Present society is all about quick fixes and faster results to enhance your health, fitness, aesthetics or performance by taking the next miracle. Marketing campaigns backed by social media and self proclaimed experts trying to guide people on nutrition/ exercise take the internet by storm.

Through my 20+ year global career in training & consulting high performance professional athletes, models, kids, adults, trainers, coaches and corporate clients, 95% ask the same question day in day out. “What is the best supplement “?

Answer: – Correct supplements may give you the edge at the elite level to enhance your performance ranging around 5-6 % provided the client /athlete is using a solid nutrition & training program properly periodized, rest of the puzzle is ruled by genetics, recovery/rest & las but not least the specific sports skill

Let us  explore the most commonly used supplements, so all readers will have additional information with some of the research links before you purchasing consult your physician &/ or your registered dietician before investing in any and all supplements



Why people purchase:

Increase strength, water and acid balance, maintain hormone production, Improve immunity, and change body composition.

WHEY is better and faster absorption version of protein (branch chained amino acids) for muscle building as BCAA predominant in the muscle. Other proteins such as beef, egg, and vegetable are useful as they also do have a full spectrum of amino acid released at different time intervals. Whey is best taken post workout at its best for protein synthesis.

Side effects:

According to many research studies indicates if you are lactose intolerant & /or overdose, the metabolism of excess protein as nitrogen which will be excreted from the body stressing the kidney. If you have a pre existing renal condition it is vital that making your medical test a priority

Useful research links :

Biolo, G., Tipton, K. D., Klein, S., and Wolfe, R. R. (1997). An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. Am J Physiol 273, E122-129.

Biolo, G., Williams, B. D., Fleming, R. Y., and Wolfe, R. R. (1999). Insulin action on muscle protein kinetics and amino acid transport during recovery after resistance exercise. Diabetes 48, 949-957. Borsheim, E., Aarsland, A., and Wolfe, R. R. (2004). Effect of an amino acid, protein, and carbohydrate mixture on net muscle protein balance after resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 14, 255-271.

Carrithers, J. A., Williamson, D. L., Gallagher, P. M., Godard, M. P., Schulze, K. E., and Trappe, S. W. (2000). Effects of postexercise carbohydrate-protein feedings on muscle glycogen restoration. J Appl Physiol 88, 19761982. GSSI (2002).

Protein and amino acid supplements: do they work? Gatorade Sports Science Institute Sports Science Exchange 15. Ivy, J. L., Goforth, H. W., Jr., Damon, B. M., McCauley, T. R., Parsons, E. C., and Price, T. B. (2002).



 Why people purchase:

Increase strength (proven by research), Muscle endurance (limited evidence), cognition function (limited research)

Creatine phosphate is stored in muscles unique to the individual it’s the vital source for muscle contraction (ATP), Creatine replaces ATP for continuous work of the muscles.

Creatine is naturally found in meat, fish & animal meat can be synthesized in liver, kidney & pancreas from the amino acid (glycine , arginin, methoionine )

Side effects:

No long term heath benefit found with present research.

Some cases has proven to cause stomach upset & aggravate pre – existing kidney issues

Water retention & water weight gain

Useful links:

Burke, L.M., D.B. Pyne, and R. S. Telford.  Effect of oral creatine supplementation on single-effort sprint performance in elite swimmers.  International Journal of Sports Nutrition. 6:222-233, 1996.

Coleman E.  Does creatine enhance sprint performance. Sports Medicine Digest. 19(4):46-47, 1997.

Cooke WH, P.W. Grandjean, and W.S. Barnes.  Effect of oral creatine supplementation on power output and fatigue during bicycle ergometry.  Journal of Applied Physiology. 78(2):670-673, 1995.

Maughan R.J.  Creatine supplementation and exercise performance.  International Journal of Sports Nutrition. 5:94-101, 1995.

Odland, L.M., J.D. MacDougall, M.A. Tarnopolsky, A. Elorriaga, and A. Borgmann.  Effect of oral creatine supplementation on muscle [Pcr] and short-term maximum power output.  Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.  29(2):216-219, 1997.

