8 Outdated-College Bodybuilding Dietary supplements That You’ve got In all probability By no means Heard Of

8 Outdated-College Bodybuilding Dietary supplements That You’ve got In all probability By no means Heard Of

The worldwide worth of the complement {industry} was estimated to be price over $150 billion in 2021, unfold throughout protein powders, vitamin and dietary dietary supplements, sleep aids, magnificence enhancers, and a number of different merchandise. (1) Whereas some dietary supplements have stood the check of time, others fell sufferer to the abundance of choice and expertise a comparatively quick shelf life.

jars of supplement capsules and powders on a plain orange background
Yuliia Ushakova / Shutterstock

Relating to health supplementation specifically, the market is split between common, long-lasting merchandise (assume whey protein, pre-workout, creatine, and omega 3s) and newer dietary supplements that always promise lots however ship slightly, or function on the border of unlawful and authorized.

Health dietary supplements solely grew to become a real staple of the gymgoers’ weight loss plan within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. Even then, most of the dietary supplements bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weightlifters took throughout this time could be unrecognizable in the present day. What was as soon as a well-liked product usually turns into a distinct segment complement solely utilized by the bravest of souls.

These are eight old-school health dietary supplements you’ve (in all probability) by no means heard of. 

Outdated-College Dietary supplements

Editor’s Notice: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, nevertheless it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. The opinions and articles on this web site will not be supposed to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. It’s all the time a good suggestion to speak to your physician earlier than starting a brand new health, dietary, and/or complement routine. None of those dietary supplements are supposed to deal with or remedy any illness. For those who really feel chances are you’ll be poor in a selected nutrient or vitamins, please hunt down a medical skilled.

Dried Milk Powder

Dried milk powder may be regarded as one of many early precursors to dairy-based protein powders. The primary complement promoted by the “father of contemporary bodybuilding” Eugen Sandow within the early 1900s, it was successfully promoted beneath the title “Plasmon”.

Within the Nineteen Fifties, Steve Reeves used skim milk powder to spice up his protein consumption. (2) Likewise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his New Encyclopedia of Trendy Bodybuilding, famous his use of milk powder to spice up the protein content material of his weight loss plan.

This complement served as an efficient and low-cost method of accelerating protein whereas holding energy comparatively low. (3) It could possibly be added to a glass of milk, water, and even thrown into an current shake to cheaply up its protein content material.

The explosion of protein powders produced in the USA from the Sixties onward largely killed off using dried milk powder.

Desiccated Liver

Desiccated liver is dried liver transformed right into a capsule or left as a powder. It is a wonderful supply of iron, folate, and vitamin B12 and, for bodybuilders of the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, it was a staple of their struggle for muscle progress and a steady vitality provide.

Probably the most outspoken supporter of desiccated liver was undoubtedly the “Iron Guru” Vince Gironda. One of the vital influential coaches of the period, Gironda promoted desiccated liver as among the best muscle-builders.

Gironda usually quoted outdated scientific analysis that steered that the “surprise complement” may drastically enhance one’s capability to train for longer intervals. (4) Trainees, relying on their expertise, would take two tablets with every meal or each few hours.

Brewer’s Yeast

Packed filled with protein and B-vitamins, brewer’s yeast was introduced as an exquisite complement for train fanatics from the Nineteen Fifties to the Eighties. On the time, it was linked to muscle acquire, fats loss, and extra vitality. It could possibly be poured over meals (one tablespoon with yogurt was a standard suggestion) or combined right into a glass of water.

Within the Sixties, the proprietor of Iron Man journal, Peary Rader, beneficial brewer’s yeast as a important part of a DIY protein powder. (4) 

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cups instantaneous powdered milk 
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons malted milk combine
  • 3 tablespoons soy flour
  • 2 uncooked eggs
  • 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon imitation vanilla
  • 1 pack of Gelatine

Relating to style, brewer’s yeast is probably up there with Bob Hoffman’s Protein from the Sea protein powder, which was produced from fish protein. Used additionally within the manufacturing of beer, brewer’s yeast has a bitter style that may show off-putting to individuals. This old-school complement remains to be promoted in the present day, though with far much less fanfare. 

FRAC (Ferulic Acid)

For a short interval within the late Eighties to early Nineties, FRAC was introduced as an up-and-coming pure anabolic agent. Following an article by Luke R. Bucci in FLEX journal in April 1989, entitled “A Pure Magic Bullet?”, aspiring bodybuilders took to their complement outlets to purchase it in droves. (5)

Derived primarily from rice bran oil, it was mentioned this “surprise complement” would improve muscle and power ranges whereas concurrently decreasing physique fats.

FRAC was held in excessive esteem on the time. At one level, eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney promoted it as a part of his Olympia-winning bodybuilding weight loss plan. (6)

A scarcity of constant analysis on its results proved to be the dying knell for FRAC. However, for trainees of a sure classic, ferulic acid is remembered as a type of “miracle dietary supplements” whose time within the highlight was very short-lived.

