The 5 Pillars of Supplementation
Here’s what to consider when researching the best supplements for your goals.
1) Proper Ingredients
Each ingredient must have ample evidence of its effectiveness in both the lab and the gym. Each ingredient must also have adequate evidence of its safety, again with both laboratory research and real-world evidence.
2) Proper Form
Each ingredient must be used in the proper form for the desired results, as certain forms of an ingredient may be better for certain products. For example, creatine HCL is better absorbed than creatine monohydrate, so it takes far less creatine to provide results. This also helps prevent stomach issues that are common with the monohydrate form.
3) Proper Dosing
Each ingredient must be provided at the proper dose found to be effective in the lab and the gym. This includes synergies when multiple ingredients are used to provide an additive effect. For example, a lower dose of Alpha-GPC can provide a very effective brain boost when combined with adequate amounts of Huperzine A, caffeine, and tyrosine, as compared to taking Alpha-GPC alone.
4) Proper Synergy
To get the best results, be it better recovery or greater fat loss, combining certain ingredients with others to enhance each ingredient’s effect is critical. For example, taking creatine with BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) is a good synergy because leucine instigates insulin release, which is critical for creatine uptake by the muscles.
5) Proper Timing
When you take your supplements can be just as critical as the form and dosing of the ingredients. As an example, research shows that when protein and creatine are taken before and after workouts, subjects gain more muscle and strength, while also losing more body fat, than subjects taking the same supplements in the morning and at night.