The fitness industry is flooded with supplements that claim to make you stronger. There are websites, magazines, books and of course, your friends to show you the way to more muscle. The problem is that many of these supplements are not healthy for the average gym guy and may even contain illegal performance-enhancing ingredients. Some supplements on the market have been known to cause kidney and liver failure, impotence or infertility, and other intestinal related problems. You need to be careful in your selection and should consider consulting with a credentialed professional.

In my 30 years of research and experience, I have established a list of safe and effective supplements that should help you achieve greater strength and energy and keep you healthy – and hopefully youthful.

muscle-icon Creatine Monohydrate. This muscle-building powerhouse is already produced and available through the body; its efficacy and safety is backed by 25 years of research. Creatine supplementation works by increasing the availability of creatine and phosphocreatine (PCr) within the muscle, helping to increase energy through high intensity training. Basically, water is stored within the muscle to give you that pumped-up feeling and allows for greater endurance throughout your workout. When purchasing creatine, make sure it’s creatine monohydrate as it is the most researched form.

muscle-icon Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins which help to aid in recovery and tissue breakdown. These BCAAs are not found in the body and so must be taken as a supplement; they are very safe and very effective. The supplement forms are leucine, isoleucine and valine and have been researched to help improve protein synthesis and suppressing protein degradation. Taking the BCAA supplement in pill form is most effective before, during and after workouts.

muscle-icon Whey protein. This is a fast-digesting protein from the milk family and is an optimal post-workout supplement to improve the ability of muscles to recover and diminish delayed onset muscle soreness. Research supports that six weeks of whey protein supplementation while doing resistance training can lead to a greater increase of muscular mass compared to non-protein supplementation. It is great to have in a shake with various fruits and almond milk.

muscle-icon Glutamine. This is a non-essential amino acid that might not give you earth shattering strength, but I can’t say enough for its important role in tissue repair and recovery. Glutamine works by removing excess ammonia which can accumulate during intense exercise, helping to regulate your body’s acid base balance. It is one of the most important amino acids for this purpose.

muscle-icon Fish oil. This comes in many forms, but the Omega 3’s are what you want to take. This is excellent for reducing inflammation and aiding in tissue recovery. It also has excellent antioxidant properties and is very healthy for circulation and your heart.

Michael K Butler is co owner of Kinetix Health and Performance Center in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 200.1719 or [email protected].

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