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Supplement Encyclopedia from A to Z

3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: 3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran [or Divanil] is a lignan found in a Urtica dioica [stinging nettle] and is very often used in testosterone enhancing products. 3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran has promising effects in vitro but lacks clinical trials. Divanillyltetrahydrofuran does not increase testosterone production, however, it binds itself to SHBH [sex hormone binding globulin] with great affinity, hence increases avaliable free tesosterone. If it works in vivo as it does in vitro it will also increase estrogen, so estrogen blocker should be added.

5-methyl-7-methoxyisoflavone

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: 5-Methyl-7-methoxyisoflavone [methoxyisoflavone] is a synthetic chemical compound marketed as a bodybuilding supplement. Some isoflavones e.g. 7-isopropoxyisoflavone [ipriflavone] and methoxyisoflavone have been marketed as “powerful anabolic” substances. These believes originated from U.S. Patent [in the early 1970′s] and some preliminary studies which reported lower cortisol levels, increased protein synthesis, and improved overall recovery from exercise as a result of isoflavone supplementation in animals. However, findings in recent studies using healthy people contrasts marketed claims that this nutrient increases anabolic status or enhances training adaptations in resistance-trained athletes.

A

Acai Berry

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Acai berry come from acai palm [Euterpe oleracea a.k.a. Cabbage palm] which is a species of palm tree cultivated for their fruit. They are being sold in an aggressive manner by companies which claim they are superfood with anti-aging and weight loss properties. Despite the attention, there is little to back up the extravagant claims made about acai. While it has been shown that berry does contain antioxidants there are no long-term studies proving that açaí removes wrinkles or remove toxins from the body.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Acetyl-L-Carnitine [or ALCAR] is a naturally occurring molecule synthesised from L-Carnitine. In the terms of bioavailability acetyl-l-carnitine is claimed to be superior to L-Carnitine. Like l-carnitne, Both are sold as a dietary supplement and are often promoted as an aid for weight loss, to improve exercise performance, and to enhance a sense of well-being. Acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation may be beneficial in preventing age-related declines in energy metabolism, decreased oxidative stress, and improved memory, studies conducted on rats report.

Adenosine-5′-triphosphate

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Adenosine-5′-triphosphate [ATP] has intracellular role as the energy source for tissues. ATP as a supplement is marketed as ” the explosive natural energy needed for muscular work”. One study [with 400 mg ATP daily] noted an increase in low peak torque and decrease muscle fatigue, however, this low peak torque increase failed to translate into improvements in leg muscle power or work performed. Another study with doses up to 225 mg resulted in an increase in bench press strength but authors didn’t attribute this to ATP treatment but suspected a spurious change in treatment differences.

African Mango [Irvingia gabonensis]

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: African mango is referred to as “miracle medicine that will help you lose 10 pounds”. A small in vitro study that reported a significantly inhibited adipogenesis in adipocytes started it all with a little help from Dr. Oz. Well, at that time there are no sufficient evidences that would support these claims. There can be found a few studies that to some extent support these claims but are funded by african mango patent holder and manufacturer. One study reported a reduction in body weight but without significant changes in body fat percentage.

Alpha-lipoic acid

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Alpha lipoic acid [a.k.a. Thioctic acid, Lipolate, ALA] is water and fat slouble antioxidant that is made by the body and is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy. Studies have found that Alpha lipoic acid enhanced insulin action and enhances glucose uptake into skeletal muscle in animals. Studies also show that Alpha lipoic acid can increase uptake of creatine. However it is more often that that used as as weight loss and energy supplement.

Arachidonic Acid

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Arachidonic Acid [AA or ARA] is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. Arachidonic Acid plays an essential role in growth and repair of skeletal muscle tissue. This makes ARA an important dietary component in muscle anabolic process. It is not an essential fatty acid, however, it become essential if there is a deficiency in linoleic acid. Studies have shown that increased activity depletes omega-6 fatty acid levels from skeletal muscles. So it may be helpful to supplement with arachidonic acid as an athlete. No significant side effects are reported for dosages ranging from 1,000–1,500 mg for up to 50 days of supplementation.

Artemisia Dracunculus [Russian Tarragon Extract]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Russian Tarragon Extract [Artemisia Dracunculus L] is a spice herb with a long history of culinary and medical use. Some recent studies reported that a standardized extract of Russian Tarragon may have antidiabetic and hypoglycemic activities. It is recently added to creatine supplements due to some studies showing Russian Tarragon influences plasma creatine levels during the ingestion of creatine, thus increasing its uptake.

