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Bodybuilding supplement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and athletics for the purpose of facilitating an increase in lean body mass. Bodybuilding supplements may contain ingredients that are advertised to increase a person's muscle, body weight, athletic performance, and decrease a person's percent body fat for desired muscle definition. Among the most widely used are high protein drinks, pre-workout blends, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, arginine, essential fatty acids, creatine, HMB, whey protein, ZMA, and weight loss products.[1][2] Supplements are sold either as single ingredient preparations or in the form of "stacks" – proprietary blends of various supplements marketed as offering synergistic advantages.



Athletes in ancient Greece were advised to consume large quantities of meat and wine. A number of herbal concoctions and tonics have been used by strong men and athletes since ancient times across cultures to try to increase their strength and stamina.[3]

In the 1910s, Eugen Sandow, widely considered to be the first modern bodybuilder in the West, advocated the use of dietary control to enhance muscle growth. Later, bodybuilder Earle Liederman advocated the use of "beef juice" or "beef extract" (basically, consomme) as a way to enhance muscle recovery. In the 1950s, with recreational and competitive bodybuilding becoming increasingly popular, Irvin P. Johnson began to popularize and market egg-based protein powders marketed specifically at bodybuilders and physical athletes. The 1970s and 1980s marked a dramatic increase in the growth of the bodybuilding supplement industry, fueled by the widespread use of modern marketing techniques and a marked increase in recreational bodybuilding.

In October 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was signed into law in the USA. Under DSHEA, responsibility for determining the safety of the dietary supplements changed from the government to the manufacturer, and supplements no longer required approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before distributing the products. Since that time, manufacturers did not have to provide FDA with the evidence to substantiate safety or effectiveness unless a new dietary ingredient was added. It is widely believed that the 1994 DSHEA further consolidated the position of the supplement industry and lead to additional product sales.[4]


Protein shakes, made from protein powder (center) and milk (left), are a common bodybuilding supplement.

Bodybuilders may supplement their diets with protein for reasons of convenience, lower cost (relative to meat and fish products), ease of preparation, and to avoid the concurrent consumption of carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, some argue that bodybuilders, by virtue of their unique training and goals, require higher-than-average quantities of protein to support maximal muscle growth.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] While the recommended dietary allowance is much less,[13] Harvard Medical School points out in Health Health Publishing that this RDA (recommended daily allowance) is “the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick — not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.”[14] Protein supplements are sold in ready-to-drink health shakes, bars, meal replacement products (see below), bites, oats, gels and powders. Protein powders are the most popular and may have flavoring added for palatability. The powder is usually mixed with water, milk or fruit juice and is generally consumed immediately before and after exercising or in place of a meal. The sources of protein are as follows and differ in protein quality depending on their amino acid profile and digestibility:

  • 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 acids used to aid in muscle recovery.[15] Whey protein is derived from the process of making cheese from milk. There are three types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. Whey concentrate is 29–89% protein by weight whereas whey isolate is 90%+ protein by weight. Whey hydrolysate is enzymatically predigested and therefore has the highest rate of digestion of all protein types.[15]
  • Casein protein (or milk protein) has glutamine, and casomorphin.[15]
Shaker Bottle commonly used to mix supplements. Often has mesh or a metal whisk inside to breakdown lumps in the mixture.

Some nutritionists have suggested that higher calcium excretion may be due to a corresponding increase in protein-induced calcium absorption in the intestines.[16][17][18]

Amino acids


Some bodybuilders believe that amino acid supplements may benefit muscle development, but consumption of such supplements is unnecessary in a diet that already includes adequate protein intake.[19]



An androgen prohormone, or proandrogen, is a prohormone (or prodrug) of an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS). They can be prohormones of testosterone or of synthetic AAS, for example, nandrolone (19-nortestosterone). Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S), and androstenedione may all be considered proandrogens of testosterone.[20]

Since 2005, the use of steroid precursors (prohormones) has been illegal in the U.S.[21]



Creatine is an organic acid naturally occurring in the body (and in red meats)[22] that supplies energy to muscle cells for short bursts of energy (as required in lifting weights) via creatine phosphate replenishment of ATP. Scientific studies have shown that creatine supplementation can increase the consumer's strength,[23] energy during performance,[24] muscle mass, and recovery times after exercise. In addition, recent studies have also shown that creatine improves brain function.[25] and reduces mental fatigue.[26]

Some studies have suggested that consumption of creatine with protein and carbohydrates can have a greater effect than creatine combined with either protein or carbohydrates alone.[27]

