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Build Muscle Mass With Supplements


Updated June 18, 2014

Lipoic Acid, cont'd
In dosages of less than 1,800 mg per day, lipoic acid doesn’t appear to have significant side effects. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe kidney and liver disease has not been established.

Gamma Oryzanol
Gamma oryzanol is derived from rice bran oil. It has been approved in Japan for use in menupause, anxiety, stomach upset, and high cholesterol.

There is preliminary evidence that gamma oryzanol can increase endorphin release and help build muscle, which is why it has become popular as a sports supplement. More research is needed. A typical dosage of gamma oryzanol is 300 mg daily.

Side effects of gamma oryzanol appear to be minimal. However, safety is children, pregnant or nursing women, and people with liver or kidney disease have not been established.


Creatine monohydrate is another popular supplement for building lean muscle, as it is a precursor to creatine phosphate, an energy source for high intensity muscle work.  Research indicates that it may boost lean muscle mass, strength and performance and reduce recovery time.

Many athletes and bodybuilders take the minerals magnesium, zinc, chromium and copper to help them achieve their goals. Some nutritionists believe that supplementation above a multivitamin and mineral supplement is unnecessary unless a person is deficient in these minerals.

Chromium is said to promote weight loss by building muscle tissue and burning fat. For weight loss, there is some evidence that chromium might be of some benefit.

Although chromium is quite safe in the recommended amount, damage has been reported with daily dosages of as little as 600 mcg. One form of chromium called chromium picolinate may alter the levels of neurotransmitters in people with depression or other mood disorders. There has also been at least one report of a skin reaction after using the picolinate form of chromium.

Hormone Supplements
This group of hormones is believed to increase testosterone. They should only be used if they are prescribed by a qualified health professional, as the long term effects of these hormone supplements are not known.

Androstenedione is a hormone that is produced naturally by the adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes. Androstenedione is converted from DHEA. It goes on to become the hormones testosterone and estrogen.

People use androstenedione to build muscle and increase strength because it is believed to increase testosterone levels. However, being a hormone, they affect the body’s hormonal balance, which can cause unpredictable side effects. In addition, one study found that androstenedione increases estrogen levels.

The FDA recently issued a warning about androstenedione.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that is made naturally by the adrenal glands. It is used to make the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.

People use DHEA for osteoporosis prevention, failure of the adrenal glands, and for the autoimmune disease lupus. It may also improve sexual function in men and women and help with depression. Athlete’s use DHEA because they believe that like phosphatidylserine, DHEA will suppress cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that naturally increases with heavy exercise and causes muscle breakdown.

The body makes its own DHEA. DHEA production in the body peaks early in life and then begins to decline in adulthood. By the age of 60, we are producing as little as 5% of the DHEA we produced when we were 20.

The DHEA supplements you buy in the store are not natural. They are manufactured synthetically from soybeans.

Although DHEA appears to be safe when taken short-term in therapeutic doses, the long term effects are not known. There is some concern that DHEA may decrease the levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol), and cause acne and male pattern hair growth in women. Although more research studies are needed, the possiblility that DHEA may increase the risk of breast cancer exists.

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