What Are Your Top Three Supplements?

The topic: What are your top three supplements? Find out what people from our popular message boards think...


TOPIC: What Are Your Top Three Supplements?

The Winners:

      Prizes:
      The best response will get $50 in credit to use in our online store!

1st Place - KoolAbe

The top 3 supplements actually depends on the goal we're trying to achieve, for instance:

For gaining lean muscle mass, these would be my top 3:


1. Whey Protein - Optimum Nutrition

  1. Reaching daily protein requirements for muscle building (1-1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass)

  2. For a quickly-absorbed protein for post-workout

  3. For eating before bed, to prevent muscle wasting. Although whey is not as good as casein for that purpose, the fast digestion of whey can be slowed down by consuming it with milk (source of fat and casein, along with some extra whey), a bowl of oatmeal (complex carbs), and a tablespoon of EFA's).

    NOTE: There's no need to supplement with BCAA's or Glutamine, as Whey protein already contains plenty of it.

    When eating 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, it's common to consume about 30-70% from whey each day to meet that requirement. Therefore, with whey having about 4 grams of Glutamine and 19 grams of BCAA's for a 23 serving (ON's 100% Whey taken as the example), it wouldn't be something wise to waste your money on something you already have.

    Learn More About Whey Protein...


2. Maltodextrin

  1. Insulin spike post workout (maltodextrin is a very high GI carb, even thaclassifiedfied as a complex carbohydrate). This insulin spike serves as an antidote of the muscle-wasting hormone cortisol.

  2. When consumed after a workout, it quickly replenishes your liver and muscle glycogen stores.

    Maltodextrin must be taken along with whey protein (to take advantage of increased protein synthesis in the 1-hour window of opportunity), and water (better to use water, as milk [because of the casein in it)] in the same way as fats, would slow down the digestion).

    NOTE: In my opinion, drinking this protein / carb blend after your workout can determine whether you get maximum gains in lean body mass and a steady and constant progress, or not.

    Learn More About Maltodextrin...


3. Multivitamin/Multimineral - Optimum Nutrition

    Athletes and bodybuilders have way different requirements than average people (a good example is protein, as the average requirement is about 0.4-0.6 grams per pound of body weight, while for the bodybuilder, it's 1-2 grams per pound), therefore, they must supplement with a multi-vitamin to be sure they are not deficient in any vital vitamin or mineral.

    An example would be vitamins of the B complex, which play a major role in the digestion of proteins, carbs, and fats.

    NOTE: A good rule of thumb is to check how much of the daily requirement each multivitamin serving contains, as sometimes they are over-loaded. 1 or half of a serving, along with a balanced diet, should be enough.

    Learn More About Multivitamins...

For losing weight and retaining as much muscle as possible:


1. Whey Protein (Optimum Nutrition)

  1. Essential for preserving muscle mass while on a reduced-calorie diet.

  2. For reaching the maintenance daily protein requirement (1-1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass).

  3. For a low-fat, quick-absorbing source of high quality protein (an increased intake of protein increases metabolism due to the Thermic Effect of a Meal)

    NOTE: There's no need to supplement with BCAA's or Glutamine, as Whey protein already contains plenty of it.

    When eating 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, it's common to consume about 30-70% from whey each day to meet that requirement. Therefore, with whey having about 4 grams of Glutamine and 19 grams of BCAA's for a 23 serving (ON's 100% Whey taken as the example), it wouldn't be something wise to waste your money on something you already have.

    Learn More About Whey Protein...


2. Casein / Egg Protein

    Since calories must be reduced below the maintenance level, one must reduce the intake of some carbs, and since one's body goes over a long period of fasting when we sleep, our body may be forced to use muscle as fuel to generate glucose (gluconeogenesis) for supplying energy during sleep, thus, losing the hard-earned muscle along with the fat, which is something nobody would want.

    Cottage cheese (or casein/egg protein) serves as a delayed, slow-absorbing protein for providing the body a slow-paced but steady flux of protein to the muscles over the period of sleep, thus preventing the lose of lean body mass.

    Learn More About Casein Protein...
    Learn More About Egg Protein...


3. Essential Fatty Acids

    EFA's play an essential role in losing fat, as they (specially Omega-3 fatty acids):

    1. Block fat storage (beta-blockers)
    2. Are anti-catabolic
    3. Promote a positive nitrogen balance
    4. Increase fat burning (beta-oxidation)
    5. Promote optimum hormone production and a healthy circulatory system.

NOTE: One must not exaggerate while on a cutting phase on the fat intake, even if they are most EFA's, as fats provide 9 calories per gram, thus increasing the calorie intake substantially. A good rule of thumb is to consume only the 15-20% of your calories from fat when trying to lose weight and retain as much muscle as possible.

Learn More About EFA's...


2nd Place - UliqMadiq

The Top Three Supplements on the Market


1. Optimum Nutrition's Whey Protein

Benefits:

  1. Convenience - No need for long-drawn-out preparation, unpacking, chewing or defrosting. Scoop, shake and chug. The 5 lb. canister offers both the cost-effectiveness of the 10 lb. bag, and the ease of use of the 2 lb. tub.

  2. Bio availability - Whey, being 100% bio available, is absorbed completely and efficiently by the body.

  3. Cost-Effective - One of the cheapest high-quality whey's on the market, ON's 100% will take out about $30 from your monthly budget if ordered from Bodybuilding.com.

  4. Ideal for Frequent Use - ON's 100% Whey is low-sugar (1 g./serving) and low-fat (1.5 g./serving), meaning that it can be used regularly without you having to worry about insulin spikes or excessive saturated fat (0.5 g./serving). If you have cholesterol problems, you need not worry either, since it is low in cholesterol (10 mg./serving) and low in sodium (40 mg./serving). The majority of its contents is protein.

  5. Universal Application - ON's 100% is also unique in that it can be used whether you are trying to gain mass, lose fat, running a ketogenic diet, going low-fat, low-cal or what have you. It will provide the protein you need to keep your body in an anabolic state (23 g./serving), it won't interfere with lipolysis due to its low-calorie profile (110 cals/serving), it won't step in the way of ketogenesis due to its low-carbohydrate quantity (3 g./serving), and of course it packs very little fat in each scoop. Even if you are using a specific strategy for contest dieting (for example, if you are strictly avoiding sodium to prevent 'the bloat' of water retention), it won't take you away from your goals.

  6. Non-Gassy - From personal experience, I'd say a lot of wheys on the market that I've been tempted to buy because of their low cost have given me terrible amounts of gas, or even prompted a bad case of the trots. Not so with ON's 100%, which provides quite a good meeting point between the low price of the gas-giving wheys and the high quality of the more expensive brands.

  7. Nutrient Timing - After an intense workout, you need a quickly digested protein source to replenish your fatigued muscles and put a stop to the catabolism that will ensue. Due to its high bio availability, whey is the quickest absorbed protein source. And of course, due to its convenience you can easily carry it to the gym in a shaker bottle and add water right over there. Some people also recommend having a scoop first thing in the morning to stop the catabolism that is prompted by sleeping. Personally I like to mix some in with my oatmeal, or if I have time such as on weekends, then make some chocolate protein pancakes.

  8. Taste - Let's face it, if you are going to be consuming whey so regularly, you don't want it to taste pathetic. ON 100% Whey Chocolate isn't the best tasting whey on the market, but it certainly does the trick. It's reasonably rich if you mix it with a little bit of cold water (as I do), and it goes down smoothly and easily. In my years of serious training, once I discovered Optimum (early on), I've never switched completely to other brands; only now and then to compare tastes. I'm still very impressed with this one.

Disadvantages:

  1. Quick Absorption - Apart from the issue of nutrient timing - such as post workout - you don't want a staple protein source in your diet to go in and out of your body so quickly that you need to refuel right after to keep catabolism at bay. Whey will stay in most individual's bodies for an hour and a half at most assuming they take it alone, though it could be less. Certainly, whey is no replacement for a whole foods meal or protein source.

  2. Not the Absolute Best Ingredients - ON's 100% Whey can't stake its claim as having the best ingredients of all the options on the market. EAS's Precision Protein is an example of a product that outshines ON in this light, given its whey protein isolate base, minus all the hydrolyzed whey peptides that go into ON's 100% (which mean, unfortunately, that many of the critical whey micro fractions are lost in the production process).

Conclusion:

    If ON's 100% is used correctly and taken with good timing, one can certainly work around the issue of quick absorption and use it to one's advantage. As for the ingredients being very slightly sub-par, there is no doubt that for the cost of the product you can't get a better deal on a whey product. There is a good reason this is the number one selling supplement on Bodybuilding.com, and it is definitely the one supplement around which all your others should be based.

    Learn More About Whey Protein...


2. Syntrax Swole V2

Benefits:

  1. Creatine Inclusion - Creatine is touted as a highly effective nutrient in increasing strength and muscle size, which has been confirmed in dozens of university studies. Swole V2 makes use of this potent ingredient in its product.

  2. Universal Usage - Swole V2 is designed to work for creatine non-responders, those unfortunate folks amongst us who don't see much of a difference from using the popular creatine in monohydrate form. Making use of Dicreatine malate, it gives you the many proven benefits of creatine in a highly soluble form that jumps over the non responder problem.

  3. Pumps - They don't have all that much practical value, but the placebo effect from a good pump is undeniable. I for one love walking around with a bulging vein in my bicep, swollen up to well beyond my natural size. Of course, this isn't the chief purpose of a product, but it's nice to have it thrown in.

Disadvantages:

  1. Potentially Inhibitive to Growth - Swole V2 has come under attack from some sources for being dangerous due to the inclusion of Guanidinopropionic Acid as one of the ingredients, which led to retarded growth in lab rats (and other animals) in one study.

