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Alpha Male Nation | January 17, 2018

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How can bodybuilding supplements be harmful? - Alpha Male Nation

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Do you want to improve your performance, develop your muscle mass, lose weight, rebuild yourself after effort? There many nutritional supplements companies that claim to have the best solution for your problems. If you’ve entered a nutritional supplements store at least once, you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the variety of products, and you’ve been wondering which one would be best for you, and which of the supplements really have the effects the manufacturers are boasting. Sooner or later, every person who wants to increase his muscle mass and performance will come into contact with the bodybuilding supplements, which are a sub-niche of the one which is generically called nutritional supplements niche. So, how can bodybuilding supplement be harmful?

Which is the most advertised bodybuilding supplement?

Among dozens of bodybuilding supplements, there are only 6 that are praised and well-advertised by both manufacturers, and bodybuilders:

  • Soy protein supplements
  • Creatine
  • BCAA
  • L-Carnitine
  • Glutamine
  • Multivitamins

Soy Protein Supplements

Protein is essential for muscle building, and supplements of this type have the quality (or not), unlike pure animal protein, to be digested much faster.

Take about 20-30 grams of soy protein 30 minutes after training and 40 grams at 60 minutes after training.

You can also take the same dosage in the morning as soon as you wake up.


Creatine helps you get about 15% more force in exercising.

Here are some of the benefits of creatine:

  • it gives you energy and the more energy you have in the room, the more you will be able to do more repetitions
  • leads the water to the muscle cells to ensure growth over time

Creatine is found in various forms:

  • powder
  • pills
  • liquid formula

Because the powder is the best known, it can be diluted in different liquids. At first, it’s good to take about 5 or 10 g of creatine a day in two doses, but that depends on your body weight.

Take 2 to 5 g of creatine before training and 2 to 5 g after training. And in the days you do not train, take 2-5 g at breakfast.


The term BCAA refers to a complex of leucine, isoleucine and valine, the most important amino acids for the development of muscle tissue.

Leucine is the most important of these amino acids, being involved in the protein synthesis.

In any case, all these three compounds are good for growth and strength during training, even helping to boost testosterone.

It is good to take about 5 or 10 grams of BCAA at breakfast and the same amount before and after the workout.


It’s also an amino acid, which has the role to transport fatty acids, such as triglycerides, to mitochondria, where they are oxidized and transformed into energy.

In other words, the L-Carnitine supplements help burn fat. For a good start, take 2 grams of L-Carnitine per day in two instances, once before intense training, and once after.


This is yet another amino acid which has been used for several decades and is the most widespread in the human body.

Glutamine helps to perform muscle functions and support the immune system, and before taking the lead, it reduces muscle fatigue by supporting growth hormone.

Take 5 or 10 grams in the beginning of your training session and some post-workout shakes that contain glutamine. Additionally, you can opt for taking another dose of glutamine at dinner.


Vitamins and minerals are important for a healthy life, and a bodybuilder wants this. Sometimes, the nutrients we find in food are not enough to keep fit. Whatever sport you practice, supplements like those which contain magnesium, zinc or vitamin D are recommended by bodybuilders.

How can bodybuilding supplements be harmful?

Generally speaking, bodybuilding supplements (and other nutritional supplements, too) can be harmful because they are not what their labels state they are.

In many case studies, analysis of several bodybuilding supplements resulted in higher concentrations of active compounds than the labeled concentrations or presented some other chemical compounds or active compounds that have not been labeled and which have been added as enhancers.

Such as in the cases of scam slimming pills, the bodybuilding supplements can be a scam, too.

More specifically, let’s take, one-by-one, the 6 bodybuilding supplements depicted in the previous section of this article and see how exactly can they be harmful.

How can Soy Protein Supplements be harmful?

There are some voices that say that soy protein if consumed on the long-term, may increase the risk of hypothyroidism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and it can also diminish the functions of the reproductive system.

Additionally, some studies have shown that the soy protein has no anti-catabolic, anabolic, anti-oxidant, and immune system strengthening effects as advertised by bodybuilder supplements’ manufacturers. Instead, the same studies stated that the soy protein has the ability to inhibit digestion and a proper absorption of high-quality proteins such as those from animal sources (casein protein, for example).

However, keep in mind that all these negative effects have been registered only in people who consumed soy protein for a very long period of time.

How can Creatine supplements be harmful?

