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Optimum Nutrition Hydrobuilder Review

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder in Brief

Optimum Nutrition the leading seller of supplemental protein in the world has just come up with a new formulation; the Platinum Hydrobuilder. Has Optimum Nutrition done it again with this new release or is it just another protein in a market already saturated with options?

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - First Impressions

At first glance, the tub bears a striking resemblance to Optimum Nutrition’s Hydrowhey. However, looks aside there is no doubt that it is a far more advanced product in terms of specifications. Along with Optimum Nutrition’s customary display of an extensive ‘mixing directions’ description and nutrition panel is a detailed but not overbearing look at the new ingredients and innovations of this new product and their specific benefits. The package also comes with a clear breakdown of the amounts of amino acids within each serve of the product. Upon opening the package, the powder is of quite a fine consistency and has a strong but not overpowering sweet smell. Platinum Hydrobuilder comes with a larger than average scoop which provides the larger recommended serving size of 52g.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Taste

Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrobuilder currently comes in only two flavours; vanilla bean and chocolate shake. While the lack of flavours is a down point considering their 100% Gold Standard Whey range contains around 16 flavours, the actual taste of the product is extremely pleasant; obviously a factor which Optimum Nutrition has perfected. The taste isn’t overly sweet, but there is a slight aftertaste when mixed as directed with water, which can linger, however Optimum has done well considering the amount of extra ingredients in the product including creatine and a high amount of hydrolysed protein; both notoriously hard ingredients to mask. This aftertaste can be reduced significantly by making the product with milk. When done so, the mixture is creamier and texturally more pleasing, but can add calories which may oppose your current training goals.

Tip #1: Make the shake with half skim milk and half water, which will not only help mask the slight aftertaste, but also provide you with added calcium and protein.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Mixability

Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrobuilder mixes well when mixed as directed with between 175-300mL of liquid with no clumps and minimal foaming. Surprisingly, there was no grittiness considering the addition of creatine to the mixture, a common problem when mixing creatine. The addition of micellar casein, creamer and natural gums can make the mixture thicker than what some people are used to, but this can easily be rectified by adding slightly more liquid.

Tip #2: Using a standard glass and a half of liquid makes a nicely textured shake.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Value

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder is slightly pricier per serve than the other protein formulations in the Optimum range. However, when you consider the addition of creatine, an amino acid matrix and three different blends of protein as well as its pleasant taste and ease of mixability, the higher price is understandable. The real test of value however is comparing price to results. And judging by the nutritional content of the formulation, there is a great potential for this protein to offer noticeable results (see below for a more detailed examination of the ingredients). Currently, Hydrobuilder comes in 3 sizes; a trial size of 7 servings (350g), a small size of 20 servings (1kg) and a larger size of 40 servings (2kg); a range to suit all types of customers.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Pro's

There are some definite pros with Optimum Nutrition’s latest formulation:

  • Hydrolysed Protein – The inclusion of hydrolysed proteins (especially di- and tri- peptides) which uses a completely different carrier system than that of single amino acids will mean more muscle building amino acids into your system.
  • Micellar Casein – A fast influx of protein, while increasing protein synthesis can also increase protein oxidation; leading to a lower overall net gain. Inclusion of a slower absorbing protein such as casein can help to attenuate this problem.
  • Isolates and Concentrates – Use of differently filtered proteins helps ensure that bioactive compounds and important subfractions such as lactoferrin, growth factors (important for organ growth and function), cytokines and immunoglobulins (for a healthy immune system) are available whilst not compromising the high percentage of protein in the product.
  • Free Amino Acid Complex – Free amino acids can help provide an immediate source of protein post-workout for stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.
  • Creatine – The addition of creatine; a notable ergogenic ingredient in its own right will not only help you perform high intensity exercise better, it will also help you achieve greater gains in muscle mass than those who aren’t taking creatine. Having a moderate amount of carbohydrates within each serve is also helpful to improve absorption of the creatine in addition to helping restore glycogen. Better yet, by including it in your protein already, you don’t have to go out and buy an individual creatine product. For those of you who still prefer to cycle creatine (something that isn’t entirely necessary – see Cycling Supplements Article), switching between Hydrobuilder and another protein without creatine every month or so is a pertinent option.
  • Betaine – While it is early days still in terms of research on betaine, what studies have been done so far have pointed to an increased endurance capacity with betaine supplementation.  This makes Platinum Hydrobuilder especially beneficial for people doing endurance sports and those looking to build up muscular endurance with higher rep workouts.
  • Enzymes – Inclusion of enzymes is beneficial to ensure faster digestion and absorption of the protein, fat and carbohydrates. However, the inclusion of protease and lactase is slightly over zealous considering the fast absorption rates of the protein already and the advertised absence of lactose in the product.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Con's

There aren’t too many downfalls for the Platinum Hydrobuilder, however some do exist:

  • Aftertaste – The slightly strong aftertaste can be quite lingering and unpleasant for some consumers, but as mentioned before can easily be rectified with use of milk.
  • Price – The other main issue might be the price of the product. It is slightly pricier per serve, however is warranted considering the amount of pro’s mentioned above.
  • Lack of flavours – Unlike Optimum’s Whey Gold Standard, there are only 2 flavours in the Platinum Hydrobuilder formulation. This can be quite boring to the tastebuds over the long time, so it might be beneficial for Optimum to consider increasing the range of flavours available.
  • Nightime Protein – Although Hydrobuilder does contain casein, the absence of the exact amount of casein might render this protein less suitable than a full casein protein supplement as a night time protein.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Ingredients

