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Old 03-28-2010, 09:16 AM   #1
The Sauce
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Default The supplement thread

This is a thread to consolidate knowledge on common fitness and strength training supplements based on the best research I have seen over the past few years. I will divide them into four classes: Class A - generally accepted as effective and little potential for harm, Class B - questionable effectiveness and little potential for harm, Class C - generally accepted as effective but possible harm, Class D - questionable effectiveness and possible harm, Class E - believed to be harmful.

Class A
- Whey Protein
- Creatine
- Vitamin D, E, C (assuming deficiency)
- Fiber supplement
- Omega 3, fish oil

Class B
- Glutamine
- Arginine
- Lysine
- Beta alanine
- Multivitamin
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
- Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)
- L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT)
- Chromium Piccolinate
- Green Tea Extract (EGCG)
- CoQ10
- Glucosamine

Class C
- caffeine
- HGH

Class D
- DHEA
- testosterone boosters/precursors
- Fat Burners (in general)

Class E
- ephedra


Note: List has been modified to reflect forum member input.

Disclaimer: This list represents personal opinion based on review of available scientific evidence and opinion alone where no studies are available. All supplements should be used with caution and have the potential for harm if used inappropriately, in excessive doses or without regard to preexisting illness or medication interactions. Discuss with your physician before starting any supplement regimen. This is intended for reference only and is not intended as a guide for anyone starting a supplement regimen.
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:29 AM   #2
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Related, but may have already been posted here:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...l-supplements/
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Old 03-28-2010, 03:06 PM   #3
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did you make this up yourself?

because i fail to see how some of those have "questionable" effectiveness.

And you labeling anabolics as "definitely" harmful shows some ignorance peeking through. And ephedrine?...
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:08 PM   #4
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Like I said, based on my personal research. I have spent a lot of time reviewing the scientific evidence (not magazine articles or ads, but real peer-reviewed scientific journals), but perhaps you are less "ignorant" than I. If so, please educate me. I'd be happy to discuss specific supps if you have an issue with the list, and edit it accordingly. When I say that something has "questionable effectiveness" I mean that there is poor or no real scientific research demonstrating the desired effect.

Since you mentioned Ephedra (not ephedrine), it has been shown to increase risk of heart attack and stroke, seizures and cardiac dysrhythmias. It was banned by the FDA for those reasons around 2003 I believe. It was, though, a very effective weight loss supp. Look it up.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:17 PM   #5
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Is caffeine lumped in class C based on "questionable efficacy" or the potential dangers of caffeine intoxication?

From what I've been able to tell (I don't use supplements, so I don't look at very many of the ingredient lists in great detail), it's typically one of the few included substances in many supplement blends that actually has a demonstrable physiological effect. Although I have absolutely no idea how much they tend to throw in there, so it definitely could be harmful amounts.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
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Is caffeine lumped in class C based on "questionable efficacy" or the potential dangers of caffeine intoxication?

From what I've been able to tell (I don't use supplements, so I don't look at very many of the ingredient lists in great detail), it's typically one of the few included substances in many supplement blends that actually has a demonstrable physiological effect. Although I have absolutely no idea how much they tend to throw in there, so it definitely could be harmful amounts.
Caffeine has a pretty good track record in terms of benefits. It has been shown to be an antidepressant and improve workout density. It is theorized to improve strength through increased calcium uptake into cells and has effects on adenosine receptors in the brain which are theorized to have a positive effect on mood. In a study on weight lifting, caffeine use demonstrated an increase in 1RM over placebo (so-so study).

It is in category C because it can cause irritability, insomnia (really bad for weight lifters), and has the potential to trigger or worsen cardiac arrhythmias if used in excessive amounts. You should know how much is being blended in your supplements. Some pre-workout products will have 400+mg per dose which has a definite potential for harm. It can also lead to physical dependency if used regularly and withdrawl syndromes are well described.

