Scivation is a North Carolina-based supplement company that focuses on the low-calorie side of workout supplements. They don’t produce any whey protein powders, but they have several pre-workouts and joint supplements — but they’re best known for their branch chain amino acids.
Xtend is their signature brand and it’s available in capsules, fluid, and naturally sweetened varieties. We decided to try the regular, artificially-sweetened, scoopable BCAA they’re best known for.
It quickly became on of our favorite BCAA products: it’s delicious, it has a large serving, and it has a few extra ingredients (like electrolytes) that elevate it above the competition.
Scivation Xtend BCAAs Nutrition and Ingredients
This is a zero calorie supplement with no carbs or sugar to speak of.
It has the standard 2:1:1 ratio of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-Valine, but you get seven grams of BCAA per serving instead of the usual five. So, there’s 3500mg of L-leucine and 1750mg each of L-isoleucine and L-valine.
In addition to that there’s 2500 milligrams of L-glutamine, an amino acid, and a lot of electrolytes: there’s a 1170-milligram blend of trisodium citrate dihydrate, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride, in addition to 220mg of sodium and 170mg of potassium.
Scivation also added a gram of citrulline malate, which may have benefits for the circulatory system, and 32 percent of the RDI of Vitamin B6. (I’ll break down the benefits of these ingredients a little more in the “benefits and effectiveness” section.)
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Then there’s the miscellaneous ingredients: artificial flavor, citric acid, sucralose (also called Splenda®), malic acid (for flavor), acesulfame potassium (an artificial sweetener), and red food dye #40. Note that I tried the Watermelon flavor.
Scivation Xtend Price
You can pick up 30 servings for $24, which comes to 80 cents per serving. Initially, this might seem a little expensive; competitors like GNC’s BCAA 5000, Evlution Nutrition, and Optimum Nutrition’s Essential Amino Energy are between 60 and 66 cents per serving.
But Xtend offers 7 grams of BCAA per serving, while the other brands offer 5 grams. On a price-per-gram basis, Xtend is the cheapest of the lot.
Scivation Xtend Benefits and Effectiveness
Xtend isn’t a no-frills BCAA. It’s got plenty of frills, and a lot of extra benefits.
I’m not convinced the glutamine is one of them. It’s already the most abundant amino acid in the body and while it may have some benefits, it doesn’t look like it’s a potent supplement for muscle building. But it’s cheap and it’s probably beneficial for gut health, so there’s no harm in including it.
The real benefits come from the other ingredients. The BCAAs themselves are linked to improving muscle protein synthesis, reducing muscle soreness and boosting endurance. The wide variety of electrolytes may help to prevent dehydration and keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly. And the Vitamin B6 may help you retain muscle, which is good news for those of us who take BCAAs to prevent catabolism — particularly as it appears we lose B6 when we exercise.
Finally, there’s the citrulline malate. This is an amino acid that’s linked to improved circulation and is sometimes included in workout supplements to promote endurance. The thing is, almost every study that has shown it may improve workouts involved doses of at least six grams. Xtend only provides one gram per serving, so it doesn’t seem that likely that the citrulline malate will help you work out for longer.
However, one-gram doses are used as a general circulatory health supplement and it’s even linked to a lower risk of erectile dysfunction, so the citrulline malate in Xtend probably has a net positive effect on your overall health, if not the workout you’re about to do.
Scivation Xtend Taste
The watermelon flavor tasted exactly like a watermelon. Or rather, it tasted like about a pound of watermelon condensed into one glass, meaning it’s a more intense flavor than the actual fruit.
But it’s still pretty pleasant and certainly more enjoyable than Scivation’s Blue Raspberry flavor, which is overwhelmingly sweet. A word of caution: simply dilute your BCAAs in at least a cup and a half of water to avoid the extreme sweetness that a lot of people complain about.
It’s hard to say if Xtend is the best BCAA because so many BCAAs offer so many different ingredients. Some are awesome pre-workouts because they contain ingredients like caffeine and taurine; Xtend doesn’t. Some have a wide range of vitamins; Xtend doesn’t.
But Xtend does have a lot of electrolytes, some extra nutrients linked to muscle retention and circulation, it can be taken any time of day, and it’s very inexpensive. It does have artificial sweeteners, but if you don’t mind that, it’s a solid choice.
Scivation Xtend BCAAPer Serving: $0.80
- High in electrolytes
- May improve circulation and muscle retention
- Contains sucralose and acesulfame potassium
- Made in a facility with a wide variety of allergens
- No stimulants, not a great pre-workout