There are some who claim that all bodybuilding supplements don't work. That's not true at all. But on the other hand there are some supplements that have been promoted by greedy supplement companies that really are worthless. This article is meant to warn you about bodybuilding supplements that don't work.
The typical supplement marketer takes a tiny chunk of research and magnifies it into the best thing ever found for bodybuilders. Research results, if they can be found, are usually quote-mined-unquote from a preliminary report from one lab or just the list of the compounds in a plant. Let's look at what scientific research said about some popular bodybuilding supplements.
HMB or Beta-Hydroxy Beta-methylbutyrate, a metabolite of the amino acid leucine, supposedly keeps protein from breaking down after a hard workout. However, clear-cut results were only observed "in young, previously untrained individuals". Furthermore, "in trained lifters, all strength outcomes were trivial". "The HMB effect on body composition is inconsequential."
Boron is absolutely essential for plant metabolism. Not only are you not a plant, but it's hard to be deficient in boron because it's so abundant in plants, meat, milk, and water. The only research showing it increased plasma sex steroid levels was a study done in post-menopausal women. Studies done in lean, athletic trained lifters concluded that "7 weeks of bodybuilding can increase total testosterone, lean body mass, and strength in lesser trained bodybuilders, and that boron supplementation had no effect on these measures."
Bee Pollen - Although bee pollen is loaded with anti-oxidants and protein, the goodies are inside a protective capsule made of sporopollenin. That compound is impervious to almost everything including your digestive system.
Plant Sterols - Plant sterols, also called phytosterols, reduce cholesterol levels in humans by interfering with the absorption of cholesterol. As part of a balanced diet with abundant vegetables and whole grains, they could be good for your heart. However, they won't build your biceps.
Despite the "ster" part of the name they have in common, plant sterols are not anabolic or sex steroids. They can be converted to these steroids in a laboratory, but the process is brute-force chemical synthesis. Conversion of plant steroids into animal steroids has never been observed in a living creature.
Smilax - Smilax officinalis has a phytosterol called saponin that is "purported to enhance immunity as well as provide an androgenic effect on muscle growth" but purported is just a fancy word for "supposedly".
Dibencozide - The claim for dibencozide as a bodybuilding supplement is that it is the biologically active form of Vitamin B12. It sounds great, but dibencozide is chemically unstable and oxidizes to ordinary B12 quickly. The liver converts B12 into dibencozide, so the supplement is not needed.