We have all heard the advertisements “users gained 10 pounds of muscle in 16 weeks,” get ripped or get shredded and melt that belly fat. There are entire stores for products just for like these, just like GNC which is happen to be a avid costumer of. There is protein powder, thermogenic’s, amino acids, BCAA’s and countless other products, but are these products as useful as the pros say that they are. That is exactly what I am going to look at.
According to menshealth.com the most popular products that are used by those looking to get jacked and ripped are testosterone’s boosters, tribulus terrestris which is the scientific name for products such as HMB, DHEA, creatine and L-arginine. Anabolic steroids that were created raise the levels of testosterone dramatically were banned completely in 2005 but certain different drugs with extreme anabolic properties were being banned as early as 1991 due to the major safety concerns. With the great effects that anabolic testosterone boosters held left the bodybuilding community in shambles, which is why supplementation companies looked for natural and legal ways to market testosterone boosters. When your testosterone levels increase so does the muscle building sex hormone, but unfortunately the opposite is to always true. The sex hormone levels can increase while your T levels may not which is the report of products claiming to raise testosterone levels. According to an article by the art of manliness in the rare cases that these products do infect raise your T levels , it will never be any higher than a 20% increase which is a noticeable increase if your using it as a libido supplement but when used for muscle building purposes this isn’t much of an increase. So the question remains, can you truly get results without illegal anabolic drugs? Depending on what you consider results, there are products available in stores that do increase your T levels but at maximum it will be a 50% increase while a low potency anabolic steroid can increase levels by 300%. With these low effect boosters the only true way to see if there is an increase would be to have blood work done. Do todays testosterone boosters work? yes they do but not as much as people think they do.
DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal gland in higher concentrations than any other hormone within the body.  Although the exact function of this particular hormone is unknown most researcher will agree that its a precursor for male and female sex hormones and other steroid hormones. DHEA does show fat loss effects especially in the deep abdominal area.There a few different forms of DHEA that can be taken. Just like most supplements DHEA comes in an oral version and even an topical cream due to its ability to improve skin quality and even higher increase in testosterone in cream form compared to the oral form. According from skinny2fit.com There are two different ways to classify DHEA, those of which are direct and indirect benefit. When talking about the direct benefit the hormone is concentrated into testosterone and estrogen and also works as an anti aging hormone. The indirect benefits are not only increasing testosterone, but also increase protein synthesis, higher muscle mass, and increased physical performance. So does DHEA really work? The bottom line is you more than likely would want to skip this product because it reduces the amount of good cholesterol, it is not the healthiest choice for your heart, there is an estrogen producing agent within it which in turn makes you more likely to develop gynecomastia. When it comes to the effects on athletic performance, without the proper exercise and diet plan along with commitment there will be no true effect.
Weather or not you are taking creatine via supplementation or not it is being produced and used within your body. So you may be asking “why take the creatine supplement?” and does it work? The short answer is yes it does work, professional bodybuilders know this, researchers that have written countless papers on creatine know this. Even though the pros use it and researchers praise you should not use any product with out knowing the pros and cons. In my experience creatine is a white salty tasting powder but it does come in different flavors depending on what brand you go with. According to meanshealth.com creatine is most effective in high intensity training and sports in which explosive movements are required. All research which has been conducted points to one thing, if you take creatine you will gain the muscle, that is if you take the extra boost of energy and endurance that it gives within the gym. So what doesn’t everybody looking to get big use this product? Well there are some downsides as there are to all supplements. There have been instances of muscle tearing, not normal muscle tearing which is required for muscles to grow but tearing which can cause permanent damage. Creatine has been one of the most widely known supplements in the bodybuilding scene and ask anybody within it and they will recommend it to you and the bottom line is yes it is a beneficial product but be careful and drink plenty of water as cramping and increase stress on muscle is more than likely.
HMB otherwise known as beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyric acid which comes from the branch chain amino acid leucine, which just like creatine as we just went over, is used to boost such activities as weightlifting and other endurance sports, There are many different products that even combine the two for a better effect. Some would ask “if HMB is as good as creatine why not just take it?” This product is nothing new but the research on said product is not where we would like it. From what research we do have, the results are showing that HMB may be better than steroids for building muscle, but heres the catch, the research that has been conducted using on HMB has used new and inexperienced lifters due to the increased spikes in muscle damage during the first 3 to 4 weeks of training.  The same can not be said for experienced lifters, you still are tearing your muscle fibers and your body utilizes protein synthesis but not at the rate is does when you first started training and this was the predominate finding in research. The bottom line is if you are not training for the first time in your life do not expect a steroid like effect from this product.
L-Arginine or simply Arginine is an amino acid that is used by the body in the  biosynthesis of different proteins and increases the amount and rate at which your body products nitric oxide which in turn will increase the amount of blood which flows through the muscle. Although there is research which shows that this supplement works the amount is not at all positive. But does this mean that arginine is worthless? Newer and newer research is finding that although it does not have a direct effect on what it is advertised to do, over a certain period of time arginine can help with the building of lean muscle and the reduction of fat mass, and according to buildingleanbody.com it even improves type 2 diabetics sensitivity to insulin. But the risk prevail. Other research has found that prolonged use of arginine with 9 or more grams can cause heart attack and may even lead to death in men. The bottom line is the risks do not outweigh to benefits.
Do you really need supplements to build muscle and get lean? If you are an average joe such as myself than although supplementation will help the research shows the effects are too few to make a noticeable difference, now this is not true for all products as some mentioned above do have promising results but most are marketed as a booster more than something to lean on.

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