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Top 5 Worst Supplements

Utsav Agrawal
Utsav Agrawal
Supplements are a huge part of the already big fitness industry. However, a plethora of supplements in the market are entirely useless. Smart (read: unreliable) marketing has hyped supplements so much that when most people decide to get fit, the first thing they want to know is which supplement they should use. While some good supplements do exist - whey and creatine come to mind - a lot of them are useless. 

In this article, I am going to discuss 5 of them:

#1. BCAA
The coloured water that you see gym bunnies drinking between sets, BCAA is undoubtedly one of the most popular supplements.

BCAA stands for Branch Chained Amino Acids. There are 20 amino acids, 9 of which are essential which means our bodies cannot produce them and we must get them from the food we eat. 

In specific, BCAA encompasses three essential amino acids viz. Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. It is believed that BCAAs are the most important of the essential amino acids for muscle building, recovery, and MPS response, with leucine being the most potent of the 3.

Studies have shown that BCAAs have a positive impact on maintaining Lean Body Mass (LBM) during caloric restriction compared to a carbohydrate placebo. Still, the methods and statistics used were not that reliable. Inversely, there have also been studies showing no impact whatsoever. 

Also, no matter what supplement companies tell you, BCAA contains calories. You cannot call it a zero calorie drink.

Should you buy it? Unless you’re on a purely plant-based diet, I lean towards “NO” for the vast majority of people. If you regularly eat quality protein, then there is ZERO need to supplement with additional BCAA. Taking a scoop of BCAA after eating a pre-workout meal of chicken and rice or post-workout with your whey protein shake would be like adding a bucket of water into the ocean.

#2. Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia Cambogia is a pumpkin-shaped fruit which is native to Indonesia and generally used for flavoring purposes.
Well, the claims are significant for this one: it reduces new fat cells and reduces emotional eating. 

If only this were true! No detailed study has proven its weight loss properties until now. Better to save your money and stay away from these pills.

#3. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) 
Proponents of CLA claim that it helps in fat oxidation, thus aiding weight loss. But the evidence so far suggests that it does not have any positive health outcomes, and especially don’t aid weight loss. So, why would companies market it as the next big thing? Well, the answer is pretty simple - easy to market and easy to sell.

#4. Testosterone boosters
Men want big muscles - period. We are constantly shown impossible images of hulks and told that we need to look like them. Enter supplement companies who quickly monetized this craze and started selling testosterone boosters. Typical T-booster supplements either contain a blend of herbs and substances that will not affect testosterone or muscle in any manner. 

Instead, boost testosterone within normal ranges by getting proper sleep, rest, and nutrition.

#5. L- Carnitine

A naturally-occurring amino acid that transports fatty acids to mitochondria for energy production, it has been promoted as a weight-loss supplement. 

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? The more you consume, the more fat you will lose.

Well, the truth is something else. Studies have shown that the supplementation of L-carnitine does not have any additional benefit in weight loss. There are no shortcuts to weight loss - you still need to maintain a caloric deficit.

TAKEAWAY
Save your hard-earned money and stay away from these supplements. Be suspicious if anything looks too good to be true, be aware, and ask questions.

References -
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568273/
2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26733764/
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429457/
4.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24570624/
5.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16521850/?fbclid=IwAR0ifOEXNRevhu4sjil5LXivG7FSNawZoi2X79QAV0UFTrBXf1aYd_TCHZU
6.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10861338/?fbclid=IwAR3ayw8AlkAr4HShMPfjzCthDZoViOk85QALyhjXhNY76Ne4Xk06da9d5Sg