$37 Billion dollars!
That’s how much money the U.S supplement industry is estimated to be worth.
The last thing the industry needs is more of your cash.
In this article, we’ll share with you 4 popular supplements that you can do without to save some money and still make gains.
This is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body and plays a number of important physiological roles (1,2,3).
It’s known that glutamine can increase cell volume (4) and stimulate protein (5) and glycogen synthesis (6, 7). However, there is no compelling evidence to support glutamine supplementation in terms of increasing lean body mass (8).
In one well designed study, glutamine supplementation during resistance training had no significant effect on muscle performance, body composition or muscle protein degradation over 6 weeks (8). It may have advantages for certain clinical conditions, overtraining and for endurance sports, but forget about building muscle with extra glutamine, it is unlikely to increase concentrations above physiologically normal levels. It is good for the gut though.
Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA)
CLAs are a family of at least 28 isomers of linoleic acid found mostly in the meat and dairy products and are marketed as a fat loss supplement.
Much of the available research comes from animal models. In animal studies CLA decreases body fat, increases muscle and bone mass, has anti-cancer properties, enhances immunity, and inhibits progression of heart disease (9,10,11). In humans, there is little current evidence that CLA can increase lean tissue accretion (12,13).
Though they are not hormones themselves, prohormones amplify the effects of existing hormones and have minimal hormonal effect by themselves.
Let’s look at the facts.
Testosterone and growth hormone promote gains in muscle mass and strength and decrease muscle breakdown and fat mass (14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21).
Prohormones are precursors to testosterone or other anabolic steroids. Prohormones (androstenedione, 4-androstenediol, 19-nor-4-androstenedione, 19-nor-4-androstenediol, 7- keto DHEA, and DHEA, etc) are naturally derived precursors to testosterone or other anabolic steroids.
Most studies indicate that they do not affect testosterone and that some may actually increase estrogen levels and reduce HDL-cholesterol (22,23,24).
Tribulus terrestris is a plant extract that has been suggested to stimulate leutinizing hormone (LH) which stimulates the natural production of testosterone (25).
Studies indicate that Tribulus has no effects on body composition or strength during training (25,26).
There is nothing wrong with supplementing your diet to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients, but just be sure to do your homework before spending your cash.
- Kreider RB: Dietary supplements and the promotion of muscle growth with resistance exercise. Sports Med 1999, 27(2):97-110.
- Garlick PJ: The role of leucine in the regulation of protein metabolism. J Nutr 2005, 135(6 Suppl):1553S-6S.
- Smith RJ. Glutamine Metabolism and Its Physiologic Importance. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr July 1990 vol. 14 no. 4 suppl 40S-44S
- Roth E. Nonnutritive Effects of Glutamine. J Nutr. 2008 Oct;138(10):2025S-2031S.
- R. G. Hankard, M. W. Haymond, D. Darmaun. Effect of glutamine on leucine metabolism in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism Published 1 October 1996 Vol. 271 no. 4, E748-E754 DOI:
- Varnier M, Leese GP, Thompson J, Rennie MJ: Stimulatory effect of glutamine on glycogen accumulation in human skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol 1995, 269:E309-15.
- J. L. Bowtell, K. Gelly, M. L. Jackman, A. Patel, M. Simeoni, M. J. Rennie. Effect of oral glutamine on whole body carbohydrate storage during recovery from exhaustive exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 June 1999 Vol. 86 no. 6, 1770-1777
- Candow DG, Chilibeck PD, Burke DG, Davison KS, Smith-Palmer T: Effect of glutamine supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. Eur J Appl Physiol 2001, 86(2):142-9.
- Pariza MW, Park Y, Cook ME: Conjugated linoleic acid and the control of cancer and obesity. Toxicol Sci 1999, 52(2 Suppl):107-l10.
- Pariza MW, Park Y, Cook ME: Mechanisms of action of conjugated linoleic acid: evidence and speculation. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 2000, 223(1):8-13.
- Pariza MW, Park Y, Cook ME: The biologically active isomers of conjugated linoleic acid. Prog Lipid Res 2001, 40(4):283-98.
