If you aren’t getting enough from your diet to meet your goals, supplementation can help. In a few cases, it may even be necessary. Building muscle, especially for those with older bodies or health conditions, can have difficulty meeting the required nutrient requirements– that’s where supplements come in. While the best supplement for you may be debatable, there are a few building blocks that are helpful to the vast majority of people looking to build muscle.
6 Healthiest Natural Supplements Can Help You Build Muscle
Like anything else, the amount of protein you need and that your body can use depends on your diet, activity level, age, and a handful of other factors. The average sedentary person should consume a maximum of .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Anything else is unlikely to be used. If on an intense exercise regimen, that number stays about the same, though higher amino acid intake (particularly leucine) is recommended.
At the low end of these recommendations, that works out to about 75 grams of protein intake per day for a 150-pound person. At the high end, you need about 120 grams per day. For many, that number seems incredibly high, especially if they have dietary restrictions such as limited meat and soy intake or calorie limits. In these cases, finding the best protein supplement for you is critical to building and maintaining muscle.
Having more glutamine in the body after a workout, no matter how long or intense, is a marker that lets the body know you didn’t push yourself too much. This can lead to reduced inflammation and recovery side effects like soreness. Any further effects that glutamine may have on the body need to be explored.
It is worth noting, however, that although glutamine may make it easier to get back to training sooner, your body may still be recuperating, you might not feel it as much as you may expect to. In this way, glutamine helps you avoid the unpleasantness of inflammation but can encourage overwork in the long term.
If you are invested in heavy workouts and are far from a beginner when it comes to physical fitness, creatine supplementation could increase lean muscle mass and strength gains in a shorter amount of time than training with no supplementation. Due to these results, and the studies that lead to them, it is supposed that creatine increases the quality of a workout session and its aftereffects after supplementation.
4. Amino Acids
While most protein supplements boast a complete amino acid profile, some people prefer to take only specific amino acids individually. This can be a good strategy if you are aware of what you are missing, perhaps following a doctor’s recommendation, and want to keep a closer eye on the number of calories or additional nutrients and additives you consume.
The only diet that is highly deficient in amino acid intake would be an utterly fruit-based diet. Every other one, including vegan and vegetarianism, will lead to adequate amino acid intake as long as mutual goals, such as daily calorie intake, are met. However, as mentioned above in the protein section, additional amino acids, more than the typical person would eat in a day, are recommended by the AJCN. These, in particular, are BCAAs.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) include three specific essential amino acids that can help muscles recover after a workout and build up under stress. These are valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
While these won’t directly help you build muscle, they can help you get more from your workouts. Adaptogens help you recover faster, reduce the production of stress hormones, and frequently reduce the unpleasant effects of inflammation. Adaptogens may be taken in capsule form but are just as effective when consumed as a tea.
“Adaptogen” is the name given to a host of natural substances that boost your body’s response to stress and help with all-around recovery. It’s not a technical term but a common term. Many, many substances have been called “adaptogens,” but there are a few with real studies backing them up. These include Ginseng, Holy Basil, Licorice, and Ashwagandha.
6. Complete Meal Replacement
Supplementation is often used to fill in the gaps our meals and snacks leave us with. However, if you would rather give up a meal for a meal replacement replete with all of the “supplements” you may need, feel free to do so. Just make sure that the meal replacement you choose fits your dietary needs and isn’t overfilled with nutritional additives that make it seem better than it is. Also, keep an eye on the sugar content.