T Nation

Basic Foundation of Supplements


Just curious what some folks basic foundation "Must Have" supplements are, and in what dosages. I have my old standby and curious to see others.

My basics are:
Multi Vitamin Mineral
lots of EFAs
BCAAs all dang day, plus pre and post workout
Protein shakes (whey morning and post workout, casein and blends at other times)
Anti Oxidant formula or individual ingrdients (ALA, NAC, Grape Seed,Resvaratol, C, etc)
Tons of Vit C (I try to do 2g day spread out plus 15g IV weekly)
B Complex w/B12 Methycobalamin
L Carnitine 2g
Acetly L Carnitine

Then at times adaptogens, especially Rhodiola Rosea. Certain periods of creatine and Beta Alanine.

Curious whats some of your typical intakes of BCAAs and EFAs, Vit C, creatine, beta alanine, timing, dosages, etc.

Any other "must have" suppelements that should be added to the foundational list?

I know this is very generic and generalization....just curious....


1) There are plenty of forum topics like this one. There was no reason to start a whole new thread on it.

2) You call that basic? Basic means the most bang for your buck with minimal cost. You're taking everything under the sun. Not that its bad, but supplements are to add to an already balanced diet.

3) I take: -creatine
-protein powder
-fish oil
-vitamin D
-I will occasionally buy caffein/digestive aids as needed, during time I think I could benefit from them.


This topic has been done to death, I compete and don't even use that damn many sups.

-Whey protein
-fish oil

Creatine mono is a close fourth, I don't use it year round like those three.


Cool, thanks for the response much appreciated. Yes Im aware that many ask similar questions, so forgive me if that annoys anyone. Over time opinions on how much BCAAs, creatine, beta alanine, EFAs, always seems to be changing as well timing of taking them...so curious about where folks are in the here and now that might be doing some of those things.

You compete in BB?

I have my reasons for taking more than a multi, whey, and EFAs. I also think that other athletes who may be engaged in heavy anaerobic training sessions 5-7 times a week, whether it be college football/hockey/wrestler athletes, or MMA guys, or those in specific occupations that are older in age with high levels of on the job stress, crappy schedules, less sleep, lots of adrenaline dumps, sometimes lack of availability of good grub on regular basis, benefit from getting extra anti oxidants, adaptogens, B Complex, and BCAAs. Take spec ops military guys, special law enforcement units, guys who are training balls to wall all the time because of the nature of the beast in them, and then going for long periods of time doing jobs that are strenuous in physical nature as well taxing on the body on many other levels. The extra supplementation helps just in my opinion, when you cant stick to a good meal plan every 3-4 hours of all the right foods that may have the goods you need. As well, as one gets older the extra supps can help especially if you get labs done and see where your deficienies may be.

What doses of fish oil do you take?






You've listed some good ones, but... the most important supplement for you could be -

magnesium, or

It really depends... Get tested, especially with D3. In due time it will prove to be one of the most critical things for good health. You may not need any of those I just listed, but chances are you do. THey are some of the most common nutrients ppl are deficient in. OF those you take, you wouldn't likely need to rely on the extra antioxidants and adaptogens if your immune system is up to par (intracellular glutathione levels depend on D3 and zinc) although I'm not saying they don't have their place. D3 level also impacts recovery, and probably even strength. I'm also a pretty big fan of high quality medicinal mushroom powder especially if you have a weakened immune system. Coconut oil is cheap as hell and well worth it too.


Hmmm....for me I currently am taking:

Vitamin D3 - 10,000iu
DHEA - 50MG morning and night
Fish Oil - 2400mg nightly
Pomegranate- 500mg
Resveratrol- 1000mg
Pycnogenol - 50mg

With of course the usual protein, creatine etc.... I am using the above supplements until I get tested for TRT as I am close to 50...



Vitamin D3
Fish Oil

Those are the only supplements that have made a difference imo.


Whey protein
Creatine Mono
Fish oils



thanks fellas, I actually am on D as well since labs showed low levels of D and B12...and I do have immune issues so take certain supplements that might not be "basic stack" for the general public, but this thread Im asking in general for someone who doesnt have any pre existing immune/hormone/adrenal issues, but just trains heavy and often, and has a highly demanding job physically and mentally.

I may try to dig up some old labs to see if zinc and magnesium were on there...and as far as glutithione I get 3000mg IV of it weekly, but again Ive had immune system issues so am hitting everything I can to try to get me back to snuff...but I realize the average athlete isnt going to be popping as many pills as I am or getting Vit C, B complex, Glutithione IVs etc....

As for Carnitine and Fish Oils I was curious because I know Ive read threads of guys taking serious amounts of the Biotest EFAs, and if you read/listen to any of Dr Mark Houstons stuff they are taking insane amounts of EFAs in addition to like 7g Carnitine (for patients to drop weight that is).

Forbes yes Id call that basic...especially for certain folks who by nature of their work cannot do the "ideal" eating schedule or foods, are still training often and intense, and might be climbing up in age as well past the early 20s where recovery and such seems to be lovely no matter how you trash your body with suboptimal diet/sleep/stress....


