Bodybuilding supplements and teens...we have gotten tons of questions from teenagers and parents alike asking what supplements they should take and what supplements they shouldn't take. Now there are many supplements teenagers should stay away from...but some they should definitely take...and wow the myths we have heard. Well John Brooks dives into it and helps give some advice on what teens can/should be taking to help build the same time keeping their parents happy!

Bodybuilding Supplements for Teens Video

Video Transcription

Hello again, everybody. This is John with Today I'm here to talk to you guys about supplements that are okay for teenagers or teenage body builders, because we get a lot of questions from that age group of what can I take, what can't I take.

Well, before we get into that one thing I want to touch on is that it's always a good idea when you're under 18 to explain to your parents what you're taking, what you're going to take, because if you inform them of what you're doing odds are it's going to be a lot better off for you. You're being up front and that's always a good approach. Plus, it gets you to research and really figure out what you're taking because ultimately you should know what you're putting into your body whether you're an adult or a teenager. But especially with teenagers because your parents are, a lot of the times if they care, they're going to be skeptical and they're going to want to know, and the supplement market is somewhat new so they may not be as hip to it. So do some research, explain to them: 'Hey mom, hey dad, I bought this protein powder. This is why I'm taking it. My coach says I should get here, there and there.'

So today I'm going to give you some tips to tell you what you can take and what you probably shouldn't take and should avoid. But just up front, it's always good to do your own research because nobody cares about your own body more than you do. Plus, you have your parents to deal with at that age so - and we've all been through that - so it's always good to get out there and keep them in the loop.

So right away, to start it off, supplements that you can take if you're a teenager would be, an example would be a multivitamin. Multivitamins are really good because in today's world with the foods that we're eating a lot, they're devoid of a lot of vitamins because they're processed a lot. So what a multi-vitamin's going to do is it's going to fill in those gaps. Maybe you're missing some of those vitamins, well, a multi's nice because it fills in those gaps that you're missing in your diet. With multi-vitamins some to consider... And again, you can go to any of these and get specific reviews from us. A lot of the products we have on our site we've already done reviews on and so you can find out the more specifics.

But the multi-vitamin you're dealing with USP [inaudible 00:01:45], which is typically what you're going to see on most shelves especially at like a Walgreens or CVS, and sometimes those are synthetic too, and so you want to avoid synthetics for sure.

Food-based vitamins, where they use different food parts like broccoli powder and things like that. And then the newest is wholefood vitamins. Two examples are the Garden of Life Vitamin Code, New Chapter. These companies are making wholefood multivitamins. So what they are is they're actually foods. You're body actually recognizes them as foods so you can actually take them on an empty stomach without worrying about getting an upset stomach or anything like that, so those are nice. And we're starting to see more research on how they're absorbed better and your body just seems to know a little bit more what to do with them, plus there's more stuff in there. For instance, in an orange, yes, we know there's vitamin C but there's a whole allotment of other things that we just don't know that's in there that's really working well with our body. And these are actually fermented, organic, wholefood multivitamins so that's something else to consider when looking at a multivitamin.

The next supplement that we'd recommend for a teen would be a protein powder or a post-workout supplement. Protein powders are great because everything you're made of for the most part is protein - your hair, your skin, your nails, actin, myosin, collagen. These are proteins that your body takes from sources exogenously that you've taken from diet and your body makes body proteins.

Well, most of you are trying to compete in body building, you're competitive athletes, you want about three quarters to one gram of protein per pound of body weight, assuming you're pretty lean. Your target weight is what you want to base that on. That's hard to do from wholefood alone. If you're 200 pounds, 200 grams of protein is a lot. So yes, you should always eat wholefood. That would be like egg whites, chicken breast, fish, things like that. Those are all good sources of protein. But again, to reach that three-quarters of a gram to one gram per pound of body weight is hard to do, so that's where a supplement... With a powder, you can make a smoothie, get yourself some extra protein in there. After you train, you could do a post-workout supplement which is going to have about a 2-to-1 ratio carbohydrates to protein, fast absorbing carbs, fast absorbing proteins.

Again, you can go to the specific product. For instance this one, Insu-Pro, you can go to that page and there's a specific review there to explain more of the details on it. But protein powders are definitely a thumbs-up. It's basically powdered food. That's what you're getting. That is what it is. And if you have some digestive sensitivities, you could find them without lactose and things like that so that's really good. So again, do your research.

Next would be creatine. Creatine is the most researched performance-enhancing supplement on the market. It's been out since 1993. There are a bunch of misnomers and a bunch of unfounded nonsense about it. You could even go, you can go on all the journals, all the peer-reviewed studies and find all the research that's been done on creatine and how effective it is. No, it's not going to liquefy your kidneys. Again, companies have no incentiive to do that to you, number one. Number two, there's all the research backing up the fact that it doesn't do any of that stuff. In fact, the benefits are numerous from not only building muscle but also mental focus.

You're seeing it in a lot of the mainstream journals and they're supplementing creatine now with patients that are needing to recover from various ailments. So creatine's definitely, definitely very good. It can be very beneficial. But again, do your research, explain to your parents what it is, why it works, so on and so forth, and again we have specific articles on it. You could also go to videos on creatine on a lot of the products to get some more specific information about it.