B

BCAA

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Branched-chain amino acids [BCAA] are among the nine essential amino acids for humans. Among the proteinogenic amino acids [precursors to proteins], there are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. Their supplementation has been reported to decrease exercise-induced protein degradation and possibly promote an anti-catabolic hormonal profile. One study reported that 30 days of BCAA supplementation [14 grams/day] promoted a significant increase in muscle mass in untrained subjects

Beta Alanine

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that is produced naturally in the body. Beta-alanine has ergogenic potential based on its relationship with carnosine. Studies evaluating its benefits on sport performance are equivocal. It appears that supplementation with beta-alanine can decrease fatigue rate and improve performance. There are studies which show no performance benefits. Sensation of tickling seems to be the only side effect from oral beta-alanine ingestion. Standard doses have not been established.

Beta-Carotene

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Beta-Carotene is an organic compound that gives color to plants and fruits. Beta-carotene precursor to vitamin A, which means body turns beta-carotene into the antioxidant vitamin A [via beta-carotene 15,15′-monooxygenase]. Beta-Carotene is being used as an oral sun protectant. It has been reported that 30 mg of beta-carotene per day for 1 month can reduce exercise-induced oxidative DNA damage. It is also used for brest cancer prevention, although there are currently no studies to support that.

beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid [HMB]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid [HMB] is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. Leucine and metabolites of leucine have been reported, by several studies, to inhibit protein degradation, have anabolic properties and lipolytic effects [breakdown of fat]. There are some promising studies in sedentary population, however, its effects in athletes are less clear. Most studies conducted on athletes have reported non-significant gains in muscle mass.

Beta-Sitosterol

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Beta-sitosterol is a phytosterols [plant sterol] with chemical structure similar to that of cholesterol. Beta-sitosterol is commonly used for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia and high-cholesterol. In bodybuilding world Beta-sitosterol is used in many testosterone enhancers due to its possible effect in 5-alpha reductase inhibition. One small study supports these claims.

Betaine

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Betaine is a nutrient found in a variety of plants, animals and microorganisms and is a compound that is involved in the metabolism of choline and homocysteine. Studies show that compared to placebo, betaine supplementation significantly increases power output. Betaine also appears to improve muscle endurance and increase the quality of repetitions performed in active subjects. One animal study shows betaine can favorably affect liver metabolism, fat metabolism, and fat deposition.

Bitter Orange Fruit [Citrus Aurantum, Synephrine]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Bitter orange [Citrus auratium] is used as a stimulant and appetite suppressant, due to its active ingredient, synephrine. Some experts believe that compounds contained in Citrus auratium may lead to weight loss. Some preliminary reports in animals noted significantly reduced food intake and body weight gain with Citrus auratium extract administration. However, studies demonstrate that synephrine, when taken orally as Citrus auratium extract, raises blood pressure in healthy humans. Experts say that bitter orange may prove a less harmful successor to ephedra, but more research needs to be done.

Brassaiopsis glomerulata

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Brassaiopsis glomerulata extracts are sold as a bodybuilding supplements due to its possible aromatase [enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of estrogens] inhibitors present in the plant. In one study where researchers were isolating and characterising aromatase inhibitors from brassaiopsis glomerulata found a compound that is as effective as Letrozole [FDA approved non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor]. Further investigations of brassaiopsis glomerulata are needed on the mechanism of aromatase inhibition and in vivo testing.

C

Caffeic acid [3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Caffeic acid [3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid, 3,4-DA] is an organic compound found in many plants and foods, which is unrelated to caffeine. It has a high antioxidant potential and its primary source in human diet is coffee. Caffeic acid has shown promise in reducing the fatigue associated with exercise.

Caffeine

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Caffeine is a naturally derived stimulant and is the most frequently ingested substance in the world. Caffeine is most commonly used to improve mental alertness and has also been shown to positively effect energy expenditure and can be an effective ergogenic aid. Studies repeatedly report caffeines ergogenic effect [with doses ranging from 3 to 9 mg / kg]. It may also use lipids as energy source during aerobic exercises.

