Nutrition Supplements and Bodybuilding Supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding and athletics. They include protein (the most widely used such supplement), branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, essential fatty acids, meal replacement products, prohormones, creatine, thermogenic products and testosterone boosters. There is no scientific consensus in favor of the usefulness of many bodybuilding supplements, and some have potentially harmful side-effects.
Nutrition supplements are marketed in magazines, newspapers, gyms and via trainers, mostly supplied without prescription in stores or through the mail, and have helped push annual sales of sport nutrition products in the US to over $2.7 billion (US).
Bodybuilders often take a powdered form of protein, which contains the essential building blocks for muscle. The powder is mixed with water, milk or juice and often flavoring, resulting in a form known as a "shake" (as in milkshake) or "pudding". Protein powder is generally consumed immediately before and after exercising, or in place of a meal. Some types of protein are to be taken directly before and after a workout, while others are to be taken before going to bed. The theory behind this supplementation is that having a sufficient protein intake allows for efficient growth and repair of muscle tissue.
Currently, no consensus has been reached in determining whether or not an individual in exercise training can benefit from protein and amino acid supplements. Protein supplements come in various forms: ready to drink shakes, bars, bites, oats, gels and powders. Protein powders are available in a variety of flavors including strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Some advertisements claim that they aid in fat loss, slowing the aging process and muscle building.
Whey protein contains high levels of all the essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids. It also has the highest content of the amino acid cysteine, which aids in the biosynthesis of glutathione. For Bodybuilders whey protein provides amino acid used to aid in muscle recovery. Whey protein is derived from the process of making cheese from milk. There are two types of whey protein: whey concentrate and whey isolate. Whey concentrate is 29%–89% protein by weight where whey isolate is 90%+ protein by weight.
* Casein protein (or milk protein) has glutamine, and casomorphin.
* Soy protein Soybeans contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen.
* Egg-white protein is a lactose- and dairy-free protein.
* Hemp seed contains complete and highly-digestible protein and hemp oil is high in essential fatty acids.
* Rice protein- when made from the whole grain it is a complete protein source that is highly digestible and allergen free.
Shaker Bottle commonly used to mix supplements. Has mesh inside to avoid lumps in the mixture.
Although it is shown that athletes and bodybuilders may need an increased intake of protein, the exact amount is highly individualized and dependent on the type and duration of the exercise as well as the physiological make up of the individual. Your age, gender, and body size may vary this protein intake. Some health experts have criticized protein shakes as being unnecessary for most people that consume them, since most users already get enough protein in the normal varied diet with enough calories. Some studies suggest low-calorie dieters, vegetarians, haphazard eaters and those who train very heavily may benefit from protein supplements. The body can only metabolize 5-9 grams of protein per hour; excessive daily intake can cause weight gain, kidney problems, osteoporosis, or diarrhea. Taking an overdose of protein can lead to a loss of appetite as well. Osteoporosis occurs since excreting extra protein can put pressure on the kidneys and lead to bone loss, since calcium is taken from bones in the excretion process. Weight gain occurs as the body cannot store protein, excess protein will either be burned as energy or stored as fat (if you are already getting the calories you need). Research by Tarnopolsky et al. (1988) showed that for bodybuilding individuals, 1.97g of protein per kg of body weight per day is recommended, whereas endurance athletes require 1.37g/kg/d of protein. Their findings indicated that protein requirements are actually much lower than might be expected and that protein supplements therefore may not be as effective as is popularly believed. Studies suggest that there are different protein requirements for anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Endurance athletes in aerobic activity may have increased daily protein intake at 1.2-1.4 g per kg body weight per day where strength training athletes performing anaerobic activity may have increased daily protein intake needs at 1.4-1.8 g per kg body weight so as to enhance muscle protein synthesis or to make up for the loss of amino acid oxidation during exercise.
Branched-chain amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein; the body breaks consumed protein into amino acids in the stomach and intestines. There are three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Each has numerous benefits on various biological processes in the body. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are metabolised in the muscle and have an anabolic/anti-catabolic effect on it. BCAAs account for 33% of muscle protein.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in human muscle and is commonly found in supplements or as a micronized, instantly soluble powder because supplement manufacturers claim the body's natural glutamine stores are depleted during anaerobic exercise. Serum glutamine is used by the body to counteract the acidosis that results from exercise; in order to replenish the loss of glutamine from the bloodstream, the body catabolises glutamine from the muscle. Ingestion of supplemental glutamine may therefore help ensure a ready supply for the muscles. It is also argued that a deficiency may lead to a weakened immune system and wasting of muscle tissue.
Some studies have shown there to be no significant effect of glutamine on bench press strength, knee-extension torque or lean muscle mass when compared to controls taking a placebo, though another study found that glutamine is beneficial in raising T-helper/suppressor cell ratio in long distance runners.
Essential fatty acids
The essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid) may be especially important to supplement while bodybuilding; these cannot readily be made in the body, but are required for various functions within the body to take place. Bodybuilders often go on such low fat diets that they become fat-deficient. Meat, poultry, and fish are other fatty acids that can help.
Fatty fish, which are rich in essential fatty acids, include salmon, trout, and mackerel; fish oils can also be taken in supplement form.
Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, and safflower oils, cannot provide linoleic acid. Soybean oil is the only commonly-consumed oil that contains linoleic acid. Flaxseed oil, often sold as a supplement on its own, is an ideal source of alpha-Linolenic acid, which can also be found in walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
Meal replacement products
Meal replacement products (MRPs) are either pre-packaged powdered drink mixes or edible bars designed to replace prepared meals. MRPs are generally high in protein, low in fat, have a low to moderate amount of carbohydrates, and contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals.
The majority of MRPs use whey protein, casein (often listed as calcium caseinate or micellar casein), soy protein, and/or egg albumin as protein sources. Carbohydrates are typically derived from maltodextrin, oat fiber, brown rice, and/or wheat flour. Some MRPs also contain flax oil powder as a source of essential fatty acids.
MRPs can also contain other ingredients that are believed to be beneficial for bodybuilders. These can include, but are not limited to: creatine monohydrate, glutamine peptides, L-glutamine, calcium alpha-ketoglutarate, additional amino acids, lactoferrin, conjugated linoleic acid, and medium chain triglycerides.
A sub-class of MRPs are called 'weight gainers' these have a high ratio of carbohydrates:protein. Where a MRP would have a 0.25-2:1 ratio of Carbohydrates:Protein a weight gainer would have in the order of between 3-5:1 ratios. They also tend to be named XY 2000 whereby the number refers to the calories per serving.