23 Types of Bodybuilding Supplements

23 types of supplements

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary elements used to improve exercise performance for strenuous physical activity. Using supplements before and after bodybuilding workouts can enhance muscle growth.

Richard Kreider, Department of Human Movement Sciences and Education at the University of Memphis, states that nutritional supplements can cause lean muscle tissue growth when combined with athletic activity.

The most popular supplements are protein, creatine, and branched-chain amino acids.

Protein intake affects muscle growth in bodybuilders by creating a positive muscle protein balance that allows muscle growth when combined with resistance training according to Professor Kevin Tipton from the University of Stirling.

Creatine, a compound that the human body produces can be ingested as a supplement. Creatine enhances stamina, physical performance and reduces recovery time of body builders.

Short-term supplementation of 20 grams per day, over 5-7 days has increased the maximal lift potential by 5 to 15 % in bodybuilding athletes. This added weight can aid the bodybuilders to tear more muscle fibers that will incite muscle augmentation. Richard Kreider published this fact in a paper written for the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Journal.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) does not improve athletic performance, but it decreases the level of exercise-induced muscle damage. This reduces the soreness experienced by bodybuilding after minute muscle tissues have been stretched and torn according to M. Negro, co-author of a review in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.

Due to lack of proof on physical performance with supplementation, questions arise regarding supplements and their overall effect on exercise performance in various sports. Another question that appears often is what the benefits of mixing supplements are. These topics and the types of supplements will be covered.

1. Protein

Protein is made of enzymes that cause chemical reactions in the human body. Humans have on average 10,000 types of proteins. They are composed of 21 plus amino acids that are the building blocks. The essential amino acids are valine, tryptophan, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, histidine. Humans do not produce these essential acids, they are consumed according to the School of Public Health, Harvard University.

Muscle growth happens when myofibrils are built. Myofibrils are built through the interaction of different proteins as stated in a research paper by the Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility.

The protein dosage required to show positive muscle growth in young adults is 20 to 25 grams of consumption per day according to review in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition. This amount creates muscle protein synthesis after a workout.

Protein stimulates muscle growth. There are supplements that such as creatine that help to build muscle mass by augmenting exercise capacity.

2. Creatine

Creatine is in muscles and in the brain. Creatine is an amino acid that we obtain through consuming red meat and seafood. The liver, kidneys and pancreas make about 1 gram per day. Creatine supplements can provide substantial amounts in a concentrated form.

Creatine supplementation can increase the speed of adenosine triphosphate resynthesis during heavy workout sessions. This resynthesis increases stamina and enhances physical performance.

The dosage level of 20 grams per day in powder form for 5 days has been proven to increase the energy level during high intensity workouts as stated by Robert Maughan in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Metabolism.

Another supplement that is beneficial to bodybuilders is BCAAs. They help to build muscle mass, which makes them different from creatine, which increases stamina.

3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are in all life forms since they are the building blocks. They make up 35% of the total essential amino acids found in humans states Michael Neinast of the University of Pennsylvania.

BCAAs contain isoleucine, valine, and leucine. BCAAs are found in dairy, legumes, and meat.

Branched chain amino acids are used by bodybuilders that claim that they reduce fatigue, slow down muscle breakdown, enhance athletic performance. There is no scientific proof of these claims, but BCAAs are a popular product purchased by many athletes.

The dosage recommended of BCAAs per day for women is 3-5 grams in one or two dosages. For men, the suggested amount is 10 grams per day, over three doses. Men can increase that amount to 15 to 20 grams a day if their workout sessions are intense.

To improve the benefit of BCAAs, it has been claimed that is should be taken with Omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are fats that are polyunsaturated that have an impact on many organs including the brain. The human body cannot produce an adequate level of omega 3, it must obtain more through food or supplementation.

A study by Stephen Cornish from the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Manitoba stated that omega 3 may have improved the upper body strength of women dealing with sarcopenia that affects skeletal muscle mass in older adults.

The dosage of omega 3 that shows promise for exercise recovery and reduction in injury is 1.5-2.0 g per day during at least 6-8 weeks according to a study by Andrew Blannin of the University of Birmingham.

