Ultimate Nutrition's Horse Power Nitric Oxide/Creatine Blend Reviewed - Bodybuilding Supplements

Ultimate Nutrition’s Horse Power Nitric Oxide/Creatine Blend Reviewed

Note: the original Horse Power reviewed below has been discontinued and replaced by Horse Power X.

Ultimate Nutrition’s Horse Power is a combination nitric-oxide creatine supplement. As Paul notes in his review, nitric oxide-boosting supplements are pretty popular in the bodybuilding community, and justifiably so.

Ultimate Nutrition describes Horse Power as “…a stack of twenty essential ingredients that work synergistically to increase strength, stamina, recovery and blood-flow-vasodilatation.” So what does Horse Power have to offer?

Kre-Alkalyn® 1.5g
Creatine Ethyl Ester 1.1g
Tri-Creatine Malate 1.5g
Betaine Hydrochloride 2g
Taurine (Micronized) 2g
N-Acetyl L-Glutamine 1.1g

NO Power Blend™ 4000mg
Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate, Arginine Ethyl Ester Dihydrochloride.

HorsePower Blend 5800mg
Beta-Alanine, Glycerol Monostearate, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Citrulline Ethyl Ester Malate, L-Norvaline, Guanidinopropionic Acid, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum, Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate, Arginine Ketoisocaproate, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, Rutaecarpine, And Glycocyamine

This looks a little complicated and confusing at first glance. It isn’t too tricky, however, to sort things out so they make a bit more sense. Here’s how Horse Power breaks down:

Creatine: Horse Power provides three different forms of creatine: Kre-Alkalyn, creatine ethyl ester and tri-creatine malate. As Ultimate Nutrition explains it, using these three forms “…provides an enormously soluble creatine that provides superior bioavailability over regular creatine monohydrate.”

Is this true? I’ve already discussed the merits…and demerits of Kre-Alkalyn in another review. Suffice it to say, there’s no independent data to support the manufacturer’s claims of increased stability and bioavailability. Likewise, there is exactly zero information on the pharmacokinetics of tri-creatine malate, or how it stacks up to creatine monohydrate.

And do not get me started on creatine ethyl ester (CEE)—which rates a full review in its own right. For now, however, I’ll offer a summary from Dr. Mark Tallon’s research presentation “Creatine ethyl ester rapidly degrades to creatinine in stomach acid

“CEE is claimed to provide several advantages over CM because of increased solubility and stability. In practice, the addition of the ethyl group to creatine actually reduces acid stability and accelerates its breakdown to creatinine. This substantially reduces creatine availability in its esterified form and as a consequence creatines such as San CM2 and CE2 are inferior to CM as a source of free creatine.”

In other words, the claims of superior bioavailability ring hollow. This doesn’t mean that the blend in Horse Power won’t work at all—it’s just not any better than good ol’ creatine monohydrate.

Horse Power also provides glycocyamine, a creatine precursor. Glycocyamine is a somewhat problematic compound, although—as the last ingredient in the “Horse Power Blend”—there’s probably not enough of it in the formula to have either negative or positive effects.

NO Precursors: Horse Power also provides three different forms of arginine, as well as forms of citrulline and ornithine (amino acids that can convert to arginine in the body). Horse Power delivers a solid dose, although once again, there’s no particular science behind the use of multiple forms. Many leading NO boosters rely on only one or two NO precursors, and still provide an excellent pump.

There’s nothing wrong with the blend in Horse Power, of course, it’s just that you shouldn’t assume “more complicated” = “better.”

L-Norvaline is an interesting—but speculative—addition to the formula. It’s an analog of the amino acid valine, and an inhibitor of the arginase enzyme. Arginase breaks arginine down to ornithine and urea, so inhibiting it leaves more arginine available for NO synthesis. L-Norvaline is included in several NO supps as a “nitric oxide amplifier.”

It certainly enhances NO production in cell cultures, but I haven’t seen any human or animal studies on it. Thus, it’s impossible to say anything about how effective it is in-vivo, or what a useful dose might be.

Insulin Sensitizers: Horse Power includes several of these. One of them, R-alpha-lipoic acid, is known to enhance creatine uptake. Gynostemma pentaphyllum has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance, although this has not been studied directly in humans. The same is true for glycocyamine and guanidinopropionic acid. Thus, it’s tough to say how useful these ingredients really are, especially since the latter is also an inhibitor of creatine uptake.

Taurine may also help with insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal, although human data is conflicting.

Volumizers: Glycerol has been used as a “plasma expander” by bodybuilders for years, and the monostearate form generally gets a thumbs up from users for pumps and minimal side effects. Taurine has also been touted as a “cell volumizer” due to its role in regulating the fluid volume inside cells (“osmoregulation”), but there’s no indication that extra taurine has any enhancing effects.

Beta-alanine: As Paul discusses in his review of iSatori’s H+ Blocker, beta-alanine is a precursor for the formation of carnosine. Carnosine, in turn, buffers hydrogen ions that build up in muscle during intense exercise. Taking beta-alanine can increase muscle carnosine stores and enhance performance/reduce fatigue.


  • Rutaecarpine is a CYP3A4 inhibitor. CYP3A4 is a cytochrome P-450 enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of a number of drugs and metabolites. Inhibitors (such as furanocoumarins in grapefruit juice) can potentiate drug effects. Presumably, this is why it’s been added to Horse Power, although rutaecarpine also has anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Medium chain triglycerides are a somewhat more thermogenic and easily digested form of fat. There is no listed fat (or fat calories) on the nutritional label, however, so there cannot be more than 0.5 g in the formula. This is an utterly irrelevant amount.
  • N-Acetyl L-Glutamine is a stabilized form of L-glutamine, which tends to be unstable in solution over time. While glutamine has its uses, Horse Power supplies just a bit over a gram, which isn’t enough to achieve the “greater recovery, cell-volumization, growth hormone release, protein synthesis, immune function, and anti-catabolic effects” attributed to it in the ads.
  • Betaine hydrochloride is a “methyl donor” that can help reduce plasma homocysteine—a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The conversion of glycocyamine to creatine can increase homocysteine, so including betaine is probably a wise precaution, despite the (likely) small amount present in Horse Power.

Putting it all together, Horse Power has mostly decent ingredients, although—in some cases—I think better choices could have been made. The formula is also more complex than it needs to be. These are not fatal flaws, however. In general, the formula should be effective for producing the NO-mediated effects that users are looking for.

I confirmed this by giving Horse Power a try. It comes in four flavors: I bought the Lemon-Lime. It didn’t mix, or taste, very well: the flavor was somewhat sour and “medicinal.” In addition, I tried it after trialing NO-Xplode, White Flood, and SuperPump250, so I immediately noticed the absence of the caffeine and other nootropic compounds those supps supply. Still, I had good workouts with it, and was able to pound myself pretty hard without feeling wiped out at the end…which is one of the things I like about NO supps in general.

All things considered, Horse Power gets the job done, and could be worth a try—especially for those who are sensitive to caffeine, and would prefer a non-stimulant NO blend.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

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