Supplements That Build Power & Strength

The use of dietary supplements to increase strength and power has been a debatable topic among many people. Research shows that several supplements, like creatine, HMB and beta-alanine, may be beneficial for users looking to elevate their performance. Supplements should never replace proper nutrition and training methods. Consult a health-care provider before using any dietary supplement to increase performance.

Creatine

Creatine supplements have been gaining popularity among trained athletes and exercise enthusiasts for years. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that creatine is an amino acid produced by the body, but it can also be found in dietary sources and supplements. Certain studies have concluded that creatine can increase strength and power during exercise with little side effects. A review published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that creatine supplements can be beneficial for armature or elite athletes looking to increase strength and power. The results reported that individuals noticed an increase in performance during short periods of repeated powerful activities. Creatine supplements were also associated with improved strength in individuals who participated in specialized strength-training exercise programs. Traces of creatine are found in lean meat and fish. Creatine supplements are also available in powder and capsule formulas.

HMB

HMB, or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate is another popular sports supplement that can be beneficial for exercise performance. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a review that evaluated HMB's effect on muscular performance. The review reported that HMB was associated with significant increases of strength in previously untrained individuals. Lower-body strength gains were notably seen while upper-body strength gains remained only negligible, according to the results of the review. Another review published in the Journal of Applied Physiology studied the effect of various dietary supplements on strength and muscle mass. The review concluded that only creatine and HMB were associated with significant strength, performance and muscle gains among participants.

Beta Alanine

Similar to creatine and HMB, beta-alanine is an amino acid widely used among athletes for its strength and performance effects. In the skeletal muscle, beta-alanine plays a vital role in synthesizing carnosine. Carnosine levels are associated with muscle fatigue and performance. A narrative review in the Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise Journal studied the relationship of beta-alanine and carnosine and their effect on exercise performance. The journal reported that beta-alanine supplements increase carnosine levels and therefore improves muscle performance and prevents fatigue during intense exercise. Beta-alanine was also reported to improve strength when combined with creatine. The International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism examined the effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplements during a 10-week exercise training program. The results of the study concluded that creatine and beta-alanine supplementation combined were associated with the greatest increase in strength and performance compared to just creatine alone.