were first publicized when Sandy Shaw and Durk Pearson came out with their book, Life
Extension. Their studies showed Arginine-Ornithine increased the secretion of growth
hormone. Many bodybuilders have noticed that their muscle pump is enhanced when they take
ornithine and arginine. It is now recommended to take Lysine along with
Arginine, to prevent the outbreak of latent herpes, to further promote growth-hormone
release, and to otherwise balance amino acids.
Free-Form Amino Acids are taken
by many successful bodybuilders.They give an edge when it comes to muscle size, strength
B-6 helps the utilization of
protein foods, as well as fats and carbohydrates. It is best taken as part of a balanced
Bee Pollen has been found to have
a nourishing and energizing effect. Bodybuilders take it before a session, to energize,
intensify, and lengthen their workouts. One proponent of the "apiary
life-style", Royden Brown, claims in his book, Bee Hive Product Bible, to have
rejuvenated his body by consuming large amounts of bee pollen and other bee products.
Branch-chain amino acids,
specifically, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, have been shown to be the primary
components of muscle protein. Ingesting increased amounts of these important nutrients
during and after working-out offers the muscle cells their preferred nutrition, helping
exercise to increase muscle size and strength. This effect occurs in part because these
amino acids provide a substrate for glutamine, an essential nutrient both for the muscle
cells and for cell replication in the immune system, and in part because the branch-chain
aminos are burned for fuel, sparing other aminos for tissue growth.
Carnitine is known for it's
ability to increase the utilization of stored body-fat, helping people to slim down and
increase lean muscle mass. Most often they also notice a significant increase in energy,
partly due to feeling better about their new size and partly due to the energy derived
from the better burning of fat. Carnitine is also considered protective of heart function,
both because the heart uses lipids as the source of most of it's energy, and because it
helps to reduce blood levels of fat and triglycerides. Bodybuilders find carnitine
especially useful when cutting-up, because it helps transport cellular fat, speeding the
Chromium Picolinate is the
brainchild of Dr. Gary Evans, a chemistry professor at Bemidji State University. His
studies showed that the compound "bulked-up" lean muscle mass and cut down
body-fat percentages. There is also evidence that this supplement can reduce cholesterol
levels in the blood. Chromium Picolinate as well as GTF Chromium potentiate the action of
is a naturally occurring compound produced mainly in the liver and involving the pancreas
and kidneys. In human clinical studies it has proven to increase force production and
muscle mass. Dr. Julian Whitaker recommends its use for "reversing the symptoms of
age-related deterioration of muscle" (Health and Healing, March, 1994).
Creatine supplement converts into phosphocreatine within the muscle. Phosphocreatine is
critical to the maintenance and continued production of energy by donating a phosphate
group to ADP to make ATP, the substrata utilized for powering all body movements and
biochemical reactions in the body. So creatine supplements can create more ATP without
needing carbohydrates, fats, or oxygen to recharge the ATP. This makes it a source of
super fast energy because it does not need to undergo a complicated process to produce
energy. It can also lead to the absorption of hydrogen ions released into muscles from
lactic acid, which cuts-back the "burn" and reduces exercise fatigue.
Creatine is unique in that it increases the production of proteins and builds muscle
(anabolic) and it also acts to decrease the breakdown of muscle protein (anticatabolic).
These benefits could be used to retain muscle mass as a person ages. Absorption is best
after some exercise. Jarrow produces an excellent combination product of 1000mg creatine
combined with Co-Q10 60 mg.
Vitamin C is highly regarded by
many bodybuilders. It is often forgotten that working-out intensely is a heavy stress
on the body, especially the immune system, and vitamin C can be of great benefit to
support immune response. It helps speed recovery from workouts, prevent bruising, and
promotes the release of subcutaneous water.
