By Jim Stoppani, Ph.D
With all the supplements on the market today, it’s hard to figure out what each one does, how much to take, when to take it, and so on. Which ones will pack on size? Which ones will help you get ripped the fastest? With so many questions, wouldn’t it be great if you could go to one place that had all the answers to your supplement needs? Such a place doesn’t exist, you say? It didn’t—until now!
FLEX feels your pain and has put together a list of every worthwhile supplement you’re likely to encounter on your next trip to the store. Each is rated for effectiveness and broken down into categories with listed benefits. Plus, we tell you just how much to take and the best times of day (or night) to take them so that all of your hard work in the gym doesn’t go to waste. If you were confused about supplements before,
you won’t be after you read this. So here’s Part 1 of the FLEX Supplement Encyclopedia: A to F.
ADENOSINE TRIPHOSPHATE (ATP)
MB, ST, FL
BENEFITS: Adenosine triphosphate is a nucleic acid and major energy source for every cell in the body. But taking the supplemental form does not increase the amount of ATP within cells. It boosts blood levels of ATP, which increases blood flow to exercising muscles. ATP also reduces fat storage and burns more already-stored fat. One study reported that subjects taking ATP for 14 days increased their one-rep max and the number of reps they could complete with a weight to failure.
DOSAGE: 125–250mg twice daily on an
CATEGORIES: MB, ST, EP, HL
BENEFITS: This by-product of the breakdown of the amino acid arginine boosts nitric oxide (NO) levels and the release of insulin (an anabolic hormone that increases muscle growth and dilates blood vessels to further boost blood flow). Agmatine can increase training intensity and strength for stronger muscle contractions while blunting pain to help you do more reps. It can even help boost the anabolic hormones testosterone and growth hormone (GH) and provides an antioxidant benefit for recovery.
DOSAGE: 500–1,000mg 30–60 minutes before workouts
CATEGORIES: MB, MA, HL
BENEFITS: Derived from soy lecithin and a good source of choline, Alpha-GPC increases GH production by inhibiting a brain chemical that normally blocks it. One study reported that a single dose increased bench-press strength by 15%. It can enhance mental function by increasing acetylcholine production.
DOSAGE: 250–500mg one hour before workouts and before bed
ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
CATEGORIES: FL, HL, MB
BENEFITS: A powerful antioxidant that also improves muscle glucose and creatine uptake when it’s consumed with simple carbs like dextrose. ALA is included in some fat-loss products because it reduces the amount of insulin released when carbs are eaten, which increases fat burning and reduces hunger.
DOSAGE: For increased creatine uptake: 500–600mg with 2–5g of creatine; fat loss and antioxidant protection: 100–300mg two to three times per day
CATEGORIES: MB, ST
BENEFITS: This amino acid enhances NO production, which improves blood flow to exercising muscles and delivers nutrients, hormones, and oxygen to aid in recovery. Arginine also boosts GH levels. Research shows significant strength improvements in men taking arginine products.
DOSAGE: 3–5g of arginine or NO products three times per day, with one dose 30–40 minutes before exercise
CATEGORIES: MB, HL
BENEFITS: This herb, known scientifically as Withania somnifera, is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps to suppress free-radical production. In some studies, it has increased testosterone levels by up to 40%.
DOSAGE: 1,500–2,000mg three times per day with food, with one dose 30–60 minutes before workouts
CATEGORIES: HL, EP, FL
BENEFITS: This carotenoid is a potent anti-oxidant that improves immune function, aids cardiovascular health, and protects the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Research also shows that it can increase endurance by up to 150%, thanks to its fat burning abilities.
DOSAGE: 4–6mg with meals once or twice per day, with one dose taken with your pre-workout shake
BENEFITS: Avena sativa (the scientific name for oats) contains the active ingredient avenocosides, which are a type of plant saponin similar to the furostanolic saponins in Tribulus. They increase the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) released from the pituitary gland, which influences the testicles to produce more testosterone. Evidence suggests that the avenocosides free up testosterone from its carrier protein, sex-hormone- binding globulin (SHBG), making more of it available to enter muscle cells to stimulate growth and boost strength gains.
DOSAGE: 100–300mg of a 10:1 Avena sativa extract two or three times a day, with one dose 30–60 minutes before workouts
BANABA LEAF EXTRACT
CATEGORIES: MB, HL
BENEFITS: Used as traditional medicine in the Philippines to treat diabetes and kidney diseases, the leaves appear to act in a similar manner to insulin by activating insulin receptors. One of the main ingredients responsible for this action is corosolic acid.
