Keep on top of the latest research in the field of Supplements with these articles!

As a former Microbiologist, I feel it is important that sports supplementation claims are tested and substantiated. Articles here are sourced from reputable journals and cut the smoke and mirrors out of the industry. Don't worry, you dont need to read the whole document, most of the interesting stuff can be found in the Abstract and Introduction at the top of each article. Happy reading! 

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Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation

Eric R Helms, Alan A Aragon and Peter J Fitschen

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition  2014  11:20  |  DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-20  |  ©  Helms et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

Received: 24 August 2013  |  Accepted: 29 April 2014  |  Published: 12 May 2014

SUMMARY: The paper discusses the optimal settings for a natural athlete looking to both cut and maintain their lean muscle mass going into a competition. Specifically:

1. Caloric intake should be set at a level that results in bodyweight losses of approximately 0.5 to 1%/wk to maximize muscle retention. In my experience the key is not too go too hard on cutting too quickly as you will start to compromise lean muscle mass. Although this sounds obvious, I am amazed at how many competitors lose their size in the last 6-8 weeks as they go too hard through this period to condition.

2. Within this caloric intake, most but not all bodybuilders will respond best to consuming 2.3-3.1 g/kg of lean body mass per day of protein, 15-30% of calories from fat, and the reminder of calories from carbohydrate. Eating three to six meals per day with a meal containing 0.4-0.5 g/kg bodyweight of protein prior and subsequent to resistance training likely maximizes any theoretical benefits of nutrient timing and frequency.

3. Creatine monohydrate, caffeine and beta-alanine appear to have beneficial effects relevant to contest preparation, however others do not or warrant further study. 

4.The practice of dehydration and electrolyte manipulation in the final days and hours prior to competition can be dangerous, and may not improve appearance



Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?

Alan Albert Aragon and Brad Jon Schoenfeld

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition  2013  10:5  |  DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-5  |  ©  Aragon and Schoenfeld; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

Received: 20 December 2012  |  Accepted: 25 January 2013  |  Published: 29 January 2013


SUMMARY: This paper challenges the commonly held belief of a post workout Anabolic Window. The key finding is that whether you have your high protein/carbohydrate meal before or after training is neither here no there. If you have a meal prior to training, this paper found that this meal was sufficient to feed the muscles for the period immediately after training and until the next main meal. 

Therefore it is recommended that you either consume a decent meal prior to or immediately after training. It is potentially redundant to do both. However, if you struggle to eat prior to training than a protein supplement, preferrably one with some carbohydrate in it or combined with a banana will help to take advantage of the anabolic window. Alternatively having your shake after training in this scenario is also beneficial. The overall conclusion is base your approach to your post workout anabolic window in the context of your food consumption prior to your workout.



International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise

Thomas W Buford, Richard B Kreider, Jeffrey R Stout, Mike Greenwood, Bill Campbell, Marie Spano, Tim Ziegenfuss, Hector Lopez, Jamie Landis and Jose Antonio

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition  2007  4:6  |  DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-4-6  |  ©  Buford et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2007

Received: 13 August 2007  |  Accepted: 30 August 2007  |  Published: 30 August 2007


1. Creatine monohydrate is the most effective muscle building nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.

2. Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but possibly beneficial in regard to preventing injury and/or management of select medical conditions when taken within recommended guidelines.

3. There is no scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals.

4. If proper precautions and supervision are provided, supplementation in young athletes is acceptable and may provide a nutritional alternative to potentially dangerous anabolic drugs.

5. At present, creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and clinically effective form of creatine for use in nutritional supplements in terms of muscle uptake and ability to increase high-intensity exercise capacity.

6. The addition of carbohydrate or carbohydrate and protein to a creatine supplement appears to increase muscular retention of creatine, although the effect on performance measures may not be greater than using creatine monohydrate alone.

7. The quickest method of increasing muscle creatine stores appears to be to consume ~0.3 grams/kg/day of creatine monohydrate for at least 3 days followed by 3–5 g/d thereafter to maintain elevated stores. Ingesting smaller amounts of creatine monohydrate (e.g., 2–3 g/d) will increase muscle creatine stores over a 3–4 week period, however, the performance effects of this method of supplementation are less supported.

8. Creatine products are readily available as a dietary supplement and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Specifically, in 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed into law the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). DSHEA allows manufacturers/companies/brands to make structure-function claims; however, the law strictly prohibits disease claims for dietary supplements.

9. Creatine monohydrate has been reported to have a number of potentially beneficial uses in several clinical populations, and further research is warranted in these areas.