While generally considered safe, long-term or excessive consumption of creatine may have an adverse effect on the kidneys, liver, or heart and should be avoided if any pre-existing conditions affecting these organs exist.[28]

β-Hydroxy β-methylbutyrate


When combined with an appropriate exercise program, dietary supplementation with β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB) has been shown to dose-dependently augment gains in muscle hypertrophy (i.e., the size of a muscle),[29][30] muscle strength,[29][31][32] and lean body mass,[29][31][32] reduce exercise-induced skeletal muscle damage,[note 1][29][30][32] and expedite recovery from high-intensity exercise.[29][33] HMB is believed to produce these effects by increasing muscle protein synthesis and decreasing muscle protein breakdown by various mechanisms, including activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and inhibition of the proteasome in skeletal muscles.[31][34]

The inhibition of exercise-induced skeletal muscle damage by HMB is affected by the time that it is used relative to exercise.[29][33] The greatest reduction in skeletal muscle damage from a single bout of exercise appears to occur when calcium HMB is ingested 1–2 hours prior to exercise.[33]



Mislabeling and adulteration


While many of the claims are based on scientifically-based physiological or biochemical processes, their use in bodybuilding parlance is often heavily colored by bodybuilding lore and industry marketing and, as such, may deviate considerably from traditional scientific usages of the terms. In addition, ingredients listed have been found at times to be different from the contents. In 2015, Consumer Reports reported unsafe levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in several of the protein powders that were tested.[35]

In the United States, the manufacturers of dietary supplements do not need to provide the Food and Drug Administration with evidence of product safety prior to marketing.[36] As a result, the incidence of products adulterated with illegal ingredients has continued to rise.[36] In 2013, one-third of the supplements tested were adulterated with unlisted steroids.[37] More recently, the prevalence of designer steroids with unknown safety and pharmacological effects has increased.[38][39]

In 2015, a CBC investigative report found that protein spiking (i.e., the addition of amino-acid filler to manipulate analysis) was not uncommon;[40] however, many of the companies involved challenged these claims.[40]

Health problems


The US FDA reports 50,000 health problems a year due to dietary supplements[41] and these often involve bodybuilding supplements.[42] For example, the "natural" best-seller Craze, 2012's "New Supplement of the Year" by bodybuilding.com, widely sold in stores such as Walmart and Amazon, was found to contain N,alpha-Diethylphenylethylamine, a methamphetamine analog.[43]

The incidence of liver damage from herbal and dietary supplements is about 16–20% of all supplement products causing injury, with the occurrence growing globally over the early 21st century.[2] The most common liver injuries from weight loss and bodybuilding supplements involve hepatocellular damage and jaundice. The most common supplement ingredients attributed to these injuries are catechins from green tea, anabolic steroids, and the herbal extract, aegeline.[2] Other products by supplement designer and CEO of Driven Sports, Matt Cahill, have contained dangerous substances causing blindness or liver damage, and his pre-workout supplement Craze was found to contain illegal stimulants[44] that resulted in several athletes failing drug tests.[45]

Protein effectiveness


Some have argued that there is little evidence to indicate any benefit to using bodybuilding protein or amino acid supplements. A 2005 overview concluded that "[i]n view of the lack of compelling evidence to the contrary, no additional dietary protein is suggested for healthy adults undertaking resistance or endurance exercise".[13]

In contrast, a 2018 systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression concluded that, “Dietary protein supplementation significantly enhanced changes in muscle strength and size during prolonged RET in healthy adults.“ (RET is an abbreviation for resistance exercise training.)[46]

See also



  1. ^ The effect of HMB on skeletal muscle damage has been assessed in studies using four different biomarkers of muscle damage or protein breakdown: serum creatine kinase, serum lactate dehydrogenase, urinary urea nitrogen, and urinary 3-methylhistidine.[29][32][33] When exercise intensity and volume are sufficient to cause skeletal muscle damage, such as during long-distance running or progressive overload, HMB supplementation has been demonstrated to attenuate the rise in these biomarkers by 20–60%.[29][33]


