Do Your Supplements Actually Work?

Everyone loves a good pre-workout that gets you all wired up and ready to hit the gym. Especially now-a-days, every pre-workout coming to the market has over 300 mg of caffeine along with other stimulants to get you going. Unfortunately, there is a difference between “feeling” like your pre-workout is working and it actually working. Anyone can take a few small scoops of pre-workout to get to the gym but that's only half the battle. What you do during your time there is what makes the difference.

Don’t get us wrong, research shows caffeine and many other stimulants have strong implications of improving strength and endurance. Many ingredients are considered nootropics (supplement that take effects on the brain)(1) but being focused and wired is only one thing. What about the other key nutrients that not only help with strength, endurance, and blood flow (muscle pump) but they actually help you with muscle recovery? 

When you exercise, you are creating micro (small) tears in your muscle fibers.(2)(3) During rest and recovery these tears are repaired by fusing together to form new muscle protein strands. Specific ingredients within your nutrition and supplementation help to expedite the repair of these muscle micro-tears.

Some of the most important ingredients are:

  1. Branch chain amino acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine)
    • Studies show that BCAAs help decrease fatigue while exercising;(4)
    • Leucine works to activate mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). (5) When (mTOR) is activated there is an increase in protein synthesis. (6)

  1. Creatine Hydrochloride
    • Creatine is essential in providing extra energy and replenishing new ATP.(7)
    • By storing high-energy Creatine phosphate in your muscles, this will strengthen muscular contraction. (7)

  1. Betaine


    • It helps with synthesis of creatine in the body, increasing the production of creatine.(8)
    • It aids in process known as “translation”, a form of protein synthesis. If betaine is ramped up, expect muscle growth and strength gains (9)

  1. Citrulline DL Malate 2:1 
    • L-citrulline raises arginine plasma levels in the body greater than arginine itself. (10)
    • Arginine helps with the production of nitric oxide(NO), which helps with blood flow, delivery of oxygen and muscle growth. (11) 

Make sure to look for supplements that will help you do more than just get you to the gym. Pay attention to the ones that will not only provide you the energy that you need but ones that also promote strength, endurance, and focus for optimum muscle growth.



  1. Caffeine ,Summary All Essential Benefits/Effects/Facts & Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Costello, Joseph T.; Baker, Philip Ra; Minett, Geoffrey M.; Bieuzen, Francois; Stewart, Ian B.; Bleakley, Chris (2015-09-18). "Whole-body cryotherapy (extreme cold air exposure) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise in adults". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 9: CD010789. doi:1002/14651858.CD010789.pub2. ISSN 1469-493X. PMID 26383887.
  3. Nosaka, Ken (2008). "Muscle Soreness and Damage and the Repeated-Bout Effect". In Tiidus, Peter M. Skeletal muscle damage and repair. Human Kinetics. pp. 59–76. ISBN 978-0-7360-5867-4.
  4. Branched Chain Amino Acids. (n.d.). Retrieved February 06, 16, from Chain Amino Acids/
  5. Anthony, J. C., Yoshizawa, F., Anthony, T. G., Vary, T. C., Jefferson, L. S., & Kimball, S. R. (2000) Leucine stimulates translation inititation in skeletal muscle of postabsorptive rats via a rapamycin-sensitive pathway. J. Nutr. 130: 2413-2419.
  6. Merrick, W. C., & Hershey, J. W. B. (2000) The pathway and mechanism of initiation of protein synthesis. In: Sonnenberg N, Hershey JWB, Mathews MB, editors. Translational control of gene expression. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.*
  7. Jenkins, M. A. (1998). Creatine Supplementation in Athletes: Review. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from
  8. Silveri MM, et al S-adenosyl-L-methionine: effects on brain bioenergetic status and transverse relaxation time in healthy subjects . Biol Psychiatry. (2003)
  9. Drabkin, H. J., & RajBhandary, U. L. (1998, September 18). Initiation of Protein Synthesis in Mammalian Cells with Codons Other Than AUG and Amino Acids Other Than Methionine. Retrieved from
  10. Citrulline - Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2016, from
  11. Dhanakoti, S. N. et al, Am. J. Physiol. 259:E437-E442, (1990)


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