DHEA See Article
Dibencozide is the co-enzyme form
of vitamin B-12. Although already-buffed bodybuilders often don't notice much effect from
it, we have heard numerous reports of sudden and significant increase in energy and
ability to effectively workout from ectomorphs, sometimes referred to as
"pencil-necks". This may be due to a correction of a possibly long-term and
marginal B-12 deficiency, which your doctor could determine through a simple blood test.
Digestive Enzymes may not be
needed by "genetically-gifted" bodybuilders, but for most of us, any help we can
get in breaking down and absorbing our food is greatly appreciated. Without this process,
whatever we eat is wasted and doesn't help build mass and strength. Especially when
"bulking-up", enzymes can not only improve progress but also rescue one's social
Dimethylglycine (DMG) is the
active nutrient behind what was called B-15, calcium pangamate, or pangamic acid. It is an
intermediary metabolite that is useful in the production of neurotransmitters, hormones,
DNA, choline, and methionine. It enhances the immune response system, normalizes blood
glucose levels and reduces high blood pressure levels. It enhances oxygen utilization,
reduces lactic acid formation, and aids detoxification- improving liver, pancreas, and
adrenal function. In 1960 Russia reported DMG benefited people suffering from diabetes,
alcoholism, mental disorders, and cardiovascular ailments. Also, DMG enhanced athletic
performance, as demonstrated by the Olympics. It is especially useful for those who train
to exhaustion. DMG delays this drop-off in energy, allowing more intense workouts.
Gamma Oryzanol was first
researched extensively by Japanese scientists, who derived it from rice bran oil. It
increased the anabolic efficiency of food, increasing mass with less food, possibly by
stimulating the pituitary to release growth hormone releasing hormone. There is also some
evidence that it helps increase energy levels and overall stamina and that it aids tissue
Ginseng, Asian, or Panax ginseng,
is the herb of ancient Chinese lore and folk medicine. The Latin name Panax derives from
the Greek word panakos meaning "cure-all" or panacea, a testimony to
the wondrous reputation this herb had in the mid-1700's when the famous Swedish botanist
Linnaeus named the plant.The wild root is virtually extinct in Asia today, with a few
kilos of the roots still being found in the wild. These roots command prices of up to
$10,000 each on the Hong Kong market. Most Panax ginseng is commercially cultivated in
China and Korea, in both red and white forms. White (actually beige or cream colored) is
the natural, dried root material, while the "red" is basically the white roots
which have been steam-treated. This process engages a preservation process, besides the
natural color change. In South Korea, the red is considered higher quality by the Korean
government's Office of Monopoly, which controls all processing and export of Red Korean
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consider the Asian
ginseng to be an energy tonic, stimulating and heat producing, increasing
yang energies. It is employed in a number of degenerative and "wasting" diseases
where chi or vital energy is deficient. It is contraindicated in conditions such as colds
and flu. The red variety is considered by traditional herbalists to be more potent and
stimulating than white. Some scientific tests appear to confirm this notion.
In recent years, many companies have come out with ginsengs that have
standardized the amount of ginsenosides, the known active ingredients. Because of this
development, an impressive array of research on Asian ginseng has been conducted in
Europe, and the results of this research has validated some of the traditional
"tonic" reputation of Asian ginseng root. These studies confirm the
stress-reducing properties, heightened endurance levels, cardiovascular and other
activities of Asian ginseng.
Eleutherococcus senticosus, became famous in the late 1970's because it was reportedly
used by Russian Olympic team members and Soviet cosmonauts as part of their daily training
regimen. A Soviet scientist, Dr. I.I. Brekhman, did the early research on Siberian
ginseng, and it is his work that popularized the term "adaptogen", indicating a
substance that tends to restore normal physiological function, whether it is deficient or
excessive, and that allows the body as a whole to respond to a non-specific stress (such
as over-exercise). Siberian ginseng belongs to the same Araliaceae family as the other
ginsengs, but genus Eleutherococcus instead of Panax. It is the premier substance for
enhancing physical stamina and endurance.
