Some Underutilized Supplements That Rock, Part 2

by George L. Redmon PhD ND.

For the great majority of us are satisfied with appearance as though it serves as reality and  more than often, these seemingly things influence more so than those that are. Niccolo Machiavelli, 1527

When you review the quote above by one of histories most influential management and political theorist they imply that in many cases individuals of a specific society or company become comfortable with the ways things are versus making changes that represent what they need to be. When you put these comments in the context of moving the body from its present state to that of an elite body builder, the message resonates loudly in reference to the unintended state of complacency some individual resistance training enthusiasts fall into.  For example, while whey protein, creatine,  and arginine may serve as solid foundations to any sound body building supplemental program,  what other products are needed to support recovery, growth hormone production, insulin modulation, reduction of pain and inflammation, generation of energy, reduction of body fat, protein synthesis, nitric oxide production, detoxification to the reduction of exercise induced cortisol levels?

Solving This Anabolic Puzzle Diversely  

When you review this short list of anabolic parameters and add in the complexity of managing and sustaining the physical and emotional stamina necessary to reach your goals, general appearances can begin to influence versus individual needs.  However, the reality versus the appearance of the best approach to take here is to take advantage of a complement of past, present and emerging products across various supplemental categories versus limiting your choices to products that appear to only fit the general body building mold. Forward thinking sports medicine researchers today have adopted this attitude as more products once considered to be strictly medicinal in nature have been found to offer an array of benefits to resistance training individuals. The goal of this report is to outline a few of these globally researched and unfortunately underutilized supplements that definitively do the job as advertised, despite appearing to be second best and or a non-categorized resistance training supplement. Incidentally, this list is extensive and can’t be covered in one article two or three for that matter. Correspondingly, this report is divided into two parts.

However, the goal here is to reinforce and establish the need to search and find the right combination of products that meet your individual needs.                      

Some Atypical and Typical Ergogenic Products 

Section: IV: Protein


For some time beef protein had all but disappeared from the body building landscape. It is however making a strong comeback. In fact, researchers at McMasters University in Canada recently reported that subjects eating a six ounce serving equaling 170g of 85% lean ground beef resulted in significant changes in the rate of protein synthesis (creation of new muscle) following exercise. Furthermore, beef contains varying amounts of amino acids that promote growth and a host of other nutrients. While there is concern about the fat content in beef, many sports nutritional researchers insist that beef 2 to 3 times a week to augment proteins like whey and casein would greatly benefit growth efforts.

Section V: Insulin Mimickers

As cited by the well-known sports medicine researcher Dr. Eric Serrano, despite being one of the body’s most anabolic hormones, insulin has a Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde side effect on the body. Despite its ability to quickly drive nutrients into muscle cells to promote growth, un-regulated insulin spikes can cause large deposits of body fat. For this reason, the usage of specific ergogenics that keep insulin stabilized are highly sought after. While there are many the 2 below are excellent.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is known for its antioxidant capabilities and its ability to naturally stabilize blood glucose levels by mimicking (imitating) the physiological actions of insulin. For example, in a study appearing in Free Radical Biology and Medicine,  seventy-four patients were divided into four groups (placebo, and 600mg ALA once, twice, or three daily) for a 4-week trial to examine its effects on insulin sensitivity, using a measurement called the Metabolic Clearance of Glucose (MCR). ALA treatment led to significant improvement in MCR. Another trial found improvements in insulin resistance and fasting glucose after 300mg of oral ALA daily for eight weeks.

Suggested Dose: 600 mg/d

Vanadyl Sulfate

Vanadly Sulfate is derived from the trace mineral vanadium and plays a major role in regulating blood sugar by increasing the rate at which carbohydrate and protein enter muscle cells. This helps to swell muscle fibers, increasing both size and vascularity.  Vanadyl also diverts sugar away from storage in fat cells, supports protein synthesis, increases muscle pumps and hardness similarly to nitric oxide. As you know, when competing bodybuilders ensure that they have increased vascularity on the day of a contest, so that muscles look more prominent and visible. This look adds to the interest and to the uniqueness of that individual’s physique.
Suggested Dose: 60 mg before workouts.