Omega 3 usually is in the form of a soft gel that is golden in color. The gels can contain 300 mg.

5. Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate HMB

Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate or HMB, is what is produced when the amino acid leucine is broken down in the body. Leucine is one of protein building blocks. It is found in minute amounts in alfalfa, grapefruit, and catfish. HMB is produced by the body.

There are claims that HMB helps muscle growth for body builders.

HMB is claimed to work as an anticatabolic agent that reduces protein breakage and lowers cell damage that can happen during intensive exercise according to a paper in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism by Shawn Portal.

The dosage recommended for HMB is 3 g per day for the average male body builder. For males that weight under 130 lb (60kg), a dosage of 2g per day is recommended. Taking 1 g at a time is best.

It can take 28 days for changes to occur in body strength and muscle mass that is lean at a dosage of 3 g of HMB per day according to the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

HMB and EAA are related since leucine is one of the nine EAAs that is the most abundant. EAAs are found in the muscle protein.

6. Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)

Essential amino acids are needed to maintain muscle mass and to allow the muscles to work effectively. The elderly benefit from EAAs since sarcopenia is common according to James Baum, University of Arkansas.

The nine essential amino acids are:










For bodybuilders, you can improve your anabolic exercise respond through EAAs supplementation. Supplementation increases the intracellular amino acid levels promoting muscle anabolism. This process increases protein synthesis, strengthening muscle tissues.

The dosage recommended for EAAs supplements is 10 to 15 grams per day. Resistance training will cause muscle damage that is repaired quickly by these amino acids and strength will be optimized during intense workouts as stated in a study by the Society of Sports Nutrition.

EAAs are in powder form, and they are mixed with water or a juice. They are more beneficial if taken following an intense workout.

To enhance the ability to train large muscle groups, some brands combine caffeine with EAAs.

7. Caffeine

Caffeine is a natural chemical that stimulates the nervous system. It can be found in cocoa, guarana, yerba mate, tea, coffee, and cola. Caffeine stimulates noradrenaline neurons and causes an increased level of dopamine states Astrid Nehlig in the Journal of Brain Research Reviews.

In study by the Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, caffeine has been proven to increase the level of testosterone and cortisol when taken before an intensive workout by a group of rugby players. At a dosage of 800 mg. there was an increase in testosterone of 15%.

The recommended dosage of caffeine before a workout by muscle builders is 3 to 6 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.

A cup of coffee one hour before a workout will provide more energy and stamina during a workout.

Caffeine before a workout will not cause a reduction in electrolytes even though caffeine is a weak diuresis.

8. Electrolytes

Electrolytes are a substance that can cause a negative or positive electric charge once it has been added to water. Humans need these charges to regulate body chemistry. They create a balance between the fluids on outside and inside of cell walls.

Weight trainers use electrolytes to stop muscle cramps and increase mineral levels that are deficient. The type of cramp experienced in most gyms is exertional heat cramps. Some body builders sweat to such a degree that their chloride and sodium levels are low causing these muscle cramps.

If muscle twitching starts, taking 0.5 litres of a carbohydrate/electrolyte drink that contains 3 grams of salt decreases the chance of cramping according to a study by Michael Bergeron in the Journal of Current Sports Medicine Reports.

You can consume electrolytes in the form of a tablet. Add the tablets to a shake or water. Tablets usually contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. There are sports drinks that are infused with electrolytes such as Powerade and Gatorade.

One way of increasing electrolyte absorption is with fish oil. Fish oil alters the fluidity of cell membrane that allows easier assimilation of electrolytes.

9. Fish Oil

Fish oil comes from the tissues of oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel. Supplements are created using fish oil as is, or in a concentrated form. Thirty percent of fish oil consists of omega-3 fatty acids.

A study by the Nutrition Reviews concluded that miliary personnel may have experienced lean body mass preservation, enhanced strength, and power due to b-3 polyunsaturated fats derived from fish oil. Quick muscle damage repair was reported.

The recommended dosable of fish oil is 2000 – 3000 mg per day. Fish oil can be purchased in gel capsule form in a dosage of 1000 mg. Taking three capsules of fish oil per day is adequate.

