Stacking supplements: Does It Work?


QUESTION: Dear Tom: I’m using lipo6x for fat burning. I was wondering if I can stack lipo6x with size-on precontest formula and nitrix and creatine and triblus? Would the combination work better than each one individually? Any advice?


ANSWER: Advice? yes, be sure to flush twice so there arent any floaters left behind.

Best regards,

– Tom Venuto

PS Ok, ok, I’m partly joking. But seriously, 97% of supplements are either a complete waste of money, worthy of dumping down the toilet, or they do not perform as advertised (advertising exaggerates, etc).

The best you get out of todays crop of “fat burners” is a caffeine buzz (which admittedly might be worth something as
a pre-workout stimulant), a very mild thermogenic effect (not much), and possibly sometimes a bit of appetite suppression.

Abs dont come in a pill, never did never will…

Tribulus? If its real standardized extract it *might* do something in libido dept, (and for THAT, you might as well take the little blue pill instead), but I have not seen a shred of evidence suggesting this stuff boosts muscle growth. If anyone has such evidence by all means send it to me – I’ll examine the data and share the results if they’re noteworthy.

If you dig into the research you will find hardly anything on humans, but I thought it was amusing that most of the studies are on rabbits (not mice… rabbits… get it?… rabbits? oh nevermind… )

Size on? I heard of it, but I dont know what it is (If you want to put SIZE ON, try eating some more real FOOD!).

“Muscle Size supplements” often contain creatine and yes, creatine is worth taking – it’s the most studied sports supplement in history. I will do a write up on it, including a write up on why women should take it too, in the near future.

[NOTE: Will Brink is a great resource of info on creatine – it’s one of his specialties. Check out his program at – supplement reviews are a major strong point of this product.]

The idea of stacking supplements might have some merit. The most famous example was ephedrine stacked with caffeine, AKA the EC stack. Actually that is a drug stack not a natural supplement stack, and ephedrine sales were restricted years ago, but when it was widely available, the addition of the caffeine was research-proven to enhance the effect of the ephedrine.

After ephedra was taken off the market, supplement companies were looking for alternatives and one they found was EGCG, the active ingredient in green tea extract. EGCG at a dose of 270-300 mg per day has been proven to increase metabolism by about 80 calories in 24 hours (not much, but enough to be called significant). Long term effects on fat loss are still unclear. However, like the EC stack, more recent research has suggested that adding caffeine might boost the effects of the EGCG.

Another example is creatine. We know that creatine works, so researchers have studied creatine when taken in combination (stacked) with other supplements such as beta alanine or whey protein. Sometimes the results are favorable but the research is mixed on how superior, if at all the two are in combination as compared to taken alone.

When testing stacked supplements, researchers have to do a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial with the individual supplement versus the two supplements stacked to see if there’s any true difference.

Otherwise, it actually clouds the picture because if you take something else with creatine and the study says “this supplement works!” well… no kidding, we already know that creatine works and creatine was in the supplement. The question is, does the additional ingredient have additive or synergistic effects and that is not always clear in every study.

One area I would caution you about is those “everything but the kitchen sink” products. These have been around for decades – it’s one of the oldest supplement company tricks in the book. Basically, they just toss in a little bit of everything, cross their fingers and hope for the best. There is seldom, if ever any research on these mixed products, only (sometimes) research on the individual ingredients.

The problem is, there is only so much room per serving unless you want to choke down handfuls of “horse pills” or bucketfuls of goop. So what happens is, sneaky supplement companies just sprinkle in a little bit of the supplement – a trick known as “fairy dusting.” Now they can say an ingredient is on the label, even though its only there in a tiny amount.

Here’s my question for you: even if that supplement has research evidence supporting its effectiveness, does that little dusting come even close to the necessary dose used in the research? The answer of course is no and therefore it is nothing more than label decoration. So even if there could be some synergy between the ingredients, there’s not enough in there to do anything.

Overall, there’s not too much to get excited about in the muscle building and fat loss supplement world today. Mostly a whole lot of hype if you ask me – and I DO pay close attention to the research.

For me to review all the individual supplement stacks or combinations could take pages, so looking at other product combinations will have to the subject of future columns.

One last thing: Guys (and gals), if you want supplements reviewed through my question and answer columns DO NOT send me brand names. Send me ingredients. You cant tell whats in the product just from the brand name and I just can’t keep track of all this crap anymore…

Although, I must say, the brand names can be pretty amusing these days. They usually sound something like this: “Nitro-methyl dianabel-clenbutrox cypo-nex5! The new frontier in anabolic activators!”

Bwaaaaa hahahahahaha!… yeah, I remember when I was a gullible 16-year old too.

Flush the junk, train hard and expect success!

