Bodybuilding.com lists creatine, beta-alanine, whey protein, branched-chain amino acids and glutamine as the best supplements for bodybuilders. Creatine should be taken both before and after workouts at 5 to 10 grams per day. Two to 3 grams of beta-alanine should be taken before and after workouts. Whey protein, glutamine and branched chain amino acids should be consumed daily, says Bodybuilding.com.
Whey protein supplements are consumed by body builders to boost the amount of protein consumed in order to support building additional muscle, says Bodybuilding.com, but whole food sources of protein are preferable.
Branched-chain amino acids (leucine, valine and isoleucine) are consumed by bodybuilders in the belief that they will help muscles recover faster from exercise. However, WebMD reports that the evidence suggests they are ineffective in improving athletic performance. They may be effective in preventing muscle breakdown during prolonged endurance exercises, such as long-distance swimming and running.
Creatine may improve performance in sports that require intense bursts of activity, such as weightlifting, says WebMD. It may also help to increase muscle mass. The safety of taking large doses of creatine in the long term is unknown, says WebMD. Creatine may cause kidney disease and high blood pressure. When taken in association with caffeine, creatine may cause dangerous cardiovascular side effects.
Beta-alanine is said to prevent muscle fatigue. However, WebMD reports the evidence is inconclusive. It may slightly increase the amount of time weightlifters can lift weights. Beta-alanine can cause tingling of the skin and may interact with drugs for heart conditions and erectile dysfunction.
WebMD indicates that glutamine may not be effective for improving exercise performance. However, WebMD lists glutamine as possibly safe for use by most adults and children.