Dietary Supplements and the Promotion of Muscle Growth with Resistance Exercise


Nutritional strategies of overfeeding, ingesting carbohydrate/protein before and after exercise, and dietary supplementation of various nutrients [e.g. protein, glutamine, branched-chain amino acid, creatine, leucine, β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (β-HMB), chromium, vanadyl sulfate, boron, prasterone (dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA]) and androstenedione] have been purported to promote gains in fat-free mass during resistance training.

Most studies indicate that chromium, vanadyl sulfate and boron supplementation do not affect muscle growth. However, there is evidence that ingesting carbohydrate/protein prior to exercise may reduce catabolism during exercise and that ingesting carbohydrate/protein following resistance-exercise may promote a more anabolic hormonal profile. Furthermore, glutamine, creatine, leucine, and calcium β-HMB may affect protein synthesis.

Creatine and calcium β-HMB supplementation during resistance training have been reported to increase fat-free mass in athletic and nonathletic populations. Prasterone supplementation has been reported to increase testosterone and fat-free mass in nontrained populations. However, results are equivocal, studies have yet to be conducted on athletes, and prasterone is considered a banned substance by some athletic organisations.

This paper discusses rationale and effectiveness of these nutritional strategies in promoting lean tissue accretion during resistance training.

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Kreider, R.B. Dietary Supplements and the Promotion of Muscle Growth with Resistance Exercise. Sports Med 27, 97–110 (1999).

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  • Adis International Limited
  • Resistance Training
  • Creatine Supplementation
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Chromium Picolinate