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle
(The “Fat loss bible”)

Holy Grail Body Transformation System
(For gaining LEAN muscle)

Filed under Nutrition by on . Comment#

Comments on Stacking supplements: Does It Work? Leave a Comment

June 1, 2011

Demian @ 2:18 am #

As for Nitrix, all it did for we was prolong the ‘pump’, I looked good for longer… Size On added a few inches to my waistline (which I did not want) and definitely did not perform as advertised… I’m back to just taking a Creatine (Creakic Hardcore) supplement that I know and trust and in the past has given me excellent results… Creatine I found also helped me maintain muscle mass and helped with weight loss – I was able to train harder and longer…

Sameet @ 6:51 am #

Hi Tom,
As usual, a good kick in the butt or as u say “be sure to flush twice so there aren’t any floaters left behind”.
I just fail to understand why people follow the pill rule like fanatics. They just don’t want to be clear about their fundamentals & run around after shortcuts to achieve their goals ( i hope whether they are clear abt their goals !!).
I read a lot of people following different diets, exercises, pills, etc. They find nothing & are left behind beating around the bush.
The point I m trying to raise is why people don’t believe in wonders that can be achieved from real home food – be it loss / gain. I know whey is important & so is creatine, no contest about that. But, before trying all that stuff would suggest to master the benefits of real whole foods.
All it takes is good management of your food & timings. I would wish to share my pics to show that, how being only on home food has helped to achieve my goals. I don’t take any supplements & neither use home food to enhance its effect for gaining muscle like adding more of dairy or poultry products.
I am a non-vegetarian and gains that u may see in the pics has been achieved by using home made food had as breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, no junking, a good exercise regime & consistency. Thats it!!
I have been working out since my teenage with bodyweight exercises, then after few years with weights in gym. I use ur advice from ur mails since last 4 yrs for food & its time management, mayb its on a crude level. I follow u on & Jim Cordova has been a blessing too…thnks to u. Last few years have been the best, with ur advice for nutrition + training & helped me get results which I desired.
The reason I would request you to use my pics is not that I want to display how good I look but, just to make it a point that how much one can achieve just being on natural foods. Plus, what one could achieve by adding more of dairy & poultry for enhancement in protein sector & calorie management. I have attempted to accommodate many things in my goal like maintain a lean physique, achieve muscle mass & a good body tone and hope to have fared well.
As u very well know only words are not enough to motivate but, what people need is proof of results. At age 33 and 5ft 4″ @ 63 kgs I hope my pics would speak words for themselves & help people better understand what u try to preach abt natural foods. Sure u might say I m not good at posing ;-}as I took those pics for my self assessment & not for posing. I dont want to exagerate about my physique but the point will surely be deliverd.
I know this sounds more like a testimonial but, would request you to see & decide to use them for HEALTHY WEIGHT GAIN while managing ur fat. It will surely show the image u would want to create in peoples mind – the same way I feel about Aida Miodus’s transition pics & say SEE THIS WORKS !!

June 21, 2011

i’v used Nitrix 1 month and it’s really work for me, but sometimes i think that it’s just placebo effect.

July 5, 2011

The sooner people stop trying to rely on supplements the better, but I don’t think that day will ever come. The big supplement companies and marketers of the world will never let the billion dollar industry die.
We had a rep from one the big supplement companies come in to our gym to sell his supplements to us and during our meeting said (and I quote) “I would be doing a disservice to my current clients who want results if I did not provide them with the companies range of strength and weight loss supplements”.
Fair to say the meeting didn’t go much longer after that.
The only supplements we recommend to people are a fish oil supplement because 99% of the time they are getting enough omega 3’s in their diet, and possibly a once a day multi vitamin (as a cheap insurance policy if your current diet is not getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals).
Our athletes also have creatine and beta alanine because they both have strong scientific evidence of being effective.
Regards, Max
MaxNRG Personal Trainers

July 7, 2011

Jumber @ 4:52 am #

When’s the post on Women getting Creatine supplemnts Tom? I’d like my girlfriend to think about it. She doesn’t even want to try man.

August 12, 2011

Dean @ 7:39 am #

I normally prefer taking all my food through food but since coming here,I have learned quite a bit from your posts. Thanks for your time and willingness to share.

September 22, 2011

Lose man boobs @ 11:43 pm #

Honestly I think stacking certain supplements DOES work but ONLY under certain conditions:
If you don’t have these two with at least 1 year of experience then you can forget about supplements.
What I currently use is fish oil, green tea, creatine w/NO, whey protein and a fat burner pills.
Results: amazing

November 9, 2011

jeff blowers @ 7:56 am #

When it comes to fat burners, you are wasting your money. I tried some time ago, and after i joined the inner circle, i never touched them again, not because i was persuaded to, but because i was shown other ways which not only work with great effect, and ultimately i proved to MYSELF they are a waste i money. I got to 5.15% body fat during the summer challenge 2011, that sort of helps to prove my point.

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.