Calcium

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Calcium is a mineral that is essential for living organisms especially for bones and teeth. Calcium is the most abundant metal by mass in many animals. Calcium supplementation may help maintain bone mass in athletes susceptible to premature osteoporosis [weak bones due to low bone density]. Co-ingestion with vitamin D further enhances its absorption. Some studies demonstrated that increasing dietary calcium accelerated weight and fat loss. Calcium as possibly effective for weight loss, however, more research needs to be done before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Calcium compounds have low toxicity.

Calcium D-Glucarate

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Calcium D-Glucarate [calcium salt of D-glucaric acid] is produced naturally in small amounts by mammals, and can be found in variety of fruits and vegetables. Oral supplementation of calcium D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase which is associated with an increased risk for various cancers. Its inhibition of beta-glucuronidase activity allows the body to eject hormones such as estrogen before they can become reabsorbed. In bodybuilding supplements it is often added in testosterone boosters for estrogen management. Calcium D-glucarate might lower estrogen levels, but there is little evidence to support its use.

Carbohydrates

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Carbohydrates perform many roles in living organisms. They are a common source of energy; however, carbohydrates are not essential for humans because body can obtain all its energy from protein and fats. Carbohydrate ingestion during and post workout have been shown to attenuate cortisol secretion. Carbohydrate ingestion also increases uptake of creatine and greater post-workout glycogen resynthesis.

Carthamus tinctorius [Safflower]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Safflower [Carthamus tinctorius] is commercially cultivated for vegetable oil extracted from the seeds. Safflower seed oil is flavorless and colorless, and nutritionally similar to sunflower oil. Carthamus tinctorius is used in some testosterone boosters, probably because of its possible 5-aplha reductase inhibition properties. In a study evaluating 14 Thai plants, Carthamus tinctorius was the most potent 5α-reductase inhibitor and hair growth promoter.

Chitosan

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Chitosan is a popular dietary supplement marketed to decrease body weight via limiting fat absorption in the body and is known as a fat binder. High quality trials indicate minimal effect of chitosan on body weight and is unlikely to be of clinical significance. Richard B. Kreider and co-workers have categorised chitosan as apparently not effective. One study showed that it would take more than 7 months for a male to lose 1 pound.

Chlorophytum borivilianum

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Chlorophytum borivilianum [also known as Safed Musli] has recently been suggested that it may produce an aphrodisiac agent and its roots are used medicinally as a sex tonic. It is added to bodybuilding supplements for its possible growth hormone enhancing properties. Chlorophytum borivilianum has been show to improve sleep quality and growth hormone in combination with Velvet Been [Mucuna Pruriens]. Scientist believe that Velvet bean [Mucuna Pruriens] played a more important role in growth hormone stimulation than Chlorophytum borivilianum.

Cinnamon [Cinnulin]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Cinnamon is a spice from the dried aromatic bark of the cinnamon tree. Companies strive to develop formulations in order to maximize creatine absorption and may also provide a means to either partially bypass or up-regulate the function of creatine transporter-1. It has been observed that cinnamon extract [Cinnulin] mimics the effects of insulin, thereby up-regulating glucose uptake and insulin signaling. One study concluded that Cinnulin combined with creatine monohydrate was no more effective than creatine monohydrate alone in increasing muscle creatine concentration. However, total body lean tissue mass was close to being statistically greater in the Cinnulin group when compared to creatine only.

Conezyme Q10

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Coenzyme Q10 [abbreviated as CoQ10] is vitamin-like substance that is oil-soluable and is present in almost every cell, primarily in the mitochondria. CoQ10 helps convert food into energy and is a powerful antioxidant. Some studies are reporting improvements in aerobic and anaerobic power but further research is needed. It has also been reported that CoQ10 significantly reduced all-cause mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.

Conjugated linoleic acid [CLA]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Conjugated linoleic acid [CLA] has been studied in humans in order to investigate its effects on weight management. The CLAs impact on fat loss is modest but is effective at recommended dosage of 3.2g CLA/day and produces significant fat loss [cca. 90 g / week] and it may also increase lean body mass [about 1% per week]. Another study showed that coingesting conjugated linoleic acid, creatine and protein further increased lean tissue mass.

Cordyceps sinensis [Caterpillar Mushroom]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Cordyceps sinensis [or Caterpillar Mushroom] has been used for hundreds of years as medicinal mushroom. There are two abstract-only studies published which showed significantly increased aerobic capacity in elderly and other a significant improvements in VO2max. However, recent studies do not support these claims. At this time, it is premature to conclude that Cordyceps sinensis does or does not possess ergogenic properties.

