How to Take Dietary Supplements While Drinking Protein Shakes may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Dietary supplements and protein shakes can improve your fitness results.
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Many dietary supplements complement a diet that combines nutritrious, whole food with protein shakes. For example, the supplements creatine monohydrate and L-glutamine complement whey protein shakes to enhance performance and increase overall health benefits. However, some supplements get absorbed better on an empty stomach without an accompanying meal or protein shake. Timing your protein shake and supplement intake determines how your body uses these nutrients and influences your fitness results. Always consult your doctor before beginning to take any dietary supplements including protein shakes.

Step 1

Take one serving of an NO or nitric oxide stack on an empty stomach upon waking, 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast, says Jordana Brown in "Everything You Need to NO." This combination may include three to five grams of L-arginine, 1 to 2g of L-histidine, 1 to 3g of L-citrulline and 50 to 100mg of pycnogenol, the pink bark extract. You can take another serving 30 to 90 minutes before a workout to enhance muscle pump, strength and fat burning.

Step 2

Time your fat burning supplement stack 30 to 60 minutes before your protein shakes or meals, says Jim Stoppani PHD in "Elements of a Stack." This may include green tea extract, caffeine and coleus forskohlii, which are common additions to fat burning products.

Step 3

Include your multivitamins, digestive enzymes and dietary fiber supplements with a meal or protein shake. Many of these nutrients get absorbed better by the body when combined with a food source of nutrition. In particular, fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K assimilate more readily when combined a dietary source of fat.

Step 4

Drink a whey protein shake as a pre-workout meal 60 to 90 minutes before the gym. "Homemade Supplement Secrets" by Jeff Anderson recommends including 3 to 5g of creatine monohydrate with this protein shake. Including 3g of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) can further boost the effectiveness of both supplements, says Carey Rossi in "The Power of Three."

Step 5

Drink a protein shake immediately after your workout that includes 30 to 50g of whey protein and 60 to 100g of high-glycemic carbohydrates like dextrose or maltodextrin, says Tom Venuto in his book "The Holy Grail." Taking an additional serving of creatine and CLA can further enhance your post-workout results. Moreover, adding five to 10g of L-glutamine can speed muscle recovery, according to "Good News on Glutamine" by Matthew Kadey.

Step 6

Have a final protein shake before bed, including slow-digesting casein protein, which supports muscle growth and fat burning while you sleep, says Jerry Brainum in "Natural Anabolics." Bedtime makes another excellent nutrient-timing opportunity to add essential fatty acids like CLA or fish oil and dietary fiber. These supplements further support your fitness goals and slow down digestion to allow nutrient transport into muscle cells during the night.

Things You'll Need

  • L-arginine

  • L-histidine

  • L-citrulline

  • Pycnogenol

  • Green tea extract

  • Caffeine

  • Coleus forskohlii

  • Multivitamin

  • Digestive enzymes

  • Fiber supplement

  • Whey protein

  • Creatine monohydrate

  • CLA

  • Dextrose

  • Maltodextrin

  • L-glutamine

  • Casein protein

  • Fish oil


Cycle dietary supplements to save money and get the most benefit out of their use. For example, Brainum recommends two months of creatine use, followed by three to five weeks off.


Only your doctor can decide if dietary supplements and protein shakes are right for your diet and exercise plan. Always follow supplement labels exactly and start with the lowest suggested dosage.

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