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The Truth Behind Bodybuilding Supplements

Dec 6, 2007
Bodybuilders use supplements to enhance their diet and improve their performance. To gain muscle it is essential to train well and eat well. Many bodybuilders feel that their normal diet can be improved with supplements and choose to do so. Criticisms have been made that the use of dietary supplements leads to steroid use but there is little evidence to back this up. Unlike steroids bodybuilding supplements do not change the natural hormone levels of the bodybuilder. For this reason they are much safer. Different supplements provide different results and work in different ways. Here is an introduction to the most popular.


Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate that is taken to help meet the high energy demands of high intensity exercise. It is easily absorbed by the body and as a result scores high on the glyceamic index. This means it can result in the person that takes it gaining fat for this reason it is more suited to a lean bodybuilder that struggles to take on board an adequate amount of carbohydrates each day. It is also suitable for post workout replenishment.


Probiotics include live strains of bacteria that help the digestive system. The 'good' bacteria help improve the effectiveness of the body's digestive system and as a result make it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients from your diet. It also acts to improve the immune system and subsequently make the bodybuilder less susceptible to illnesses that usually creep in when the immune system is depleted as a result of heavy training.

Nutrition Bars

Nutrition bars are a great option for bodybuilders that require a great amount of food on the go. They come in many different guises such as complete nutrition bars, protein bars or slimming bars. They help the consumer measure their intake as all the dietary information is included on the wrapper. They are very convenient but are not a replacement for proper food.

Workout drinks

Pre-workout drinks often provide the high levels of liquid required to keep the bodybuilder hydrated during a workout as well as additional glucose. High glucose levels can be beneficial in that they provide an energy boost. However there is a danger that the high glucose sugary drinks can cause the opposite effect and make the consumer feel sluggish. They are most useful for replenishing the exerciser after exercise.


Creatine is one of the most controversial and as a result most researched of all the supplements. The science behind it is complicated but a over simplified version is as follows; Creatine phosphate is found in muscle cells and it helps replenish a chemical which helps with the storage of energy in the muscles. Creatine supplements help maximise the performance of your muscles meaning you can train at a higher intensity, lift heavier weights and train harder. It also makes your muscles more receptive to drawing water into the muscles making them look bigger. Many experts say that Creatine should not be taken alongside caffeine products as caffeine inhibits the body's ability to absorb Creatine.


Many bodybuilders put a lot of faith in glutamine as a source of muscle healing whereas many researchers claim it is useless. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue and bodybuilders take it in the belief that it helps their muscles recover quickly after intense training. The most likely benefit is that glutamine can improve the activity of the intestine meaning that the body absorbs nutrients more effectively.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been a bodybuilder for all of his life. He has a vast amount of experience in the bodybuilding industry and he writes prolifically to help people choose the right bodybuilding supplements.
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