This section takes a look at the “odds and
ends” of current supplementation use.
I give my opinion on what works, and what
The recommendations of this section are based on
current scientific knowledge.
Although most of these substances are good for
something, my judgement on them is based entirely on
safety and performance enhancing (ergogenic) ability.
Boy, what a broad band of functionalities these
substances have. They
can increase growth hormone release, they can precurse
more biologically active compounds, they can effect
moods, sleep, energy levels, act as muscle cell
Amino acids are generally classified as
‘Essential’ or ‘Non-Essential’ or a new
classification emerging known as ‘conditionally
‘Essential aminos’ are amino acids the body
cannot manufacture itself and so has to get through
‘Non-Essential aminos’ are the other main
comprises of amino acids which the body can manufacture
itself from other aminos.
‘Conditionally Essential aminos’ are a small
class contained within the ‘non-essential’ category of aminos. Under
certain conditions of stress (exercise) the body cannot
manufacture enough of the ‘non-essential’ amino
acids and so under these conditions it is essential that
it be provided through dietary intake - hence the term
Ornithine, Carnitine, Tyrosine, Glycine, Gaba,
Histidine, Cysteine, Cystine, Proline,
Aspartic Acid, Citrucline, Serine.
Collectively the three amino acids Isoleucine,
Leucine and Valine are known as the BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO
A recently discovered metabolite of Leucine,
known as HMB (beta Hydroxy beta Methylbutyrate) now
joins the ranks with creatine monohydrate as a proven
slows muscle breakdown following training and thus the
anabolic environment set up by the workout is fully
utilised for new growth rather than recovery. Researchers believe that at least 30 grams of leucine is
required for the body to manufacture 3 grams of
grams of HMB
per day is an effective dose for an 80kg bodybuilder.
Arginine has long been acknowledged as a potent
stimulator of growth hormone release when infused
Leucine and glutamine also raise levels of growth
Glutamine boosts the immune system and may have a
cell volumizing effect - not unlike creatine.
(See Glutamine Section II Recovery p 35).
Carnitine is responsible for transporting fats
into the mitochondria (furnace part) of a cell.
(See Carnitine Section I Energy Systems p 25,
Section III Fat Loss p 47).
Individual amino acids of significance are listed
under their name.
This is a very general term used to describe a
wide variety of substances which have different
An antioxidant is a substance that neutralizes
the damaging effects of free radicals (electrons) which
are a by product of oxidation.
Antioxidants can be vitamins, minerals, or herbs
derived from a diverse range of substances eg Vit C, Vit E, Green Tea, pine bark, grape seed.
All these substances are or contain antioxidants.
Some are more potent than others.
Some work along slightly different pathways.
The following is a list of some of the best
antioxidants and how they can be of help.
VIT C -
3 grams per day
VIT E -
500iu per day
(carrots), lycopene (tomatoes))
100mg per day
100mcg per day
Proanthocyanidins (pine bark, grape seed extract)
200mg per day
(reported to be 40 times more powerful than
the vitamin antioxidants)
Cysteine, (Amino Acids)
400mg per day
Bilberry, Rosemary, Ginkgo biloba , Alfalafa (lucerne)
Glutathione (most abundant water-soluble
antioxidant inside of cells)
200mg per day
Bioflavonoids (quercetin, rutin and hesperidin)
antioxidants will not enhance immediate athletic
performance, over a career span they will provide an
edge by helping to minimize the damaging (and
‘ageing’) effects of free radicals.
A daily ‘Multi’ Antioxidant would be a good
idea. The dosages suggested for the above categories of
antioxidants are amounts which have proven to be
and various other glandulars are the ground up
and freeze dried constituents of animal glands.
They contain negligible amounts of active
And even then, most if not all genetic
information that was contained will be destroyed during
digestion, since genetic information is coded in DNA as
a specific protein.
Oral glandulars like all proteins, are broken
down during digestion.
To have any possibility of working, glandulars
would need to contain around 100 times the amount of
active hormone generally found in commercial Freeze
Dried glandular products.
With so many other effective supplements now
available, don’t waste your money on expensive low
An adrenal hormone and is the direct precursor to
is made in both males and females.
It is also found in the pollen of certain pine
trees classing it as a ‘dietary supplement’.
This is one to watch out for.
More research is required on its effects on
athletes - if any and potential side-effects.
Keep your eyes on the thrillseekers (first to try
anything type of mentality) and see with your own eyes
any results - good or bad.
Ever since Boron was shown to slightly increase
testosterone in post-menopausal women it has been sold
as a dietary supplement.
Too bad it has absolutely no effect on
testosterone in healthy athletes.
Don’t waste your money.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables if you want
Acronym for 3 AMINO ACIDS (LEUCINE, ISOLEUCINE,
and VALINE) formed in a BRANCHED CHAIN.