Bodybuilders also purchase MCT oil, which benefits bodybuilders. It can easily be metabolized by the human body.

9 MCT Oil

10. MCT Oil

MCT oil is medium-chain triglyceride oil. It is a dietary supplement that is found in daily products, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil which makes it different from fish oil.

A study in the Asian Journal of Multidimensional Research states that MCT Oil can cause changes in the lipid profile. Study subjects we told to consume 15 ml of MCT twice a day. Lipid profile changes may have caused a reduction in body weight.

Bodybuilders that are dealing with less body fat have more energy for their workouts.

There are claims that MCT Oil can increase endurance levels. There is no scientific prove of this benefit. A master thesis written for Virginia Tech studied male bicyclists to test endurance. The bike rides were at 70 maximum spinning power at 90 rpm over a period of 4 weeks.

Some bikers were administered a mixture that contained MCT Oil. There was no increase in the mean endurance time.

One benefit of MCT Oil is that helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals which aid bodybuilders.

11. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a central molecule in the cells of humans. It helps to regulate cellular metabolism, and influences physiology. Vitamin B6 is found in many foods naturally.

Taking a vitamin B6 supplement prevents the loss of muscle mass that is experienced in older adults states Sara Salucci in an editorial by the Cellular Signalling Laboratory, University of Bologna.

The typical dosage daily of vitamin B6 for bodybuilders is 1.4 to 2.0 mg. Over this range may cause peripheral neuropathy. Sometimes vitamin B6 is mixed with BCAAs, or it is added to protein supplements.

A vitamin that is combined with Vitamin B6 is Vitamin B7.

12. Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7 is biotin. It is found in many foods. Biotin is in nuts, seeds, pork, sweet potato, avocados, salmon, yeast, mushrooms, cooked eggs, cauliflower, beef liver.

B7 helps enzymes to break apart fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in food. It regulates cell signals and affects gene activity. An adequate level of biotin benefits the nervous system.

A Literature Review on the Roles of Biotin in Cellular Processes by the University of Toronto, states that biotin is implicated in regulating genes that enhance glycolysis. Glycolysis is the process of breaking down glucose releasing energy. A boost in energy for bodybuilders aids workout intensity.

The daily intake for vitamin B7 for male bodybuilders 19 years and more is 30 mcg according to the National Institutes of Health.

13. Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 in its natural form is folate. Folate dissolves in water and it is found in many foods. It is sold as a supplement since it can be absorbed easily in this form. Absorption in a supplement of folate gets absorbed at 85 %, while from natural foods an absorption rate of 55 %.

It has been implied that folate has a positive effect on the development of skeletal muscle which is a goal of bodybuilders. A lack of folate in a diet can cause muscle weakness according to the Archives of Pharmacal Research.

In the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, it is stated that Vitamin B9 improves musculoskeletal health, and it may help cognitive function. An enhanced cognitive ability aids bodybuilders to stimulate muscles in a focussed fashion.

The daily Vitamin B9 dosage suggested to weight trainers over the age of 18 is 400 mcg DFE. DFE is dietary folate equivalents. Low levels of DFE in bodybuilders can alter protein synthesis.

14. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is called cobalamin. Cobalamin helps to form red blood cell, aids in cell metabolism, and enhances nerve functions, has a role in the production of DNA. B12 is in meat, poultry, and dairy.

Kathleen MIkkelsen of Victoria University states that B12 creates reactions in the immune and nervous systems. The neurotransmitter production is better with adequate ingestion of B12 which aids in the communication between the brain and muscle tissues. Bodybuilders can benefit from this nervous system enhancement for muscle growth.

The daily recommended vitamin B12 level is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day according to the National Institutes of Health. Taking more B12 than 2.4 mcg daily is not going to improve energy level or muscle control.

Taking Vitamin B12 along with Vitamin C is not recommended. Vitamin C can reduce the absorption level of Vitamin B12.

15. Vitamin C

Vitamin is L-ascorbic acid that is dissolvable in water. Human cannot synthesize Vitamin C; it comes from their diet. The highest sources of Vitamin C are found in Zespri Sungold kiwifruit, pink raw grapefruit juice, orange juice, strawberries, white grapefruit juice, kiwifruit, and sweet red pepper.

