When I first began bodybuilding more than 40 years ago, supplement choices were limited. Popular supplements in those days included brewer’s yeast, prized for its paltry B-complex vitamin content and for a mysterious nutrient complex then called glucose tolerance factor, which turned out to be a complex of the trace mineral chromium and amino acids. Liver tablets and powder were also popular. As a teenager I used to keep my liver powder in a drawer in my bedroom. One day my mother found the powder, took a sniff, then promptly threw it out.
Protein supplement choices were also limited. The York Barbell Company sold a powder called Protein from the Sea that looked and tasted like dried seaweed and had the consistency of fresh beach sand. Then, as now, many protein supplements were based on soy, though the compounds in those days were vastly inferior to today’s versions in taste, mixability and biovalue.
I’ve always believed in the value of vitamins and minerals and felt they did a lot more than just prevent nutrient deficiencies. That’s been confirmed by research to the extent that the word nutraceutical was coined to explain the druglike properties of some of today’s compounds, minus the considerable side effects of actual drugs.