What Nutritional Supplements Should I Use?
When it comes to gaining lean muscle mass, most people think that bodybuilding supplements are the most important part of the equation. However, this could not be any further from the truth.
Supplements are just additions to an already good nutrition and training program. Nutrition and training are the most important components of a bodybuilding program, with rest and recovery next to them. Once all of those aspects of your program are maximized, then you can start thinking of adding supplements to your program.
Please understand that supplements do not make up for improper training, or lack thereof, or a low quality diet. Supplements only work when your diet and your training program are optimal.
Why Use Supplements?
Not all supplements are created equal though. Some your body always needs, others are more dependent upon what your goals are and what your budget looks like. Below you will learn what the different categories of supplements are and which ones you need to use at all times:
Multiple Vitamin And Mineral Formula
Bulk minerals - Which are called this way as the body needs them in great quantities in the order of grams such as Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus.
Trace minerals -Which are needed by the body in minute amounts, usually in the order of micrograms such as chromium, copper, cobalt, silicon, selenium, iron and zinc.
I like simplicity and because of that I tend to get most of my vitamins and minerals from multiple vitamin/mineral packs. The ones I personally use are the Prolab's Training Paks, which are loaded with potent levels of essential nutrients and bioactive compounds.
You have to be very careful with what type of vitamin and mineral formulas you choose as some don't always contain what the labels claim (thanks to unscrupulous manufacturers) and some come from such poor sources that they are not absorbed very well by the body. Other Reputable Companies On The Market That I Have Used Include: Twinlabs, EAS, Weider, Labrada, Shiff, Optimum Nutrition, Advanced Nutrition, Higher Power Nutrition, and Champion Nutrition
Because of hectic schedules it is impossible to eat the six perfectly balanced meals that are required to get in shape a day. Therefore, these supplements can be used as "fast food". They are easy to prepare (if it is a protein bar then no preparation is required) and most of the formulas that are available on the market today pay close attention to taste. Having said that, there are many categories of protein supplements. Before we cover the different categories of protein supplements and how to use them, let's talk about the different sources of protein found in these supplements.
Types of Protein Sources
Now that we have discussed BV values, let's discuss each protein source in more detail.
Whey Proteins (Whey Concentrate/Whey Isolate)
1) It improves sports performance because it reduces stress and lowers
cortisol levels (hormone that destroys muscle).
Having said this, whey is not the steroid-like substance that many advertisers would like you to believe, but based on current research, it can be a valuable addition to one's diet for the reasons outlined above.
Also, all whey is not created equal. The whey that will give you the benefits described above has to be micro-filtered. Otherwise, it is just the garbage left after pasteurizing milk. Micro-filtration than has to be done at very low temperatures in order to allow for the production of high protein contents with no undenatured protein, minimum fat, minimum cholesterol and minimum lactose.
ii) Isolates & Concentrates
Also, it is important to mention that whey isolate does not have many of the health enhancing properties that are described above, as the expensive process required to produce whey isolate destroys many of the health/immune system enhancing sub-fractions such as the lactoferrins, beta-lactoglobulins, and immuno-globulins.
Therefore, for during the day use, a product consisting mainly of whey concentrate is your best bet while for after the workout, a whey isolate product would be a better choice.
iii) Egg Protein
Calcium Casseinate is the regular protein that is found in regular milk and other dairy products. Miscellar casein is the natural, undenatured form of casein found in milk. It is separated from milk by means of ultrafiltration, without the use of chemicals, which increases the amount of bioactive milk peptides that support immune function as well as enhance muscle growth.
A property of micellar casein is that it may have the ability to provide a steady release of amino acids into the blood stream, which makes it an excellent choice for a long lasting anti-catabolic (muscle protecting) protein.
v) Beef Proteins
While I don't know of any protein supplement in powder on the market that is made from beef proteins, there are beef liver tablets out there that do provide the benefits from beef proteins. Beef proteins are abundant in blood building iron and also on B-vitamins, all factors that contribute to better nutrient utilization and energy production.
vi) Soy Proteins
However, in the muscle building department, I don't feel that soy is very useful, especially for men. First of all, its BV value is a distant 49, and second of all, since it has estrogen like substances, it could potentially reduce the utilization of testosterone through the binding of phyto-estrogens to the testosterone receptors.
II) Types Of Protein Supplements
i) Weight Gainers
Weight gainers were very popular back in the 90s but their popularity has died mainly because most people do not have the fast metabolism of a hardgainer; so as a result, a high carbohydrate diet applied on a person with over 10% body fat typically leads mostly to fat gains instead of muscle mass gains. For hardgainers however, and bodybuilders who are below 10% body fat, these products be very useful for getting in the amount of quality calories required to gain quality muscle.
