It seems like every week, there’s a new miracle supplement meant to help you lose weight, build muscle, make you look ten years younger, and also fix your gut microbiome.
I’m looking at you, “metabolism boosters.”
In 2015 alone, Americans spent an estimated 2 billion dollars on weight loss supplements while also spending 2.6 billion dollars on muscle-building supplements. (1)
The global dietary supplement market is estimated to reach an insane worth of 272.4 billion dollars by 2028. (1)
That’s a lot of supplements!
Unfortunately, the vast majority, and I mean the vast majority of these supplements, are straight-up crap.
That’s because many supplement companies cut corners by creating “proprietary blends.”
Proprietary blends are a term used by supplement companies to label a combination of ingredients listed one by one. However, there’s no actual quantity of each ingredient given on the label.
The label might show the total quantity of the blend but not of each ingredient in the blend.
They can also be called “matrix,” “complex,” “proprietary formula,” or “blend.”
Companies do this kind of shady business for a few reasons:
As a marketing tactic.
- Companies use names like “matrix” to make their product sound like it’s on the cutting edge of technology.
To increase their profit margins.
- The FDA has little to no restrictions for proprietary blends. That allows companies to skip having to list the amounts used of each ingredient used in the blend. Enabling them to underdose and fill the supplement with cheaper ingredients to cut costs.
With that being said, that doesn’t mean that everything is lost. Many supplements provide a multitude of benefits as long as you take an appropriate dose.
Remember to always consult with your doctor before you take any supplements.
Also, remember that supplements are just that, supplements. They are meant to supplement your diet and training.
You can drink as many protein smoothies as you want, but if you don’t have your diet in check, then you’re probably wasting your time.
Okay, onto the list.
Here are some of our favorite supplements, as well as their benefits and doses:
A Quality Protein Powder
Whey protein isolate is absorbed pretty quickly by the body, giving you a head start to repair your muscles after an intense workout.
Shoot for a protein powder with at least 2.5 grams of leucine per 24 grams of protein.
If you are a vegan, look for a protein powder with a 70% pea and 30% rice protein mixture. Its amino acid profile is similar to whey protein.
Creatine is a supplement that increases ATP (The body’s energy currency) production. It helps power the first 10 seconds or so of activity.
- increase muscle strength and performance output (2)
- It improves lean body mass and body composition (3)(5)
- Improve memory, focus, and attention (1)(2)(3)
- Natural and Completely safe in healthy adults (1)(2)
Take 20g for the first 4-5 days to oversaturate your muscle cells.
Take 5g per day after that.
Coffee isn’t only delicious (real coffee, not that Starbucks crap. Don’t @ me), but it also packs a mighty punch.
Coffee is mostly associated with improved alertness, but it also enhances memory and attention in young and older adults. (1)
Take 3-6 mg per kg of bodyweight about 30-60 minutes before your workout.
It is tough to get your vitamins and minerals, especially when in a calorie deficit. A potent and high-quality multivitamin is a must when it comes to ensuring you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs (1).
Unless you love to eat fish, you probably need to take a fish oil supplement.
Why do you ask? Because of the long-ass list of benefits fish oil provide:
- Can fight depression and anxiety. (1)
- It helps reduce soreness and improve recovery. (2)
- Suppresses muscle breakdown (3)
- It can improve the quality of your sleep. (4)
- It improves bone and joint health. (5)
- Can reduce the risk of cardiac death. (6)
- It can decrease blood pressure. (7)
- It can reduce waist circumference. (8)
Take 1-2 grams of EPA and DHA per day.
That might require you to take 3-6g of actual fish oil, so make sure you read the label.
Citrulline Malate is a combination of L-citrulline and malate.
L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid (the body produces it on its own). Malate helps remove lactic acid from our muscles (that burning sensation you feel in your muscles when exercising)(1).
- Improves blood flow
- More muscle endurance
- Higher energy in your workout
- Decreases workout induced soreness
Take 6g 30 minutes to an hour before your workout.
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid and the precursor of carnosine.
Carnosine has been shown to reduce lactic acid buildup in muscles. (1)
- Increases muscular endurance in workouts between 30 seconds and 10 minutes (1) (2)
- Decreases the perception of fatigue (1)
- Beta-Alanine increases peak power production in high-intensity exercise. (1)
- It increases lean body mass (1)
- Great in combination with creatine (1) (2)
Take 2-5g per day.
Beta-Alanine can cause a tingling sensation on the skin. No worries, though. It isn’t dangerous. To prevent this, you could split your dosage multiple times a day. (1)
Betaine is an amino acid that can be found in foods like spinach, quinoa, and beets.
Some of the benefits of betaine supplementation are:
- Improved strength (1) (2)
- Improved peak power (1) (2)
- Increase in lean body mass (1)
- Protection from dehydration (1)
- Increased muscle endurance (1)
Take 2.5 grams per day.
Not all supplements are a waste of money.
Many supplements can increase endurance, power, focus, hypertrophy and even help you fight depression and anxiety and reduce the risk of cardiac death.
They are meant to supplement your diet and training. Supps won’t work if you don’t put up the work.
Stay away from proprietary blends. Many companies use proprietary blends as a marketing tool and as a way to fill supplements with cheaper ingredients and increase profit.
Please keep coming back to this post as we will update it regularly as more research comes out.
As always, if you know of someone who will benefit from this information, please feel free to share.
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