In high enough doses, may help improve recovery.
However, much of this may be a result of a
metabolite much more active than the original Amino
amino acid I’m talking of is Leucine and its
metabolite is HMB.
Since HMB has been scientifically proven to aid
muscle growth in persons training, I would much rather
put all my money on the ‘SURE THING’, despite its
steep price, and use HMB instead.
May be good for other things, but definitely not
for improving athletic performance.
Even high doses 20-30 grams per day which does
have a mentally stimulating effect (Buzz) has no
effect on performance.
Don't take for improving athletic performance.
A hormone which converts to ANDROSTENEDIONE which
then converts to Testosterone.
Has been shown to increase testosterone levels in
Classed as a Dietary supplement - Personal Use
If you’re young, forget it DHEA only works in
restoring an older persons steroid production to levels
of when they were younger.
Consult your doctor if you decide to try DHEA.
EPHEDRA is the herbal precursor of Ephedrine - a
Like Ephedrine, Ephedra is classed as an S4 drug.
Ephedrine in the form of Ephidrine Hydrochloride
requires a prescription.
On its own but especially when combined with
Caffeine and Aspirin, Ephedra will accelerate fat
burning while retaining muscle mass. An effective ratio is:
300 mg Aspirin
Consult your doctor.
At first glance appears to be a miss-spelt
acronym for CRAP, and at a second glance I think it is!
Gamma Oryzanol/Ferulic Acid (FRAC) is derived
from rice bran which is definitely a good source of
fibre, but will have absolutely no
I think this one belongs in the toilet.
From the Amazonian jungles comes this brown
coloured powder which has been crushed from dried
guarana seeds. The
active ingredient is caffeine (around 4%) which is a
powerful central nervous system stimulant with many
performance enhancing properties.
If you’re after a natural source of caffeine,
then Guarana is worth trying.
However, coffee and pure caffeine are both much
more cost effective.
Used in the belief that it will increase energy
I think the only thing it will increase is the
ache in your big toe if you suffer from gout.
Use Creatine instead.
(Ketoisocaproate) is a metabolite of Leucine
which then metabolizes to HMB.
Useful for recovery but not as effective as HMB.
Use HMB instead.
NOT TO BE MISTAKEN WITH LEUCINE (AMINO
Lucerne or Alfalfa is a highly nitrogenous herb.
LEUCINE is an Amino Acid.
However, Lucerne contains high levels of the
amino acid leucine along with HMB, every other amino
acid, vitamins/minerals and antioxidants.
Lucerne is a complete protein, high in fibre, low
in fat and in concentrated form (30 x or greater) is an
extremely valuable supplement for muscle growth.
This is largely due to its ability to supply the
body with HMB.
Despite the expense of
high quality herbal extracts, is definitely worth
using and may even prove to be more effective than HMB
(MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES)
source of fuel (from coconut oil) which acts more like a
carbohydrate than a fat (fast
Very popular a decade ago.
Excessive amounts cause diarrhoea.
Experiment if you like but I wouldn’t recommend
it for either fat loss or muscle growth or energy.
Go hand in hand with Vitamins.
If any are deficient, peak performance will be
Imbalances may also hinder performance.
Take a high quality one a day Multi Mineral
is a revival of wheat germ oil, advertised as the
wonder fuel for athletes 30 years ago.
Octacosanol, a white alcohol, was theorized to be
the active ingredient in wheat-germ oil. Advertisements
suggested it would increase energy and stamina,
presumably by increasing oxygen consumption and glycogen
metabolism in the muscle.
No research has been uncovered to support the
contention that octacosanol will improve glycogen
metabolism, oxygen consumption, or for that matter, any
other physiological function that would improve physical
Save your money.
This is a very new supplement, which I understand
may soon be available through Ironman magazine, not to
be mistaken with Phosphatidyl Choline, derived from
Not a lot of information is available as yet to
its effectiveness, but the theory of how it could work
Phosphatidylserine is derived from soybean liquid
extracts and has been shown to have an effect on the
body’s production of cortisol - the catabolic hormone
that cannabolizes muscles when excessive.
The theory behind PS is that if you can limit the
cortisol increases that are a by-product of heavy
training, you may be able to prevent excess muscle
tissue breakdown, thereby allowing greater muscle
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, (P
Monteleone et al “BLUNTING BY CHRONIC
PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE ADMINISTRATION OF THE STRESS-INDUCED
ACTIVATION OF THE HYPOTHALAMO-PITUITARY-ADRENAL AXIS IN
HEALTHY MEN” EUR J CLIN PHARMACOL, 41(1992):385-388),
subjects took placebo or 800mg per day of PS for 10
were then exercised intensely to induce physical stress.
Cortisol levels were measured.
In the placebo group, cortisol levels rose
significantly after exercise.