DOSAGE: 30–50mg banaba leaf extract standardized for corosolic acid with your post-workout shake
CATEGORIES: ST, MB, EP
BENEFITS: In the body, beta-alanine combines with another amino acid, histidine, to form the dipeptide (two aminos bound together) known as carnosine, also a component of vitamin B3. Research shows that muscles with higher levels of carnosine can generate greater forceful contractions for a longer period, resulting in superior strength, endurance, and mass gains. In one study, subjects taking beta-alanine with creatine gained more muscle and lost more fat than subjects taking just creatine.
DOSAGE: 2–3g with your pre- and post- workout shakes
BENEFITS: This phytonutrient—with antioxidant and provitamin A activity—provides anontoxic source of vitamin A. It also works with other natural protectors to defend cells from free radicals, and it aids metabolic functions, such as recovery from exercise.
DOSAGE: 5,000–25,000 international units (IU) per day with fat-containing meals
CATEGORIES: ST, MB
BENEFITS: This phytochemical, found in plants such as spinach, stimulates protein synthesis and drives muscle growth with no impact on hormone levels.
DOSAGE: 100mg with meals, including before and after workouts, for a total of 400–500mg daily
BENEFITS: This unique amino acid (also called trimethylglycine) derived from beets aids joint and liver repair, joint building, and liver protection. Studies show that it boosts strength and power, increases growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels, and even acts like the body’s own production of creatine. Research suggests that it may also support faster recovery from injury and inflammation.
DOSAGE: 1,500–3,000mg with pre- and post-workout meals
BENEFITS: Also called phenylethylamine (PEA), this naturally occurring metabolite of the amino acid phenylalanine is a stimulatory transmitter in the body that enhances neurotransmission. It promotes fat burning by increasing the release of norepinephrine, which raises dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, thereby reducing the sensation of pain and boosting feelings
of euphoria to help bodybuilders tolerate the rigors of contest dieting. It’s also available as beta-methoxyphenylethylamine, a form that significantly enhances its half-life in the body and allows a single dose to be more effective.
DOSAGE: 100–500mg one or two times daily
BENEFITS: Piperine is an active extract derived from black or long pepper. Research suggests it enhances nutrient absorption, most likely by increasing blood flow to the digestive tract. In one study, taking vitamin B6 along with Bioperine-branded piperine more than doubled the amount of B6 found in the blood of healthy men two hours after ingestion.
DOSAGE: 5mg daily with food
BENEFITS: Large doses of bovine colostrum— the first milk produced by cows during the initial days after giving birth—have been shown to improve immune function and increase levels of IGF-1. In addition, research indicates that it may aid muscular endurance. Gram per gram, the protein in colostrum is a bit more anabolic than that found in whey or other protein powders like casein or egg protein.
DOSAGE: Replace 5–10g of protein in your
pre- and post-workout shakes with 5–10g
of bovine colostrum.
BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs)
CATEGORIES: MB, EP, FL
BENEFITS: BCAAs include the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine, the most important aminos for the manufacture, maintenance, and repair of muscle tissue. Research shows that of the three, leucine can stimulate protein synthesis (the process of building muscle protein and, therefore, growth). Yet, the three work better together to provide a host of benefits and even boost energy during training. Studies show BCAAs can blunt the catabolic hormone cortisol and decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness.
DOSAGE: 5–10g with a whey shake in the morning, as well as with your pre- and post-workout shakes
CATEGORIES: FL, EP, MA, ST, HL
BENEFITS: A stimulant and effective fat burner due to its ability to increase the release of fat from fat cells, caffeine has been shown to boost strength and power output when taken one hour before workouts. New studies show it may help prevent several neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, too.
DOSAGE: For fat loss and weight management: 100-200mg between meals;
mental acuity and focus: 50–200mg
every couple of hours; strength and power: 200–400mg one hour before workouts
CATEGORIES: FL, EP, HL
BENEFITS: Essential for growth of the muscuoskeletal system, calcium also regulates and is critical for the contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue. In addition, it can help burn body fat by promoting thermogenesis and reducing dietary fat absorption.