Redondo, D.R., E.A. Dowling, B.L. Graham, A.L. Almada, and M.H. Williams.  The effect of oral creatine monohydrate supplementation on running velocity.  International Journal of Sports Nutrition. 6:213-221, Vandenberghe, K.N. Gillis, M. Van Leemputte, P. Van Hecke, F. Vanstapel, and P. Hespel.  Caffeine counteracts the ergogenic action of muscle creatine loading.  Journal of Applied Physiology.  80(2):452-457, 1996.



Why people purchase :

Reduce joint pain, strengthen cartilage & joint tissue, treat osteoarthritis & decrease inflammation. (mixed researched reviews, scientist & medical community still in the process of conducting extensive study, as it also have placebo effect on humans)

How it functions:

Function as an aid for your body to produce strong & new tissue as precursors; this is one of the most important factors in joints, as floating glucosamine aid new tissue.

Inflammation is body’s natural healing system, if  pain and degeneration occur with help of glucosamine it will block the enzyme that body uses to increase inflammation acting as pain combatant.

Side effects:

Should be avoided by people allergic to shellfish & those have diabetic conditions as it might be difficult to control blood sugar conditions

Useful links:

McAlindon TE, LaValley MP, Gulin JP, Felson DT. Glucosamine and chondroitin for treatment of osteoarthritis. A systematic quality assessment and meta-analysis. JAMA 2000;283:1469-1475.

Sarubin A. The health professional’s guide to popular dietary supplements. American Dietetic Association Chicago, IL. 2000: pp. 71-74.

Skinner R, Coleman E, Rosenbloom CA. Ergogenic Aids. In: Sports Nutrition A guide for the professional working with active people. 3rd Ed. (Rosenbloom C. ed). 2000. American Dietetic Association. Chicago, IL. pp.127-129.



Why people purchase:

Improved immune function, delays or prevents muscle breakdown ƒ Promotes muscle growth, faster recovery (pending long term research as some evidence shows improvement & others not as much)

How it function:

Non-essential amino acid found in blood plasma and muscle in the human body. Present in cells at the gut and in the immunity system. Lymphocytes and macrophages in the immune system rely on glutamine as a key.  Sickness, trauma, heavy training, stress lack of sleep will use of glutamine rapidly and plasma concentrations of glutamine goes down.

Reduction in plasma glutamine has been associated with glycogen depletion, immunosuppression, and increased risk for infections eg: Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, Urinary Tract Infections

Side effects:

Large doses may inhibit absorption of other amino acids.

Stomach pains


Useful links :

Antonio J and Street C. Glutamine: A potentially useful supplement for athletes. Can J Appl Physiol. 1999;24:114.

Bishop NC, Walsh NP, Haines DL, Richards EE, Gleeson M. Pre-exercise carbohydrate status and immune responses to prolonged cycling: I. Effect on neutrophil degranulation. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc. Metab. 2001;11:490-502.

Blanchard MA, Jordan G, Desbrow B, MacKinnon LT, Jenkins DG. The influence of diet and exercise on muscle and plasma glutamine concentrations. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2001;33:69-74.

MacKinnon LT and Hooper SL. Plasma glutamine and upper respiratory tract infection during intensified training in swimmers. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 1996;28:285-290.



Why people purchase:

Increase muscle & strength, recovery, burns fat & for the pump

(Research is still in the primary stage, thus short & long term effects are still under investigation)

 How it functions:

Key component is Arganine, even though your body produces NO, supplements are loaded with mega doses

Through a process of vasodilatation, expanding the blood vessels and increasing the blood flow to the  muscles in order to give more nutrients and oxygen.

Side effects:

It could drop blood pressure and as of present no-one exactly now the short & long-term effects on health by continues use

Useful links:

Johgen W, Meininger CJ, Johgen SC, Li P, Lee MJ, Smith SB, Spencer TE, Fried SK, Wu G. Dietary L-Arginine Supplementation Reduces White Fat Gain and Enhances Skeletal Muscle and Brown Fat Masses in Diet-Induced Obese Rats.  J Nutr 2008; 139 (2): 230-37 3.

McConell GK. Effects of L-arginine supplementation on exercise metabolism.  Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007; 10 (1): 46-51 6. Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Ivy JL. The effect of a carbohydrate–arginine supplement on postexercise carbohydrate metabolism



Why People purchase:

Enhance the mood, fat loss, extended energy, increased cardiac output, improve reaction time, mental focus, and even elite level athletes use it to enhance athletic performance hence all major athletic commission have a restriction on caffeine use depend on the sporting body. Caffeine is an article by itself for another day & time.

