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How Do Supplements Work for Bodybuilders

posted by Chris Valentine

You definitely must have heard about the use of supplements to bulk up and build muscles. Sure, an overload of protein through a natural diet can benefit you a lot, but when you are aiming for that ripped, bodybuilder image, you’ll most likely reach out for the extra help of supplements. There’s some controversy surrounding the use of supplements for muscle building, their effectiveness, and associated side effects. This probably has led you to never fully trust them.

To decipher this, let’s first understand what supplements are. As the name suggests, supplements are catalysts that boost the process of building muscles by inducing the protein and balanced diet through your body. Your body would build muscle anyhow, if provided with enough protein. But supplements give you faster results and increase the efficiency of the process by 10 percent, by providing a little extra protein and necessary vitamins to grow your muscles, acting as a powerful fuel. Let’s take a look at different types of supplements and how each helps in building muscles.

Casein/Whey Protein

These are the most common and widely popular protein supplement types. The combination of these two is milk protein (80 percent casein and 20 percent whey), which is considered quite effective in muscle building, given their different ways of functioning.

Whey functions surprisingly faster than casein, which takes only about 90 minutes to oxidize amino acids. It raises the process of protein synthesis. On the other hand, casein is extremely slow and takes almost 7 hours to deliver amino acids. It breaks down the protein to the last bit and thus produces an effect known as the anabolic effect—an important process to promote and stimulate growth in the body. Also, whey protein contains a lot of leucine and lean protein, which furthers the muscle building.

This supplement is common among women as well, and it needs to be taken more than once during the day for effective bodybuilding.


Mainly aimed to be consumed by the ones who perform weight training or high-intensity workouts rather than cardio or aerobics, creatine is another commonly known and famous supplement that stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP, in the body. ATP is very useful; it’s a source of energy for the proper functioning of all muscles in your body, hence being a fundamentally important element of bodybuilding. Also, it helps in reducing and maintaining the acid levels, which might hinder the normal functioning of muscles. It also induces the growth of new muscles and repairs the old, torn ones.

Creatine is, in fact, a natural enzyme found in the body and can be achieved through eating more meat, since meat has a high creatine content. This kind of supplement is mainly beneficial for vegetarians since meat-eaters would already obtain creatine naturally through the consumption of meat. Many people also combine creatine supplements with whey supplements to achieve faster results.

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide is a naturally occurring gas in your body, which stimulates the blood flow and relaxes the muscle cells. It helps in increasing blood flow to the muscles, carrying more oxygen, and thus providing the muscles with a “pump,” making them look bulkier. These kinds of supplements are sold under the name of “pump supplements” now. You can refer to these reliable rankings to know more about the top pump supplements on the market. It is advisable for the people suffering from hypotension not to consume nitric oxide supplements to avoid feeling dizzy and nauseous.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is basically an Omega-3 fatty acid, which is an excellent stimulant for your heart and brain. It is extremely important for vegetarians, vegans or people who don’t eat adequate amounts of fish. It not only helps in fighting brain aberrations and improving focus, but also in fighting prostate and breast cancer. People who have an active lifestyle and tend to constantly keep moving need fish oil to avoid fatigue and keep their joints healthy, especially during old age when joints are the least functional. This is because Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce body inflammation.

For muscle building, fish oil will deliver more oxygen to the body—giving you more energy and stamina for proper and regular workouts—in addition to reducing fat stimulation. You can buy fish oil in the form of liquid or capsules, the latter being preferred by more people as they are easier to swallow.


This is a rare supplement that’s not used by many. Like creatine, beta-alanine is also found naturally in the body but in lower quantities. Known for its carnosine boost, it helps improve endurance and performance by keeping the level of beta-alanine normal in the body and by fighting muscle fatigue. If you need to improve your workout performance and gain more stamina, this is a supplement to look out for.


A very interesting component, once again occurring naturally in the body, glutamine is an amino acid that is washed off after you put your muscles through a lot of hard work and a strenuous workout. However, glutamine is required to maintain muscle mass, and thus it is essential to feed the muscles, especially after a workout. It occurs in fat-induced natural products such as meat and nuts, which are usually not advisable to consume, given the high amount of fat in them. So, consuming this component in the form of a devised supplement offers you all its benefits without taking in the fat content.

Taking other supplements also benefit both your muscles and the entire body, such as multi-mineral supplements that contain important minerals like zinc and calcium. This helps stimulate certain hormones and consequently builds muscle. It also supports other body functions such as bone strength and increases metabolic function. Before buying and consuming any of these supplements, it is wise to do some thorough research into the right dosage, body type, compatibility, and side effects. You can consult your physician to know more about the kind that will suit you best, especially since wrong dosages can do more harm than good.

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