L-Glutamine has many functions in
the body. Recently it has been used to help heal leaky-gut syndrome and chronic immune
problems, because of it's importance as a fuel in the mitochondria of both the gut lining
and other cells in the body. Glutamine is a primary nutrient for muscle growth,
comprising over 50% of the free amino acids in muscle. Studies show that muscle
protein synthesis is highly correlated with the level of glutamine. Also, recovering
alcoholics have used L-glutamine for many years as part of a program to help control sugar
cravings and for mental clarity.
Inosine has a unique ability to
increase ATP production. It is so closely related to ATP structurally that no oxygen is
required for this conversion and is the quickest pathway for the cell to get its ATP. It
works best when taken on an empty stomach with an electrolyte mixture, such as ALACER'S
Emergen-C and with Coenzyme Q-10 before exercise. This enhances oxygen transport
throughout the system, improving workload efficiency, and prevents any increase in uric
Lipotropics include methionine,
choline, inositol, B-6, and betaine. Lipotropics have been used by bodybuilders to
decrease subcutaneous fat, perhaps by emulsifying fat under the skin. They also can help
the proper digestion and utilization of dietary oils.
Liver has been used by
bodybuilders since the beginning. Vince Cironda became famous for his advocacy of liver
supplements for bodybuilding, citing a study where rats whose diet was supplemented with
liver for two weeks survived a swimming test in ice-cold water far longer than the control
group. This indicates an increase in stamina, heat, and just plain 'ol strength. Many
customers report similar results from taking liver (though nobody we know has timed their
survival rate swimming in the S.F. Bay!) We recommend Enzymatic Therapy Liquid Liver and
TwinLab Predigested Liver Aminos.
MCT Oil stands for Medium Chain
Triglycerides. They are derived from coconut oil. Because they are shorter chains than
most dietary fats, MCT's don't require bile to be absorbed and can go directly to the
liver. They supply 2 and 1/4 times the energy of the same amount of carbohydrates, making
them ideal for endurance athletics and as a protein-sparing supplement. Because they are
soluble in biological fluids, they aren't converted to body fat but are burned for energy.
Octacosanol was identified by
Professor Thomas Cureton at the University of Illinois as the component of wheat-germ oil
that improved strength, reaction time, and endurance. His studies were conducted over a
20-year period and involved weightlifters, swimmers, wrestlers, and track and field
athletes. Octacosanol is a solid white alcohol, whose exact mechanism of action is still
unknown, although some evidence suggests it works to improve the efficiency of
transmission of nerve impulses. Many customers who run, bike, or engage in other endurance
sports have reported a strengthening and steadying effect from octacosanol.
PAK has been scientifically
proven to be valuable for those involved in both aerobic or anaerobic activity. It
increases cellular energy as well as cutting down on lactic acid production.
Whey Protein is a
new superior protein for all uses, including strenuous exercise, bodybuilding, chronic
illness, and convalescence. The major protein in whey is lactalbumin, with lactoglobulins
as minor proteins. Though whey itself has been considered a wonderful
"healthfood" in times past, the prevalence of lactose intolerance has made it
impossible for many people to use whey. However, with the new technique of ion-exchange
filtration (used in Next Nutrition's Designer Protein), and the even better cross-flow
micro-filtration (Unipro's Perfect Protein), everyone can enjoy the benefits of this
There are three important attributes of whey protein which make it an
ideal source of protein: high quality, large amounts of branch-chain amino acids
and the immune-enhancing effects of lactalbumin.
Recent studies have shown that athletes need greater amounts of protein
than do non-athletes. Whey protein can be important for maintaining muscle structure and
function during periods of strenuous exertion. High levels of high quality protein exert
an "anticatabolic" effect, meaning that muscle breakdown is prevented. There are
four methods commonly used to measure protein quality: protein efficiency ratio (PER),
biological value (BV), net protein utilization (NPU), and chemical score. Although casein
has been the "gold standard" of protein quality for many years, whey protein is
higher quality, regardless of which technique is used. Whey also scores far higher than
soy and other lower quality proteins such as rice, beef, and wheat. Egg is the only
protein source that even comes close to whey, but even here, whey contains higher levels
of BCAAs, which makes whey a better protein source for athletes and bodybuilders.