I laughed a bit also.

Yes, I compete in natural bodybuilding.

Have you read Alpha's Work II? The guy fights terrorists overseas, has every possible stress you described, then some more, he doesn't take half of that shit and still has insane numbers and progress.

I don't see any reason why someone can't eat 4-6x a day, it takes meal planning and some preparing. Unless you're a single male and work 16 hour days I don't see any possible thing holding you back.


Nope I have not read Alpha's Work II, I will look it up this week when I have time. Thanks for the heads up. Im sure there are dudes who do that kind of work and have great#s and progress, but there are also others who hit a wall man and might not have the same genetics and resiliency. So Im glad he is still ass kicking, but I have friends who might not be in the same category but are not ready to get out of the fight.

There are a lot of guys who are working the 16 hour days and on call, varying schedules day by day with hours changing, getting little sleep, and cannot do the ideal 4-6 times a day meal planning and preparing as their #1 priortity in life...and guys overseas could have limited meal selections, or cant be carrying that kind of grub with them when they are out and about so to say.


cocoa puffs.


Count Chocula FTW! (single tear)


I'm going to go out on a limb here, stay with me -- I believe ANYONE can do four meals a day. I have done 14 hour work days while commuting in the past and still got in my six.

Creativity and convenience are critical, carry around a bag or tub of protein powder, almonds, fruit, ect. I can see why being on call would be difficult. Sleeping is an area where I lacked during the hectic work schedule, but I still made progress with intelligent planning.

You seem to be speaking very generally, I don't know if you're talking about yourself when you describe these scenarios. Do you mind sharing you're reason why you can not seem to get a minimum of four meals in per day?


Im not talking about me...I do 3-4 meals a day plus a shake or two...but I am no longer doing certain things that some of my friends are, and often many of them cannot do what the bodybuilding crowd "my life revolves around my food stuff"-period...as well there are factors that would lead some to benefit from taking more than the standard supplements, so was looking for some input on those and ranges of doses, timing, etc...Im not debating your points of view and totally appreciate your input, if this is a priority folks can get it done most of the time if it truly is their goal....however there are stretches of times in certain careers (whether it be days/weeks/months), especially add in family responsibilities on top of insane work hours that change everyday, that are not ideal for the strict bodybuilding type lifestyle eating...some folks gotta do what they gotta do for their jobs and family first.

And when "deployed" whether certain jobs here stateside on call or in the sandbox, its certainly a different animal getting 4 meals in of anything let alone the "right stuff". Add in numerous other variables that could come into play, like lack of sleep or changing sleep schedule on a regular basis, high stress physically or emotionally, adrenaline dumps, nagging injuries you "play through", age, whatever stress there could be at the home life, etc, additional anti oxidants and supplements can help for sure...

Maybe this was the wrong place to ask if its primarily bodybuilding types with civilian jobs who do a good job of eating strict and getting what they need mostly from foods. I admire that about BB for sure, the discipline how you guys eat is remarkable. Many high level college and pro athletes, and those in the professions I am speaking of, just dont prioritize the diet as much as BBs may, so assisting them in some supplement advice might be the best thing you can do because you cant force people to prioritize it. And I didnt read Alpha IIs posts, just skimmed the first few, and he does look and perform like a beast so it seems.

Im glad there are dudes on the front lines like him. However its not a great example as for what others should or could do easily, because I know guys who could eat and train like him, juice their balls off, and still never look or perform like him...as well Ive played with and coached athletes who smoke dope every night, eat at the Golden Arches, drink heavy, sleep little, and wake up with a 6 pack running a 4.3 and benching 375 on test day no problem....and as you enter the professoional ranks in many sports the training,diet, nutrition gets worse....guys are there despite their training and nutrition, not because of it. Genetics is a beautiful thing...all the folks I would be asking these questions for cannot/wouldnt juice ever so thats out of the equation as well...natural ways to combat stress, stay in the fight as optimal as possible even if all the other conditions surrounding one are suboptimal...

Want to read up more on Dr Mark Houston and Poliquin and some of what they are doing with supplements, Dr Jose Antonio is a class act who backs up everything with solid research but keeps it practical and in laymens terms, and there are others to learn from...I was just seeing if there were some of those in the trenches playing with some of the aforementioned supplements and what protocols they were using...



but i'd add some D3 for good measure. if you want to go barebones, i'd say whey and fish oil.


I can understand where you are coming from. Not trying to bust your ass - maybe a little - your intentions seem good. I can think of many athletes and individuals that fit the bill you described exactly. I know a lot of trainers/trainees who take every supp under the sun, but can not commit to the BB lifestyle one-hundred percent. At the end of the day supplements will only supplement your training and eating, they can help you reach your goals but are not the end all.

"However its not a great example as for what others should or could do easily"

Generally speaking, nothing good ever comes easily. Even the people with the greatest genetics or those born into the big money will face their own trails and tribulations.


"Generally speaking, nothing good ever comes easily. Even the people with the greatest genetics or those born into the big money will face their own trails and tribulations.[/quote]

Amen brother not debating that either!