Insiders: 3 More Popular Supplements that are a Waste of Money
Correcting low testosterone can be a life changer -- sudden gains at the gym, improved mood, once again feeling randy in the bedroom. But T-boosting supplements simply do not deliver on their promises, especially for those with normal testosterone looking to get even higher.
The problem is that supplement companies aren’t outlawed from cherry picking rat study results to fool you into thinking there’s good evidence for their T-boosters. Some T-boosters can in fact increase libido, but have no effect on your actual testosterone levels. So you may feel like something is happening, but it they’re not actually increasing your testosterone levels.
Even the rare supplement that has an effect on testosterone will have very minor effects. Prescription testosterone products from a physician can double or triple testosterone, while an effective supplement might increase T by 30% or so. So to maintain healthy testosterone levels, stick to what’s shown to work: steady doses of sleep and weightlifting, and enough food and fat to support hormone levels.
Glutamine is an essential amino acid that plays a variety of roles in the body. It’s found in muscle tissue, so meat products have high levels of glutamine. Adding glutamine to a muscle cell causes the cell to grow.
Unfortunately, supplementing glutamine doesn’t work for building muscle. The glutamine never makes it to the muscles because the intestines absorb the glutamine and only release a bit to the muscles (and only as you need them). So even if you supplement a lot, the intestines end up hoarding it for themselves!
So supplementing glutamine for muscle gains does not work. Supplementing glutamine IS good for gut health! Still, if your goal is to improve gut health, just supplement whey protein. It has high glutamine levels and is cheaper than just buying glutamine itself.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are three amino acids that marketers claim improve muscular endurance and growth. The main amino acid is called leucine. There is evidence that suggests supplementing leucine in a fasted state (meaning you haven’t eaten) can improve muscle protein synthesis, which is part of the process of building muscle.
People interested in building muscle will experience more benefits from eating a high protein meal instead of supplementing leucine. Protein contains BCAAs anyway, so unless you are specifically training fasted, whey protein is a far more effective supplement than BCAAs.
BONUS: Carbohydrate Supplementation
Supplement stores are filled with fancy carbohydrate supplements promising enhanced glycogen replenishment. It is marketed that faster glycogen replenishment means better muscular performance … except that most studies don’t find much benefit from glycogen replenishment supplements.
Rest days should be a part of any workout program because glycogen will naturally replenish during rest. Unless you’re an extreme endurance athlete who prefers gel carbohydrate supplements to liquids, a simple sports drink will render a fancy carbohydrate supplement unnecessary.