Best Supplements For Cutting – The Ultimate Stack

Best Supplements For Cutting

Whether you’re coming off a bulk or just want to drop a few extra pounds for the summer, supplements can really provide you with an edge.

Overcome fat loss plateaus, retain muscle, and get ripped with the top 5 best supplements for cutting.

Top 5 Supplements For Cutting

  1. L-Carnitine
  2. Green Tea Extract
  3. BCAAs
  4. CLA
  5. Fish Oil

1. L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is produced in our bodies as a building block for protein. It has long been used in sports to boost athletic performance.1

BENEFITS:

Here are 3 specific ways that L-Carnitine can boost results during your cutting phase:

  1. L-Carnitine is effective at driving fatty acids from the blood stream into the mitochondria. In plain English: By supplementing with L-Carnitine your body will become more efficient at mobilizing fat for energy.
  2. While cutting, it is not uncommon to feel tired due to a caloric deficit. L-Carnitine helps improve muscular endurance by inhibiting the build up of lactic acid. Lactic acid is responsible for causing muscular fatigue.
  3. Intense workout sessions result in metabolic waste, i.e. heat which is then removed by sweat. L-Carnitine reduces metabolic waste and allows for maximum effort during exercise as well as better post workout recovery.

Side note: Italian researchers even found L-Carnitine to be effective at treating erectile dysfunction.2

NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS:

Although negative side effects are rare, L-Carnitine can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, and even vomiting. For further information on the negative side effects, visit WebMD for a full overview of L-Carnitine side effects and safety.

HOW TO STACK:

Although 1 gram of L-Carnitine per day is seen as adequate, taking up to 2 grams per dose will boost your progress during a cutting phase.

It is best to take L-Carnitine with carbs because an insulin spike allows for better absorption by the muscles.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a processed form of L-Carnitine. In addition to all the benefits of the standard form, Acetyl-L-Carnitine also aids cognitive function allowing for better focus and alertness in the gym.

I aim to take 1.5g of Acetyl-L-Carnitine twice a day. Once with breakfast and once with my post workout meal.

2. Green Tea Extract:

Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and has long been known for its powerful antioxidative properties. Green tea extract (GTE) is a potent form of the active ingredients in green tea, namely catechins.

BENEFITS

In a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition green tea appeared to raise metabolic rate and promote fat oxidization.Subjects in the study consumed 690 mg of GTE for 12 weeks after which they were observed to have lower body fat.

In another study, Chinese researchers found catechins to be effective at inhibiting catechol-O-methyltransferase, an enzyme that degrades the production of norepinephrine.Norepinephrine is a hormone closely associated with fat burning.

In a nutshell:

Green tea contains ingredients which can aid your fat loss efforts by boosting metabolic rate and increasing your body’s norepinephrine production.

NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS 

Drinking more than five cups of green tea per day can cause negative side effects such as headaches, vomiting, and even ringing in the ears. This is mostly due to the caffeine content.

HOW TO STACK

Green Tea Extract can be taken during any time of the day.

Two servings of a typical GTE supplement provide you with about 750 grams of catechins; the same as about 5 cups of strongly brewed tea.

I take one serving of GTE on an empty stomach upon waking and a second serving just before heading to the gym.

3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are widely known as the “Building Blocks” of muscle. They are a necessary component of protein synthesis and make up 35% of muscle mass.

BENEFITS:

During a cut you are in a caloric deficit and your body is likely to start tapping into muscle for fuel.

BCAAs are especially effective during this time because they resist protein breakdown by increasing the rate of protein synthesis.5

Supplementing with BCAAs can also result in more intense workouts.

NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS:

Negative side effects of BCAAs may include a loss of coordination and extreme tiredness after the workout.

HOW TO STACK:

The best time to take BCAAs is around workouts.

I prefer the powder form to the tabs because I like sipping on BCAAs during my workout.

4. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is an essential fatty acid that has become very popular for its fat burning properties.

BENEFITS:

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition 47 subjects were divided into 5 groups.

One group served as the placebo while the other four groups received doses of 1.7 grams, 3.4 grams, 5.1 grams, or 6.8 grams of CLA per day for 12 weeks.

The groups receiving CLA showed significantly lower body fat compared to the placebo, but there was no additional effect of fat loss when supplementing with more than 3.4 grams.6

NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS:

WebMD says that CLA is “likely safe” when making up between 5-10 percent of daily caloric intake but does not recommend CLA for pregnant women.

HOW TO STACK:

CLA is best taken with food.

The CLA supplement I use delivers 1 g per serving. I take one serving each with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

5. Fish Oil

Fish oil is another essential fatty acid that you should be supplementing with regardless of your goals.

BENEFITS:

Fish oil is associated with a benefits ranging from better skin to enhanced brain function.

A research study done at the University of Australia reported fish oil to be effective at stimulating fat oxidizing enzymes along with improving blood flow to the muscles.7

NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS:

WebMD says that fish oil is “likely safe” for everyone (including pregnant and breast feeding women) when taken in doses of 3 grams or less.

Taking more than 3 grams per day may cause heartburn, nausea, and even a weakened immune system leaving you susceptible to infection.

Another negative side effect of fish oil is bad breath.

HOW TO STACK:

Like CLA, fish oil is also best taken with food.

The fish oil supplement I use delivers 300 mg per serving. I take two servings each with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Bonus – Athletic Greens

I find it difficult to include vegetables in my diet and therefore opt for a greens supplement. One scoop of athletic greens provides over 12 servings of fruits and vegetables.

It doesn’t taste amazing, but it’s not bad given the benefits.

My Personal Stack

Here is a list of the exact supplements I use:

There you have it, the best supplements for cutting based on scientific research.

Keep in mind that nutrition is more important than supplementation. Don’t expect results without an adequate nutrition plan in place.

I recently wrote about the Reverse Taper Diet and how it can help you reach your fat loss goals.

What is your favorite supplement for cutting?

Is it missing from this list?

If you have used some of these supplements in the past, have they worked for you?

REFERENCES

  1. Volek. “L-Carnitine burns body fat, boosts recovery, reduces muscle soreness and protects the heart“. Nutrition Express.
  2. Cavallini et. al. “Acetyl-l-carnitine plus propionyl-l-carnitine improve efficacy of sildenafil in treatment of erectile dysfunction after bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy“. Urology. 2005
  3. MC. et al. “Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans“. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008
  4. Dullu. et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans“. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (1999)
  5. Volek. “More research on BCAAs and protein“. Nutrition Express.
  6. Whigham et. al. “Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans“. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (2007)
  7. Howe. “Anti-obesity research exercises the good oil“. University of Southern Australia The Researcher. (2009)

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