Creatine

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Creatine is naturally produced in the human body from L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. It increases creatine phosphate, which in turn boosts ATP production [source of energy]. Creatine Monohydrate is considered the industries gold standard, however, companies strvie to make a better form of creatine. To date, all are either same or worse in effect. Doses ranging from 5 to 20 grams per day appear to be very safe and largely without adverse side-effects.

Creatinol-O-Phosphate

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Creatinol-O-Phosphate is a cardioprotective drug and structural analog of creatine, and may serve as source of creatine. In theory on the inside of a cell, creatinol-o-phosphate loses its attached phosphate which is used to form the high-energy molecule, ATP. There is a lack of clinical studies conducted with Creatinol-o-phosphate that assess its benefits on exercise performance. Despite the fact, it is present in many supplements available today.

D

D-Aspartic Acid

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: D-Aspartic acid [DAA, D-Asp] is an endogenous amino acid which occurs in a high concentration in the pineal gland. It is involved in luteinizing hormone, testosterone, GABA and dopamine release. Studies are reporting 30-60% higher serum testosterone in subfertile men. One Italian study noted significantly increased levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone in 23 men with D-Aspartic acid [3 g per day] ingestion.

Deer Antler Velvet Extract

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Deer antler velvet is the highly vascular skin that covers the bone and cartilage, which supplies oxygen and nutrients while an antler is growing. Extract is claimed to increase growth hormone levels and increase strength. One study concluded that findings do not support aerobic ergogenic effect of deer antler velvet powder due to inconsistent results. However, one another study suggested that antler velvet may be an effective ergogenic aid.

Dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA] also known as androstenolone or prasterone is an endogenous steroid hormone, that is produced in the adrenal glands, the gonads, and the brain. It is often added to supplements muscle builder or fat burner. Some studies show increase in testosterone, but without signs of increased muscle mass or changes in body composition, while others show no increase in testosterone. It appears that doses of DHEA ranging around 100-150 mg elevate testosterone levels but that does not translate to increased muscle mass.

Dendrobium extract [Dendrobex, Dendrobium nobile]

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Dendrobium extract is extract from Dendrobium nobile [member of orchid plant family]. Dendrobium extract can be found in some pre-workout supplements in order to boost athletic performance. It is even argued to be a replacement for the stimulant dimethylamylamine [DMAA]. Dendrobium extract [as Dendrobex] has been advertised as an energy replenisher and is said to be beneficial in rehydration.

Diindolylmethane [DIM]

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Diindolylmethane is a compound derived from chemical breakdown of indole-3-carbinol. Diindolylmethane promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism in both sexes by reducing the levels of bad estrogens and increasing the formation of good estrogens, resulting in increased antioxidant activity. In vitro studies have demonstrated the ability of diindolylmethane to decreased aromatase activities. Diindolylmethane is even claimed to facilitate weight loss but here’s no scientific evidence to support this. Because it is relatively new to the area of research not many research is available.

Ecdysterone

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Ecdysterone [20-Beta-Hydroxyecdysterone] is a plant sterol that has been a promotion of protein synthesis, maintenance of anabolic state, and enhancement of lean muscle mass.

Ephedra sinica [Ephedra, Ephedrine, ma huang]

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Ephedra has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years. The stimulant and thermogenic effects of Ephedra sinica is due to the presence of the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These compounds stimulate the brain, increases blood pressure, increases heart rate, increased thermogenesis. In August 2006 FDA has banned Ephedra in the U.S. due to accumulating evidence of adverse effects and deaths related to its use.

Eurycoma longifolia Jack [Longjack]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Eurycoma longifolia Jack is a plant also known as Longjack, Malaysian Ginseng or Tongkat Ali that has gained notoriety as a symbol of man’s ego and strength by the Malaysian men because it increases male virility and sexual prowess during sexual activities. The plant parts have been traditionally used for its antimalarial, aphrodisiac, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial and fever reduction activities, which have also been proved scientifically. Eurycoma longifolia Jack a.k.a Longjack seems to increases testosterone levels in humans and animals with hypogonadism [or clinical signs of hypogonadism]. There is lack of studies on otherwise healthy subjects.

