I’ve heard this question a lot and it’s even a question that I used to ask all the time. What are the best supplements for building muscle?
As long as we are following a consistent workout program and a meal plan that is centered on muscle gains, supplement intake can definitely help enhance our performance and muscle hypertrophy.
Is it necessary to take supplements for muscle growth? No. We can certainly increase our gains by nutrition alone. Eating the right kind of protein rich foods and energy sources that our body needs can do the job.
But Let’s be honest, most of us aren’t always so meticulous when it comes to tracking food. Supplements do ensure that we are taking our bodies requirements and they are an effective way to keep track of it. Most people aren’t really taking all the nutrients needed in their diet.
So with that being said, let’s go over some best considered supplements that can help bring out the “big guns”.
This might seem like an obvious one and if their is one main supplement that most people have, its whey protein. This is very popular especially for bodybuilders and athletes. It can also serve as a meal replacement.
Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese-making process. It’s a blend of proteins isolated from whey, the liquid part of the milk that separates during cheese production.
This protein is high-quality and contains essential amino acids that are absorbed quickly including Leucine which is very effective for muscle growth. During muscle protein synthesis, protein is being produced to help repair damage to the muscle caused by physically demanding exercise.
There are some other benefits to whey protein as well besides muscle growth and strength gain. It can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, boost metabolism, and even reduce stress.
So is it worth buying whey protein as a supplement? absolutely. But it really depends on your body goals. This should be considered as a weapon of choice in your bodybuilding arsenal. At least for me it is.
However, you can still eat solid protein rich food sources that can meet the bodies requirements. Take into consideration how much money you want to invest and time. Whey protein is a good way to get a quick on-the-go boost as an alternative.
Creatine is an organic compound that’s naturally found in muscle cells. It’s formed by three nonessential amino acids: Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine. It’s a great supplement for enhancing gym performance, muscle gain, and strength.
The whole science of creatine has to do with producing energy, mainly in replenishing used energy. About 95% of creatine is stored in our muscles which is very effective during high performance exercises as that stored creatine gives us a boost.
Now, their a some myth’s out their that creatine may be unsafe. However, that’s not true as it’s a natural occurrence in our body. In fact, our liver and kidneys produce about 2 grams of creatine on a daily basis.
Creatine is a supplement that is constantly being researched and studied and so far their is no evidence of it being harmful.
There are different types creatine supplements but I’ll just briefly go over only a few of them.
This creatine is the most common form. There has been countless studies that has proven its safe use and effectiveness. There are lots of creatine monohydrate products that contain about 95% to 99.9% pure creatine. Its also very inexpensive and easy to find which is why I’ve always went with this type of creatine as an option.
Creatine Ethyl Ester.
This type of creatine, a.k.a cre-ester or CEE, is considered to be well absorbed among the others. It is creatine monohydrate with an ester, which is an organic compound that is formed by the reaction that takes place between the carboxylic acid and alcohols.
It has been said that this creatine is absorbs easier but their is no such proof that its more effective than creatine monohydrate.
This form of creatine is mixed with magnesium and is supposed to have better absorption in the body because of its alkaline component that helps survive in our stomachs acidity
Although it is said that this can absorb better, their really isn’t any evidence that this creatine is superior to the other types. There has been studies with different test groups using creatine monohydrate and buffered creatine but the results showed no difference in performance or strength.
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAA’s, are made up of three essential amino acids which are leucine, isoleucine and valine.
These amino acids have important functions like up taking energy, protein break down, increase of insulin levels, preserve lean mass, and muscle protein synthesis.
There has been studies that have shown that BCAA’s have even helped people with exercise fatigue but doesn’t really prove if it actually increases exercise performance.
BCAA’s can promote muscle growth and we actually consume them in protein rich foods. But do BCAA supplements have any added benefits over a high-protein diet? As of right now their is not enough evidence to prove whether they do or not.
So beta-alanine is an amino acid that is non-essential, meaning it is a natural occurrence and it can be made by the human body. It produces carnosine in our body which helps with exercise performance.
Our muscles contain carnosine and increased levels of it can allow more muscle endurance. Acid build up is typically the cause of muscle fatigue but carnosine can help control that.
Beta-alanine is known to boost athletic and sports performance. Weight lifting, sprinting, or any other high-intensity exercise may have a longer duration period because of beta-alanine.
Because of beta-alanine’s possibility to help increase workout volume, I personally think it’s worth looking into supplementing with it because that can lead to lean muscle and mass and who wouldn’t want that?
It is even said that the carnosine has antioxidant and immune-enhancing traits. Even with older adults, it may benefit their muscle quality and function.
L Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is naturally in our bodies and plays an important role. The function of this amino acid is part of the building blocks of protein.
When our body is under stress from a grueling physical workout or if we are in recovery after an injury, our body needs nitrogen as a fuel source for recovery. Glutamine helps transport the nitrogen to stimulate healing.
Now our bodies do have natural stores of glutamine. However, at times our body may need more glutamine than it actually produces especially in times of physical trauma or stress. There are even cancer patients that are supplemented with glutamine to help with the immune system and intestinal function.
Glutamine can also be found in foods. Animal products of a bigger amount because of the higher level of protein. There are other food sources that contain various amounts of glutamine such as the following:
- Skim milk
- White rice
Glutamine is also beneficial to our intestinal tract. It helps reduce inflammation from eating foods that aren’t really good for us. Our immune system heightens because of our stomach inflammation and it uses up our stored glutamine. When we supplement with glutamine or eat food sources containing it, it helps heal our intestinal system.
I wanted to give a breakdown of five supplements that I believe to be crucial when trying to build muscle. There is a lot of biochemestry behind supplements and nutrients and how they work on a microscopic level. However, I didn’t want to get too deep into it. My goal here in this article was to give you a fundamental understanding of it.
Whey protein, creatine, BCCA’s, beta-alanine, and glutamine all have important elements and contents for building muscle, stamina, and helping with recovery.
But keep in mind that having a healthy nutrition is even more important. When our nutrition is on point then we will truly reap the benefits of the supplements. Having a healthy balance between nutrition, supplements, exercise, recovery, and the right mindset will ensure that we are clicking on all cylinders.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. I’d love to hear your feedback!