How it functions:          

By stimulating the central nervous system it releases Adrenaline/epinephrine, forcing your body to exert more energy, additionally it spares glycogen –carbs that are stored in muscles to give more energy over extend period of time

Side effect:

Act as a diuretic, increases heart rate,

Gastrointestinal problems & tremors,

Insomnia &muscle twitches

Irritability and withdrawal symptoms etc

Useful links

Armstrong, L.E. Caffeine, Body Fluid-Electrolyte Balance, and Exercise Performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. 12:189-206, 2002.

Cole, K.J., D. L. Costill, R.D. Starling, B.H. Goodpaster, S.C. Trappe, and W.J. Fink.  Effect of caffeine ingestion on perception of effort and subsequent work production.  International  Journal of  Sports  Nutrition.  6:14-23, 1996.

Graham, T.E. Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, edurance and performance. Sports Medicine. 31(11):785807,2001.

Graham, T.E., and L.L. Spriet.  Caffeine and exercise performance.  Gatorade Sports Science Exchange.  9(1), 1996.

Spriet, L.L. Caffeine and performance.  International  Journal of  Sports Nutrition. 5(S):84-99, 1995.

  Malek MH, Housh, TJ, Coburn JW, Beck TW, Schmidt RJ, Housh DJ, Johnson GO. Effects of Eight Weeks of Caffeine Supplementation and Endurance Training on Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition.  J Strength & Cond Res 2006; 20 (4) 5

Bell DG, McLellan TM. Exercise endurance 1, 3, and 6 h after caffeine ingestion in caffeine users and nonusers. J Appl Physiol 2002; 93: 1227–1234.


  1. DHEA ( Dehydroepiandrosterone)

Why people purchase:

Sex drive, reduce premenstrual and menopause symptoms, antidepressant, energy, immunity, prevention and treatment of major heath issues, athletic performance and list goes on this is supposed to be the best but research says otherwise and it’s banned by all major sporting organization.


How it functions

 Precursor to testosterone , estrone and estradiol.

This hormone will naturally peak in our body up to 30years and start to decline afterwards, found in the plasma and the brain tissues.

Side effects

Breast tenderness & cancer in women

Risk of prostate cancer in men,

Liver diseases etc…

More researched details will be available in the future keep them out of reach

Useful Links:

Brown, G.A., Vukovich, M.D., Sharp, R.L., Reifenrath, T.A., Parsons, K.A., King, D.S. Effect of oral DHEA on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology.87:22742283,1999.

Clarkson, P.M. and E.S. Rawson.  Nutritional supplements to increase muscle mass.  Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.  39(4):317-328, 1999.

Morales, A.J., Haubrich, R.H., Hwang, J.Y., Asakura, H., Yen, S.S. The effect of six months treatment with a 100 mg daily dose of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on circulating sex steroids, body composition and muscle strength in age-advanced men and women. Clinical Endocrinology. 49:421-432,1998.

Skinner, R., Coleman, E., Rosenbloom, C.A. Ergogenic aids. In: Sports nutrition. A guide for the professional working with active people. Rosenbloom, C.A. ed. The American Dietetic Association 2000: 110-112.


  1. HMB (Beta hydroxy beta methylbutyrate)

Why people purchase:

For lean body mass & strength, quick recovery, possible performance enhancement

How it works:

From the very limited research data and due to Leucin it influence protein breakdown during times of high stress with decrease catabolism.

And believed to metabolized to HMG-CoA and used in the synthesis of cholesterol to decrease muscle damage.

Side effect:

Non significant finding due to lack of research, advisable to keep it out of reach

Useful links

Burke, L., Desbrow, B., Minehan, M. Dietary supplements and nutritional ergogenic aids in sport. In: Clinical Sports Nutrition, 2nd Ed. (Burke, L. and Deakin, V., eds,)

Kreider RB. Dietary supplements and the promotion of muscle growth with resistance exercise. Sports Med. 1999;27:97-110.

Nissen, S., Sharp, R.L., Panton, L., Vukovich, M., Trappe, S., Fuller Jr., J.C. B-hydroxy-B-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation in humans is safe and may decrease cardiovascular risk factors. Journal of Nutrition. 130:19371945, 2000.