Wheat Germ Oil 

The origin of wheat germ oil may be traced again to the mid-Twentieth century however, not like FRAC or brewer’s yeast, it has a comparatively lengthy historical past.

Not like different merchandise, wheat germ oil was nonetheless being mentioned within the late Eighties to early Nineties. Eugene Schiff, one in every of America’s first complement producers from the late Thirties, even bought wheat germ merchandise personally.

Its supposed advantages included vitality, endurance, improved power, and improved wellbeing (wheat germ is a wonderful supply of Vitamin E in addition to Omega 6 and Omega 9). (4)

Some, like Gironda, beneficial people take wheat germ capsules, whereas others, resembling York Barbell founder Bob Hoffman, bought it as a part of a mix of different oils (which he branded as Energol).

What probably ended curiosity in wheat germ oil was the famous improve in recognition for fish oil starting within the Eighties, and the concern that an abundance of omega-6 and omega-9 within the physique may trigger irritation or accidents. (7) 

Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) Capsules

How usually do lifters care about their digestion and assimilation? Not their weight loss plan, however quite how nicely their physique absorbs the vitamins that it’s already consuming. This was a serious concern for gymgoers within the mid-Twentieth century, particularly in the USA.

The speculation was that some bodybuilding stars, most notably two-time Mr. America John Grimek, succeeded partly due to their capability to soak up protein higher than the general public at giant. (4)

From the Sixties to the late Eighties, HCl Capsules have been beneficial by everybody from Hoffman to Joe Weider to enhance gymgoers’ digestion and, it was assumed, their physiques.

This was an attention-grabbing method to advertising dietary supplements. (4) Quite than including something to a person’s weight loss plan (i.e. extra creatine, extra protein, extra energy, and many others.), HCl capsules improved the absorption of an individual’s present weight loss plan. Oftentimes HCl could be taken as a part of a complement stack.

For instance, former Mr. Olympia champion Franco Columbu recommendation for champion bodybuilders in his 1985 vitamin ebook and promoted a complement stack together with, however not restricted to:

  • 1 important amino acid pill
  • 3-4 HCl tablets
  • 3-4 enzyme tablets
  • 1 ribonucleic acid pill (RNA)
  • 1 natural iron pill
  • 3 tri-germ oil capsules/important fatty acids (8)

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA Tablets)

In a time when anabolic steroids have been remodeling the bodybuilding {industry} within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, many pure trainees scrambled for a more healthy various. On the forefront of this wave was, once more, Gironda, who promoted a complement known as RNA. Writing in Iron Man journal in 1973, Gironda mentioned:

“RNA and DNA. These two parts allow the physique to learn the grasp blueprint within the cells and thus restore worn tissue. These parts are indispensable in protein metabolism.” (9)

From the late Sixties to the mid-Eighties, RNA tablets have been recurrently promoted in bodybuilding magazines and books. They have been thought to quicken the restoration course of, assist construct muscle and improve power. Nonetheless, newer merchandise and the conclusion that RNA wouldn’t drastically change the physique led to the downfall of this specific product after a short stint within the solar.

Kelp/Iodine Tablets

Weight reduction dietary supplements are, after all, a key a part of most bodybuilders’ pre-contest diets. Whereas many trendy dietary supplements are loaded with caffeine or caffeine substitutes, earlier weight reduction merchandise centered on altering a bodybuilder’s hormonal profile.

The usage of kelp tablets or iodine for this function started within the Sixties, and it’s nonetheless attainable to search out bodybuilding books selling using iodine as a weight-loss software. (4) Iodine is, at instances, prescribed medically to assist regulate thyroid problems.

The logic for bodybuilders was that an abundance of iodine would assist them to strip off undesirable physique fats. As a part of their pre-contest weight loss plan, bodybuilders would take both kelp tablets (which have been supply of iodine) or straight iodine tablets (which have been topic to extra regulation than kelp tablets).

When he was coaching for the Mr. America contest within the mid-Sixties, eventual champion Bob Gajda adopted a steak-and-eggs weight loss plan, supplemented with straight iodine drops to decrease his physique fats. (4) Likewise, when he printed a how-to handbook for bodybuilders within the early Eighties, bodybuilding author, coach, and entrepreneur Joe Weider promoted iodine as vital for bodybuilders. (10)

What probably killed off using iodine within the Eighties was a brand new wave of bodybuilding pre-workouts and fats loss dietary supplements, a few of which contained now-regulated substances like ephedrine. However, this complement was vital for a lot of within the latter half of the Twentieth century.

Notable Mentions

The above checklist will not be exhaustive. Particularly given the handfuls and dozens of dietary dietary supplements which have come and gone within the health {industry}. Nonetheless, it’s price briefly mentioning three notable merchandise and dietary supplements which practically made this checklist.