They are best when used for the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and post workout meals as the carbohydrate content is of a fast released nature. They can be mixed with fruit juice or skim milk, and in order to increase the calorie content the use of flaxseed oil and fruits is invaluable.
My favorite weight gainers on the market are:
This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but rather a list of the products that I know are good. The fact that a product is not on this list does not mean that it is not a good one.
ii) Meal Replacement Powders (MRPs)
Protein-wise, most are composed of whey proteins but there are many new formulas now on the market that consist of a protein blend of whey and milk proteins. Typically, the carbohydrate component used to be maltodextrin, yielding around 25-27 grams of carbohydrate per serving, but the newer generation formulas consist of slower released carbohydrates like brown rice and oats in order to make the product lower glycemic in nature.
My favorite MRP on the market, by far, is Prolab's Lean Mass Complex, as it is instantized (you can mix with liquid and a spoon), and has a unique cinnamon oatmeal flavor. In addition it contains essential fats, a slow released carbohydrate matrix and a protein blend of whey proteins and miscellar casein. Other good products I like are are:
Beverly International's Ultra Size
Any of these products can be used throughout the day in between meals or after the workout.
iii) Protein Powders
Good sources of these powders are:
The powders just mentioned are mainly whey protein concentrate. The best isolates in the market are:
Natures Best Zero Carb Isopure
My favorite blends in the market of whey proteins with slower released proteins are:
Beverly International's Muscle Provider (whey and egg blend)
I love protein supplements because of the many uses that they have. For instance in the morning I like to have oatmeal with Cinnamon flavored protein powder. One can also use them to add more protein to either a meal replacement powder or a weight gainer. Alternatively, one can also use them for creating a home-made weight gain formula.
So now, which protein product should you choose? If trying to gain weight then a weight gainer for sure. If you are looking to have a full meal consisting of carbs, proteins and some fats then an MRP is your best bet. If on a budget then the best way to go is to buy a 5-lb tub of protein powder.
iv) Protein Bars
If doing a competition then I would not touch them. The ones I like most in the market today are:
Premiere 1 Odyssey Bars
v) Beef Liver Tablets
When it comes to beef liver tablets the best ones in the market, in my opinion, are Beverly International's Ultra 40 because they contain the highest grade of beef liver and have been purified and processed to contain forty-five times the nutritional amount of whole beef liver.
The way to use them is to add 3-4 tablets per meal. Each tablet adds an additional 2 grams of protein from beef liver to your meals.
Where Can You Get EFA's From?
Having said that, where can one find EFA's? Salmon and flax seeds are high on the Omega-3s.
If you do not consume any of these items, then either flax seed oil, flax seed oil capsules or fish oil capsules would be a good idea to add to your supplements program. Omega-6 fats typically do not need to be supplemented as they are easily found in poultry, eggs and whole-grain breads. Typically, one's diet is abundant on the Omega-6 but lacking on the Omega-3's.
My favorite EFA product is manufactured by a company called Pride Nutrition which has a blend called Premium EFA. In addition to Essential Fats, this blend also has CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and GLA (gamma linolenic acid). These two fatty acids are showing very promising studies for weight loss and joint lubrication.
What's great about this product is the fact that they added the Lipase enzyme, which helps with the absorption and digestion of the fats. This product is the only one I have ever tried where you do not end up burping the oil a few minutes after you take the capsules.
Other good products are Serrano Labs Alpha Omega-3s, which is also an excellent product. For CLA only capsules I like Prolab's Enhanced CLA which also has some flaxseed oil in order to provide some Omega 3's.
D) Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the only Vitamin that I recommend to be taken in mega doses quantities. Remember that since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it will not get stored by the body. Research shows that if taken an hour before a workout (1000mg dose) it significantly reduces muscle soreness and speeds recovery after a workout.
I recommend a total of 3000 mg per day of Vitamin C. If your multiple vitamin pack already has 1000 mg, and you take this in the morning, then all you need is an extra 1000 mg at lunch and 1000 mg at dinner.
A good Vitamin C that comes in 1000 mg capsules at a super awesome price (250 caps at $10.49) are produced by Higher Power Nutrition.
E) Chromium Picolinate
Chromium may also keep blood sugar levels stable, thereby preventing insulin levels from going high enough to begin promoting fat storage. Again, chromium only works if we follow a proper diet. Also, while it is not the magic bullet that it was claimed to be for building muscle back in the early 90's I still feel that it is useful for ensuring that our insulin sensitivity is at its peak.
Supplement Recommendations Summary
Essential To Take
MultiVitamin/Mineral Complex taken with breakfast.
If your interested in more information about my complete Body Body Building & Fat Loss Program check out www.losefatandgainmuscle.com
Copyright © 2002 Peruherbals Inc
The information presented is for information purposes only. It is based
on scientific studies or traditional usage. Consult a health care professional
before using supplements or making any changes in prescribed medications.
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been
evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.