The PS group showed a significant blunting of
Researchers hypothesize that PS may counteract
stress-induced activation of the pituitary-adrenal axis
- a hormone feedback system.
PS may be a valuable supplement, but no studies
have yet been done to evaluate whether or not it will
produce an increase in muscle mass and/or strength.
Try it for a month.
If it seems to work, experiement with dosages and
timing to evaluate its effectiveness.
Try taking 800mg per day in two divided doses.
400mg in morning and 400mg before workouts or
before going to bed on non-training days.
Experiment with and between meals.
is the exclusive food of queen bees.
High in vitamins/minerals and trace amounts of
just about everything, royal jelly certainly will do you
Royal jelly has not been proven to have any
effect on athletic performance.
However, it may be an anti-bacterial agent, and
an anti-inflammatory to aid in the healing of wounds.
It may also strengthen the immune system and act
as an anti-ageing compound.
If you’re after short term improved athletic
performance, save your money.
Makes you smile - but I bet not half as much as
the manufacturers of this ‘useless for improving
physical performance’ substance whose advertising
tries to tell you otherwise.
Steer clear of this one.
A conditionally essential amino acid.
This is the second most abundant amino acid in
the body (glutamine is the most) and may be produced
from Methionine, Cysteine and B6.
Taurine may act as an insulin mimicker and as
such may enhance glucose and amino acid metabolism.
Because of its cell volumizing effects it may
enhance protein metabolism and research A Militello, et
al, Effect of Taurine Administration on Amino Acid and
3-Methylhistidine Concentrations in Man (Vienna,
Austria: 41st INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON AMINO ACIDS,
1995) reveals it may help decrease muscle breakdown.
The dose used was 500mg three times a day.
Expect to find this amino being added to many new
proven but promising.
(SULFATE American spelling)
This one’s a bit controversial.
One side saying it works, the other side saying
it’s toxic and should be taken off the market.
Vanadyl may mimick insulin and possible
insulin-like effects. Insulin is quite anabolic.
Some studies have shown Vanadyl to be toxic to
More research is required to find out exactly
what Vanadyl does and doesn’t do.
Bodybuilders use it and claim that it gives them
fuller, harder muscles and a better more vascular pump.
Don’t overdo it until more research has been
done on its toxicity.
The recommended dose of 30mg per day in divided
doses is sufficient to see the effects. This dosage does not so far appear to be toxic.
It should be taken with meals.
If you lack in any, performance may be adversely
As an insurance policy, take one high quality
multi vitamin supplement per day, with a meal.
(YOHIMBINE HYDROCHLORIDE) is derived from the
dried bark of Corynauthe Johimbe, a tree native to
Gabon, the Southern Cameroons and the French Congo in
is widely used as an aphrodisiac. Yohimbe does not
contain any testosterone.
It is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist (A2) which
has been shown to actually decrease fat synthesis in the
body (D Miller - Wieland, et al Horm Metab Res 26.4
(1994):169-172) as well as increase fatty acid
mobilization from fat stores in women - especially
around hips. (M Berlan, et al In J Obes 15.5
Metabolic slow-down and accumulated lower body
fat in women can be blamed in part on an excess of A2
binding up the A2 receptors, the decrease in
nora-drenaline production caused by extended dieting
should be blocked.
The common dosage of yohimbine HCL used in the
medical profession is one 5.4mg tablet three times per
Studies have shown that increased dosages may be less
effective - so don’t take a “more-is-better”
However, the yohimbe in herb form may require
1000mg yohimbe herb in the morning with food and 1000mg
in the evening with dinner to provide an effective dose.
forms part of numerous essential enzymes for
hundreds of different functions in your body, from cell
growth to testosterone production.
The body pool is small and has to be constantly
replaced from the diet.
Inadequate zinc, even for one week, retards
muscle growth and weakens immunity. (Hambidge KM, et al
Zinc In: Mertz W ed. TRACE ELEMENTS IN HUMAN AND ANNUAL
NUTRITION 5th EDITION VOL 2, New York: Academic Press,
The best sources of zinc are meats, eggs and
sure you are consuming these foods regularly in your
causes of fatigue and reduced performance during
prolonged exercise is depletion of muscle glycogen and
dehydration. Severe dehydration can be fatal…so there
is a real need to ensure adequate fluid intake before,
during, and after exercise.The rate of gastric emptying
is influenced by the amount of carbohydrate in the drink
solution, and what is optimal for substrate
replenishment(glycogen recharge) will actually inhibit
re-hydration. A solution of around 8% glucose
with dilute sodium and other electrolytic mineral salts
is a good balance for primarily
hydration, with energy replacement secondary.
volume of fluid consumed after exercise should exceed
the sweat loss (which can be established by the change
in bodyweight), perhaps by about 50% ( Ron Maughan, PhD)