Updated: Sep-20-2021

Bodybuilding Supplements Review - Do You Need One?

By - Reviewed by CHD Team
Do bodybuilding supplements work? This list of top bodybuilding ingredients will help you choose wisely.
Athletes and Bodybuilders
Best supplements reviewed for strength athletes and bodybuilders. Image via Shutterstock

Whether you're a beginner or an elite bodybuilder, bodybuilding (or any other sport for that matter) places demands on the body that an average diet can't keep up with.

Lack of nutrients and insufficient energy levels hinders a bodybuilder from performing at his/her best.

This is where bodybuilding supplements come in.

What is a Bodybuilding Supplement?

A bodybuilding supplement is a nutritional supplement formulated to promote muscle growth and improve athletic performance when combined with proper diet and a good workout regimen. It helps make up for nutrient gaps, thus ensuring that your body has everything it needs to reach peak performance.

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The products are designed to boost performance at the gym, allowing the user to maximize his or her workouts every session.

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Why do bodybuilders take supplements?

Bodybuilding supplements are taken by bodybuilders and weightlifters to build muscle and lose fat mainly for esthetic purposes. However, many others could also benefit from these supplements. For instance, athletes may require bodybuilding supplements to enhance their stamina and endurance during long, intense training.

Meanwhile, amateurs or beginners may benefit from some supplements which also contain elements or compounds that could suppress lactic acid buildup.

What are the Main Ingredients in Bodybuilding Supplements?

Different brands and kinds of bodybuilding supplements consist of different ingredients.

The following are the most popular ones because of their proven safety and effectiveness.

  • Whey Protein: A fast-acting protein that delivers the essential amino acids needed for protein synthesis and, in turn, for muscle growth and strength[12]. In addition, the amino acid cysteine also serves as a precursor of glutathione, the body's master antioxidant. This antioxidant protects the body against oxidative damage and also promote liver detoxification.
  • Casein: Another milk protein, it is often paired with whey protein due to its slow digestion rate[15]. Its main function is to prevent muscle breakdown. It also boosts protein synthesis as much as whey protein does. According to experts, taking whey protein and casein together produces much better results that taking either one alone.
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids: Also known by the acronym BCAA, these include valine, leucine, and isoleucine. These amino acids help prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle-building[17], leading increased total muscle growth. They also increase energy, enhance stamina, and more importantly promote faster recovery from intense workouts. On non-training days, they may also be taken to maintain lean body mass.
  • Creatine:One of the most well-studied bodybuilding compounds in the world, it has been proven numerous times to boost performance of athletes involved in high-intensity activities such as weightlifting. It helps maximize strength and energy output during workouts. It also functions as a cell-volumizer[23], making muscles fuller and leaner. Numerous forms of creatine are available, with creatine monohydrate being the best[20].
  • Nitric Oxide: A molecule that naturally occurs in the body, its main effect is dilation of the blood vessels. Dilation means improved blood circulation and enhanced delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to the muscles. It raises energy levels[25], increase muscle strength, and promote faster recovery[26]. It is also said to help lose excess fats.
  • Natural Steroids: Steroids pertain to a type of fat-soluble substances are naturally produced by the body or synthesized in the laboratory. Their main function is to promote muscle growth, as well as increase muscle mass and strength. Testosterone, androstenedione, and DHEA are some examples of natural steroids. Androstenedione and DHEA are prohormones. Of these three, only testosterone is not prohibited to use.

Do Bodybuilding Supplements Work?

As with any other supplements, bodybuilding supplements are effective when used exactly as instructed. These products have been scientifically-formulated and develop to supplement bodybuilders and athletes in their sports performance.

Bodybuilding supplements
Bodybuilding supplements, sport diet power, whey, and soy and egg protein. Image via Shutterstock

Even the best bodybuilding supplements are effective only when made part of a healthy lifestyle. You simply can't do it with supplements alone no matter how good it is.

Are Bodybuilding Supplements Safe?

Bodybuilding supplements are not regulated like prescription and over-the-counter medicines. In addition, there are certain compounds frowned upon by sports governing agencies and the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). These compounds are either unsafe or give the user an unfair advantage during training or competition. To learn more about these banned compounds, click here.

While bodybuilding supplements have so far been generally safe to use, it is still advised that you consult your specialist first prior to using these supplements, especially if you have a medical problem. This is true not only for this kind of supplements, but for all supplements in general.

How to Choose the Best Bodybuilding Supplements?

A wide range of bodybuilding supplements are available in the market, and they intend to deliver different results. Testosterone boosters, the most popular among them, function to boost energy levels. They also supply the muscles with the energy and strength needed to perform high intensity workouts.

Supplements with amino acids, on the other hand, specializes in promoting faster muscle growth. There are also bodybuilding supplements that target fat and support lean muscle gains. Others are used as pre-workout supplement.

Therefore, when picking your bodybuilding supplement, it is important to check it out carefully to determine the benefits and find out if it is right for you. if you're a first time user, it is strongly suggested that you consult your nutritionist and/or fitness expert prior to purchase.

The Bottom Line

Bodybuilding supplements are called “supplements” for a reason. You won't get the results you want if you rely on them alone. They should only serve as an aid and not a substitute for proper nutrition and regular workout when it comes to achieving one's goal.

A good diet and workout routine supported by carefully selected bodybuilding supplement shall help boost performance, minimize recovery time, and maximize results.


1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/ExerciseAndAthleticPerformance-HealthProfessional/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4033492/
3. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/beginners-supplement-guide-5-supplements-you-need-now.html
4. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/top-10-supplements-what-you-need-to-know-and-what-works.html
5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325147.php#creatine
6. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/body-building-sports-supplements-facts/
7. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/supplements/build-muscle/11-best-supplements-building-muscle-mass
8. https://www.gnc.com/sports-performance/workout-supplements-101-13-key-players.html
9. Whey protein - https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-833/whey-protein
10. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-whey-protein/art-20363344
11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567276/
12. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20110315/whey-protein-may-help-build-muscles
13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12537959
14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19638084
15. Casein - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404559/
16. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0228-9
17. BCAA - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16365096
18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26733764
19. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-6-S1-P1
20. Creatine monohydrate - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/
21. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S089990071830563X
22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2780977/
23. https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/increase-cell-volume-for-fast-muscle-growth
24. Nitric oxide - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14599231
25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23553707
26. https://www.mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/progressinnutrition/article/view/8529
27. https://www.physio-pedia.com/The_influence_of_anabolic_steroids_on_physiologic_processes_and_exercise
28. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/do-testosterone-boosters-really-work.html
29. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/protein-supplements
30. https://www.menshealth.com/uk/nutrition/a26075019/pre-workout-complete-guide/

**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available informations and our estimation of efficacy.

*Result may vary. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a serious medical condition, or have a history of heart conditions we suggest consulting with a physician before using any supplement. The information contained in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be relied upon as a medical advice. Always consult your doctor before using any supplements.

Disclosure of Material connection: Some of the links in the post above are "associate sales links." This means if you can click on the link and purchase an item, we will receive a commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services which we use personally and/or believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials."

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