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Bodybuilding Supplements

What types of Muscle Building supplements are there?

The main types of Bodybuilding supplements are:

  • Amino Acids.
  • Metabolites.
  • Protein Supplements.
  • Hormonal Boosters.
  • Phytochemicals.
  • Adaptogens.
  • General health & wellbeing.

We haven’t included steroids on this list as SNC Direct does not stock these and has no intention of ever selling any. Following is a comprehensive explanation of each category:

Amino Acids

Amino Acids are the building blocks of Protein and we all know that Protein is the main ingredient responsible for muscle biosynthesis. Proteins are also used structurally, to relay messages, for catalysis, in order to contract for movement and also to protect against disease. Amino Acids on their own are used to produce neurotransmitters, hormones and even to create other metabolites, such as Creatine. There are 20 amino acids that form human related proteins. These can be classed as either essential, non-essential, or even conditionally essential:

  • Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be sourced from outside the body, whether that be from foods that we eat or supplements that we take.
  • Non-essential amino acids can be produced by our body from other amino acids.
  • Conditionally essential amino acids are non-essential amino acids that become depleted when the body is subjected to extreme stress or trauma. For example, Glutamine stores are depleted when the body completes a hard workout, and they need to be replaced in order to restore full body function. Your body will replace the glutamine, however it can take up to six days to completely restore these levels, so replenishing glutamine post workout will mean you will be ready for your next workout sooner.

One of the main Amino Acids provided by supplements is L-Arginine (for a more detailed explanation see the L-Arginine explanation in the Amino Acids category). It is an essential acid in a number of ways as it is used to form both natural stores of Creatine and Nitric Oxide. Arginine can also stimulate the production of certain growth hormones.


While the body contains a number of naturally occurring Metabolites, the demand for these ‘fat burners’ is still extremely high. The idea behind these supplements is to increase or amplify the effect that these naturally occurring agents have, often in order to promote weight loss. While mass or excessive intake of Metabolites may lead to adverse effects, it is not commonly noted that these substances have an incredibly low toxicity rating due to their presence in the human body pre-supplement ingestion. You may be no stranger to one of the most commonly found substances in metabolic supplements – caffeine. While it is often mixed with other, less well known substances such as HGW (horny goat weed) it is still a natural catabolic, which means it speeds up the rate of fat burning or fat loss. It is worth noting that almost all metabolic products should be taken in conjunction with a healthy, low calorie diet and a suitable exercise regime if you want to realistically achieve your aims of fat loss.

Protein Supplements

Protein supplements are the most commonly found bodybuilding supplement in the industry –powders in particular. It isn’t easy to get your recommended macronutrient amount of Protein through your diet alone, which is why so many people turn to protein powders in order to ingest their full desired amount. Protein supplements is a very broad and varied category as it contains everything from Whey to Soy, Hemp, Rice Protein or even Casein. People often combine these products in order to achieve greater effects from them, for example pairing the fast-releasing protein in Whey products, with the much slower releasing Casein.

As previously specified, Whey protein is probably the most popular of the protein supplements. For more information please read our “Whey Protein” category section.

Hormonal Boosters

The modern market is saturated by Hormonal Boosters, these fall into two main categories, oestrogen suppressers or anti-oestrogens and testosterone boosters. Anti-oestrogens attempt to reduce the potentially negative effect on Oestrogen, which is a dominant hormone in Females. Increased Oestrogen may lead to increases in body fat percentage, an increased risk of DVT and even a lower libido. Testosterone boosters (often herbal) attempt to increase your testosterone count. It is said that higher testosterone leads to everything from greater muscle mass biosynthesis to a hairier chest.


Phytochemicals are essentially any of the active agents found naturally in plants. Most of the testosterone hormonal boosters sold on the market are examples of Phytochemicals. Similarly to testosterone boosters, Phytochemicals often lead to gains in lean body mass, minimization of fat loss and having a healthy libido. On the other hand, if taken in excess, can sometimes lead to baldness, acne or oily skin. Many Phytochemicals can also act as antioxidants, can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, enhance neurotransmissions, enhance glucose control, reduce inflammation and often perform other useful bodily processes.


Adaptogens are a type of Phytochemical (taken from plant cells) that are known to reduce stress levels. Weight training often leads to bodily stress, which requires a period of rest and relaxation in order for the essential recovery stage to happen. Excess stress can lead to a number of problems, everything from the overproduction of catabolic hormones such as cortisol, poor athletic performance or even the suppression of the immune system which helps us to fight off disease and illnesses. An example of an Adaptogen is Ashwagandha, which literally means ‘smells like a horse’. It is used to treat a variety of problems due to the way in which it both improves stamina and reduces cortisol levels.

General health & wellbeing

The most common health & wellbeing supplements on the market are multivitamins, or fish oil. When bodybuilding, it is important not to just consume your bodyweight in protein, but live and be healthy. Multivitamins promote your general health and fish oil is considered a miracle worker with everything from your lean muscle to your aching joints and brain health.

At SNC Direct, we stock one of the biggest supply of muscle building supplements available to the UK market, all at heavily discounted prices.

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