Fenugreek

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Fenugreek has many pharmacological effects and is lately very popular in bodybuilding world. The effect of fenugreek on fat index of diabetic patients with high cholesterol showed that this plant reduced fats significantly. It has also been successfully used for nursing mothers as it may increase mothers milk supply. Fenugreek seems to have positive effects on body composition in combination with resistance training by decreasing body fat percentage but its consumption can actually increase estrogen levels and can potentially cause gynecomastia [male breast growth]. Though fenugreek is, by some companies, sold as »testosterone booster«, studies do not support this claim.

Folic Acid [Folate, Vitamin B9, Vitamin M]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Folic acid [also known as folate, vitamin M, vitamin B9, pteroyl-L-glutamic acid] is a form of water-soluble vitamin B. Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9, found in supplements, while folate occurs naturally in foods. Folic acid plays an important role in brain developement and is especially important in the stages of rapid growth, such as pregnancy, infancy and adolescence. All B vitamins help the body convert food into fuel.

G

Gamma aminobutyric acid [GABA]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Gamma aminobutyric acid [GABA] is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system of mammals and is directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone. Study examining the effect of 5 g gamma aminobutyric acid on growth hormone and prolactin secretion in 19 healthy men showed a significant elevation of plasma growth hormone levels. Another study showd that GABA and exercise caused 200% greater growth hormone increase than exercise and placebo. As a dietary supplement GABA is also sold for its relaxing effect and sleep support.

Gamma Oryzanol

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Gamma oryzanol is a substance derived from rice bran oil. Gamma oryzanol is being consumed by bodybuilders due to its supposed anabolic effects. The compound is claimed to increase testosterone production and stimulate human growth hormone release, as well as improving strength during resistance exercise training. Studies show no differences between gamma oryzanol and placebo. Furthermore, scientific studies indicate that gamma oryzanol is poorly absorbed. It has been shown that less than 5% orally supplemented oryzanol is absorbed.

Glutamine

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Glutamine is also extensively used in bodybuilding world. It is marketed as a supplement used for muscle growth. While some studies show oral glutamine supplementation decreases protein degradation and increase protein synthesis, many studies found no beneficial effect of glutamine supplementation. The lack of effect may be due to the consumption of glutamine by many other tissues before reaching the skeletal muscles.

Glycocyamine [Guanidinoacetic acid]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Glycocyamine [Guanidinoacetic acid or GAA] is a direct precursor of creatine and is naturally occurring in the human body. Research in rats has shown that short-term oral glycocyamine administration increases the serum level of creatine to a similar extent like the same dose of creatine. It is said to benefit most to creatine non-responders. There are some safety concersn that its supplementation can result in the production of fatty livers and in the reduction of liver choline.

Green Coffee

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Green coffee extract is marketed as a weight loss supplement. Its main conctituent is chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid is a plant compound that may have some effect on keeping down glucose absorption. Human and animal trials to some extent support these claims. However, the significance is moderate.

Green Tea

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Resistance training can increase the production of free radicals resulting in oxidation of the cellular components, such as lipids and proteins. Studies show that green tea consumption reduces oxidative stress post workout and offers a protective effect against oxidative damaged induced by resistance exercise. Many studies have also shown that green tea consumption is associated with enhanced cardiovascular and metabolic health. Green tea is also used as a weight loss supplement which many studies support.

L

L-alanyl-L-glutamine [Sustamine]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: L-alanyl-L-glutamine [also known as Sustamine™] is the combination of glutamine and alanine. Glutamine supplementation alone has shown to enhance fluid and electrolyte absorption but gives inconsistent effects probably due to stability issues of glutamine in the gut. When glutamine is combined with alanine the ability to enhance electrolyte and fluid absorption appears to be greater than glutamine alone and it appears to have greater stability. Studies show that rehydrating with L-alanyl-L-glutamine minimizes the destructive effects of dehydration.

L-Arginine

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: L-arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid and it plays an important role in cell division, immune function, release of hormones and wound healing. Arginine is the immediate precursor of nitric oxide, urea, ornithine, and agmatine, it is also necessary for the synthesis of creatine. L-arginine is claimed to promote widening of blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide production in muscles during exercise, improving strength, power and muscular recovery. However studies contrast each other. L-arginine supplementation only seems to aid in nitric oxide synthesis when body is in L-arginine deficiency.

