural” offerings until there is a decisive decision on the fate of sweeteners like Ace-K and Sucralose.

If you’re one of this group, Xtend Free is your new go to option that brings all the greatness of BCAA supplementation with none of the questionable ingredients.

We really need to get our hands on a tub, so we’ve requested this to the team at Scivation. Our guess is that it will be the best naturally-sweetened BCAA on the market… but still not as good as the original Xtend. Which is to be expected, as long as it is still good enough for the sucralose-haters!

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Xtend Free

Both sides. Image courtesy Scivation

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References

    Resistance exercise increases AMPK activity and reduces 4E-BP1 phosphorylation and protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle; Department of Physical Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch; 2006
  1. Howatson G, Hoad M, Goodall S, Tallent J, Bell PG, French DN. Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 12;9:20.
  2. Sharp CP, Pearson DR. Amino acid supplements and recovery from high-intensity resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1125-30.
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10368336
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17542038
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18059593
  6. Casa, DJ., Clarkson, PM., Roberts, WO., American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable on Hydration and Physical Activity: Consensus Statements. Current Sports Medicine Reports 2005, 4:115–127
  7. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/potassium
  8. Curis E., et. al; “Citrulline and the gut;”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care; September 2007
  9. Perez-Guisado; Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness.; Department of Medicine, University of Córdoba; 2010
  10. Hickner, R; L-citrulline reduces time to exhaustion and insulin response to a graded exercise test.; Human Performance Laboratory, East Carolina University; 2006
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