DOSAGE: 500–600mg two or three times
CATEGORIES: FL, HL
BENEFITS: The chemical in chili peppers that makes them spicy, capsaicin enhances fat loss by first raising levels of the neurohormone norepinephrine, which increases metabolic rate. It has been found to elevate fat burning when taken an hour before aerobic exercise and can also decrease hunger. Look for capsaicin supplements that list Scoville thermal units, or heat units, with a dosage that supplies 40,000–80,000 units. You
can also take 1⁄4 tsp of ground red pepper or cayenne pepper that lists the heat units.
DOSAGE: 40,000–80,000 units 30 minutes before meals and one hour before cardio
CATEGORIES: FL, MB
BENEFITS: Carnitine aids the transport of fats into the machinery of muscle cells (mito- chondria), where it’s burned for fuel. Research shows it improves fat loss during exercise
and low-carb dieting. Carnitine also appears to enhance recovery following intense lifting and increases the number of testosterone receptors in muscle cells, thereby aiding growth. Further evidence points to carnitine as a potent NO booster, which means more blood flow and enhanced nutrient, oxygen, and anabolic hormone delivery to muscles.
DOSAGE: 1,000–3,000mg in the form of L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, L-carnitine- L-tartrate (see also glycine propionyl-L-car- nitine); you can also take another dose with meals in the morning and with evening meals
CATEGORIES: ST, MB
BENEFITS: Carnosine is what beta-alanine forms in muscle cells when it combines with histidine. So why do most supplements use beta-alanine and not carnosine? Because when you consume carnosine, it gets broken down in the digestive tract to beta-alanine and histidine. However, some supplements do provide carnosine. Carnosine and beta- alanine, are both effective for boosting strength, power, and size.
DOSAGE: 2–3g with your pre- and post- workout shakes
BENEFITS: Chitosan is a charged protein derived from chitin that attracts, binds, and removes fat from the digestive system before it can be absorbed by the body. One study reported that those taking chitosan without dieting lost about three pounds more body fat than subjects taking a placebo.
DOSAGE: 2g before high-fat meals
BENEFITS: A fraction of milk protein, casein provides a steady stream of amino acids over a longer period of time (during sleep, for example) in comparison to whey protein, the soluble protein fraction in milk. Research shows that those adding casein to a post- workout whey shake gained more muscle than those taking whey without casein.
DOSAGE: 20–40g between meals and/or before bedtime. Also consider replacing 10–20g of whey in your post-workout
shake with casein.
CATEGORIES: HL, EP
BENEFITS: Chlorophyll is a group of green pigments that absorbs light for photosynthesis, which sustains plant life through the conversion of sunlight into chemical energy. It provides numerous benefits to humans, too, mainly due to its antioxidant and anti- inflammatory effects. Research shows that daily use can decrease DNA damage by more than 50%, which also helps with muscle recovery. Chlorophyll may even help to boost endurance by aiding the oxygen delivery to muscles and may protect against certain cancers and even halitosis.
DOSAGE: 100mg two or three times per day
CATEGORIES: FL, EP, MA, HL
BENEFITS: An extract from cocoa that pro- vides all the benefits of chocolate without the sugar or fat, chocamine contains a num- ber of active ingredients that help suppress appetite and enhance metabolism, including caffeine, tyramine, theobromine, and phenyl- ethylamine. These components also boost energy and improve mood, concentration, and alertness.
DOSAGE: 1–2g up to three times per day
BENEFITS: Some manufacturers combine chondroitin with glucosamine or other ingredients that can have a synergistic effect on joint health. As with glucosamine, chondroitin can help ease arthritis symptoms and may also protect joints from destructive enzymes. It can take up to three months of continuous use before effects are noticeable.
DOSAGE: 800–1,500mg of chondroitin sulfate or chondroitin hydrochloride daily in two or three divided doses
CATEGORIES: FL, MB
BENEFITS: Chromium is essential for helping the body maintain optimal insulin function, which is important for staying lean and building muscle. Research has also shown that it can significantly reduce carb cravings, enhance fat loss, and lower cortisol levels. Chromium is easily depleted in those individuals restricting calories and/or training intensely.
DOSAGE: 200–400 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate or chromium nicotinate per day with meals
CATEGORIES: MB, ST
BENEFITS: Chrysin (also known as 5, 7-dihydroxyflavone) is a flavonoid compound that inhibits the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. More recent research from Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, finds that it can also directly in- crease testosterone production by enhancing the testis’ ability to convert cholesterol into steroid hormones such as testosterone.
