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Supplements with Effects on Muscle Mass and Performance

Supplements with Effects on Muscle Mass and Performance

For muscle mass and strength there is strong evidence for the use of nitrate and caffeine for their acute beneficial effects on muscle strength, whereas the long-term consumption of creatine, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (I am personally skeptical of PUFAs, but this review placed them in their most credible category) seems to consistently increase or preserve muscle mass and strength.




Caffeine increases both maximal strength and muscular endurance.


“Caffeine can be used effectively as an ergogenic aid when taken in moderate doses, such as during sports when a small increase in endurance performance can lead to significant differences in placements as athletes are often separated by small margins.”


“Ingestion of 3 mg·kg-1 body mass of caffeine enhanced endurance exercise performance in women. The magnitude of the performance enhancement observed in women was similar to that of men, despite significantly greater plasma caffeine concentrations following exercise in women. These results suggest the current recommendations for caffeine intake (i.e. 3-6 mg·kg-1 caffeine prior to exercise to enhance endurance performance), which are derived almost exclusively from studies on men, may also be applicable to women.”


“The meta-analyses showed significant ergogenic effects of caffeine ingestion on maximal muscle strength of upper body and muscle power.”




“The current study showed that 24 weeks of BA supplementation at 6.4 g day−1 did not significantly affect muscle taurine content, clinical markers of renal, hepatic and muscle function, nor did it result in chronic sensory side-effects, in healthy individuals. Since athletes are likely to engage in chronic supplementation, these data provide important evidence to suggest that supplementation with BA at these doses for up to 24 weeks is safe for healthy individuals.”




“BA supplementation seems to improve perceived exertion and biochemical parameters related to muscle fatigue and less evidence was found for improvement in performance.”


“In conclusion, this investigation demonstrated that 12 g/day of BA supplementation for 14 days resulted in several improvements in physical performance, cognitive function, and mood during a 24 hour simulated military exercise.”


“In line with the purported mechanisms for an ergogenic effect of β-alanine supplementation, exercise lasting 60-240 seconds was improved in BA compared to Pla, as was exercise of >240 seconds.”




“Creatine monohydrate supplementation can increase total creatine and phosphocreatine stores for re-synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. Although most existing literature has investigated creatine to improve strength and body composition, it has also been shown to promote brain energy homeostasis and improve cognitive parameters. This may be another mechanism for performance enhancement because exercise is both physically and mentally depleting.”


“Following 24-h sleep deprivation, creatine supplementation had a positive effect on mood state and tasks that place a heavy stress on the prefrontal cortex.”


“Creatine supplementation had a significant positive effect on both working memory (backward digit span) and intelligence (Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices), both tasks that require speed of processing. These findings underline a dynamic and significant role of brain energy capacity in influencing brain performance.”


“This study concluded that creatine supplementation combined with complex training improved maximal muscular strength and reduced muscle damage during training.”


“Oral creatine administration may improve short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning of healthy individuals but its effect on other cognitive domains remains unclear. Findings suggest potential benefit for aging and stressed individuals. Since creatine is safe, future studies should include larger sample sizes. It is imperative that creatine should be tested on patients with dementias or cognitive impairment.”


“These results indicate that short-term creatine supplementation attenuates the loss in muscle mass and strength during upper-arm immobilization in young men.”


“A number of studies suggest that creatine supplementation improves cognitive processing under resting and various stressed conditions. “


“Creatine supplementation may enhance post-exercise recovery, injury prevention, thermoregulation, rehabilitation, and concussion and/or spinal cord neuroprotection. Additionally, a number of clinical applications of creatine supplementation have been studied involving neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease), diabetes, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, aging, brain and heart ischemia, adolescent depression, and pregnancy. These studies provide a large body of evidence that creatine can not only improve exercise performance, but can play a role in preventing and/or reducing the severity of injury, enhancing rehabilitation from injuries, and helping athletes tolerate heavy training loads. Additionally, researchers have identified a number of potentially beneficial clinical uses of creatine supplementation. These studies show that short and long-term supplementation (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals and in a number of patient populations ranging from infants to the elderly. Moreover, significant health benefits may be provided by ensuring habitual low dietary creatine ingestion (e.g., 3 g/day) throughout the lifespan. “