Herbal supplements for muscle and workout support have skyrocketed in popularity over the past 10 years or so. Providing critical fuel for improving strength gains, these capsules and pills are increasingly receiving acclaim from bodybuilders and fitness experts. For many individuals — especially those over the age of 35 — they really do make a significant difference. But what are you putting into your body when you take a pre-workout or post-workout supplement? Are the ingredients potentially harmful, or likely to stress and strain our system? Check out our list of common muscle supplement ingredients.
Common Muscle Supplement Ingredients
There are a few particular components that you will find in most popular muscle supplement formulas. They have specific functions, and the backing of considerable clinical research. There’s a reason they are so omnipresent in the industry.
The average person, however, probably isn’t very familiar with these properties. So we thought it might be helpful to put together a primer on the most common and oft-used ingredients within these workout enhancing blends.
L-Arginine and L-Citrulline
Some supplements include one or the other. Some include both. But these amino acids are extremely widespread in their use within the muscle supplement space. L-Arginine in particular serves as a precursor to nitric oxide in the human body. This natural reactive gas helps optimize blood flow so that you can deliver oxygen and necessary nutrients more quickly to your muscle tissue. This not only provides more explosive strength during workouts, but also greater endurance and faster recovery speeds. L-Norvaline is another helpful amino acid in the strength training sphere.
Another major selling point for these amino acids is that they don’t really cause any substantive side effects. We all produce L-arginine on our own, so supplements are usually just helping enhance levels, which can drop with age.
Also known as longjack or by its scientific name eurycoma longifolia, this flowering plant is native to Indonesia and is also found in parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Its bitter flavor prevents it from being an herb that anyone would like to use for cooking, but tongkat ali has medicinal uses tracing back for centuries.
The extract from tongkat ali is widely considered to be one of nature’s best testosterone boosters. Because men naturally lose their testosterone as they get older, finding a safe method for restoring a good hormone balance is important. There are plenty of artificial testo boosters out there but these tend to carry troublesome side effects. While tongkat ali won’t cause as dramatic of an increase as some of those other compounds, it is a much safer and more natural method for hormone regulation.
Not only does increased testosterone improve workout productivity and outcomes, but it also offers benefits in the bedroom that men and their partners tend to appreciate. Coinciding with the strength and energy gains are heightened libido and sexual prowess.
Found high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, the maca plant is one of Mother Nature’s nutrient powerhouses, offering a stunning mix of amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and other beneficial properties. For both men and women, it helps support hormone balance and many clinical trials have showed the extract to have positive effects on stamina, energy and mood. In short, this herbal ingredient helps you become more focused and locked in for workouts.
There are a multitude of other ingredients found within workout and muscle supplements. Caffeine and creatine are extremely popular although they carry more downsides and usually don’t come in capsule form. The ingredients mentioned above are well documented for their positive effects and lack of harmful side effects.