Nissen, S.R. Sharp, M. Ray, J.A. Rathmacher, D. Rice, J.C. Fuller, A.S. Connelly, and N. Abumrad.  Effect of leucine metabolite B-hydroxy-B-methylbutyrate on muscle metabolism during resistance -exercise training.  Journal of Applied Physiology.  81(5): 2095-2104, 1996.

Vukovich, M>D> and Dreifort, G.D. Effect of B-hydroxy-B-methylbutyrate on the onset of blood lactate accumulation and VO2 peak in endurance-trained cyclists. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 15(4):491497,2001.



Why people purchase:

Rapid fat /weight loss

Performance enhancement


 How it functions

 This stimulated the central nervous system and much stronger than caffeine. Even though effective this is band in most countries and all the sporting organization due to high health risk & hazards


Side effects:

Linked with heart attacks



Do I need to say more?  STAY AWAY

Useful links :

Bucci, L.R. Selected herbals and human exercise performance. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 72(suppl);624S-636S, 2000.

Christensen, D.  Herbal supplement may pose health risk.  Medical Tribune News Service. August 29, 1996.

Doyle, H.  Herbal stimulant containing ephedrine has also causes psychosis.  British Medical Journal.  313:756, 1996..

Gurley, B.J., Gardner, S.F., Hubbard, M.A. Content versus label claims in ephedra-containing dietary supplements. American Journal of Health Stystems Pharmacology. 57(10): 963-999, 2000.

Skinner R, Coleman E, Rosenbloom CA. Ergogenic Aids. In: Sports Nutrition A guide for the professional working with active people. 3rd Ed. (Rosenbloom C. ed). 2000. American Dietetic Association. Chicago, IL. pp.131-132.


  1. BCCA (Branch-chain amino acids)

WHY people purchase:

Add muscle mass, delay fatigue & delay protein break down

How it works:

3(Leucine,Isoleucine & Valine) of 9  essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce, due to this limiting factor these should be ingest via food. Unlike some other amino circulate in the blood and can be used for muscles.

BCCA are oxidized by muscle to produce energy during endurance exercise.

Side effect

Lacks long-term research, blood ammonia,

Toxic to the brain.

Stomach/GI track problems

Useful Links


Burke, L., Desbrow, B., Minehan, M. Dietary supplements and nutritional ergogenic aids in sport. In: Clinical Sports Nutrition, 2nd Ed. (Burke, L. and Deakin, V., eds,)

McGraw-Hill, 2000; Sydney, Australia, 455-553. Hargreaves M and Snow R. Amino acids and endurance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.2001;11:133145.

American Dietetic Association. Chicago, IL. Pp.129-130. Wagenmakers AJM. Amino acid supplements to improve athletic performance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 1999;2:539-544.



  1. Do you have professionally design meal plan considering (total caloric need, resting energy ,activity factors, recovery energy with proper quality, quantity, timing & density of food)
  2. Did your physician or registered dietician recommend supplement
  3. Have you checked medical records and health status before use
  4. Is your training program professionally design to give results
  5. Does the supplement have banned substances listed by major sporting organization e.g. IOC, WADA,NCAA etc… usually below listed are banned by most of the professional sporting organizations ( Andro stendedione, DHEA,19-nonandro stendedione, Ephedra,strychnine,anabolic steroids, GH,THG,BCCA,Ginseng, ginkobiloba,COQ10,Cytochrome C, Carnatine, Beepollen, Chromium pincolinate, HMB,Colostrum, Choline, NO,Gylcerol ) many more …
  6. Do not listen to social media, trainers, coaches, self proclaimed experts on supplements or training always check their academic, experience, proven track record
  7. Just because the supplement is free of banned substance that doesn’t mean it’s safety standards are suitable for health without any repercussion
  8. When you decide to invest in supplements, purchase them from well known manufacturing companies, who has ISO,GMP,NSF certified standards then again  it’s your responsibility to make a wise and informed choice .

This article is  for information purpose only; always seek medical advice /your physician’s approval before starting  any or all supplements or any exercises /fitness or sports activity.


Note: 1)Always consult your medical professional AKA( DOCTOR/PHYSICIAN) before starting any physical , nutrition or supplementing program.

2) Do your due diligence and always check with your physician or health care practitioner
1) Protein

2) Creatine

3) Glucosamine

4) Glutamine

5) Caffein



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