DOSAGE: 1g with breakfast, lunch, and the last meal of the day
CATEGORIES: HL, FL, MB
BENEFITS: Cinnamon contains the active component hydroxychalone, which imitates the effects of insulin—a powerful anabolic hormone that drives carbohydrates and amino acids into muscle cells—and allows better binding to insulin receptors on muscle cells. With more of the carbs being pushed into the muscle fibers, it is less likely that those carbs will be stored as body fat. In addition, insulin acts like a key in muscle cells to directly turn on the process known as muscle protein synthesis, which boosts growth.
DOSAGE: 100–250mg with meals daily
(such as the trademarked cinnamon
extract Cinnulin PF)
CATEGORIES: EP, MB
BENEFITS: This amino acid is closely related to arginine and is readily converted to arginine in the body. Research shows that taking citrulline increases arginine and NO levels in the blood better than taking arginine by itself. It also helps prevent muscle fatigue by aiding in the removal of ammonia from the body, reabsorbing lactate for increased ATP resynthesis during high-intensity workouts, and boosting muscle protein synthesis via direct anabolic signaling. Citrulline malate elevates muscle ATP by 35% during exercise and increases the rate of creatine phosphate resynthesis by 20%.
DOSAGE: 3–6g of L-citrulline or citrulline malate 30–60 minutes before workouts
COLLAGEN HYDROLYSATE/ GELATIN
BENEFITS: Collagen hydrolysate is a protein that helps regenerate and synthesize cartilage. One study on osteoarthritis patients reported that those taking collagen had significant pain reduction and could reduce their use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Collagen hydrolysate also stimulates the synthesis of type II collagen in cartilage.
DOSAGE: 10g per day, taken for at least three months
CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID (CLA)
CATEGORIES: FL, MB, HL
BENEFITS: This fatty acid found in meats and dairy products can help incinerate body fat while simultaneously increasing muscle mass and strength. CLA also assists in reducing the risk for certain cancers. You must supplement for at least 12 weeks for effects to be notice- able, and CLA appears to be most effective when consumed as part of a low-calorie or low-fat diet. Look for cis-9, tran-11 and/or tran-10, or cis-12 on the label.
DOSAGE: 1–3g with breakfast, lunch, and dinner
COENZYME Q10 (CoQ10)
CATEGORIES: EP, HL
BENEFITS: CoQ10 is involved in all oxygen- utilizing (aerobic) metabolic reactions within the body and helps muscle cells convert energy. Research supports its use in controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. Training generates muscle-damaging free radicals, which CoQ10 helps neutralize; it’s also used to turn carbs and fat into energy. One study found that supplementing with 300mg of CoQ10 daily for eight days reduced fatigue during exercise and sped up recovery between bouts of exercise. As an antioxidant, CoQ10 regenerates the antioxidant power of vitamins C and E.
DOSAGE: 300mg per day with meals
CATEGORIES: MB, ST, EP, HL
BENEFITS: Made from the three aminos arginine, glycine, and methionine, creatine is technically an amino-acid supplement, not an individual amino. Creatine boosts lean muscle mass gains by about 10 pounds and strength by about 10% in just a few weeks, even in highly trained lifters. It also helps bolster levels of creatine phosphate, which in turn boosts ATP production, the ultimate energy source for muscles.
DOSAGE: Depending on the form of creatine you use, take about 2–5g with your pre- and post-workout protein shakes.
BENEFITS: This active ingredient in the
spice turmeric not only protects you from cancer and heart disease but has also been shown to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with healing from surgery and arthritis. Research has also shown that it can significantly reduce cartilage destruction by inhibiting chemicals that instigate inflammation in the body.
DOSAGE: 200–500mg of turmeric extract standardized for at least 85% curcumin, two or three times per day
CATEGORIES: MB, ST
BENEFITS: This amino acid is produced in
the pituitary gland, where it stimulates
the release of LH. Then, LH travels via the bloodstream to the testicles where it causes a boost in testosterone production. D- aspartate is also produced inside the testicles and acts on Leydig cells (special cells in
the testicles that produce testosterone) to increase T production as well as the production of sperm. One study reported that men taking D-aspartate for just 12 days increased their testosterone levels by more than 40%.