A study reported in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism concludes that Vitamin C supplementation reduced exercise induced oxidation stress that some athletes experience after intensive workouts. There was also a benefit of improved muscle function.

The daily intake of Vitamin C is 150-200 mg, stated in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Vitamin C consumed at this amount will create a positive pulmonary and immune system functioning

A vitamin that is beneficial for the human immune system that can be taken along with Vitamin C is Vitamin D.

16. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is also calciferol. It is fat-soluble and it is present in few foods. Vitamin D can be taken as a supplement. Humans can produce it internally when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays (UV). The sunrays trigger the synthesis of Vitamin D.

According to a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, muscle damage is lessened by Vitamin D supplementation. The study consisted of 60 adults between the ages of a 20 and 24. After 3 months of Vitamin D supplementation along with eccentric exercise, 25(OH)D level had increased. When the 25(OH)D measurement is a match with your exercise demand, less muscle cell damage is caused.

The recommended daily intake of Vitamins for active adults 19-70 is 15 mcg (600 IU) per day as stated by the Office of Dietary Supplements.

A combination of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin E created an anti-inflammatory effect which is reduces the pain experienced by bodybuilders the days following an intense workout.

17. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is an antioxidant. It reduces free radicals, which are electrons that are loose. A reduction in free radicals reduces oxidative stress on proteins. Vitamin E also boosts the immune system.

For bodybuilders vitamin E is beneficial since it lowers exercise-induced oxidation damage. This damage can reduce the effectiveness of muscle building exercises according to the Journal of Sports Medicine.

It is recommended to take 100-200 mg of Vitamin E while training in the gym. The timing for vitamin E intake can be before or just after a workout.

Sometimes Vitamin E is combined with Zinc supplementation because Zinc has a positive effect on oxidative indicators.

18. Zinc

Zinc is a trace element found in the human body. Zinc’ symbol is Zn and it has the atomic number 30. It is found in poultry, fish, and red meat. It comes in a supplementation form. Zinc aids he immune system, promotes healing, support growth,

Zinc helps the creation of DNA, and promotes the growth of cells, It also heals damage tissue according to the School of Public Health, Harvard University. These benefits are important to bodybuilder especially when workouts are strenuous.

The recommended daily intake is 11 mg per day for males 19 years and older. 8 mg per day for women 19+. The zinc intake limit for muscle building is 30 mg per day. It can be taken as a supplement as a pill or lozenge.

For bodybuilders, take the supplement of zinc before sleeping and on an empty stomach.

Zinc is one of the essential minerals, another one is magnesium.

19. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that aids hundreds of enzymes. Magnesium produces energy in the human body, is involved in protein synthesis, aids cell signaling. Magnesium helps to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. regulates homeostasis for phosphate, and calcium.

A study conducted by the Department of Kinesiotherapy and Sports Medicine, University of Craiova concluded that magnesium supplementation along with strong diet, aided in athletic performance, physical endurance, and muscle metabolism. Muscle metabolism important for muscle growth.

The dosage recommended of magnesium is 310-420 mg per day. Magnesium is contained in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, and spinach. A magnesium supplement for body buildings on a good diet is 300 mg per day.

Magnesium supplements come in capsules or caplets. It is best to take it with a meal since taking magnesium on an empty can cause diarrhea.

Magnesium and iron supplements can be taken together. Taking magnesium oxide together with iron is not recommended because of the reduced rate of iron absorption.

20. Iron

Iron is essential for humans. Iron aids metabolic processes, such as deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis, oxygen transportation, transporting electrons.

In the Journal of Nutrition, it is stated that it is common for athletics to exist iron deficiency when they do not exceed their iron intake above the level for the public. Even with mild exercising, there are reports of a loss in iron.

The recommended intake of iron for bodybuilders is 15-30 mg per day. For elite level bodybuilders, the intake recommended is 50 mg per day.

Iron is easily absorbed on an empty stomach, 2 hours after a meal or 1 hour before a meal.

Another method of iron absorption is through potassium supplementation.

21. Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte and a mineral. It can reduce kidney stones and helps to regulate fluids in the body. Potassium normalizes muscle and heart contractions. Potassium may lower blood pressure, lowering the chance of stroke. It helps prevent osteoporosis by reducing the loss of calcium through urination.

