When researching bodybuilding supplements, there are tons of claims thrown around about the best ways to support muscle growth. However, some supplements are simply a waste of money, and it is important to focus on the helpful ones instead so that you can save money and focus on gains.
Which Are The Best Vegan Supplements For Gaining Muscle?
While there are many supplements that can help support a healthy vegan diet there are three that are the most important if you want to see your efforts in the gym rewarded in muscle growth.
1. BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids)
BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are one of the best vegan supplements for bodybuilding, especially when you are looking to lose fat while gaining or maintaining muscle. They work by stimulating muscle protein synthesis, reducing the rate of muscle breakdown, and increasing energy levels during a workout. One of the key benefits of BCAAs is that they require no digestion, so can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream. This means that, in comparison to protein powder, they can spike blood amino acid levels more quickly. Also, BCAAs can help to regular blood sugar levels, improving glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity. This is because the three essential amino acids which make up BCAAs (valine, isoleucine, and leucine) are responsible for a lot of the blood sugar production during workouts – this is especially key if you exercise fasted or on a calorie restricted diet.
- Leucine - is crucial for protein synthesis which results in muscle building and improved strength.
- Isoleucine - is isolated from fibrin and has a structure like leucine. The proteins needed by cells in the body are supplied by isoleucine through proteinogenesis.
- Valine - is a glycogenic amino acid, closely related to leucine and it helps with growth and maintenance of muscle mass, but it is also recorded as helping with emotional calmness.
Creatine is naturally created from amino acids within the body, because amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Creatine supplements regenerate adenosine triphosphate, which is produced less during energy expenditure; this causes a dramatic decrease in energy. So, supplementing creatine increases the amount of fuel available to power ATP, in turn increasing muscle size, strength and power.
There are two main ways that you can supplement creatine, and neither has been shown to be more or less beneficial than the other. The first option is to go through a ‘loading’ phase, where you take 20g of creatine in split doses for 5-7 days, followed by a ‘maintenance’ phase, where you supplement 3-5g of creatine daily. By ‘loading’, muscle cells become saturated with creatine, allowing for faster results. On the other hand, the second option is to supplement with 3-5g of creating a day, without any loading phase. In the long term, you will experience the same results and benefits from creatine, but it will take longer for the full benefits of creatine to set in without a loading phase. Overall, creatine monohydrate is the most popular, inexpensive, and safest form of creatine on the market, and is one of the best vegan supplements for bodybuilders.
3. Vegan Protein Powder
Vegan protein powder is the last, and probably the ost important, example of the best vegan supplements for bodybuilding, and there are multiple benefits. The first of these is that vegan protein powder is high in protein while being low in calories. Vegan protein powder is also easier to digest than dairy products (e.g. whey protein) and contains less artificial sweeteners.
It has been argued that consuming enough vegan protein powder (e.g. around 48g of brown rice protein per day) eliminates the need for BCAAs because it supplies enough leucine for your body. Studies have shown that vegan protein powder is equal to whey protein in terms of building muscle, gaining strength and aiding in exercise recovery – so this in addition to vegan protein powder being more easy to digest and less full of sweeteners makes it one of the best vegan supplements.
The supplements you take, and the amounts you choose, will depend on your bodybuilding goals, but BCAAs, creatine and vegan protein powder are certainly 3 of the best vegan supplements for bodybuilding.