L-Carnitine

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Carnitine is biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. L-carnitine has been increasingly popular as a potential ergogenic aid because of its role in the conversion of fat into energy. Its claims for a weight loss agent are based on the assumption that oral supplementation increases intracellular concentrations of L-carnitine. This would increase the fat oxidation and reduce body’s fat reserves. However, several studies have shown that oral carnitine ingestion does not change muscle carnitine levels and does not promote weight loss.

L-Citrulline

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: L-Citrulline is an amino acid component of the urea cycle in the liver [along with Arginine and Ornithine]. Citrulline supplementation may facilitate the detoxification of ammonia, which acumulates during high-intensity exercise. Since it is easily taken up by the gut it seems more efficient than supplementation with arginine to provide arginine. Animal studies show increased anaerobic performance and repressed blood ammonia. Human studies show that oral citrulline malate supplementation [6 to 8 grams daily] increases aerobic and anaerobic performance.

L-Lysine

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: L-Lysine [or Lysine, Lysine HCL, L-2,6-diaminohexanoic acid] is an essential amino acid for humans. Amino acids like lysine are the building blocks of protein and are important for proper growth. Most people get enough lysine in their diet, although athletes may need more. Combination of Lysine and Arginine seem to increase growth hormone secretion especially at rest.

L-Ornithine

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Ornithine is an amino acid that plays a role in the urea cycle. Ornithine is used for improving athletic performance. Taken in conjunction with arginine it may increase growth hormone secretion. However, many studies that showed these results are seriously flawed and inappropriate. The use of specific amino acids to induce growth hormone release may not be very effective in strength-trained individuals consuming high-protein diets. Diets high in protein apparently increase basal growth hormone levels

L-Tartrate

RATING:

DESCRIPTION: A tartrate is a salt or ester of the organic compound tartaric acid and it is used in some supplements to improve absorption of another substance. As food additives, tartrates are used as antioxidants, acidity regulators, and emulsifiers.

Lepidium meyenii [Maca]

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Lepidium meyenii [Maca], grows in the central Andes of Peru at altitudes between 4000 and 4500 m and it has been proved to be effective in improving sexual desire in men, and sexual behavior in male rats and mice. Though studies show increased sexual desire maca failed to increase any of the hormones. Maca has been used lately in some testosterone boosters and is marketed as such but studies do not support these claims. There are three varieties of maca [black, red, and yellow] and black maca was the only on showing significant biological effects. Black maca may improves learning and memory.

M

Melatonin

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and it helps regulate other hormones. It has been shown that oral melatonin ingestion at doses of 500 mg and 12 mg increases growth hormone in males.

Methoxyisoflavone

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Methoxyisoflavone [5-Methyl-7-methoxyisoflavone] is a member of the flavonoids [isoflavones] family that are primarily found in soybeans and soy foods [2]. Animal based research suggests that methoxyisoflavone supplementation promotes muscle and bone building without the side effects of hormone replacement therapy that would give similar results. Studies on humans do not support the claims of methoxyisoflavone as ergogenic aid.

Milk Thistle [Silybum marianum]

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Milk thistle [also known as Silybum marianum], is one of the oldest and most researched plants in the treatment of alcoholic, toxic, and viral liver diseases. High quality studies mostly conclude that milk thistle versus placebo has no significant effect on mortality, complications of liver disease, or liver histology. Studies show no significantly increased risk of adverse effects.

Mucuna pruriens

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume known as velvet bean, cowitch or cowhage. The seeds of Mucuna Pruriens have been traditionally used for treating male sexual dysfunction. Mucuna pruriens supplementation has been shown to increase circulating dopamine levels in healthy male controls, possibly through the main ingredient of L-Dopa [levodopa]. Some studies show that mucuna pruriens supplementation significantly improved testosterone, luteinizing hormone, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline levels in infertile men. However, it is not know if its supplementation can increase testosterone levels in fertile healthy men but it sure does have the potential.

P

Pausinystalia yohimbe [Yohimbe]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Yohimbine is an alkaloid with stimulant and aphrodisiac effects found naturally in the bark of Pausinystalia yohimbe [Yohimbe]. Yohimbe is most often used to treat erectile dysfunction, sexual problems caused by medications for depression, and general sexual problems in both men and women. Researchers concluded in one study that yohimbine combined with resistance training does not significantly alter the body mass, muscle mass, or performance but it nonetheless appears to be suitable as a fat loss strategy in elite athletes. One other study reported that yohimbine supplementation significantly increased weight loss compared to placebo. However, its oral ingestion appears to be unsafe.

