Walk the aisles of any nutrition or health food store, and you’re bound to be overwhelmed in less time than it takes to chug a protein shake. But not all supplements are bunk: Research shows that some can help you work out longer or harder, recover better, and facilitate a host of other benefits. Here are 10 that are worth your time.
Bodybuilders have taken creatine powder for years to help them grow bigger and stronger. But it’s not only for muscle heads: An analysis of 10 studies published earlier this year found that older adults following a strength-training program gained about three extra pounds of muscle over three months when they took creatine powder. Creatine occurs naturally in your body and fuels muscle cells during short bursts of energy, such as lifting heavy weights. A creatine supplement makes more of this fuel available for your muscles, allowing you to complete more reps, said study author Michaela Devries, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Who it’s for: Anyone who strength-trains regularly and is looking to gain muscle.
How to take it: Start with 10 grams of creatine monohydrate powder twice a day, recommended Dr. Charlie Seltzer. After five days, lower your dose to 2 grams to 5 grams per day.