Like all things in life there really isn’t a simple answer to this question, also because the definition of “working” may differ. To me something that builds your muscle but harms your health is not “working” at all. Also the supplement industry is a multi-million dollar industry which has heavily invested in marketing campaigns and which often sells refined and essentially “dead” nutrients at exorbitant prices which you actually find cheaper and at better quality simply through a balanced diet.
Furthermore, because a lot of supplements are expensive (and not because they are expensive to produce), they have led to “chemical bootlegging” which can be very dangerous, as you end up buying unlicensed products from individuals which are often foreign and which you essentially know nothing about, nor do uyou have any legal recourse in case of dangerous side-effects.
This said, let’s talk about the most popular supplements, their use and possible side-effects if bought from licensed dealers and taken in the correct quantities.
Not as popular as they once were. Modern–day bodybuilders want to BE strong and healthy instead of only SEEMING it. Steroids cause testosterone levels to drop. I know this seems a like a contradiction because testosterone is vital to muscle growth, but it’s true. Because of this you can grow fat on your chest (breasts) and even have a reduction in the size of your testicles. Hormones are the chemical expression of emotions and people taking steroids can become aggressive, have sudden bursts of rage, desperation on even become suicidal.
Also steroids cause an increase in LDL cholesterol which can cause heart failure or stroke.
It is understandable that people training so very hard and not getting results might be tempted to try the “easy route” but this is really often caused by the frustration of not having had access to the RIGHT TRAINING AND NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION. Everyone can put on muscle, even the skinny little ectomorphs which feel genetically deprived of their share of muscle!
My advice is, before going on the steroids, try using a natural testosterone booster supplement.
Creatine is a natural substance which is produced in the liver. It is readily available in foods such as meat, fish, dairy and dried fruits. It is used by bodybuilders in the form of creatine monohydrate supplement which increases strength endurance and muscle mass. It can cause dehydration as the supplement with holds water in the muscle cells. For this reason it must be taken with plenty of water.
The precise dosage varies from each producer but generally you start off with a filling phase of 20 grams per day for one week, then a maintenance phase of 5gr a day for 4-6 weeks and then a pause period for 1-2 months.
Excess creatine in the organism can cause kidney problems, clinical dehydration and cramping.
Glutamine, when taken shortly after workout helps to repair and build muscle, increases the levels of growth hormone ( HGH) secreted by the pituitary gland and increases the cell volume of muscles.
Possible side effects are: persistent cough or hoarseness, gastrointestinal distress such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, cramping, vomiting. In high dosage in can interfere with cognitive levels and cause psychological disorders, bipolar disorder and yellow skin due to the rise of liver enzymes.
The most common type of protein supplement is whey whey protein. This is a by-product of the process of making cheese and so is generally quite safe. The problem with concentrated supplements is that it is very easy to take in too much and actually do more harm than good. An excess of whey protein supplement can lead to putting on fat, moderate to severe liver fatigue, osteoporosis and allergic reactions.
Caffeine is used by body builders to limit weight gain and increase energy levels. It has a thermogenic effect on the body (heats you up) and so burns calories. However, it is not always easy to find the balance as too much “burning” can take energy out of your workout. It can have negative repercussions on the heart and cause insomnia.
So after all these descriptions and details what is the bottom line? Supplements have their place when building muscle. However, while they may help give you an edge, they do not replace a well constructed diet and nutrition program.
BE CAREFUL! NEVER take more than recommended and OBSERVE your body, mind and emotional reactions for possible side effects.