The Encyclopedia of Supplements: A-F

Get the REAL facts on all of your favorite supplements.
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D-ASPARTATE

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RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORIES: MB, ST


BENEFITS: This amino acid is produced in
the pituitary gland, where it stimulates
the release of LH. Then, LH travels via the bloodstream to the testicles where it causes a boost in testosterone production. D- aspartate is also produced inside the testicles and acts on Leydig cells (special cells in
the testicles that produce testosterone) to increase T production as well as the production of sperm. One study reported that men taking D-aspartate for just 12 days increased their testosterone levels by more than 40%.

DOSAGE: 3g in the morning

 

DAMIANA

RATING: ★★★

CATEGORIES: MB, ST


BENEFITS: This shrub, also known as Turnera diffusa, has been used for centuries as a sex booster. However, it wasn’t until recently that damiana leaf extract was shown to inhibit the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen in the body. The active ingredients in damiana, called pinocembrin and acacetin, were mainly responsible for this effect. DOSAGE: 50–500mg of damiana extract three times per day in between meals

 

DEHYDROEPIANDROS- TERONE (DHEA)

RATING: ★★★


CATEGORIES: MB, ST, FL, HL


BENEFITS: Produced by the adrenal glands, the hormone DHEA supports insulin function, increases bone density, promotes mental health, and, of course, works as a precursor for testosterone. Research has found that it helps reduce body fat, particularly from the midsection; it also increases levels of IGF-1, an anabolic factor critical for muscle growth. DHEA levels can start to decline in the early 20s in males who train intensely.

DOSAGE: 25–100mg once or twice daily

 

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES

RATING: ★★★


CATEGORIES: HL, MB

BENEFITS: Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts, enabling metabolic processes to occur at lightning speed. They also break down the macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat. Of major importance to the bodybuilder are the protease enzymes that break down protein. Research shows they can also help accelerate muscle recovery after workouts as well as reduce swelling and speed the healing of certain injuries. Choose an enzyme formula that contains some or all of the following: trypsin, chymotrypsin, pepsin, pancreatic enzymes, bromelain, and papain.

DOSAGE: 250–500mg 15 minutes
 before meals

 

DIINDOLE/DIINDOLYLMETH- ANE (DIM)

RATING: ★★★

CATEGORY: MB

BENEFITS: Diindole can help neutralize the negative effects of high estrogen levels, helping to keep testosterone levels up without aromatization (the process in which testosterone is converted to estrogen, which leads to excess water and fat retention). Taking DIM with vitamin E can increase its absorption.

DOSAGE: 200–300mg in two or three divided doses

 

DIMETHYLAMINOETHANOL (DMAE)


RATING: ★★★


CATEGORY: MA

BENEFITS: DMAE was originally marketed in the 1960s as a prescription drug to enhance learning and memory in individuals with attention disorders. Research shows that it leads to higher choline levels in the brain than taking choline by itself. This effect seems to be due to the fact that DMAE inhibits the breakdown of choline, which should lead to higher acetylcholine levels and, thus, better mental function.

DOSAGE: 100–200mg once or twice a day

 

DIMETHYLAMYLAMINE

RATING: ★★★★

CATEGORIES: EP, FL

BENEFITS: This stimulant, also known as methylhexanamine, is the active ingredient found in geranium oil. Anecdotal reports claim that 1-3, dimethylamylamine provides a euphoric effect that enhances workouts better than caffeine. In addition to increasing alertness, it can enhance mood, decrease hunger, and aid fat burning.

DOSAGE: 25–50mg of dimethylamylamine or 150–500mg of geranium extract about 30 minutes before workouts

 

ECHINACEA

RATING: ★★★★


CATEGORY: HL


BENEFITS: Well known for its immune-protective properties, this herb has been shown to offer some defense against colds and the flu and can be used to protect the immune system from the stress caused by heavy training. It may also boost the appetite, which can be critical in mass-gaining phases. Some research even suggests that echinacea increases production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which could enhance endurance. Look for products that contain Echinacea purpurea standardized to 4% ses-quiterpene esters, or Echinacea angustifolia standardized to 4% echinacosides.

DOSAGE: 200–400mg two to four times per day during flu season or at the onset of a cold. To stimulate appetite, take 400–500mg before meals. It is best to cycle this supplement in periods of three weeks on and one week off.

 

EGG PROTEIN

RATING: ★★★★★


CATEGORY: MB

BENEFITS: Also known as egg albumen, this is an effective source of protein that’s well tolerated by many people, including those who are lactose-intolerant. With a high content of BCAAs, which can help drive muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy, it stimulates protein synthesis similar to milk protein. It’s also rich in the amino acid arginine, which triggers NO production. Egg white protein is a high- sulfur-containing protein, which is crucial to the body’s hormone-producing pathways, meaning it can further enhance growth.

DOSAGE: 20–50g between meals or 10–20g added to your pre- and post-workout shakes

 

ELDERBERRY EXTRACT

RATING: ★★★★


CATEGORY: HL


BENEFITS: Elderberry extract comes from the fruit of the Sambucus plant, a genus of up to 30 species of shrubs. One study reported that phytochemicals in elderberry directly bind
to the H1N1 virus and block its ability to enter cells, which is critical for its infectious effects. And if you do contract the flu, research shows that taking elderberry extract can reduce the duration by half.


DOSAGE: 2–4g four times per day

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