Piper Nigrum [Black pepper, Bioperine, Piperine)

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Piperine is a naturally occurring compound of black pepper [Piper nigrum Linn] and long pepper [Piper longum Linn]. Piperine, an alkaloid [1-peperoyl piperidine], has the potential to enhance the serum levels nutrients in animals and humans. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of some nutrients. Piperine favorably stimulates the digestive enzymes of pancreas which enhances the digestive capacity and significantly reduces the gastrointestinal food transit time. Piperine can also attenuate free radicals and reactive oxygen species and has been shown to protect against oxidative damage in vitro.

Pomegranate [Punica granatum]

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: The pomegranate [or Punica granatum] is a symbol of life, longevity, health, femininity, fecundity, knowledge, morality, immortality and spirituality. Scientific studies have laid a credible foundation for some of the traditional medical uses of the pomegranate. Pomegranate fruits are very rich in anthocyanin [potent antioxidant flavonoid]. Besides its antioxidant properties studies have shown that anthocyanin also has anti-carcinogenic potential.

Propionyl-L-Carnitine [GlycoCarn]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine [GlycoCarn] is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body. It helps the body produce energy and is important for heart function, muscle movement, and many other body processes. Athletes are reporting favorable results regarding exercise performance. However, one of the earlier studies in sedentary subject didn’t yield any performance enhancing effects. On the other hand some studies are reporting very favorable performance effects of Glycine propionyl-l-carnitine but are all sponsored by its manufacturer and patent holder.

Protein

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Proteins are molecules that consist of one or more chains of amino acids. They are a structural component of muscle and other tissues in the body. Number of investigations involving strength and endurance athletes have shown that exercise increases the protein and amino acid need. Many studies are showing that bodybuilders need to ingest from 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily, for maximal muscle hypertrophy to occur. Whey has the highest biological value, thus being superior to both milk and casein, while casein forms a gel or cloth in the stomach which results in sustained release of amino acids.

Q

Quercetin

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Quercetin is a type of plant-based chemical that is claimed to be a powerful antioxidant with positive effects on exercise endurance with faster recovery. Several laboratory studies noted quercetin may have anti-inflammatory properties and in vitro studies showed antioxidant properties but not in vivo. Furthermore, 1000 mg of Quercetin a day for three weeks failed to attenuate muscle damage. Quercetin is generally considered safe.

R

Rhodiola rosea

RATING: ★★★★★

DESCRIPTION: Rhodiola rosea [also known as rose root] is a plant that grows in arctic and cold regions of the world. Rhodiola rosea has been theorized to enhance endurance performance through a stimulating effect. Studies show that acute ingestion of Rhodiola rosea increases endurance capacity. It also appears to have a beneficial effect in enhancing sexual function.

Ribose [D-Ribose]

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Ribose [D-Ribose] is an organic compound [3-carbon carbohydrate] that is involved in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate [ATP]. Manufacturers most often claim that it can improve endurance and energy, reduce muscle fatigue and increase post-workout recovery. Some studies have reported that ribose supplementation may rapidly replenish adenosine triphosphate stores and thereby improves exercise performance. However, most other studies do not support this. According to current research available it seems that ribose supplementation does not improve aerobic or anaerobic performance.

S

Serenoa repens [Saw Palmetto]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Saw palmetto, also known as Serenoa repens, is a small palm with fruits highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols [also beta-sitosterol]. In medicine it is most often used for treating of benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]. Some preliminary studies also show promise for treating other medical conditions such as baldness.

Sulfo-polysaccharide

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Sulfo-polysaccharide is a nutrient that is advertised to bind to myostatin and inhibit its activity in muscle. Sulfo-polysaccharide’s active ingredient is a brown sea algae known as cystoseira canariensis. Recent studies do not support any of the claims marketed.

T

Taurine [2-aminoethanesulfonic acid]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Taurine is an organic acid often found in some energy drinks. Animal studies are reporting beneficial effect of taurine ingestion on physical endurance. Human clinical trials noted significant increases in VO2max and cycle ergometer exercise time to exhaustion. Authors attributed the ergogenic effect to taurine’s antioxidant activity. Taurine and beta-alanine seem to counteract each other. Beta-alanine is a rival of taurine, since they both share the same transporter.