Conclusion:

    Unfortunately, nearly all critics of Swole V2 have been found to be either competitors with Syntrax or associates of competitors, slightly diminishing their credibility. Nonetheless, Syntrax did address the safety issue with their claim that with their inclusion of Betaine in the ingredients (2 g. of Betapure Betaine Anhydrous/serving), the negative effects of the Guanidinopropionic Acid (500 mg./serving) are offset since Betaine can act as a methyl donor.

    The jury is still out, but if you were to go on apparent results, I'd recommend Swole V2 as one of the most effective supplements I've ever had.


3. HFS The Total EFA

Benefits:

  1. Growth - EFAs are often overlooked, but products like Health From The Sun's Total EFA provide Omega 3 (6,200 mg ALA/serving), Omega 6 (288 mg GLA/serving and 2,400 mg Linoleic Acid/serving) and Omega 9 (1850 mg. Oleic Acid/serving) acids, which are all utilized for your muscle cell walls and membrane fluids. Additionally, the Series 1 Prostaglandins in HFS's Total EFA will increase muscle cell protein synthesis. Basically, if you want to produce bigger muscles, EFAs will help you speed up the process.

  2. Energy - EFAs are critical in the body's energy production. The primary function of fat itself is energy; in a product like this, all the "bad stuff" in fat is removed, and all the beneficial things left in. Ergo, you get the energy boost minus the waistline increase.

  3. Hormone Production - Studies show that the body's production of all hormones (including testosterone) is sub-optimal with a dietary fat intake of under 100 g. daily for an average individual. Of course, we all don't need that much fat, that many calories or an "optimal" hormonal production, but HFS's Total EFA can help ensure that your hormones don't leave your gains hanging. Also, the prostaglandins elevate growth hormone secretion.

  4. Security - With the same logic many people apply to a multivitamin, some say that you can get all your EFA needs from your diet. This is certainly true, but a lot of people are unable to eat salmon and walnuts every day. Tuna is mostly eaten from a can, in which case you lose the EFAs anyway. Thus, unless you are certain you have a diet that satisfies all your EFA needs, an EFA supplement is a neccessary purchase.

  5. Cost Effective - It's a reasonably cheap supplement.

Disadvantages:

  1. Taste - I don't mind it, but I know some people hate the taste. For them the capsule version may be the answer (plus it's convenient), although it's less economical.

Conclusion:

    EFAs have no real disadvantages per se, and no real opposition either. They're essential to sedentary individuals (hence the name, "Essential Fatty Acids"), and completely unavoidable to bodybuilders.

    Learn More About HFS The Total EFA...

Final Notes

The reason I didn't include multivitamins in my list is that I believe many (not all) of the "bodybuilder's multivitamins" on the market today are in essence overkill. They include mega-dosages that will most likely be excreted by the body, even in the most active individuals, and are priced high too.

Instead, I use a basic drugstore product, and supplement it with individual vitamins that a bodybuilder might use more so than the regular individual. This works out cheaper and just as effective as any of those mega-pack multivitamin products.

I've given a try to several of them, and have never noticed any differences from my method. (Note: This approach requires relatively extensive research of various vitamins)

Finally, I just want to wrap up by stating the obvious - supplements are not enough for muscle growth. Just like the name states, they're "supplements" to a good diet. They're the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. That said, with proper research and a good choice of supplements, you can maximize your gains and keep the ball rolling.


3rd Place - Dante205


1. Multi Vitamin/Mineral

    People are always talking about essential fatty acids, essential amino acids... but vitamins and minerals are overlooked, Mostly by those people who are looking for a quick fix. Some would say that protein and amino acids are the building blocks of muscle...i say it all starts with multi vitamins/minerals!

    Learn More About Multi Vitamins...


2. 19-Nordiol

    High priest of the andro's 19-nordiol is by far 2nd to none in prohormones (and yes that is from personal experience.) No conversion to DHT or estrogen and it has the highest conversion to it's target hormone.

    Ergopharm has done a great job in making a quality product in significant dosages. It's fairly safe and effective! BUT ONLY IF YOUR SMART ABOUT IT! Abuse of prohormones is not only a waste of money but more importantly a disgrace to bodybuilding.

    It's because of people who miss use them that give decent, honorable prohormone users a bad name in the never ending media attention that is now making androgens a controversy. It's all about common sense and being smart. I personally use for 4 weeks and take off for about 4 weeks.

    Learn More About 19-Nordiol...


3. Off-Cycle (Fizogen)

    Being a prohormone user supplementing natural test. boosters is a gift from god (next to bodybuilding.)

    Fizogen has made it happen with significant amounts of Tribulous Terrestris and Cissus Quadrangularis, and a combination of growth hormone stimulating compounds, ingredients which effectively aid in the removal of harmful toxins from the body and supports your liver, and not to mention DHT blockers.

    But it doesn't stop there... it also enhances insulin sensitivity (questionable) and Hydroxyecdysone which plays an amazing role in protein synthesis by making a perfect environment in the body for muscles to grow. Finally Gastro-intestinal Digestion Infusion Agents which help you digest more effectively, so it can still help build muscle, and regain natural test. levels.