Expert Advice: Muscle-Building Supplements

Our expert weighs in on how to get the most out of your supplements
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Q: Is it possible to stay ketogenic with a 50 g glucose postworkout shake and just fibrous carbs the rest of the day? I would not want to compromise my muscle growth during this keto-cutting phase.

A: You really don’t need to worry about staying ketogenic when you go low carb. That was one mistake of the old Atkins plan. Although being ketogenic does ensure that you’re burning fat, that is more critical for those trying to lose bodyfat without exercise. If you work out regularly, you don’t need to be so restrictive with the carbs, as the workouts deplete your body’s stored carbs (glycogen). So, yes, I would recommend going with some fast carbs, like 30–40 g of dextrose with your postworkout protein and sticking to fibrous carbs the rest of the day.

Q: I take 40-45 g of protein and 5 g of creatine in my postworkout shake. What is the best source of carbs to take at that time — a supplement powder I could combine with my shake or a food source?

A: Postworkout, it doesn’t matter, as long as they are fast-digesting or high-glycemic carbs. For supplements, nothing beats Vitargo, a powdered complex carb supplement that actually digests about twice as fast as most sugars. Another option is simply dextrose powder.

For foods, fat-free sugary 
candies are best. One 
company that stands out 
is Wonka. Many of their
candies, such as Pixy Stix,
 Sweet Tarts and Bottle Caps
 are made with either dextrose or maltodextrin, which are both basically pure glucose and will spike insulin and drive amino acids, carbs and creatine 
into your muscles, and turn on muscle protein synthesis to stimulate growth. Slow-digesting carbs, such as most fruit, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, etc., are not the best choice, as they keep insulin levels low and steady.

Q: Is it true that higher levels of testosterone weaken the immune system? If so, what do you recommend to help keep the immune system strong? I am very active and follow a healthy diet with supplements, but still get sick about three or four times per year.

A: Yes, there is some truth to that since testosterone is involved in controlling the T-cells. But instead of dropping your testosterone on purpose, 
I suggest you keep your muscle and
 boost your immunity with vitamin C
 (2 to 4 g per day), vitamin D (2,000 to 4,000 international units per day) and echinacea (500 to 1,500 mg per day).

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