Nutritional Supplements Dosing By Team360’s Eric Sarra

When dealing with supplements it is crucial to do your homework and pay attention to the specific nutrient timing. Although supplementation is not regulated by the FDA; most supplement companies still follow a similar “skeleton” to their product labeling to make a consumer feel comfortable when buying a product. One of the most important sections or factors of products is the “Directions” section.

Here, the supplement company will tell you how to best take their product, to get the best results; according to their own research. Often times it will be the same as other like products, and sometimes it wont. Due to the vast majority of supplement companies out there, it is best to research the product (regardless of which party is distributing it) and find different studies published as to the: effects, potencies, and dosages of particular products.

Our bodies begin digesting anything edible we enter into our bodies immediately from mouth, to esophagus, to stomach, to intestines. It takes our digestive system about 3 hours to fully digest most things we consume. Which is why most diets tell you to eat a plethora of small meals every 3-4 hours. This way our bodies can begin digesting again so there is a perpetual nutrient delivery all day long[1].

All protein and fats digest in 3 hours, and complex carbs follow a similar model, but simple carbs/simple sugars sometimes digest in 20 minutes, forcing all undigested protein and fats through the process quicker as well and we often miss some of our essential nutrients due to this imbalance[2]. Having sweets very sporadically and after meals help to allow our proteins and fats to digest properly and not to get missed.

Similarly to this we must take our supplements with this in mind. Creatine, is a supplement that allows all of our cells to take in more water and therefore more nutrients. Having more nutrients available allows our mitochondria to produce more natural ATP (energy). With this in mind it is best to take creatine prior to exercise, so we can create more ATP while exercising[3].

Now, the almighty protein powder. Often, the directions will say to take a shake prior to exercise and again after. The reason why we ingest an abundance of protein is the fact that protein is rich in nitrogen and put our bodies into a positive nitrogen balance. A positive nitrogen balance is key for muscle growth during recovery[4]. With this stated, that is only necessary for a protein shake post-exercise, as we do not need to recover before we exercise.

The idea behind a double shake is for amino acids. Amino acids (especially BCAA’s) are necessary for muscle growth. The amino acid profile in the shake will benefit before and the positive nitrogen balance and amino acids will help afterward. Yet, the excess calories that go into a protein shake won’t help with your lean muscle gains when taken for the amino acids, while there are amino acid supplements available with little to no caloric value that can be taken prior to exercise.

In sum, we need to do our research on products prior to adding them to our stack. We need to find out when best to take them, and follow these prescribed methods so that we don’t lose out on dollars, or correct nutrient implications.


Eric Sarra: NPC Physique competitor, father, and lover of all things health and wellness. I have recently returned to my hometown of Clearwater, FL after getting a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a double minor in History and Theatre Arts from Stonehill College in Easton, MA. Currently, I am working as an Assistant Manager at The Vitamin Shoppe, as well as a Personal Trainer at my home gym of Anytime Fitness. To further my education in both jobs, I will soon be taking my certification test to become a Nutritional Coach. I am a competitive Physique athelete for Team GIAFit, coached by Jason Giardino, and will be competing in the 2015 Europa Sports Festival in Orlando.

Body360 Nutritionals | Eric Sarra

Eric Sarra:  NPC Competitor | Father | Fitness Enthusiast

[1] National Association for Fitness Certification. Nutrition Coach Foundations. 3rd Ed. 2014.

[2] National Association for Fitness Certification. Nutrition Coach Foundations. 3rd Ed. 2014.

[3] Steven Ehrlich. Creatine. University of Maryland Medical Center. 4/9/11.

[4] David A Bender. The virtual laboratory: Nitrogen balance. 1986-2006.


Author: body360

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