10 Muscle-Building Supplements That Work, According to a Dietitian

Shopping for supplements is tricky. And with endless claims of performance-enhancing benefits and hulk-like gains, shopping for sport supplements is can be even harder. When it comes to finding the right muscle growth supplement, it’s like navigating a jungle of flashy labels and exaggerated claims. But fear not, here’s the lowdown on what you need to know before making a purchase:

Ingredients: First things first, flip that bottle around and take a good look at the ingredients list. You want a supplement that contains high-quality, scientifically-backed ingredients. Look for key muscle-building compounds like whey or plant-based protein, creatine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), beta-alanine, (or fish oil). Less is more—avoid supplements loaded with fillers and questionable additives.

Quality and Purity: You wouldn’t settle for subpar gains, so don’t settle for subpar quality either. Opt for reputable brands that prioritize quality control and use third-party testing to ensure purity and potency. Look for certifications like NSF or Informed Choice for added peace of mind.

Dosage and Serving Size: Consider your lifestyle and convenience when deciding which one fits your routine.

Dosage: Pay attention to the recommended dosage and serving size. Some supplements require multiple servings per day, while others only need to be taken once. We asked St. Pierre about recommended dosage for the different types of muscle-growth supplements we featured in this story—here’s what he had to say:

“For protein powder, no more than 50 gram of protein per day from powder. The majority of protein intake should come from whole food.”

For creatine, he recommended between 3-7 grams per day. Most creatine supplements offer a common serving of 5 grams, but small individuals might be able to get the same benefits with just 3 grams, he says. “Larger individuals (over 200-pounds) might need closer to 10 grams per day to see benefit.”

While the recommended beta-alanine dosage ranges from 3-6 grams per day, fish oil dosage is based on it’s omega-3 content (namely DHA and EPA), he explains. “Total omega-3 content should be between 1-3 grams per day.”

Research-backed: Don’t fall for the hype without the science to back it up. Look for supplements that have solid research and studies supporting their claims. Check if the product has undergone clinical trials or if there are peer-reviewed studies demonstrating its effectiveness.

Price: The green stuff matters, but so does value. Compare the cost per serving among different brands and consider the overall value you’re getting. Sometimes paying a little extra for a higher-quality product is worth it in the long run.

Customer reviews: Don’t underestimate the power of the people. Check out customer reviews and ratings to get a sense of others’ experiences with the supplement. Look for feedback on effectiveness, taste, mixability, and any potential side effects.

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