Photo: Miguel Rúa


We’re often asked how Optygen and OptygenHP differ, why an athlete should choose one over the other, and if all athletes even qualify for using them. Here, we’ll describe the differences between the two formulas, discuss how to use them in training, and explain why every athlete who’s pushing their own limits – from beginner to elite – can benefit.


One of the most common misconceptions we see is that these formulas aren’t for non-elite, non-professional athletes, so we’ll state clearly here that Optygen and OptygenHP are for everyone who trains hard, not just the world’s best. They’re designed to help your body adapt to the stress of training, and stress is completely relative. An athlete running their first 10k may experience much more stress while training than an experienced athlete training for the same distance – it’s all about personal exertion rather than external performance metrics.

Exercise-induced stress is less about your ability and more about how hard you’re pushing yourself. Regardless of strength, relative fitness, or how well you place in competitions, if you’re pushing your limits with a training routine that’s constantly putting you on your own subjective threshold, then you’re putting your entire body under a lot of stress. Those are the conditions Optygen and OptygenHP are formulated for.

The effects of stress go well beyond just the experience of exercising. Mood and sleep patterns are common areas of impact, and exercise-induced stress can also be compounded by non-exercise stress – remember that stress comes from all aspects of life, not just training. So, yes, if you’re pushing your limits in training – regardless of how those limits compare to IRONMAN champions or grand tour winners – then the adaptogens in Optygen and OptygenHP will help.


Though they also improve VO2, aerobic capacity, and endurance, among other things, Optygen and OptygenHP are both designed first and foremost to help manage the damaging effects of stress by modulating cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that regulates the immune response and is controlled by the adrenal cortex. While cortisol in normal amounts is necessary for proper metabolic function, a chronically elevated cortisol level can have a negative impact on sleep, mood, sex drive, bone health, ligament health, cardiovascular health, and athletic performance, potentially causing fatigue and systemic inflammation. Endurance training, as you might imagine, tends to excite the adrenal cortex and precipitate elevated cortisol levels.

Through the use of clinically validated adaptogenic herbs, both Optygen and OptygenHP help control that trend, allowing athletes to train at high-to-them levels without going into an overtraining state and suffering the negative repercussions of cortisol overload. The management of cortisol also offers secondary benefits including efficient oxygen transfer, improved ATP production, and improved glucose metabolism – all of which contribute to the broader suite of body-wide benefits of Optygen and OptygenHP. (The general reduction in harm caused by constant lifestyle stress is itself a positive, even if there were no ancillary benefits.)


The HP in OptygenHP stands for High Performance, and the upgraded formula takes its mission a step further by including some key nutrients – primarily beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is a non-essential beta-amino acid that increases fat burning and efficiently synthesizes and metabolizes lactate, essentially converting the lactic acid that lights up your muscles while you’re training to be reused as fuel.

Improved lactate synthesis means athletes can push their lactate thresholds to a higher level, sustaining a higher heart rate before the debilitating effects of lactic acid – signaled by, but not limited to, the exercise burn – slows them down. The result is an improvement in endurance capacity allowing you to train and race at a higher level. (Notably, beta-alanine is also the source of OptygenHP’s telltale tingle.)


Use Optygen if your primary concern is the difficulty of your training program. For best results, Optygen should be used consistently for many months – it takes around three months for the effects to peak, following which regular use as directed maintains those levels. Pick a hard training block and use Optygen during the entire time.

Use OptygenHP if you’re concerned with the difficulty of your training program and you also want to add a performance component to your supplementation. With OptygenHP, you’ll be able to push workouts further due to its ability to improve lactate threshold – ideal for finding that extra edge when you’re already operating with a strong base of fitness.

Alternatively, athletes can cycle between both products. It’s perfectly effective to use Optygen to establish the effects of the adaptogens and during base training, and then switch to OptygenHP for the final two months before a target event, taking advantage of the lactic threshold effects to push into peak fitness.



Modulates Cortisol

Improves ATP

Improves mood, sleep, recovery

Modulates Cortisol

Improves ATP

Improves mood, sleep, recovery

Improves lactate threshold

Improves fat burning

February 02, 2023 — First Endurance
Tags: coaching


Aditya said:

Could both be taken without the gelatin capsules, i.e. emptying the contents into water?

Luke said:

Yes! Adaptogens have been used for centuries and daily use for years has been the practice.
Luke R. Bucci, PhD CCN CNS Chief Scientific Officer

Oscar Florez said:

Is it ok to use OptygenHP year-round?

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