- Tarnopolsky M, Zimmer A, Paikin J, Safdar A, Aboud A, Pearce E, Roy B, Doherty T: Creatine monohydrate and conjugated linoleic acid improve strength and body composition following resistance exercise in older adults. PLoS One 2007, 2(10):e991.
- Campbell B, Kreider RB: Conjugated linoleic acids. Curr Sports Med Rep 2008, 7(4):237-41.
- Bhasin S, Woodhouse L, Casaburi R, Singh AB, Mac RP, Lee M, Yarasheski KE, Sinha-Hikim I, Dzekov C, Dzekov J, Magliano L, Storer TW: Older men are as responsive as young men to the anabolic effects of graded doses of testosterone on the skeletal muscle. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005, 90(2):678-88
- Shalender Bhasin, M.D., Thomas W. Storer, Ph.D., Nancy Berman, Ph.D. The Effects of Supraphysiologic Doses of Testosterone on Muscle Size and Strength in Normal Men. N Engl J Med 1996; 335:1-7
- Linda J. Woodhouse, Suzanne Reisz-Porszasz, Marjan Javanbakht, Thomas W. Storer, Martin Lee, Hrant Zerounian, Shalender Bhasin. Development of models to predict anabolic response to testosterone administration in healthy young men. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism Published 1 May 2003 Vol. 284 no. 5, E1009-E1017
- Sattler FR, Castaneda-Sceppa C, Binder EF, Schroeder ET, Wang Y, Bhasin S, Kawakubo M, Stewart Y, Yarasheski KE, Ulloor J, Colletti P, Roubenoff R, Azen SP: Testosterone and growth hormone improve body composition and muscle performance in older men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009, 94(6):1991-2001.
- Storer TW, Woodhouse L, Magliano L, Singh AB, Dzekov C, Dzekov J, Bhasin S: Changes in muscle mass, muscle strength, and power but not physical function are related to testosterone dose in healthy older men. J Am Geriatr Soc 2008, 56(11):1991-9.
- Indrani Sinha-Hikim, Jorge Artaza, Linda Woodhouse, Nestor Gonzalez-Cadavid, Atam B. Singh, Martin I. Lee, Thomas W. Storer, Richard Casaburi, Ruoquing Shen, Shalender Bhasin. Testosterone induced increase in muscle size in healthy young men is associated with muscle fiber hypertrophy. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 283: E154–E164, 2002
- Yarasheski KE: Growth hormone effects on metabolism, body composition, muscle mass, and strength. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 1994, 22:285-312. 205.
- Shalender Bhasin, Linda Woodhouse, Richard Casaburi, Atam B. Singh, Dimple Bhasin, Nancy Berman, Xianghong Chen, Kevin E. Yarasheski, Lynne Magliano, Connie Dzekov, Jeanne Dzekov, Rachelle Bross, Jeffrey Phillips, Indrani Sinha-Hikim, Ruoquing Shen, Thomas W. Storer. Testosterone dose-response relationships in healthy young men. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 281: E1172–E1181, 2001
- King DS, Sharp RL, Vukovich MD, Brown GA, Reifenrath TA, Uhl NL, Parsons KA: Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men: a randomized controlled trial. Jama 1999, 281(21):2020-8
- Broeder CE, Quindry J, Brittingham K, Panton L, Thomson J, Appakondu S, Breuel K, Byrd R, Douglas J, Earnest C, Mitchell C, Olson M, Roy T, Yarlagadda C: The Andro Project: physiological and hormonal influences of androstenedione supplementation in men 35 to 65 years old participating in a high-intensity resistance training program. Arch Intern Med 2000, 160(20):3093-104.
- Brown GA, Vukovich MD, Sharp RL, Reifenrath TA, Parsons KA, King DS: Effect of oral DHEA on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men. J Appl Physiol 1999, 87(6):2274-83.
- Antonio J, Uelmen J, Rodriguez R, Earnest C: The effects of Tribulus terrestris on body composition and exercise performance in resistance trained males. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2000, 10(2):208-15.
- Rogerson S, Riches CJ, Jennings C, Weatherby RP, Meir RA, Marshall-Gradisnik SM: The effect of five weeks of Tribulus terrestris supplementation on muscle strength and body composition during preseason training in elite rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res 2007, 21(2):348-53