  1. ^ Cruz-Jentoft, Alfonso J. (2018). "Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methyl Butyrate (HMB): From Experimental Data to Clinical Evidence in Sarcopenia". Current Protein & Peptide Science. 19 (7): 668–672. doi:10.2174/1389203718666170529105026. ISSN 1875-5550. PMID 28554316. Archived from the original on 2021-07-29. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  2. ^ a b c Navarro VJ, Khan I, Björnsson E, Seeff LB, Serrano J, Hoofnagle JH (January 2017). "Liver injury from herbal and dietary supplements". Hepatology. 65 (1): 363–373. doi:10.1002/hep.28813. PMC 5502701. PMID 27677775.
  3. ^ Dalby A (2008). Food in the ancient world, from A to Z. London: Routledge. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-415-86279-0.
  4. ^ Higgins M (June 1999). "Hard to Swallow: While federal law shut the door on regulation of dietary supplements, marketing hype may be leading the popular aids up courthouse steps". ABA Journal. 85 (6): 60–63.JSTOR 27840828
  5. ^ Tipton KD, Wolfe RR (January 2004). "Protein and amino acids for athletes" (PDF). Journal of Sports Sciences. 22 (1): 65–79. doi:10.1080/0264041031000140554. PMID 14971434. S2CID 16708689. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  6. ^ Lemon PW (October 2000). "Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals". Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 19 (5 Suppl): 513S–521S. doi:10.1080/07315724.2000.10718974. PMID 11023001. S2CID 14586881.
  7. ^ Phillips SM (December 2006). "Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to metabolic advantage". Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 31 (6): 647–54. doi:10.1139/h06-035. PMID 17213878.
  8. ^ Phillips SM, Moore DR, Tang JE (August 2007). "A critical examination of dietary protein requirements, benefits, and excesses in athletes". International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 17 Suppl: S58-76. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.17.s1.s58. PMID 18577776.
  9. ^ Slater G, Phillips SM (2011). "Nutrition guidelines for strength sports: sprinting, weightlifting, throwing events, and bodybuilding". Journal of Sports Sciences. 29 (Suppl 1): S67-77. doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.574722. PMID 21660839. S2CID 8141005.
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  11. ^ Phillips SM, Van Loon LJ (2011). "Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation". Journal of Sports Sciences. 29 (Suppl 1): S29-38. doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.619204. PMID 22150425. S2CID 33218998.
  12. ^ Lemon PW (June 1995). "Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids?". International Journal of Sport Nutrition. 5 Suppl: S39-61. doi:10.1123/ijsn.5.s1.s39. PMID 7550257. S2CID 27679614.
  13. ^ a b "Macronutrients". Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. 2005. doi:10.17226/10490. ISBN 978-0-309-08525-0. Archived from the original on 2019-08-14. Retrieved 2017-01-01.
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  22. ^ Williams, Melvin H.; Branch, J. David (June 1998). "Creatine Supplementation and Exercise Performance: An Update". Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 17 (3): 216–234. doi:10.1080/07315724.1998.10718751. ISSN 0731-5724.
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  29. ^ a b c d e f g h Momaya A, Fawal M, Estes R (April 2015). "Performance-enhancing substances in sports: a review of the literature". Sports Medicine. 45 (4): 517–31. doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0308-9. PMID 25663250. S2CID 45124293. Wilson et al. [91] demonstrated that when non-resistance trained males received HMB pre-exercise, the rise of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels reduced, and HMB tended to decrease soreness. Knitter et al. [92] showed a decrease in LDH and creatine phosphokinase (CPK), a byproduct of muscle breakdown, by HMB after a prolonged run. ... The utility of HMB does seem to be affected by timing of intake prior to workouts and dosage [97].
  30. ^ a b Wu H, Xia Y, Jiang J, Du H, Guo X, Liu X, et al. (September 2015). "Effect of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate supplementation on muscle loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 61 (2): 168–75. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2015.06.020. PMID 26169182.
  31. ^ a b c Brioche T, Pagano AF, Py G, Chopard A (August 2016). "Muscle wasting and aging: Experimental models, fatty infiltrations, and prevention" (PDF). Molecular Aspects of Medicine. 50: 56–87. doi:10.1016/j.mam.2016.04.006. PMID 27106402. S2CID 29717535. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-11-24. Retrieved 2020-09-01. In conclusion, HMB treatment clearly appears to be a safe potent strategy against sarcopenia, and more generally against muscle wasting, because HMB improves muscle mass, muscle strength, and physical performance. It seems that HMB is able to act on three of the four major mechanisms involved in muscle deconditioning (protein turnover, apoptosis, and the regenerative process), whereas it is hypothesized to strongly affect the fourth (mitochondrial dynamics and functions). Moreover, HMB is cheap (~30– 50 US dollars per month at 3 g per day) and may prevent osteopenia (Bruckbauer and Zemel, 2013; Tatara, 2009; Tatara et al., 2007, 2008, 2012) and decrease cardiovascular risks (Nissen et al., 2000). For all these reasons, HMB should be routinely used in muscle-wasting conditions especially in aged people. ... 3 g of CaHMB taken three times a day (1 g each time) is the optimal posology, which allows for continual bioavailability of HMB in the body (Wilson et al., 2013).
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