The next ingredient is beta-alanine. Beta-alanine's right there with creatine. Lots of research on it. Beta-alanine's going to buffer acids that are a byproduct of metabolism in your muscles. So when you're doing anything explosive with fast-switch muscle fibers - lifting, sprinting, things like that - your body builds up acid from breaking down lactic acid. So the acid that dissociates needs to be buffered. Well, beta-alanine naturally occurs in the body. Like creatine, your body does produce it but also most of it comes from diet. Creatine, like we said, red meat and salmon, it'll never be banned because you'd have to ban red meat and salmon. Beta-alanine - chicken, turkey - these are all good sources of beta-alanine. Not a ton. That's why supplementing extra you're going to get those extra benefits and you've got a lot of research showing that they are very, very effective. So beta-alanine's another really good supplement that you can take, and it works similar to creatine in that it's going to work with those [inaudible 00:05:56] limiting factors and anaerobic metabolism, buffering acid, recycling ATP. Again, you can go to those products and find more specific information.

Next would be a probiotic. Now a lot of people scratch and say, "Why would you have a probiotic in there?" Well, probiotics are becoming more and more, I don't want to say "popular", if you will ,because they are becoming more popular, but we're realizing more and more because of research how important they are. If you're not healthy, I don't care how old you are, you're not going to be able to train as hard, you're not going to grow as much because your body's going to have to allocate resources toward other things besides building muscle. Because as much as I hate to say it, your body's number one goal isn't to build extra skeletal muscle tissue or help you perform athletically, it's to stay healthy and to survive. So if you fill in all those needs for your body, your body can allocate more resources towards athletic performance and building muscle.

Well, your GI tract, your digestive system is the start of your immune system, everything that starts in your mouth. So if you have dirty hands, you're touching your eyes, putting them in your mouth, yes, you're more likely to get sick. Well, probiotics are little bacteria that live in our GI tracts, and if we can flood our GI tract with good, healthy bacteria our immune system is going to be much better off, we're going to digest foods better. A lot of the ailments we have have resulted in the lack of some of these things in our diet. So it's nice that you can take a couple pills a day and get that good bacteria in your system to keep the good, healthy gut flora, help you break down your protein better, help keep your immune system working in top condition. And again, if you go to these specific supplements we have some more detailed information on them. But probiotics are very important to us for anybody of any age.

Next on that list we have our essential fatty acids or EFAs. Essential fats are - and any time you hear the word essential it means that we do not produce them so you have to get it from an exogenous source, in other words diet. Omega-3s, Omega-6s are good examples, especially Omega-3s are really what our diets are deficient in. Unless you're eating a lot of cold-water fish you're probably not getting enough. A large portion of our brain is made of Omega-3s. But again, if you're not giving your body those needs that it has, your body's not going to build muscle as efficiently. Things just don't work as well in your body. You're going to get a little bit of chaos. So some good Omega-3s.

You want to be careful with Omega-3s and which ones you pick. Because yes, you can go to the Costco and the CVS and you can buy five bucks for 500 pills, but the fact of the matter is a lot of those are treated with organic solvents, they've been through heat treatments and pH changes which really breaks down the effectiveness of the oil. So real two good companies off the top are Minami and New Chapter. You'll pay a little bit more for those but actually if you turn it over and look at how much EPA and DHA - and those are two specific types of Omega-3 you get per pill - you're actually getting a lot more per dollar so it's really not as much as it seems plus the quality of those fats is much better. And again, we can't really overstate how effective they are in not only mental acuity but also in helping build muscle because again, you're filling in those needs that your body requires.

Those are supplements that we would highly rank on things that teens can take and should take. And if you do those things and you train hard - there's no exception for training hard - a good diet, and then you can fill in the rest with supplements, you'll grow. You'll definitely grow. You'll reach your genetic potential which is really what you're after. That would take care of the full equation.

There are certain supplements that teens should avoid. Pre-workouts for example. You know what? At a young age like that, you don't want to become reliant on stimulants so young. That's not to say that they're these terrible things. They're really not. At some point stimulants in excesses can become bad because you can get sleeplessness, but we're talking exceeding 500 milligrams of caffeine. If you're sensible about it, that's not going to happen. But really what it is is energy is not the rate-limiting factor for your growth as a teenager. Don't get on the bandwagon of needing stimulants to work out. Trust me. You don't want to go down that road. You're better off just sticking with the basics. Try to avoid those until you're older, and even then hopefully you can train without them because that would be great, you just don't have to rely upon them and then you don't have to worry about building up a tolerance to stims and so on and so forth. Pre-workouts at this point in time, as a teenager, probably a good thing to avoid and your money is much better spent on these things because you should never put pre-workout in front of any of these supplements in our opinion, and that's based on research in terms of what's going to make you well.

Other things that teens should avoid are supplements that affect your endocrine system. Your endocrine system is your hormonal system so that would be pro-hormones, a lot of the herbal supplements that are supposedly raising testosterone levels. Stay away from them. Your testosterone levels - and if you're a female, especially, definitely stay away - they're peaked, you're at the point where it's just going to go up, up, up and you don't want to mess with it at your age. And again, that's not the rate-limiting factor in your growth. You haven't worked out long enough to reach the point where something like that is really going to push you over the top. You have to get all the basics down first, and you can definitely grow.

And when I say basics, don't think of it as, oh, I just get to take the basics. No. These are the things that you have to get in your system along with hard workouts, along with a good diet. That's really what's going to determine how well you do in your athletic performance, how much you grow if you're goal is to improve your physique. That's what you should consider.

So I hope we answered all the questions you guys had as far as that. If you have any others, please feel free to post them in the comments section of the blog. We'll be more than happy to answer them. Also, you can find us on Facebook, and a lot of you guys are on Facebook. Thank you.