1.      Protein Blend:

  • Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate - Filtered whey that produces the highest protein amount by weight at 90%+. The water portion is removed which removes most if not all of the fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol and lactose. Being hydrolysed, the protein is broken down further into smaller peptide fractions. In other words, it is easier for the body to digest and absorb.
  • Micellar Casein – Casein protein is a protein derived from milk that is slower absorbing than whey protein. Commonly used as a night time protein, research has shown that a mixture of casein and whey is perhaps the best combination to promote muscle hypertrophy/growth.1,2
  • Hydrolysed Whey Protein – Slightly confusing listing as it doesn’t mention which fraction of protein it is, but as the isolate fraction has already been listed, this is most likely a hydrolysed whey protein concentrate. Whey protein concentrate contains slightly more carbohydrates than isolates. Again, being hydrolysed makes the protein faster to digest and absorb.3
  • Whey Protein Concentrate - Filtered protein that produces high proportion of protein by weight, but less so than whey protein isolates. Contains a low level of fat and cholesterol, however contains slightly more carbohydrates than isolates.
  • Hydrolysed Egg Albumen – Egg albumen is just a fancy term for egg whites. Egg whites are considered an excellent natural source of amino acids which are easily digestible and bioavailable to the human body as calculated by their Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAA).

2.      Micronized Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate – Creatine is one of the most well known ingredients known to definitively offer ergogenic benefits in terms of recovery and muscular performance4. It is good to see that Platinum Hydrobuilder contains a higher amount of carbohydrates than their other range of proteins as it is known that carbohydrates help creatine to be absorbed into the body.

3.      BetaPower™ Natural Betaine – Betaine, so called because it was originally derived from sugar beets is a natural compound that has received increased interest in the sports science community recently. Going through the studies relating to betaine supplementation could take a whole article in itself but to summarise the findings:

  • Lee et al (2010)5 were able to show that 14 days of Betaine supplementation at 2.5g per day in 12 university aged men resulted in improved upper body power and total body endurance with a trend towards improved lower body power.
  • Armstrong et al (2008)6 were able to show that consumption of a 5g/litre beverage of betaine in 10 male runners showed a trend towards increased sprint performance, suggesting an increase in endurance.
  • Hoffman et al (2009)7 were able to show that 15 days of Betaine supplementation at 2.5 g per day in 24 university aged men resulted in a trend towards increased muscular endurance.

4.      Micronized Amino Acid Matrix – Single amino acids by themselves are one of the fastest ways to absorb protein into your system due to the fact they do not require digestion time.

5.      Enzyme Complex – The inclusion of enzymes including amylase, protease, lipase, lactase are helpful to increase the digestion time of the ingredients contained in the product.

6.     Creamer – The addition of creamer to the product is most likely to help mask both the hydrolysates (which has a naturally bitter flavour) and the creatine. This is also where the majority of the fat content comes from as creamers are generally made with vegetable oils; in this case – coconut oil. Although coconut oil does contain saturated fat, it also contains medium chain triglycerides, a form of fat capable of increasing fat oxidation.8

7.     Gum Blend – Common thickening agents, which may be why this formulation tastes a lot thicker than Optimum’s other formulations, even when made with water.

8.     Lecithin - A food additive often used to help with mixing as well as to improve shelf life.

9.     Artifical Sweeteners – Polydextrose, sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Increased sweetness helps mask unpleasant tastes and textures.

10.   Cocoa/Natural and Artificial Flavours – Self explanatory really. Cocoa is only included in the chocolate shake flavour.

11.    Salt – Most likely to be used as a either a preservative or to improve mixability of proteins.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydrobuilder - Overall Review

Overall, Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydrobuilder is an excellent tasting and easy to mix protein to consume between meals or pre- and post- workouts. The addition of creatine and betaine makes this an excellent choice for those looking to train with high intensity with minimal fatigue and prolonged endurance as well as those aiming for solid muscle growth. Consumers may like to consider having extra carbohydrates to help with glycogen replenishment as well as investing in a quality night time protein as Hydrobuilder is not the best candidate for this purpose. Although there is a lack of flavours and there is a noticeable aftertaste, these are small concerns in a sea of benefits.

1. Dangin, M., Y. Boirie, C. Garcia-Rodenas, P. Gachon, J. Fauquant, P. Callier, O. Ballevre,and B. Beaufrere. 'The digestion rate of protein is an independent regulating factor of postprandial protein retention.' Am. J. Physiol. Endcrinol. Metab. 280: E340-E348, 2001.
2. Dangin, M., Y. Boirie, C. Guillet, and B. Beaufrere. 'Influence of protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects.' J. Nutr. 2002. 132:3228S-3233S.

3. Koopman R, Crombach N, Gijsen AP, Walrand S, Fauquant J, Kies AK, Lemosquet S, Saris WH, Boirie Y, van Loon LJ. ‘Ingestion of a protein hydrolysate is accompanied by an accelerated in vivo digestion and absorption rate when compared with its intact protein.’ Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):106-15. Epub 2009 May 27.

4. Kreider RB et al. ‘ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations.’ J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 7.

5. Lee EC, Maresh CM, Kraemer WJ, Yamamoto LM, Hatfield DL, Bailey BL, Armstrong LE, Volek JS, McDermott BP, Craig SA. ‘Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance.’ J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Jul 19;7:27.

6. Armstrong LE, Casa DJ, Roti MW, Lee EC, Craig SA, Sutherland JW, Fiala KA, Maresh CM. ‘Influence of betaine consumption on strenuous running and sprinting in a hot environment.’ J Strength Cond Res. 2008 May;22(3):851-60.

7. Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Kang J, Rashti SL, Faigenbaum AD. ‘Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue.’ J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 27;6:7.
8. M-P. St-Onge, P.J.H. Jones (2003). "Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue". International Journal of Obesity 27 (12): 1565–1571.

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