Muscle building supplements are a huge business that is largely unregulated by the government. Most supplements are snake oil scams and not worth your money. Some are downright dangerous.
These are the best muscle building supplements for men over 40.
There are only 2 types that actually work with a degree of certainty:
- Whey Protein
Pretty much everything else is just hype. Here’s how the scams work. A supplement firm will come up with a new product. They start the marketing it in bodybuilding magazines and websites. The spokesperson might be a hardcore bodybuilder who will infer his muscle size is enhanced by the product (while in reality, he is using a boatload of illegal steroids).
He says: “If you’re not taking Super X Factor 19 like me, you’re missing out on massive gains!”
Because the business is largely unregulated, and that includes not verifying ingredients or their quality, they can say whatever they want with no scientific studies to refute it. It’s pure marketing hype at its most wild and extreme.
Word travels. Young athletes jump on the band wagon. Conversations happen in gyms. And for a while, Super X Factor 19 will sell like hotcakes, then ultimately it fades into the background as questions arise and science catches up.
I came across an article online in which someone did a detailed comparison of chocolate milk vs. a well-known supplement drink. Chocolate milk won hands-down in almost every ingredient category.
So, it’s definitely Buyer Beware when it comes to muscle building supplements.
Let’s look at the good news…
Creatine has been around for many years now, and it has proven to be largely safe to use and effective at building muscle. It is a substance found naturally in the body and in meat protein that we ingest.
Wikipedia: “Extensive research has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of five to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women.”
WebMD Notes that some studies have show creatine to be relatively safe and effective at building lean muscle mass over the short term. And the Mayo Clinic notes that it is “likely safe when used long term.” Caution is advised for people with kidney disease and other health issues.
In the U.S., a majority of sports nutrition supplements, which total $2.7 billion in annual sales, contain creatine. Creatine is allowed by the International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and professional sports.
The suggested dose per day is typically no more than 5 grams. There are about 2 grams of creatine in one pound of beef. So it would be difficult to ingest 5 grams using diet alone.
I use a product by GNC. One reason I choose GNC is that I believe it is a solid, reputable company. It is publicly traded and was founded more than 70 years ago. I don’t think they will risk their brand’s reputation by resorting to shoddy practices.
I use the tablet version of GNC’s AMP Creatine 189.
It also comes in flavored powder form if you prefer a drink.
GNC says this version is a cutting edge solution that tops traditional creatine monohydrate in muscle absorption and significantly reduces how much you need to take. With AMP, just 2 capsules gives you the recommended 5 grams of creatine.
GNC says: “PEG-Creatine System™- This proprietary formula includes a patent-pending technology which allows you to get the same benefits as regular creatine monohydrate at a much lower dose. That’s right, you no longer have to take mounds of powder or handfuls of creatine pills to get the performance enhancing benefits of creatine.”
Whey protein comes from milk. It is a liquid that separates from milk during the making of cheese.
It is a complete, high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. It is very digestible, absorbed from the gut quickly compared to other types of protein. It is one of the best dietary sources of protein available.
Whey is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine. Among all the amino acids, leucine is the most growth promoting.
Combined with resistance training, whey can also help older adults reverse the effects of aging on muscle loss. Combined with training, it helps promote a stronger, better-looking body.
You can check a nicely organized list of benefits compiled by the Mayo Clinic here. Whey may have a number of additional benefits in addition to muscle growth, according to studies:
- Help control Type 2 diabetes by moderating blood sugar levels
- Reduce inflammation in the body. (Soreness comes with training)
- May help promote weight loss
- Raise the body’s anti-oxidant defenses
- And it’s filling, low calorie, nutrition
The Best Whey
I recommend Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey. It is a good tasting, quality powder drink. It is one of the featured brands at GNC, has thousands of strongly positive reviews on GNC’s website and on Amazon. And is often called out as the premier brand.
Whey protein isolates are the purest form of whey and the main ingredient in Gold Standard 100% Whey. Each serving provides 24 grams of rapidly digesting whey protein with low levels of fat, cholesterol, lactose and other stuff you can do without.
- 5.5 Grams of Naturally Occurring BCAAs
- 4 Grams of Naturally Occurring Glutamine and Glutamic Acid
- Instantized to Mix Easily Using Just a Glass & Spoon
- Over 20 Different Flavors to Choose From
New: Gluten Free Whey for the Lactose Intolerant
If you have severe gluten/lactose intolerance, you could consider this alternative by Nature’s Best.
About the Product
Pack in powerfully pure protein, without packing on the carbs.
100% whey protein isolate powders amp you up, without any unwanted weight. Just pick your level: Zero Carb or Low-Carb (which also has Zero sugar), both with a whopping 50 grams of protein.
It’s 100% whey protein isolate loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep you going strong—and always without gluten, lactose, or any impurities. Made with Nature’s Best complete microfiltration process to be the only completely clear milk protein when dissolved in water.
Available in a range of flavors.
- 50 grams of 100% ion exchange whey protein isolate per serving
- Zero Sugar, Zero or Low Carbs
- Lactose & Gluten Free
- Glutamine enriched loaded with BCAAs
- Aspartame Free
Read the ingredients list carefully with any supplement. In some, you might be getting additional ingredients you don’t necessarily want. Sometimes the labels are confusing and use different measuring scales. Here’s a cheat sheet on converting the units of measurement:
- 1 microgram (mcg or µg) = 0.001 milligrams (mg)
- 1 microgram (mcg) = 1000 nanograms (ng)
- 1 milligram (mg) = 1000 micrograms (mcg)
- 1 gram (g) = 1000 milligrams (mg)
Do NOT take more than the recommended dosage. You can harm your health by over-doing these or any other supplement.
Check with your doctor if you have any concerns or existing health issues before taking any supplement.
What is your experience with supplements? Please share it in the Comments below. Or drop me a line at: Bri@BoomerMuscle.com.