If you have taken a product like NO-Xplode, it is the caffeine (methylxanthiene) that makes you feel like running around like a crack addict. Problem is that when it wears off you crash. I would recommend using it as a workout supplement sparingly and preferably in the form of a cup of coffee before or during your workout. High dose caffeine supps are dicey.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:56 PM   #7
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Caffeine has a pretty good track record in terms of benefits. It has been shown to be an antidepressant and improve workout density. It is theorized to improve strength through increased calcium uptake into cells and has effects on adenosine receptors in the brain which are theorized to have a positive effect on mood. In a study on weight lifting, caffeine use demonstrated an increase in 1RM over placebo (so-so study).

It is in category C because it can cause irritability, insomnia, and has the potential to trigger or worsen cardiac arrhythmias if used in excessive amounts. You should know how much is being blended in your supplements. Some pre-workout products will have 400+mg per dose which has a definite potential for harm.

If you have taken a product like NO-Xplode, it is the caffeine (methylxanthiene) that makes you feel like running around like a crack addict. Problem is that when it wears off you crash and your body also habituates to high levels of caffeing over time leading to decreased effectiveness.
Yep, caffeine definitely has measurable cognitive benefits as well, up to a point, including increased focus and mental processing speed (like most other psychostimulants). It also tends to give many people a nice little "buzz," which I would wager is one reason they include it in so many workout supplements--makes 'em feel like they're working. Its antagonism of adenosine receptors is, in addition to possible mood benefits, one of the (theorized) reasons it helps keep you awake.
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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I pretty much take everything listen in Class A daily and Class B pre and post workout.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:05 AM   #9
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My supplements:
Whey Protein (1scoop/day)
Creatine (5g/day)
Fish Oil (2.25g/day // 1.5g-epa/750mg-dha)
Glucosamine/Chondroitin(as part of my 3in1 multivitmain: Orange Triad)
Multi-vitamin
Caffeine[coffee for the sake of disclosure]

I'm surprised you put Glucosamine/Chondroitin in class A. Even though I take it as part of my multi... from what I've read from several places when I was researching for a multi, it's said it has not been proven to work[joint lubrication, etc].
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by darkxshade View Post
My supplements:
Whey Protein (1scoop/day)
Creatine (5g/day)
Fish Oil (2.25g/day // 1.5g-epa/750mg-dha)
Glucosamine/Chondroitin(as part of my 3in1 multivitmain: Orange Triad)
Multi-vitamin
Caffeine[coffee for the sake of disclosure]

I'm surprised you put Glucosamine/Chondroitin in class A. Even though I take it as part of my multi... from what I've read from several places when I was researching for a multi, it's said it has not been proven to work[joint lubrication, etc].
I too am surprised glucosamine/chondroitin is in Class A. I agree that there is little to no risk in taking it, but it is far from a proven compound. Don't get me wrong - I take it to reduce the potential degeneration of my cartilage due to lifting. However, there is research that goes both for and against its usefulness. For the price, I wouldn't suggest the average person buy and use it. For the pathological, old, or injured, then yeah, I might think it's worth it. It should be considered Class B - no question.

I also disagree with anabolic hormones being Class D. Although I am not a proponent of steroids, these compounds have their benefits, especially when utilized by someone who knows how much they should take and how frequently. If cycled properly, there are not that many cons, besides those related with high cholesterol levels. If one's diet is also in check, this can be accounted for. On top of that, steroids are effective and beneficial for those with pathologically low testosterone levels. They should be in Class E - proven benefits, potential risks, illegal.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:55 AM   #11
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As far as I am aware, anabolic steroids are not medically indicated for any condition, even hormone deficiencies. Low testosterone is typically treated with testosterone, not steroids. Please do not confuse anabolic steroids with corticosteroids, which are used commonly medically and have very different (antiinflammatory) functions. Here is a summary article about the deleterious effects of anabolic steroids: http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/anabst...abstereff.html

Regarding glucosamine, I have not reviewed recent literature, but there were definitely some good studies in the past demonstrating that it was an effective antiinflammatory and decreased symptoms associated with osteoarthritis pain.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:00 PM   #12
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I'm curious about the "Performance Formula" from Beachbody (Company that sells P90/P90x/etc). Here's the label http://www.beachbody.com/text/produc...nceFormula.pdf

I've had some people recommend this as part of my lose fat/gain muscle plan, but I don't know what the included supplements actually do for you. Can anyone that is familiar with these give me a quick rundown?
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:31 PM   #13
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Protein
Creatine Mono.
Multi vitamin
Caffeine
Sphedrine (when cutting)
Milk

My supps are easy, and cheap.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #14
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I'm curious about the "Performance Formula" from Beachbody (Company that sells P90/P90x/etc). Here's the label http://www.beachbody.com/text/produc...nceFormula.pdf

I've had some people recommend this as part of my lose fat/gain muscle plan, but I don't know what the included supplements actually do for you. Can anyone that is familiar with these give me a quick rundown?
I like P90x and use it, but that supplement is completely bogus. I would not waste one red cent on it. Ginseng would fall into Class B, and that's ok but there is no evidence that any of those supps, in those doses will help you lose weight or build muscle. I think Magnesium and L-Carnitine are good supps, but they can be bought cheaply individually. The recommended dose of L-Carnitine is 1,000mg-3,000mg/day. This supplement gives you 125mg/dose. The green tea extract is a ridiculously low dose. Most EGCG (green tea extract) supps start at 315mg and the recommended dose is 500mg twice to three times a day. This gives you 55mg.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:57 PM   #15
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Protein
Creatine Mono.
Multi vitamin
Caffeine
Sphedrine (when cutting)
Milk

My supps are easy, and cheap.
Thats a pretty good regimen. I assume you mean Synephrine? I never tried it and haven't researched it. What is your impression?
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:29 PM   #16
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Anabolic steroids are hardly dangerous unless abused, like any other substance.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by The Sauce View Post
As far as I am aware, anabolic steroids are not medically indicated for any condition, even hormone deficiencies. Low testosterone is typically treated with testosterone, not steroids. Please do not confuse anabolic steroids with corticosteroids, which are used commonly medically and have very different (antiinflammatory) functions. Here is a summary article about the deleterious effects of anabolic steroids: http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/anabst...abstereff.html

Regarding glucosamine, I have not reviewed recent literature, but there were definitely some good studies in the past demonstrating that it was an effective antiinflammatory and decreased symptoms associated with osteoarthritis pain.
Are you saying testosterone is not considered an anabolic steroid? I was addressing testosterone as part of my point.

Addressing glucosamine, there is research both ways. Kipper, our resident nutritionist, doesn't feel the research shows many benefits. He's pretty up to date. I feel that, if it doesn't, it can't hurt me anyhow. I'd definitely read up on it though since I've read some recent research that shows a some skew toward minor or no effects.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:58 PM   #18
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Are you saying testosterone is not considered an anabolic steroid? I was addressing testosterone as part of my point.

Addressing glucosamine, there is research both ways. Kipper, our resident nutritionist, doesn't feel the research shows many benefits. He's pretty up to date. I feel that, if it doesn't, it can't hurt me anyhow. I'd definitely read up on it though since I've read some recent research that shows a some skew toward minor or no effects.
Good points on both. I will move glucosamine to Class B. I am standing by leaving steroids in Class D since I think that these should never be used recreationally or for fitness enhancement purposes (which is the point of this thread). Maybe under the supervision of a professional and even then only if proven deficiency states are present. I suppose you are right, though. 5-DHT is the quintessential anabolic steroid.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:01 PM   #19
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Anabolic steroids are hardly dangerous unless abused, like any other substance.
Yes, but what constitutes abuse? I would argue that any use purely for fitness or strength enhancement constitutes abuse. These were made illegal for a reason.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:05 PM   #20
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Good points on both. I will move glucosamine to Class B. I am standing by leaving steroids in Class D since I think that these should never be used recreationally or for fitness enhancement purposes (which is the point of this thread). Maybe under the supervision of a professional and even then only if proven deficiency states are present. I suppose you are right, though. 5-DHT is the quintessential anabolic steroid.
That's quite understandable. It's a high gain, high risk compound, especially in the hands of the uneducated. If I were still competing in track, I'd be pissed if my competitors were using steroids. Personally, I wouldn't use them under nearly any circumstances (unless I had a significant life-changing pathology).

