Jerry Brainum lists the most effective bodybuilding supplements according to scientific studies.

The bodybuilding and sports supplement industry has boomed over the last few decades. What was once dominated by a small number of tried and true brands is now overloaded with hundreds of supplement companies and manufacturers. While having purchasing choice is great to best get what you need – it can also make supplementation confusing. Which brands should you trust? Which types of supplements actually work? Am I being scammed? In our latest episode of Straight Facts, Jerry Brainum breaks down the top supplements backed by science to guarantee results.

It seems like nearly every week a new kind of supplement product hits the market. Each one advertises that it is the best solution to optimizing your fitness training. But how do you separate the over-exaggerated marketing from the real deal supplements that make a difference?  While FDA approval of a supplement is a good start – deeper scientific studies are required to know if a supplement actually will make changes to your training and diet.

That’s why Jerry Brainum broke down a short list of science research backed supplements that are considered most consistently effective for bodybuilders and athletes. Keep in mind this list is considering legal over the counter supplements and not PEDs such as steroids. Let’s jump into it.

1. Creatine

After piling through the data, Jerry Brainum found that most scientific studies endorse creatine as an effective supplement. It works for 80% of people who use it in an aggregate score of research studies and essays. Creatine is probably one of the earlier supplements you were made aware of back in high school – and for good reason. It keeps your muscles supplied with energy for muscle contraction. It stimulates intramuscular insulin growth factor one which is a direct anabolic effect. It also helps to reduce acidity in muscle – which is a big factor in fatigue during training. It is without question the number one most effective supplement.

RELATED: Best Creatine Supplements For Bulking & Muscle Growth

2. Caffeine

While technically more of a drug than a supplement, studies have shown that caffeine, an all natural substance, is effective for sports supplementation.  Whether you get the caffein boost via a pre-workout supplement or simply a few cups of coffee – there’s no doubt that this drug works to boost your energy.

A few tips to keep in mind. You’ll want to ingest caffeine (coffee for example) one hour before you workout in order to get the best effects from it. However, if you train late – then the boosting energy of caffeine will last well into the night and might make it harder for you to sleep. This can hurt your muscle recovery.

Note – if you have any kind of heart or artery disease or complication, caffeine can restrict the dilation of your arteries. This can reduce the amount of blood pumping into your heart. Which can cause health risks if you have any known pre-existing heart and artery conditions.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout Supplements For Bodybuilding & Muscle Gain

3. Nitrates

Nitrates are substances found naturally in green leaf vegetables (such as beets). Super greens supplementation is a great way to get the benefits of nitric oxide without taking boosters (which may come with additional ingredients you may want to avoid in your diet). Nitrate takes about 2-2.5 hours from the time you consume it before you get the full effect during a workout. Effects include dilation of blood vessels – which helps you get a great pump and great delivery of oxygen to muscles.

4. Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine increases the production of carnosine in the body. This helps increase muscle endurance by preventing acidity build up in muscle which is one of the factors that cause fatigue. Essentially, much like nitrates, this BCAA supplement can help stave off fatigue. This allows you train harder and longer in the gym.

On a personal note – Jerry Brainum mentions his own use of beta alanine. In his experience, a low dose did not help him. But after going to a higher dose he was able to see an effect.

RELATED: Straight Facts – The Pros And Cons Of Beta Alanine

Wrap Up

While the supplements listed here are backed with rigorous research to endorse their efficiency, it should be noted that if something works generally on paper it may not work for you. Each individual has unique genetics. No one drug affects a person exactly the same way.

If you are not using some of these supplements in your diet – and are looking for a natural way to increase performance – try adding these into your stack. Evaluate if the results work for you, adjust, and repeat. You might just find something to give you the edge during bodybuilding training.

You can watch Jerry Brainum go into full detail about this supplements in our latest episode of Straight Facts above. Make sure to check out new episodes every Wednesday only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.