Tribulus terrestris

RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Tribulus terrestris is an herbal nutritional supplement that is promoted to produce large gains in strength and lean muscle mass in 5-28 days. However, current evidence suggests that it does not enhance sports performance. Tribulus terrestris became widely known when Bulgarian Olympic athletes claimed that use of tribulus had contributed to their success. There are a few studies that show benefits for athletic performance from Tribulus terrestris ingestion but many other studies are not as promising. Side effects are rare but pregnant women should stay away from this supplement as animal studies show problems in fetal development.

Tyrosine

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid and a a precursor to some hormones and neurotransmitters [epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine]. Therefore, tyrosine has been suggested to be ergogenic. Many studies failed to show performance improvement with tyrosine supplementation. However, tyrosine seems to improve workout in very warm conditions as heat may become limiting to the dopamine synthesis.

Vitamin B1 [Thiamine]

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Thiamine [Thiamin or vitamin B1], as thiamine pyrophosphate, plays an important role in the metabolism of both carbohydrate and the branched-chain amino acids. It has been noted that active individuals with poor nutritional status for a B-vitamin may have decreased ability to perform exercise at high intensities. Administration of thiamine [100 mg/day for 3 days] has proven to reduce serum lactate and improve resistance to fatigue. On the other hand, two studies suggest that thiamine supplementation does not influence physical activity or the levels of serum lactate. While supplementing with thiamine may be beneficial, its deficiency can lead to some serious troubles.

Vitamin B2 [Riboflavin]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2 is an easily absorbed, water-soluble micronutrient with a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals. It has been suggested that the need for many of the B vitamins increases during exercise because of their role as coenzymes in the oxidative processes of cells. Riboflavin is necessary for the synthesis of two important coenzymes that play an important role in the metabolism of glucose, fatty acids, glycerol, and amino acids for energy. Therefore, the needs for riboflavin have been linked to energy intake and expenditure. Studies are showing that supplementing with riboflavin does not improve training ability.

Vitamin B3 [Niacin]

RATING:

DESCRIPTION: Niacin falso known as vitamin B3, nicotinic acid and vitamin PP] is an organic compound composed of two structures: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide [also known as niacinamide and nicotinic acid amide]. Aerobic exercise and niacin or niacinamide are frequently used strategies for reducing serum triglycerides. Athletes show no evidence of niacin deficiency except those on restricted weight control diet.

Vitamin C [Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbate]

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Vitamin C [L-ascorbic acid, ascorbate] is an essential nutrient for humans. It is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Bodybuilders often supplement with Vitamin C because intense muscular work can result in oxidative stress. Some studies are showing that administration of vitamin C significantly impaired endurance capacity probably because it prevents some cellular adaptations to exercise. Excess vitamin c may even delayed recovery. It is probably also inefficient for cortisol attenuation.

Vitamin D

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Vitamin D is actually not an essential dietary vitamin as it can be synthesized in adequate amounts by most mammals exposed to sunlight. The body makes vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to the sun. Some is suggesting an association of vitamin D [25-hydroxyvitamin D] with testosterone levels in men. Vitamine D deficit is associated with muscle weakness, whereas vitamin D supplementation may improve muscle function.

Vitamin E

RATING: ★★★★☆

DESCRIPTION: Vitamin E is the name for a group of fat-soluble compounds [tocopherols and tocotrienols] with distinctive antioxidant activities. Most studies, but not all, support the hypothesis that vitamin E supplementation has a protective effect against exercise-induced oxidative damage. Vitamin E supplementation [900 IU alpha-tocopherol acetate daily for 6 months] falied to have any beneficial effect on endurance in well-trained swimmers. Vitamin E deficiency adversely affects skeletal muscle, and it can lead to muscle degradation in humans.

Vitamin K

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin [like vitamin A, D, and E]. Vitamin K is also known as the clotting vitamin, because it is necessary for normal blood clotting and without it blood would not clot. Some studies have suggested the link between low blood levels of vitamin K and increased risk for some types of cance, though deficiency is very rare.

Z

Zinc

RATING: ★★★☆☆

DESCRIPTION: It is believed that Zinc possesses antioxidant properties, which may slow down aging of the skin and muscles of the body. However, studies differ as to its effectiveness. Zinc deficiency reduces circulating luteinizing hormone and testosterone concentrations, thereby causing male reproductive dysfunction. Zinc deficiency appears to inhibit some growth related hormones but its excessive use does not increase them above normal levels.

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