Section VI: Nitric Oxide Boosters


L- Citrulline is found abundantly in watermelon and is linked to arginine production, the precursor to nitric oxide. Ironically, citrulline elevates levels of arginine more effectively than supplemental arginine itself. In fact, a study appearing in Circulation AHA Scientific Sessions revealed that an oral dose of 3.8 grams of citrulline resulted in a 227% peak increase in arginine levels after 4 hours, compared with a 90% peak increase with the same dose of arginine. Researchers have discovered the reason for this anomaly occurs because citrulline bypasses metabolism in the liver and gastrointestinal tract and is formed in the urea cycle when the liver and kidneys get rid of ammonia and lactic acid,

finally being synthesized in the intestines , where it is converted into arginine. Furthermore, L-citrulline assists in constructing and increasing the supply of molecular elements the body needs to form proteins.

Suggested Dose: 6 grams/d before workouts.


Pycnogenolis an extract of French maritime pine tree bark that grows along the coast of southwest France. That special pine contains natural antioxidants called anthocyanins. Current data indicates that Pycnogenol is absorbed into the bloodstream in about 20 minutes and once absorbed, its maximum protective effects appear to lasts about 72 hours. Recently, scientist at the Hiroshima University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Japan reported that pycnogenol enhances nitric oxide (NO) production. Conversely, emerging research has demonstrated that the combination of Pycnogenol / Arginine heightens NO release at a greater rate. For example, once arginine is absorbed by the intestines, it travels into the bloodstream where it is converted into NO. However, this chemical reaction requires an enzyme known as nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Unfortunately, NOS limits the amount of arginine that can be converted into NO. However, the researchers above discovered that 180mg of pycnogenol for two weeks increased the activity and amount of NOS available to catalyze this conversion process by 42%.

Suggested Dose: 50-100mg/d

Section VII: Testosterone Production

 Zinc and Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA)

Zinc plays a key role in the production of natural testosterone by inhibiting it’s conversion into estrogen and in the process converts estrogen into testosterone. On the other hand studies indicate that magnesium increases free and total testosterone levels in both sedentary individuals and in athletes. Conversely, early studies by Dr. Lorrie Brilla, PhD, a sports performance researcher at Western Washington University reported that ZMA significantly increase free testosterone levels and muscle strength. In fact, 30mg of zinc and 450mg of magnesium per day elevated testosterone levels by 30%  with a 4% increase in IGF( insulin growth factor) levels, an anabolic hormone that decreases during aging, while those who took a placebo had a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 22% decrease in IGF-1.

Dr. Brilla, reported that subjects in this study lasting 8 weeks study had 2.5 times greater muscle strength gains than a placebo group. Pre and post leg strength measurements were made. The strength of the ZMA group increased by 11.6% compared to only a 4.6% increase in the placebo group. As an added bonus here ZMA enhanced growth hormone production when taken before bedtime. More importantly, ZMA is not a pro-hormone or hormone precursor and will not suppress your own natural production of testosterone.

Suggested Dose: 30mg zinc/450mg magnesium/d.

Some Other Accessory Nutrients That Deliver

While this report can’t cover the large body of under-utilized supplements you have at your disposal, the list below represents a few other products that definitively deliver. This list isn’t all inclusive but includes: Carnitine{ fat-burning}, Chromium{insulin stabilization} , CLA (conjugated linoleic acid){fat-reduction},  Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA){stress reduction/testosterone production},  D-ribose{energy}, Enzymes{anti-inflammatory/nutrient metabolism}, Forskolin{thermogenic} , HMB (Beta-hydroxly-beta-methylbutyrate),{ lean muscle mass and strength gains},Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s){energy/fat burner}, NAC (N-acetyl –cysteine) {detoxification/muscle preservation}, Rhodiola Rosea {ATP regeneration/stress reduction/mental clarity} , Synephrine{ephedra alternative without the jitters } Taurine {building block of other amino acids}, Tribulus Terrestris{ testosterone production} , Tyrosine {mood elevation}and 7 Keto DHEA{cortisol and fat reduction}.

Conclusions – Dr. Jeffery Bland, Ph.D. a well-known Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry states that amino acids are generally considered non-essential for most individuals. However on the basis of an individual’s unique genetic nature these non-essential compounds may become an essential auxiliary nutrient to meet the person’s individual pharmacological need. This nutritional concept of individualized need is now referred to as the justification theory. Conversely, how well you organize and utilize your supplement choices will have a great impact on your growth efforts. Diversity and sound research based on your individual need should be your guiding light.


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George L. Redmon, Ph.D. – Dr. Redmon has been associated with the vitamin and health industry for over 25years, having served as The National Product and Education Director for one of the nation’s largest retailers of nutritional supplements. He has been widely published in many major bodybuilding, fitness and alternative medicine publications. He is the author of Natural Born Fat Burners, Energy for Life and is a member of The National Academy of Sports Medicine and The International Society of Sports Nutrition.