Research has identified the branched-chain amino acids
(BCAAs) as key
amino acids for both bodybuilding and exercise performance. BCAAs (notably
known to be directly oxidized in muscle, thereby acting as a source of energy. In
addition, leucine is used for alanine synthesis in muscle; alanine is subsequently
transported to the liver and used to make glucose, which is then available as a fuel for
Finally, recent studies have shown that lactalbumin, the main protein in
whey, can enhance immunity in animals. In a study of immuno-enhancement where mice were
fed diets containing various proteins, lactalbumin proved to be 2.4 times better than egg
protein, and five times better than casein! The stimulatory effect of lactalbumin became
apparent at two weeks and persisted throughout the course of the study. Since strenuous
exercise has recently been linked to a depression in both the cellular and humoral immune
responses of humans, it may well be wise for athletes, bodybuilders, and everyone else to
use high-quality whey as their source of dietary protein!
Milk and Egg Protein Powders, until the advent
of whey protein, were considered the highest quality proteins. They are still great
sources of complete protein for those who can digest them, and are more cost effective
than free-form amino acid formulas.
Soy Protein is wonderful for the genetically
and digestively gifted, as an adjunct to high-quality whey protein. It is best used in
rotation with other proteins (i.e., not every day) and sometimes in conjunction with
digestive enzymes. Used properly, it not only costs less but it also can be used in
cooking and baking. Though the over-use of tofu by bodybuilders earned it the nickname
"the White Death", the occasional intake of soy-protein brownies or shakes
offers a welcome change in one's regular diet.
Spirulina contains around 65% easily-digested
protein. This is high-quality, complete protein, including all the essential amino acids
(those the body cannot make from other amino acids and so which must be included in the
diet every day). Because the protein in spirulina is high in
phenylalanine, it has also
been found useful as an aid to appetite suppression and cutting-up.
Smilax is a plant sterol that
reportedly increases testosterone level. Whether it actually does or not, many report
feeling increased energy when they take it.
Vanadyl Sulfate is the best and
safest form of the trace mineral vanadium. Vanadium is involved in cellular metabolism,
growth, and reproduction, and in the formation of bones and teeth. Studies with rats have
shown that it may be able to reverse diabetes. It seems that vanadyl "mimics"
the action of insulin, stimulating glycogen production and the transport of amino acids
into muscle tissue and preventing the breakdown of muscle protein. Body-builders have
reported impressive gains in muscle size and strength when adding vanadyl sulfate to their
regimen. Some research suggests that the trace mineral chromium, which also helps control
blood sugar levels, is best taken at a different time from vanadium.
from Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger with Bill
Dobbins, Simon and Schuster, 1985, p 680-81.
"Experts are often heard decrying the ingestion of excess protein,
vitamins, and minerals by bodybuilders on the grounds that the body is only capable of
using small amounts of the various nutrients at any one time.... Bodybuilders and many
other athletes, however, do not accept most of these theories. Their experience tells them
that extra protein and vitamin and mineral supplements do make a difference... If the body
is supersaturated with nutrients whenever an important reaction begins to occur - protein
synthesis, for example, or the creation of creatine phosphate for energy - the
nutrients required are right there on the spot. Therefore the body is able to work
and grow in ways that would not be possible if you accepted lower nutritional
A good megavitamin/mineral program can be a great boost for bodybuilders,
and it may well be considered imperative during periods of reduced caloric intake.
Yohimbe stimulates and energizes;
it's also considered an aphrodisiac. Body-builders have reported a definite strengthening
effect from taking it, in the short-term, which allowed them to increase the intensity of
their work-outs. The major active ingredient is the isomeric alkaloid, yohimbine.