The Encyclopedia of Supplements: A-F

Get the REAL facts on all of your favorite supplements.
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BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs)

RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORIES: MB, EP, FL

BENEFITS: BCAAs include the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the most important aminos for the manufacture, maintenance, and repair of muscle tissue. Research shows that of the three, leucine can stimulate protein synthesis (the process of building muscle protein and, therefore, growth). Yet, the three work better together to provide a host of benefits and even boost energy during training. Studies show BCAAs can blunt the catabolic hormone cortisol and decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness.

DOSAGE: 5–10g with a whey shake in the morning, as well as with your pre- and post-workout shakes

 

CAFFEINE

RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORIES: FL, EP, MA, ST, HL

BENEFITS: A stimulant and effective fat burner due to its ability to increase the release of fat from fat cells, caffeine has been shown to boost strength and power output when taken one hour before workouts. New studies show it may help prevent several neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, too.

DOSAGE: For fat loss and weight management: 100-200mg between meals; 
mental acuity and focus: 50–200mg
 every couple of hours; strength and power: 200–400mg one hour before workouts

 

CALCIUM

RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORIES: FL, EP, HL

BENEFITS: Essential for growth of the muscuoskeletal system, calcium also regulates and is critical for the contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue. In addition, it can help burn body fat by promoting thermogenesis and reducing dietary fat absorption.

DOSAGE: 500–600mg two or three times
per day

 

CAPSAICIN

RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORIES: FL, HL


BENEFITS: The chemical in chili peppers that makes them spicy, capsaicin enhances fat loss by first raising levels of the neurohormone norepinephrine, which increases metabolic rate. It has been found to elevate fat burning when taken an hour before aerobic exercise and can also decrease hunger. Look for capsaicin supplements that list Scoville thermal units, or heat units, with a dosage that supplies 40,000–80,000 units. You
 can also take 1⁄4 tsp of ground red pepper or cayenne pepper that lists the heat units.

DOSAGE: 40,000–80,000 units 30 minutes before meals and one hour before cardio

 

CARNITINE

RATING: ★★★★


CATEGORIES: FL, MB


BENEFITS: Carnitine aids the transport of fats into the machinery of muscle cells (mito- chondria), where it’s burned for fuel. Research shows it improves fat loss during exercise
and low-carb dieting. Carnitine also appears to enhance recovery following intense lifting and increases the number of testosterone receptors in muscle cells, thereby aiding growth. Further evidence points to carnitine as a potent NO booster, which means more blood flow and enhanced nutrient, oxygen, and anabolic hormone delivery to muscles.

DOSAGE: 1,000–3,000mg in the form of L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, L-carnitine- L-tartrate (see also glycine propionyl-L-car- nitine); you can also take another dose with meals in the morning and with evening meals

 

CARNOSINE

RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORIES: ST, MB

BENEFITS: Carnosine is what beta-alanine forms in muscle cells when it combines with histidine. So why do most supplements use beta-alanine and not carnosine? Because when you consume carnosine, it gets broken down in the digestive tract to beta-alanine and histidine. However, some supplements do provide carnosine. Carnosine and beta- alanine, are both effective for boosting strength, power, and size.


DOSAGE: 2–3g with your pre- and post- workout shakes

 

CHITOSAN

RATING: ★★

CATEGORY: FL


BENEFITS: Chitosan is a charged protein derived from chitin that attracts, binds, and removes fat from the digestive system before it can be absorbed by the body. One study reported that those taking chitosan without dieting lost about three pounds more body fat than subjects taking a placebo.

DOSAGE: 2g before high-fat meals

 

CASEIN PROTEIN

RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORY: MB

BENEFITS: A fraction of milk protein, casein provides a steady stream of amino acids over a longer period of time (during sleep, for example) in comparison to whey protein, the soluble protein fraction in milk. Research shows that those adding casein to a post- workout whey shake gained more muscle than those taking whey without casein.

DOSAGE: 20–40g between meals and/or before bedtime. Also consider replacing 10–20g of whey in your post-workout
shake with casein.

 

CHLOROPHYLL

RATING: ★★

CATEGORIES: HL, EP

BENEFITS: Chlorophyll is a group of green pigments that absorbs light for photosynthesis, which sustains plant life through the conversion of sunlight into chemical energy. It provides numerous benefits to humans, too, mainly due to its antioxidant and anti- inflammatory effects. Research shows that daily use can decrease DNA damage by more than 50%, which also helps with muscle recovery. Chlorophyll may even help to boost endurance by aiding the oxygen delivery to muscles and may protect against certain cancers and even halitosis.


DOSAGE: 100mg two or three times per day

 

CHOCAMINE

RATING: ★★★

CATEGORIES: FL, EP, MA, HL

BENEFITS: An extract from cocoa that pro- vides all the benefits of chocolate without the sugar or fat, chocamine contains a num- ber of active ingredients that help suppress appetite and enhance metabolism, including caffeine, tyramine, theobromine, and phenyl- ethylamine. These components also boost energy and improve mood, concentration, and alertness.
DOSAGE: 1–2g up to three times per day

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