Best and Worst Supplements

The supplement industry is not as regulated and as tightly controlled as the food industry. You’re putting pills and powders in your body and you’re putting your health in the hands of the manufacturers, so you’d expect some level of government regulation, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Add some fanciful marketing and a need for profit to the mix and you have an industry that thrives on lies, an industry that at best will take your money and leave you with nothing but expensive urine and at worst will do you harm. Fortunately, there are reputable companies out there and there are supplements that work. When the two combine you get something that can add that extra 5% to a complete exercise and nutrition plan, but you need to be wary of everything else.

Worst Supplements

These are the “worst supplements” on our list, but they are not here because they do harm. The truth is that harmful supplements are actually quite rare and usually discontinued as soon as the potential for harm is realized. They are on our list of worst supplements because they don’t really do anything at all, except for maybe waste your money.

Testosterone Boosters

There are a lot of supplements that fall into this category and all of them are ineffective and often overpriced. The truth is that no supplement can boost your testosterone enough to cause any noticeable improvements with regards to muscle growth or fat loss. And most of them have no effect whatsoever.

The most common of these are Tribulus terrestris and ZMA. Both of are relatively cheap, but far from cost effective. In the case of Tribulus, there are no scientific studies to show that it has a positive impact on testosterone levels and plenty to show that it has no effect at all. ZMA is probably helpful if you are deficient in zinc or magnesium, but if you’re not then it won’t do anything. ZMA also contains very high doses and often uses very poorly absorbed forms of magnesium.

As for prohormones and SARMS, both are very dangerous and occupy a legal grey area in most countries. And not without reason.

HMB

Once considered to be an essential supplement in every stack, HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate) is still somewhat popular and is thought to help with the repair and recovery process. It is usually sold as a muscle builder, but in truth its effects are very limited and some would say nonexistent.

There are studies out there that claim to have seen hugely beneficial results with HMB, but these are iffy at best. Some of them seem to be directly funded by the creator of HMB, which means we can safely discount them. If you focus purely on the independent studies then it’s considerably less impressive.

Studies on men and women who workout regularly, such as this one, have concluded that HMB has no impact at all. Studies on people who have not trained before have shown more positive results, but nothing near what is being claimed by the supplement manufacturers.

Glutamine

There are a few issues with this supplement. Firstly, there is no disputing that the body seems to need glutamine during periods of high stress, injury and disease. However, there is no conclusive research to show that supplementation with glutamine is effective for athletes, or indeed anyone else who is not deficient and not suffering from any kind of muscle wasting disease.

What’s more, glutamine is found in high concentrations in whey and casein protein, so even if we were to accept that it had some benefits in helping to build, repair or restore muscle, there’s probably no need for anyone to consume it when they are already taking whey or casein protein, and there is definitely no need when you are taking both of these protein supplements. This is what qualifies it for our list of worst supplements.

Best Supplements

This is a list of the best popular supplements on the market, the ones that have the most research to back them up and the ones that actually do what they claim to do.

Protein Powder

You should always try and get your daily protein from food and you should avoid protein shakes as much as possible throughout the day. But a post workout whey protein shake and a nighttime casein shake can go a very long way. They will give your body what it needs at essential times, both when it is looking to break your muscle down and when it needs to repair and rebuild.

Protein shakes are not designed to be consumed as meal replacements. They tend to be very low in fat and carbs, containing mostly protein as well as a few additives. That’s why they should be taken to supplement a strong, protein and nutrient rich diet and not to replace it. Countless studies have proved the effectiveness of supplementing with protein powders, which is why it is a staple in this industry.

What’s more, many positive studies point to whey protein as a potential anti-cancer and immune strengthening supplement, as well as one that can reduce cholesterol. It also contains a rich assortment of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, as do many vegan protein powders such as hemp, pea and soy.

Creatine

There are some misconceptions out there regarding creatine, so let’s dispel these quickly:

  • It does not need to be cycled
  • It will not bloat you and make you fat
  • It can be consumed through a regular omnivorous diet, but nowhere near the amount offered by supplementation

Creatine is one of the most studied supplements in the industry and the results are usually positive. There have been claims that it can cause hair loss, which is down to the fact that it increases levels of DHT, but these levels increase when you workout anyway and the evidence is anecdotal at best.

What we do know is that creatine increases performance, giving a boost to your strength during high intensity activity and also increasing lean muscle mass. It can help you to push a little harder in the gym, and those extra few reps and that little bit more weight can go a long way for increasing muscle growth.

Creatine is not going to turn you into an anabolic animal overnight, but it can certainly help you to inch towards your goals.

Omega-3

There are some conflicting studies out there regarding omega-3s. One study seemed to suggest that they could be used to reduce the risk of a serious eye condition known as macular degeneration, while another suggested they could increase the risk. Once upon a time it was also touted as a drug that could help reduce the risk of heart attacks, but several studies have since found minimal effectiveness.

However, contradictions aside, there are a few things that omega-3s are good for. We know that they are essential for optimum brain health and may even help with depression. We also know that people who subsist on a diet rich in omega-3s and other polyunsaturated fats tend to live longer and have a lower risk of diabetes, heart problems and cancer.

In fact, the Mediterranean diet is said to be the healthiest in the world and one of the key components of this diet is a lot of omega-3s (from oily Mediterranean fish) and olive oil (which also contain healthy fats). There is no end to the potential benefits of this supplement, which is why it makes it onto this list of the best supplements for any stack.

I want to hear from you

Site by codeart.mk