The classes just kinda seem off to me. Some of the class C compounds (DHEA, HGH, caffeine) have proven benefits, but also have proven risks. I don't know if "questionable effectiveness and possible harm" quite classifies them correctly. They are highly effective, but frequently harmful (again mainly due to lack of education, but can be due to their action in the body). They ARE effective. They just have some major downsides.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:20 PM   #21
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Thats a pretty good regimen. I assume you mean Synephrine? I never tried it and haven't researched it. What is your impression?
Whoops, I meant ephedrine. I use the Bronkaid tablets.

I actually liked them a lot when I was on them. With the EC stack, it was obvious that my energy levels shot through the roof, and my appetite went down. My heart rate did increase for the first few days, but levelled back down, even with HiiT, after about a week. I lost weight, maybe even too much while taking the ephedrine, but that's the fault of my diet and not the pill.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:24 PM   #22
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Thinking about upgrading CLA after checking this out. May need to see more research first though:

CLA holds promise as an effective supplement to enhance body composition. In one of the largest and best controlled studies of CLA, researchers from Norway examined the effects of CLA supplementation (3.4 g/day) on whole body and regional composition in overweight men and women. The study used a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled design in over 100 subjects. The study lasted 6 months during which time subjects were instructed to maintain their normal diet and exercise patterns, the only major change being to supplement with either CLA or placebo. After 6 months, the CLA group lost significantly more body fat (-3.3 pounds) compared to a gain of 1 pound in the placebo group. Further, the CLA group gained 1.3 pounds of lean body mass, whereas the placebo group had little change (+0.4 pounds). A number of safety measures were assessed, and all markers were not affected by CLA indicating it is not associated with any adverse side effects. In summary, the placebo group had little change in body composition as expected, but simply taking 3.4 g/day of CLA without making any other lifestyle changes resulted in simultaneous fat loss and gain in lean body mass. Although the verdict may still be out, more and more studies are showing positive effects of CLA on body composition.

Gaullier JM, Halse J, Hoivik HO, Hoye K, Syvertsen C, Nurminiemi M, Hassfeld C, Einerhand A, O'Shea M, Gudmundsen O. Six months supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid induces regional-specific fat mass decreases in overweight and obese. Br J Nutr. 2007 Mar;97(3):550-60.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:18 PM   #23
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ummm steroids have many benefits... what about cancer and aids patients who have trouble keeping muscle mass? if you waste away to 100 lbs during chemotherapy how can u expect to fight off illness? it is because steroids do their job so well that they have gotten a bad rap in athletics. But they are potential life savers for people who need them.

also, if you know howto use them, they are not dangerous at all. I have never personally done a cycle, but I have spent hours and hours doing research on the topic itself

My Supps:
CLA, Whey Protein, Creatine,Glucosamine/Chondroitin, Fish Oil (about 10-12 tablets a day), Caffine (before workouts), ZMA (during sleep).
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:05 PM   #24
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I'm wondering why ephedrine is listed as Class D? Last I knew, there has been no definitive study that has linked ephedrine to any harm. A lot of conjecture and "oh, no, he was taking ephedrine when he died, so let's ban it" talk but no solid evidence. Have things changed?
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:23 PM   #25
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Holy freakin crap. How many times will we have to say this in the same thread?!? EphedrA, not ephedrINE!
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