In this blog I'll be discussing, primarily bodybuilding supplements, but what is said herein could just as easily be applied to most supplements on the market, but please be charitable when reading this post and not jump to any conclusions about supplements not specifically mentioned.
Something the supplement business does really well is marketing, they have saturated bodybuilding magazines to the point that their products catchy names are common knowledge. But, the problem is (as with any pseudoscience) there is very little evidence (other than anecdotal) to support the efficacy of supplements. Which isn't to say that you should avoid them all, there are, however certain supplements that you should use such as: fish oil, protein powders and creatine. Most of the other supplements: HMB, L-Carnitine, Growth powders, glutamine are not proven to work, or in terms of cost/benefit ratio, are impractical. The major supplement companies and their products are mostly extremely over priced doses of sugar, caffeine, creatine, protein, additives and preservatives.
The problem that we find with supplements and their marketing, is people tend to favour them over good nutrition, which is obviously not the way to go. The term "supplement" implies that it is meant to supplement a good diet and training program, but most people I see who religiously use supplements have anything but perfect diets and training programs.
So, I guess we should tackle the question of who should use these products? (when I say "these products" I mean any other than protein, fish oil and creatine). I would say bodybuilders for the most part, and I mean competing bodybuilders, and even then, the incidence of drug use in that culture makes discerning what is drugs and what is supplement, hard to do. You're average (average in this case meaning: non competing athlete, recreational athlete etc) trainer should only be using the aforementioned supplements, generally.
Why do I promote fish oil, protein and creatine? Well these all have evidential support, from reuptable sources to back them up and are generally accepted as the only supplements that are guaranteed to have a positive effect (obviously protein was never under suspicion). Fish oil is great for brain power (increasing attention, reducing likelihood of mental illness), particularly for those of you who aren't eating fish on a daily basis. It has also been demonstrated to be beneficial in weight loss programs. Creatine is also well reviewed and backed up by evidence for helping muscle activation and muscle gain, for those clients who are looking to put on muscle I would recommend creatine once you've been on a program for a couple of months, have your diet sorted out and are looking for an extra edge.
Basically a lot of the hype regarding supplements is just that! You can't substitute the right knowledge and know how for a wonder pill or powder. Most of the effect from supplements is placebo based (in your head), which may be ok except for the ridiculous prices you pay for supplements.
I buy my protein from http://www.myopure.com.au/
I'm pretty sure you can get fish oil and creatine from this site too.
Protein/carbs post workoout
Betts J.A., Williams C., (2010). Short-term recovery from prolonged exercise: exploring the potential for protein ingestion to accentuate the benefits of carbohydrate supplements. Sports Medicine. 1;40(11):941-59
Jentjens R,. Jeukendrup A., (2003). Determinants of post-exercise glycogen synthesis during short-term recovery. Sports Medicine. 33(2):117-44.
Noreen E.E., Sass M.J., Crowe M.L., Pabon V.A., Brandauer J., Averill L.K., (2010). Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. Jounral of the International Society of Sport Nutrition. Oct 8;7:31.
Weed H.G., Ferguson M.L., Gaff R.L., Hustead D.S., Nelson J.L., Voss A.C., (2010). Lean body mass gain in patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer treated perioperatively with a protein- and energy-dense nutritional supplement containing eicosapentaenoic acid. Head & Neck.
Arciero P.J., Hannibal N.S 3rd., Nindl B.C., Gentile C.L., Hamed J., Vukovich M.D., (2011).
Comparison of creatine ingestion and resistance training on energy expenditure and limb blood flow.
Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. 50(12):1429-34.