Do bodybuilding supplements actually work?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of bodybuilding supplements by athletes. On the one hand, past doping scandals have cast a pall over supplement use, and on the other, many of the inflated claims of some supplement manufacturers have not been clinically proven. Some can even be damaging to an athlete’s performance or health.
There are, however, some bodybuilding supplements that are beneficial to athletic performance, muscle building and weight control.
One of the most effective bodybuilding supplements also happens to be one of the earth’s most common elements – water. More than 70% of the mass of lean muscle tissue is water, and for development and to avoid damage, proper hydration is essential.
Do bodybuilding supplements really work?
Following are some bodybuilding supplements and the benefits they provide.
Creatine: A naturally occurring substance in the body, creatine increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stored in the muscles. ATP provides the energy needed to meet the demands of contracting muscles which is essential in activities involving strength and/or endurance. Creating also supplies energy to muscle cells for short bursts of energy. Creatine monohydrate, which has been clinically proven to be effective, unfortunately also causes some bloating. If you’re willing to pay more, Kre-alkalyn, a buffered creatine, is available. Although there is no clinical data to prove its efficacy, it is similar enough to creatine monohydrate to assume it has the same properties, and it does not cause bloating. Even more expensive is creatine ethyl ester HCL, a more potent and easier to absorb form of creatine that also does not cause bloating. Unlike steroids and other performance enhancing substances, creatine can be found in foods such as tuna, salmon, and beef.
Protein: Proteins are the essential building blocks of muscle. It is usually taken before and after exercising to supplement the effects of weight training. Amino acids are the essential components of protein, with glutamine being the most abundant of the amino acids in the muscles. Whey protein is the most common source of protein for athletes and bodybuilders, and the recommended intake is from 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
Glucosamine sulfate: An unfortunate by product of most sports activity is damage to joints, particularly knees and ankles. Glucosamine sulfate helps to rebuild cartilage and provide cushioning to joints, and regular usage can help to prevent joint problems in the first place. Individuals with allergies to shellfish should avoid any supplement containing glucosamine sulfate.
Tribulus terrestris: Tribulus Terrestris causes your body to release luteinizing hormone, which in turn then signals your testicles to naturally produce more testosterone. Since testosterone promotes protein synthesis and positive nitrogen balance, the benefits for the athlete are muscle cell growth and increased body strength, as well as faster recuperation and recovery from muscular stress. This together with its diuretic effect promotes the lean, hard muscular look.