Potassium regulates intracellular fluid volume which can prevent high water retention according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Low water retention is what bodybuilders seek before a body building show.

The recommended intake of potassium is 3400 mg per day for males 19 years and older. Bodybuilders should take 500-1000 mg of potassium two to three times along with food. Modes of potassium ingestion are long-acting tablets, granules, powder, fizzing tablets, liquid-form.

22. Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that is stored in bones and in teeth. It is required to maintain, grow, and develop bones. It helps to reduce bone density loss. Calcium regulates the contraction of muscle and assists blood clotting.

Strong muscle contraction is beneficial for strengthening muscles for body builders. Calcium is pumped from the sarcoplasmic reticulum into the sarcoplasm forcing muscle fibre contraction as stated in the study called Calcium Regulation of Muscle Contraction by Brandeis University.

Adults up the age of 70, require 1000 milligrams of calcium daily. Supplementation by calcium carbonate is recommended since 40 % of its weight is of elemental calcium. It is best to consume calcium tablets with food since it requires stomach acid to be absorbed.

Another supplementation is calcium malate, which is calcium that is bonded to malic acid. This enables easy absorption.

23. Malic Acid

Malic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid. Malic acid is a crystalline solid, white, and odorless and it is hygroscopic. It is found in wines and fruits. It comes from the latin word for apple, malum.

Malic acid has a role in energy metabolism by creating mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Malic acid also reduces muscle pain after intense exercising according to Doctor Melvyn R. Werbach, a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine.

There is no recommended intake level for malic acid supplementation. Although a study in the Journal of Rheumatology tested Super Malic that contained 200 mg of malic acid along with 50 mg of magnesium. The tablets were administered up to 6 times per day, which is 1200 mg of malic acid. There were no adverse effects reported.

What Supplements Work Best for Improving Exercise Performance?

Exercise performance is a group response of pulmonary, neural, cardiovascular functions that occurs along with stimulating muscles. Supplements like creatine may improve this performance due to an increase in body mass created as stated in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

The supplements that work best for improving exercise performance with respect to pulmonary health are vitamin D, omega 3, curcumin, Supplements that aid neural functioning while exercising are omega 3, creatine, caffeine, Supplements for improving cardiovascular functioning during exercise are folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids, and CoQ10.

Do Supplements Help Improve General Fitness?

General fitness is training for overall well-being and health. General fitness is broad in scope compared to a focussed approach needed for sport competition.

Many fitness enthusiasts claim that supplements do help improve general fitness. According to a study conducted by the Faculty of Psychology, eCampus University, Italy, 85.4% of the participants in their study stated that they take supplements to improve their fitness level.

The best supplements for overall fitness training are BCAAs, fish oil, vitamin D, creatine, caffeine.

What supplements for sports that are physical?

Physical sports have set rules that determine the winner using skill and physical ability to move the competition or an object.

HMB supplementation helps to slow down tissue catabolism and aids muscle anabolism for rugby players according to a study conducted by the University of Granada.

Supplements for sports that are physical are HMB, vitamin B, iron, calcium, coenzyme Q10, creatine, ashwagandha.

Will HMB aid performance during physical activity?

HMB will aid performance during physical activity according to a study conducted by the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. The study concluded that total weight lifted increased in a gym setting for untrained test subjects on HMB supplementation.

Subjects were administered 3g of HMB twice daily. They weight trained 2-3 hours daily for 7 weeks. Their total weight lifted increased 18.4% by the end of the experiment. The lifting weight percentage increase for subjects that were not administrated HMB was 8%.

Is it ok to combine supplements for better sports performance

Is it OK to Combine Supplements for Better Sports Performance?

It is ok to combine certain supplements for better sports performance.

Achieving better sports performance requires a combination of controlling emotions, enhancing biomechanical function, and improving training methods.

It is ok to combine supplements for better sports performance if they do not interact negatively together or with other medications.

A combination of HMB along with vitamin D may have benefited skeletal muscle and intermuscular adipose tissue in middle-aged test subjects according to William D. Fairfield of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign.