Safe Bodybuilding Supplements

Most bodybuilders will try anything to gain muscle or lose body fat. In many cases, there is little regard for health or safety. However, great results should never come at the expense of health. Fortunately, there are a number of supplements available with track records of results and safety.

Whey Protein

Building muscle means eating lots of high-quality lean protein. Whey protein offers a great combination of effectiveness and safety; it is very easy to digest and contains almost no fat. Whey protein is very safe, with no more risk than any other form of dietary protein.


Creatine is widely used because of its dramatic effects, especially in the short term. Creatine plays an important role in metabolism during weight training exercise. The supplementation of creatine can provide noticeable improvements in both short-term endurance and lean body weight gain. Creatine is one of the most extensively tested bodybuilding supplements available, with the American Council on Exercise recognizing no long-term side effects. Minor side effects do include dehydration, which can be avoided by drinking plenty of water while taking creatine.


Intense weight training causes the breakdown of amino acids in muscles. Glutamine is a key amino acid present in muscle, which, when supplemented, can limit muscle breakdown and speed muscle recovery during training. A study conducted by the University Department of Biochemistry at Oxford suggested that glutamine supplementation can actually help boost the immune systems of hard-training athletes, making them less susceptible to illness from overtraining.


Caffeine, due in part to its widespread consumption, is rarely thought of as a bodybuilding supplement. The fact remains, however, that caffeine is a safe and powerful central nervous system stimulant. Bodybuilders have always turned to various stimulants to boost energy and aggression during training. Many of these compounds, such as ephedrine, have been linked to cardiac arrest, heat stroke and extreme dehydration. While caution should still be exercised with the use of any stimulant, caffeine is relatively safe and is effective in low doses. The amount present in a strong cup of coffee is enough for a positive effect.

About this Author

Based in the Greater New York area, David Kirschen is a 15-year veteran of the fitness industry. He is co-author of “The Business and Practice of Personal Training” and has lectured to countless fitness professionals. Kirschen holds a degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland.