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Bodybuilding Supplements

Types of Bodybuilding Supplements

Bodybuilding Supplements have an anabolic effect (cause an increase in muscle size) by either increasing the rate of anabolism (muscle building) or by decreasing the rate of catabolism (muscle brakedown). Typically, bodybuilding supplements can be divided into three groups: 1) Those that have an anabolic effect by increasing the levels of anabolic hormones (e.g. testosterone and human growth hormone), example of these types of bodybuilding supplements include arginine, tribulis terrestris and ZMA; 2) Those that have an anabolic effect without affecting hormonal levels - examples of these types of bodybuilding supplements include Beta-Alanine, beta-ecdysterone, creatine and protein supplements; and, 3) Those that have an anabolic effect by decreasing the rate of muscle breakdown - examples of these types of bodybuilding supplements include: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), hmb, and phosphatidylserine.

Who Should Take Bodybuilding Supplements?

Bodybuilding Supplements should be taking by anyone who is looking to increase muscular size and strength.

Common Bodybuilding Supplements

The are a vast number of Bodybuilding supplements available, unfortunately most of these have little evidence to back up the claims made by the manufacturers. The most popular bodybuilding supplements are Beta-Alanine, Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), beta ecdysterone, creatine, glutamine, and Whey protein.

Research on Bodybuilding Supplements

Scientific research has shown a keen interest in many bodybuilding supplements. Many of the most popular bodybuiding supplements have failed to live up to the manufacturers claims when studied scientifically. Some of the most notable bodybuilding supplements to lack significant research to back up the claims made by manufacturers include: ribose and vanadyl sulfate. However, a major exception is Creatine Monohydrate which has been shown to to significantly enhance muscle size and strength in numerous scientific research studies. Other bodybuilding supplements that have shown positive results include: Beta-Alanine, Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's), HMB, Colostrum, Whey Protein, and ZMA.

Are Bodybuilding Supplements effective?

Some Bodybuilding Supplements have been demonstrated to enhance both muscle size and strength whilst others have fallen well short of the manufacturers claims.

Bodybuilding Supplement Reviews

Acetyl L Carnitine

Acetyl L Carnitine is believed to improve muscular endurance, mental function, alertness, memory, and to reduce the age associated decline in brain function


Arginine has anabolic (muscle building) properties, and supplementing with arginine has many benefits including increased protein synthesis, reduced muscle breakdown, elevated growth hormone levels, and increased nitric oxide production.


Beta-Alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid. Beta-Alanine supplementation is elevates muscle Carnosine levels and has been shown to enhance work rate during during repeated resistance exercise.

Beta Ecdysterone

Beta-ecdysterone (also known as ecdysterone) is a naturally occurring steroid like compound. Some studies have suggested that that Beta-ecdysterone is a powerful anabolic agent, that can enhance protein synthesis and increase lean muscle mass.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs stimlate muscle building (anabolism) whilst decreasing muscle breakdown (catabolism). Increases lean muscle mass, reduces muscle damage and soreness, improves immune function, and may enhance endurance exercise performance.


Although caffeine has no effect on muscle size and mass it is often used by bodybuilders in order to increase workout and intensity.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

CLA is a type of fatty acid found naturally in our diet. It decreases muscle breakdown, increases lean muscle mass, and muscular strength.


Colostrum can help to increase lean muscle mass.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine has been demonstrated to significantly increase fat free muscle mass, muscular strength, and muscular power.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)

EFA’s may help to enhance fat free mass.

Ginkgo Biloba

Gingko biloba may be of benefit in enhancing mental functioning and mental alertness.


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body making up over 50% of the total amount of amino acids. Glutamine is essential for growth and normal immune function. It can help to increase lean muscle mass and recovery from exercise.

Hydroxy Methyl Butyrate (HMB)

HMB (Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) appears to have anti-catabolic properties. It appears to enhance muscle mass and muscular strength.

Milk Thistle (Silymarin)

A number of studies have shown that milk thistle protects against hepatoxicity damage caused by certain drugs, as such some bodybuilders are known to self-medicate with milk thistle during and after a cycle of steroids or pro-hormones in order to protect against liver toxicity.


Phosphatidylserine (PS), plays an important role in the repair of damaged cells, and is believed to aid in the growth of new muscle mass.


Pycnogenol enhances nitric oxide production which ould enhance muscle mass. It may also enhance growth hormone secretion and aid recovery from exercise.


Ribose is a naturally occurring pentose sugar that may enhance the recovery rate by increasing re-synthesis of ATP. Following intense or prolonged exercise ATP levels within your muscles, may decrease by around 20-25%, and may take 48-72hours to fully return to normal. The idea behind ribose supplementation is that it has the potential to speed up the recovery rate.

Vanadyl Sulfate

Vanadyl Sulfate has traditionally been used by bodybuilders to enhance muscle pumps and enhance muscle mass.

Whey Protein

Both casein and whey protein have traditionally been used by body builders, and strength athletes to increase the rate of protein synthesis (muscle building), whilst decreasing the rate of catabolism of muscle mass (muscle breakdown), and increasing the rate of post exercise recovery.


ZMA can increase the levels of total testosterone, free testosterone, recovery and muscular endurance.