DOSAGE: 3g in the morning
CATEGORIES: MB, ST
BENEFITS: This shrub, also known as Turnera diffusa, has been used for centuries as a sex booster. However, it wasn’t until recently that damiana leaf extract was shown to inhibit the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen in the body. The active ingredients in damiana, called pinocembrin and acacetin, were mainly responsible for this effect. DOSAGE: 50–500mg of damiana extract three times per day in between meals
DEHYDROEPIANDROS- TERONE (DHEA)
CATEGORIES: MB, ST, FL, HL
BENEFITS: Produced by the adrenal glands, the hormone DHEA supports insulin function, increases bone density, promotes mental health, and, of course, works as a precursor for testosterone. Research has found that it helps reduce body fat, particularly from the midsection; it also increases levels of IGF-1, an anabolic factor critical for muscle growth. DHEA levels can start to decline in the early 20s in males who train intensely.
DOSAGE: 25–100mg once or twice daily
CATEGORIES: HL, MB
BENEFITS: Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts, enabling metabolic processes to occur at lightning speed. They also break down the macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat. Of major importance to the bodybuilder are the protease enzymes that break down protein. Research shows they can also help accelerate muscle recovery after workouts as well as reduce swelling and speed the healing of certain injuries. Choose an enzyme formula that contains some or all of the following: trypsin, chymotrypsin, pepsin, pancreatic enzymes, bromelain, and papain.
DOSAGE: 250–500mg 15 minutes
DIINDOLE/DIINDOLYLMETH- ANE (DIM)
BENEFITS: Diindole can help neutralize the negative effects of high estrogen levels, helping to keep testosterone levels up without aromatization (the process in which testosterone is converted to estrogen, which leads to excess water and fat retention). Taking DIM with vitamin E can increase its absorption.
DOSAGE: 200–300mg in two or three divided doses
BENEFITS: DMAE was originally marketed in the 1960s as a prescription drug to enhance learning and memory in individuals with attention disorders. Research shows that it leads to higher choline levels in the brain than taking choline by itself. This effect seems to be due to the fact that DMAE inhibits the breakdown of choline, which should lead to higher acetylcholine levels and, thus, better mental function.
DOSAGE: 100–200mg once or twice a day
CATEGORIES: EP, FL
BENEFITS: This stimulant, also known as methylhexanamine, is the active ingredient found in geranium oil. Anecdotal reports claim that 1-3, dimethylamylamine provides a euphoric effect that enhances workouts better than caffeine. In addition to increasing alertness, it can enhance mood, decrease hunger, and aid fat burning.
DOSAGE: 25–50mg of dimethylamylamine or 150–500mg of geranium extract about 30 minutes before workouts
BENEFITS: Well known for its immune-protective properties, this herb has been shown to offer some defense against colds and the flu and can be used to protect the immune system from the stress caused by heavy training. It may also boost the appetite, which can be critical in mass-gaining phases. Some research even suggests that echinacea increases production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which could enhance endurance. Look for products that contain Echinacea purpurea standardized to 4% ses-quiterpene esters, or Echinacea angustifolia standardized to 4% echinacosides.
DOSAGE: 200–400mg two to four times per day during flu season or at the onset of a cold. To stimulate appetite, take 400–500mg before meals. It is best to cycle this supplement in periods of three weeks on and one week off.
BENEFITS: Also known as egg albumen, this is an effective source of protein that’s well tolerated by many people, including those who are lactose-intolerant. With a high content of BCAAs, which can help drive muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy, it stimulates protein synthesis similar to milk protein. It’s also rich in the amino acid arginine, which triggers NO production. Egg white protein is a high- sulfur-containing protein, which is crucial to the body’s hormone-producing pathways, meaning it can further enhance growth.
DOSAGE: 20–50g between meals or 10–20g added to your pre- and post-workout shakes
BENEFITS: Elderberry extract comes from the fruit of the Sambucus plant, a genus of up to 30 species of shrubs. One study reported that phytochemicals in elderberry directly bind
to the H1N1 virus and block its ability to enter cells, which is critical for its infectious effects. And if you do contract the flu, research shows that taking elderberry extract can reduce the duration by half.
DOSAGE: 2–4g four times per day
EURYCOMA LONGIFOLIA JACK
CATEGORIES: MB, ST, HL
BENEFITS: This rainforest plant, also known as Malaysian ginseng or tongkat ali, appears to directly enhance testosterone production by stimulating the Leydig cells—special cells that convert cholesterol into testosterone— in the testes. It may also free up testosterone in the blood. Testosterone normally circulates in the blood, bound to the carrier protein called SHBG. This protein extends the time testosterone stays in the blood but prevents it from entering muscle cells. E. longifolia Jack is believed to help release testosterone from SHBG so that more of
it can enter muscle cells to induce growth. Look for products that provide a 20:1 extract of E. longifolia Jack.
