The Encyclopedia of Supplements: A-F

Get the REAL facts on all of your favorite supplements.
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CHONDROITIN

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RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORY: HL

BENEFITS: Some manufacturers combine chondroitin with glucosamine or other ingredients that can have a synergistic effect on joint health. As with glucosamine, chondroitin can help ease arthritis symptoms and may also protect joints from destructive enzymes. It can take up to three months of continuous use before effects are noticeable.


DOSAGE: 800–1,500mg of chondroitin sulfate or chondroitin hydrochloride daily in two or three divided doses

 

CHROMIUM

RATING: ★★★


CATEGORIES: FL, MB

BENEFITS: Chromium is essential for helping the body maintain optimal insulin function, which is important for staying lean and building muscle. Research has also shown that it can significantly reduce carb cravings, enhance fat loss, and lower cortisol levels. Chromium is easily depleted in those individuals restricting calories and/or training intensely.

DOSAGE: 200–400 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate or chromium nicotinate per day with meals

 

CHRYSIN

RATING: ★★★

CATEGORIES: MB, ST

BENEFITS: Chrysin (also known as 5, 7-dihydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid compound that inhibits the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. More recent research from Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, finds that it can also directly in- crease testosterone production by enhancing the testis’ ability to convert cholesterol into steroid hormones such as testosterone.

DOSAGE: 1g with breakfast, lunch, and the last meal of the day

 

CINNAMON EXTRACT

RATING: ★★★


CATEGORIES: HL, FL, MB


BENEFITS: Cinnamon contains the active component hydroxychalone, which imitates the effects of insulin—a powerful anabolic hormone that drives carbohydrates and amino acids into muscle cells—and allows better binding to insulin receptors on muscle cells. With more of the carbs being pushed into the muscle fibers, it is less likely that those carbs will be stored as body fat. In addition, insulin acts like a key in muscle cells to directly turn on the process known as muscle protein synthesis, which boosts growth.

DOSAGE: 100–250mg with meals daily
(such as the trademarked cinnamon
 extract Cinnulin PF)

 

CITRULLINE/CITRULLINE MALATE


RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORIES: EP, MB

BENEFITS: This amino acid is closely related to arginine and is readily converted to arginine in the body. Research shows that taking citrulline increases arginine and NO levels in the blood better than taking arginine by itself. It also helps prevent muscle fatigue by aiding in the removal of ammonia from the body, reabsorbing lactate for increased ATP resynthesis during high-intensity workouts, and boosting muscle protein synthesis via direct anabolic signaling. Citrulline malate elevates muscle ATP by 35% during exercise and increases the rate of creatine phosphate resynthesis by 20%.

DOSAGE: 3–6g of L-citrulline or citrulline malate 30–60 minutes before workouts

 

COLLAGEN HYDROLYSATE/ GELATIN

RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORY: HL

BENEFITS: Collagen hydrolysate is a protein that helps regenerate and synthesize cartilage. One study on osteoarthritis patients reported that those taking collagen had significant pain reduction and could reduce their use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Collagen hydrolysate also stimulates the synthesis of type II collagen in cartilage.

DOSAGE: 10g per day, taken for at least three months

 

CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID (CLA)


RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORIES: FL, MB, HL

BENEFITS: This fatty acid found in meats and dairy products can help incinerate body fat while simultaneously increasing muscle mass and strength. CLA also assists in reducing the risk for certain cancers. You must supplement for at least 12 weeks for effects to be notice- able, and CLA appears to be most effective when consumed as part of a low-calorie or low-fat diet. Look for cis-9, tran-11 and/or tran-10, or cis-12 on the label.

DOSAGE: 1–3g with breakfast, lunch, and dinner

 

COENZYME Q10 (CoQ10)

RATING: ★★★★


CATEGORIES: EP, HL

BENEFITS: CoQ10 is involved in all oxygen- utilizing (aerobic) metabolic reactions within the body and helps muscle cells convert energy. Research supports its use in controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. Training generates muscle-damaging free radicals, which CoQ10 helps neutralize; it’s also used to turn carbs and fat into energy. One study found that supplementing with 300mg of CoQ10 daily for eight days reduced fatigue during exercise and sped up recovery between bouts of exercise. As an antioxidant, CoQ10 regenerates the antioxidant power of vitamins C and E.


DOSAGE: 300mg per day with meals

 

CREATINE

RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORIES: MB, ST, EP, HL

BENEFITS: Made from the three aminos arginine, glycine, and methionine, creatine is technically an amino-acid supplement, not an individual amino. Creatine boosts lean muscle mass gains by about 10 pounds and strength by about 10% in just a few weeks, even in highly trained lifters. It also helps bolster levels of creatine phosphate, which in turn boosts ATP production, the ultimate energy source for muscles.


DOSAGE: Depending on the form of creatine you use, take about 2–5g with your pre- and post-workout protein shakes.

 

CURCUMIN

RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORY: HL

BENEFITS: This active ingredient in the
spice turmeric not only protects you from cancer and heart disease but has also been shown to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with healing from surgery and arthritis. Research has also shown that it can significantly reduce cartilage destruction by inhibiting chemicals that instigate inflammation in the body.


DOSAGE: 200–500mg of turmeric extract standardized for at least 85% curcumin, two or three times per day

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