Certain researchers studying the effects of creatine suggest that administering a low dose of creatine keeps creatine deposits in muscle, but not more efficient than red meat consumption.

As any supplement, creatine is taken in small doses, 2-3 times a day, and the chances of being affected by one of its side effects decrease.

Among the negative effects that creatine can have are:

  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • muscle cramps

Some researchers also warn about the high consumption of creatine, which can lead to liver or heart dysfunction.

How can BCAA supplements be harmful?

In general, BCAA cannot produce any side effects to the body, even if the dose is slightly higher, but you should not exceed the doses indicated by the supplier or the physician.

The reported side effects are:

  • fatigue
  • loss of coordination
  • gastrointestinal and stomach disorders

Excessive leucine consumption can inhibit the body’s ability to produce vitamin B3 and B6, which later results in their deficiency.

Branched chain amino acid supplements may also increase insulin levels and lower blood sugar, so they should not be taken with diabetic drugs or insulin injections.

BCAA (especially Leucine) should not be used by people who have hypoglycemia, as it may lead to very low blood sugar levels.

How can L-Carnitine supplements be harmful?

If the daily dose of L-Carnitine respects the recommendations of specialist doctors, the most likely, the side effects of it will not be felt.

However, if the last dose is administered late afternoon or before bedtime, the person in question may have difficulty sleeping.

Other side effects of L-Carnitine, with a higher degree of severity, include vomiting, nausea, headache, diarrhea, congestion of the nose, agitation, and difficulty sleeping.

Some people even reported severe side effects such as palpitations, increased blood pressure, and fever.

For those with low thyroid hormones levels, administration of L-Carnitine supplements is contraindicated. This specification is also valid for those who require dialysis.

How can Glutamine supplements be harmful?

It is advisable not to overdose it. In excessive amounts, glutamine can get your stomach upset, so it is recommended that you administer the prescribed doses.

Some side effects may be:

  • skin color change
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • gas
  • swelling of the hands or feet
  • muscle aches
  • joints or back pain
  • rash or itches
  • abundant sweating

Ask your doctor if you have flu-like symptoms, signs of infection, fever, chills, sore throat, unusual weakness, chest pain, or hearing problems after you ingested glutamine from supplements.

A lot of attention from those who are hypersensitive to monosodium glutamate or who suffer from epilepsy or bipolar disorder.

Glutamine is commonly safe but it can interfere with other medications. So, use glutamine under medical supervision if you also take phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone, valproic acid, nelfinavir, HIV-inhibitors, or chemotherapeutic agents for cancer.

How can Multivitamins supplements be harmful?

Usually, the Multivitamins supplements are the opposite to harmful, being really beneficial to humans health. However, as in the case of any substance, the overdose may be harmful.

Bodybuilding supplements based on multivitamins may contain larger than normal doses of vitamins and minerals, which, added up to the daily vitamins intake from food, may lead to overdose.

I know you may be confused, since you’ve heard again and again about vitamins deficiencies, and now you’re hearing about vitamins overdoses but it’s a real thing and it’s harmful:

  • Vitamin A overdose – leads to headaches, nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, and dry skin.
  • Vitamin B overdose – leads to excessive urination, the imbalance is the assimilation of other nutrients, and in more severe cases can lead to an ulcer, hepatic disorders, and gout.
  • Vitamin D overdose – the recommended dietary dose of vitamin D varies depending on the age, skin color and sun exposure of a person. Its overdose leads to random calcium deposits in the body, kidney stones, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • Calcium overdose – leads to lethargy, large calcium deposits all over the body, improper assimilation of magnesium and zinc, and kidneys disorders.
  • Iron overdose – leads to headaches, constipation, weight loss, fatigue, zinc and copper deficiencies, and heart, liver, and pancreas problems.

There are some bodybuilding supplements that mix all the 6 main elements in the same recipe. Always check the label for the exact concentration of each compound in part and always ask for a nutritionist advice before taking any bodybuilding supplement.

The bottom line.

The bodybuilding supplements are not harmful by themselves but can interfere with other medications and can become harmful if you take higher doses than the recommended ones. Also, you should be careful to always add up the intake of bodybuilding supplements ingredients to the intake of similar substances coming from other sources such as foods, drinks, or other supplements.

Hopefully, this article offered you some answers on how can bodybuilding supplements are harmful, but your personal experience is also important, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment and share with us your negative or positive experiences with bodybuilding supplements.

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