DOSAGE: 200–300mg two or three times
BENEFITS: This extract from the Evodia rutaecarpa fruit burns fat by stimulating specific receptors in the central nervous system
that boost metabolic rate. Evodiamine also reduces hunger and slows the digestion of food, which not only keeps you feeling fuller longer but also causes a slow and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping prevent insulin spikes that could
lead to greater fat storage.
DOSAGE: 30–50mg two or three times per day
CATEGORIES: MB, ST, FL, HL
BENEFITS: This herb has myriad health benefits, the most notable being increased insulin release due to its high concentration of a BCAA isomer, 4-hydroxyisoleucine. Fenugreek can also elevate testosterone levels
as a result of its high content of furostanolic saponins, which increase LH levels to stimulate testosterone production.
DOSAGE: 500–2,000mg per day of furostanolic saponins from fenugreek, or the equivalent of at least 1mg of 4-hydroxyisoleucine per pound of body weight with your post-workout shake to rapidly restore muscle glycogen
CATEGORIES: HL, FL
BENEFITS: Fiber is an indigestible complex carbohydrate. Consumption of soluble and insoluble fiber enhances the health of
the digestive tract and improves the absorption and efficiency of bodybuilding diets. Fiber increases the bulk of food consumed, helping to process it. You should consume about 10–15g of fiber for every 1,000 calories eaten from food or supplements.
DOSAGE: 3–5g of fiber from supplements before large meals to help slow digestion,
up to three times per day
CATEGORIES: HL, FL, MB, ST
BENEFITS: Fish oil contains the essential omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids appear to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as prevent muscle breakdown, enhance joint healing, improve brain function, and help achieve greater fat loss.
DOSAGE: 1–3g with meals two or three times per day
CATEGORIES: FL, MA, HL
BENEFITS: This modified amino acid is
what the essential amino tryptophan is converted to before it forms serotonin
and melatonin in the body. In men, 5-HTP has been shown to increase LH and gonadotropin-releasing hormone to boost testosterone levels. Serotonin can help curb food cravings—especially for carbohydrates—and melatonin can help you relax before bed. All this makes 5-HTP great to take at night to promote adrenal recovery and ease food cravings when they seem to be strongest. In one study, subjects taking 5-HTP ate fewer calories per day and lost an average of 11 pounds in 12 weeks, while a placebo group had difficulty limiting caloric intake and lost only two pounds.
DOSAGE: 50–1,300mg 30–60 minutes before bed (those taking prescribed antidepressants should not use 5-HTP before discussing it with a physician)
CATEGORIES: FL, HL, MB
BENEFITS: Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, which the body can convert to the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and
DHA (see “Fish Oil”), and it has potent anti- inflammatory properties. If on a low-fat diet, men should limit the amount of flaxseed oil consumed to 30g per day; when combined with a diet low in fat, it has been shown to reduce testosterone in men by 15% within 30 days.
DOSAGE: 1–2 tbsp per day with food
CATEGORIES: HL, MB
BENEFITS: Also known as folate, this B vitamin is critical for the production and maintenance of new cells (such as muscle cells); it’s also needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of all cells. Folate even plays a role in the conversion of arginine to NO. It also regulates the co-factors that directly influence the amount of arginine that can be converted to NO, resulting in greater NO production.
DOSAGE: 400–800mcg in the form of folic acid or L-methylfolate
CATEGORIES: FL, MB
BENEFITS: Forskolin is the active compound in the herb Coleus forskohlii, a member of the mint family. It enhances fat loss by activating the enzyme adenylate cyclase, which is also involved in testosterone production. This leads to activation of the hormone-sensitive lipoprotein lipase, which allows fat stored in fat cells to be broken down for use as fuel. Research found that overweight men who took forskolin for 12 weeks lost considerably more body fat and had higher levels of testosterone than a placebo group.
DOSAGE: Take a Coleus forskohlii supplement standardized for 20–50mg forskolin, two or three times daily before meals.
BENEFITS: This carotenoid increases the activity of uncoupling proteins in fat cells, which increases the activity of the metabolic machinery in cells and makes them burn more fuel to produce adequate energy. In other words, you burn more calories, such
as fat, each day. Research shows that lab animals given fucoxanthin lost significantly more abdominal fat than animals receiving a placebo. Look for products that contain fucoxanthin extract like the trademarked form Xanthigen.
DOSAGE: 150–200mg two or three times per day before meals