Part 1 of this article discussed the Synergy of ingredients, i.e. the way they work with one another to have a greater effect than the sum of the individual components.
When manufacturing a supplement – especially one that comes as small capsules – it is essential to use compounds/ingredients which are synergistic, mostly because there is little volume to take advantage of, and what there is should be as efficient as possible.
The other reason is that if the ingredients do not behave synergistically, they may be competing for the same receptor sites in the body and therefore acting counter-productively to the end goal.
Another interesting trait of these substances we might find in the capsules and scoops of our favourite supplements is Multi-functionality. It’s another way to get the most from the supplement as a whole and expand the benefits to the user.
In a way, this fits under the umbrella of synergy anyway, because when two effects, caused by the same ingredient are mutually beneficial you could say it is synergistic with itself!
A good example is those ingredients which metabolize fat. They are amongst the most common because they help the user to lose fat (well, the good ones do) and get an energy boost at the same time. You’ll often see thermogenic, energy boosting blends in pre-workout supplements and capsule fat burners.
The Ingredient’s Curriculum Vitae
While multifunctionality is good, it’s the way you use it that counts. There’s no point having a product marketed as an out and out fat burner if you thin it out with muscle-builders that might have a secondary – and smaller – effect like thermogenesis.
A fat-burner should contain ingredients which burn fat, primarily, while a muscle-builder needs anabolic compounds. Before the recipe is designed, however, the effects of each ingredient should be researched almost like a manager would look at job applicants’ CVs. And once all the top qualifiers have been identified, they can be shortlisted for the ultimate formula.
In a perfect world, this process would produce ridiculously powerful, safe and effective supplements. Of course, money and other limiting factors, such as politics, within and outside the industry prevent this from happening in many cases.
As the handicap of money stunts technological development (and nearly all other sectors), so it does with supplement science.
Another, and pervasive, problem in the sports nutrition business is its lack of oversight. The FDA and other authorities seem to have neither the inclination nor the precedent to instil stricter rules as to what supplements can and cannot contain.
Rather than open up the field, affording it the freedom to produce the best possible supplements, it brings out the worst in the profiteers at the head of most companies.
Unscrupulous companies will put pitiful amounts of an ingredient in their product, an ingredient which might work at higher dosages.
Others will add illicit compounds to their formula, hoping to sell enough of it before the FDA (or other authority) finally does get wind of it and makes them take it off the shelves.
Rarely does this result in a punishment more severe than a bit of profit loss for the company, and the authorities have bigger fish to fry than supplement manufacturers.
All of this means what you get in a product is not always what you think. On this website, we always test products and only ever recommend ones which have come from an inspected lab and that has a top safety record.
…but back to multifunctional ingredients. You can see there are obstacles between the design and production of a perfect formula, but the most conscientious companies will endeavour to use multi-functional ingredients applicable to their product’s goal as well as selecting those which are synergistic with one another.
Examples of Multi-Functional Ingredients
Quite understated in the field of sports nutrition, the bioactive component Forskolin has several beneficial effects on the human physique. What’s even more interesting is that these effects come via one mechanism: the increase of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in the user.
This simple compound produces a thermogenic fat-burning response in the main body of the user. In men, it’s elevation in the testicles boosts testosterone production, the principal anabolic hormone. And, in the mind, it enhances cognitive function!
Alpha-glycerophosphocholine, or Alpha GPC for short, is an acetylcholine booster, which is a principal neurotransmitter in the brain and central nervous system. Its elevation improves cognitive function and even helps the user generate more contraction force in their muscles.
That’s not all though. Another effect of Alpha-GPC is that it increases endogenous human growth hormone production. This in turn may have an anabolic effect on muscle tissue and even a fat burning result as well.
As mentioned earlier, the supplements we recommend on this website are all of the highest quality we could find, and all of them have the characteristics we are describing here and in the article on synergy.
If you are on the hunt for a good fat-burner, or even muscle supplement, you could do much worse than the products below. Make sure you read the reviews to figure out which one(s) is the best for you.
Here are the links to the reviews of some of the top products we have used: