Diving into the world of bodybuilding supplements for the first time can be confusing. Once you start looking at the wealth of products on the market, you’ll need to start thinking about dosages, safety, and potential drug interactions with the supplement.
Unfortunately, you can’t just take a supplement or two and hope for the best. It could be dangerous, or you may not get the full benefits of the supplement.
Luckily, you have us. Think of this as your Supplements 101. We are not going to tell you how to buy supplements here. We are going to tell you how to use them.
Hopefully, by the end of this page, you’ll know how to take the right dosage of supplements (to get the maximum benefit) and know how to take them safely.
Let’s start with the dosages of the supplement. When you buy supplements, you’ll always find a recommended dose on the product packaging. Stick to this. Don’t take more than the recommended dose, and don’t take less than the recommended dose.
You should make sure that you take the supplement at the right times too. Let’s explain why.
Obviously, the quantity that you are taking is important. If you take too little of a supplement, then it is unlikely to have a noticeable impact on your body. You won’t be getting all of those essential nutrients into your system. You aren’t giving your body too much to work with.
If you take too much, then it could be dangerous (although, highly unlikely with natural supplements). It is more likely that your body can’t process all of the ingredients, so anything you do take above the recommended dose is useless. It will have literally no impact on your body.
You should also pay attention to how to take the supplement. This includes the following:
- Whether you should take the supplement with a meal.
- When you should take the supplement.
For example, some supplements require that you take them with a meal because your body will absorb the supplement a little bit better if you have some food kicking around in your stomach at the same time.
If you take bodybuilding supplements, then you’ll probably need to take them before the workout (normally 30-60 minutes before), so your body has the time to process all those nutrients to ensure the optimum workout session. If they are post-workouts, then you’ll need to take them right after. Don’t think about this too much. The product will tell you everything that you need to know.
You shouldn’t ever start experimenting with supplement dosages if you have no idea what you’re doing. Trust us, a lot of thought has gone into ensuring that the dosage is as effective as possible.
The Safety of Supplements
Thankfully, if you buy a supplement from a reputable online supplement store, this part shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Reputable brands will spend a lot of time guaranteeing the safety of the supplement. Still, it is worth knowing a few safety tips & tricks.
You may be surprised to know this, but not every brand is honest about the supplements they produce. There have been more than a few stories of people believing that they are buying this all-natural supplement, thinking it is absolutely loaded with the best ingredients and having a huge impact on their health.
Later on, they realize that the supplement manufacturer has included steroids in their supplement in a bid to make their product seem effective. This isn’t a problem that you will get when you buy a product manufactured in countries with strict supplement laws. Most of the time, this happens with imported products from Asia, etc. So, they’re easy to avoid.
Ideally, any supplement that you choose should have third-party testing carried out. The company should be able to provide you with a few details of the testing so you can verify it yourself. The third-party testing just looks to ensure that the ingredients loaded into the product are legit ingredients.
We think your biggest concern with reputable supplements will be allergens. We suggest that you always look through the list of ingredients on a supplement.
Have a look to see whether there is anything that you may be allergic to. For example, if you have a dairy allergy, you may not be able to have whey protein. If you are allergic to black pepper, many supplements may not be suitable for you (although, there will be something that you can use).
During the first days of using a supplement, keep an eye on your overall health. Most supplements may give you a minor headache or a minor stomach issue when you are first getting used to the supplement. If anything more than that, e.g. tight throat, rashes, etc. then stop using the supplement immediately. You may even need to seek out a doctor.
Drug Interactions with Supplements
This is the part that a lot of people don’t think about when they are buying their bodybuilding supplements. If you are taking any long-term medication, then it is important that you talk to a doctor before you take a supplement.
The medication could interact with the supplement in a whole host of ways including:
- The supplement makes the medication less effective.
- The supplement makes the medication more effective (which could be dangerous).
- The supplement interacts with the medication in a way that could make you incredibly sick, or even lead to death.
Now, don’t get us wrong. The chances of there being a serious interaction with your medication are low. Most quality supplements are just natural. They’re basically food. But, it is still worth running by your doctor to make sure that there aren’t any issues. It is better to be safe than sorry, right?
Some supplement manufacturers will have some details about known drug interactions on their websites, and you may find some information through a quick Google search. However, we wouldn’t take this as gospel. It is probably accurate, but your doctor knows you far, far better than any supplement manufacturer could.
The chances of there being an interaction with other supplements that you are taking are quite low. The one thing that we do suggest is that you don’t double up on ingredients. For example, if you are taking a creatine supplement, then don’t pick a stack supplement that includes creatine in it. You’re just doubling up on the creatine.
Supplements are Not a Replacement for Medication
As one final point to note here, supplements are not a replacement for medication. If a doctor has prescribed you something, then that is what you should be taking. Don’t go out and look for a supplement that does the same job. Trust us, the medication is likely to be a lot better.
Thankfully, this is an issue that you are less likely to stumble across in the bodybuilding world (outside of maybe a testosterone boost) as it is unlikely that a doctor will prescribe you something to boost your gains in the gym.
As you can see, starting to take supplements isn’t too difficult. Just make sure that you do the following and you’re good to go:
- Always follow the dosing information on the supplement.
- Order from reputable supplement companies.
- Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication.
Do that, and you’ll be enjoying safer, more effective gains.