Back in the day bodybuilders took all sorts of crazy things in an effort to get bigger and stronger. There was a lot of rumors and “he said it worked” sort of information floating around. Guys would eat weird animal parts like the thyroid and testicles of bulls. Others would chug massive amounts of raw eggs like in Rocky. This is completely unlike today where we have documented proof spawned from studies and research from the actual scientific community because nutrition and supplementation is a big business.
And yet somehow they did manage to stumble upon quite a few supplements that people still use today. So let’s dust off the history books and see what did actually work back in the day and still is used now.
You have to go back to the late 1920’s to find the first type of liver extract in an actual capsule form. Now, more than likely it was a giant pill that a horse would have a hard time choking down, but beggars can’t be choosers. Liver is very high in iron and B12. Iron is an essential nutrient for helping with the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the cells of the body. People who don’t have enough iron can end up anemic or generally very fatigued.
B12 is a rather useful vitamin that helps in cell growth as well as fat burning. It has also been shown to help fight against fatigue and heart disease. Using a liver extract from desiccated liver actually provided a very potent source of B12. There are still a few manufactures of liver tablets but users swear by the added energy and fat burning aspect of the pills.
The first regular multivitamins were available in the mid 1930’s and they have been a staple of the muscle crowd since the early days. Back then nutrition was a very much unknown science. People would take virtually anything if a doctor told them it was good. But a multivitamin did provide some level of assistance. However the quality of components has always been in question and the higher end vitamins produced today are much more potent.
It was back in the 1950’s that protein powder first became a consumable by athletes. Rheo Blair created a high quality drink comprised of protein derived from milk and eggs. Soon after Joe Weider began his own line of ‘muscle gainers’ and the rest is history. By now just about anyone who is serious about muscle gain or even maintaining a lean physique uses a protein powder supplement. Some brands are still superior to others based on the quality of protein used.
Plenty of other things came and went over the years. Things such as Boron, Smilax, and beef juice came and went rather quickly because of a lack of provable effects. The nice thing about today’s combination of scientific breakthroughs and our level of information sharing is that it is easier to spot the fake products. But you still have to do your homework.