Starting with protein powders, it is very important word that the primary batch of merchandise that emerged within the Sixties have been soy-based dietary supplements, quite than dairy merchandise. As entrepreneurs started searching for alternate options, a short alternative arose for egg white protein powders to take the market by storm.

They have been simply digestible, excessive in protein, and available in the USA. Whereas some bodybuilders continued to advertise egg whites within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, most notably former Mr. Olympia Frank Zane, the bulk moved to whey and casein powders. (4)

Equally transitory have been vitality and pre-workout dietary supplements. This specific department of dietary supplements has lengthy encountered regulatory points. The first challenge for a lot of now-forgotten vitality dietary supplements is that they often comprise unlawful substances or substances that are ultimately deemed to be unlawful. A significant drawback is that regulation of those dietary supplements usually comes after they’ve reached the market and, in lots of instances, have developed a cult following.

Scoops of protein powder sitting in front of a grey background
NatalyaBond / Shutterstock

Ripped Gasoline, a late 90s and early 2000s complement, is probably some of the apparent examples of this. Marketed as vitality capsules, Ripped Gasoline contained ephedrine amongst different components. Taken earlier than a exercise, Ripped Gasoline grew to become a serious part in lots of lifters’ complement stacks. That’s till a sequence of high-profile accidents, together with a number of deaths, was linked to the product in the USA. (11) In time, Ripped Gasoline light into existence, to get replaced by a mess of different vitality merchandise.

Lastly, the Cybergenics bodybuilding system. This was an all-encompassing product that spanned dietary dietary supplements, weight loss plan recommendation, and exercises. Made within the Eighties and early Nineties, Cybergenics was bought at a then hefty value of $139. It required trainees to include fasting, restricted carbohydrate consumption, cardio classes, and high-intensity exercises. Fueling this method have been seven powders and formulation specifically formulated by bodybuilder Franco Santoriello to construct muscle and reduce physique fats.

As health author Vince Andrich famous, Cybergenics is arguably one of many earliest corporations to promote complement stacks on this method and, by combining every little thing into one easy bundle, hooked 1000’s on the Cybergenics system. (12) This complement was not essentially revolutionary, nevertheless it set a regular for dozens, if not a whole lot, of later entrepreneurs to iterate on. 


In a still-relevant scene from the 2008 Chris Bell documentary Larger, Quicker, Stronger, Bell aimed to create his dietary supplements from the consolation of his dwelling. He employed individuals to assist him bundle it, created his personal before-and-after pictures on the identical day, and, with relative ease, produced a product that vaguely guarantees to construct muscle.

Whereas complement laws have improved considerably within the trendy period, Bell’s comedic industriousness spoke to many trainees’ innate want for a fast repair — a straightforward answer to bettering their our bodies. The rampancy of poorly-researched however highly-lucrative dietary supplements out there available on the market within the Twentieth century speaks to that demand out there.

Many have been marketed as efficient as steroids or as game-changers inside the health {industry}. That they’ve lengthy light from reminiscence offers pause for thought in regards to the subsequent time a “miracle’” complement emerges. 


  1. ‘Dietary Dietary supplements Market Dimension,’ Grand View Analysis, first accessed 27 June 2022. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/dietary-supplements-market. 
  2. Conor Heffernan, ‘Steve Reeves Definition Eating regimen,’ Bodily Tradition Research, 19 January 2016, https://physicalculturestudy.com/2016/01/19/steve-reeves-definition-diet/.
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Invoice Dobbins. The brand new encyclopedia of contemporary bodybuilding. Simon and Schuster, 1998.
  4. Randy Roach, Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors. AuthorHouse, 2008.
  5. Invoice Reynolds, Negrita Jayde, Sliced. Modern Books, 1991.
  6. Conor Heffernan, ‘The Exercises and Diets of Bodybuilding Champions,’ Bodily Tradition Research, January 11, 2019. https://physicalculturestudy.com/2019/01/11/the-workouts-and-diets-of-the-bodybuilding-champions-2/ 
  7. John D. Honest, Muscletown USA: Bob Hoffman and the manly tradition of York Barbell. Penn State Press, 1999.
  8. Franco Columbu, The Bodybuilder’s Diet E book. McGraw-Hill Training, 1985.
  9. ‘RNA & DNA,’ Iron Guru, accessed 27 June 2022, https://ironguru.com/rna-and-dna/.
  10. Joe Weider, Joe Weider’s Final Bodybuilding: The Grasp Blaster’s Rules of Coaching and Diet. Modern Books, 1999.
  11. Steve Chawkins and Daybreak Hobbs, ‘Demise of 15-Yr-Outdated Fuels Concern Over ‘Vitality Drugs’, LA Occasions, April 16, 1998. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1998-apr-16-mn-39901-story.html.
  12. Vince Andrich, ‘Was Cybergenics a Rip-off?’ Muscle Insider, accessed 27 June 2022. https://muscleinsider.com/content material/was-cybergenics-scam 

Featured Picture: Yuliia Ushakova / Shutterstock

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