The most important thing to remember when trying to build muscles is that your body needs enough raw materials to get the job done. That’s where bodybuilding supplements come into the picture. They provide the necessary amino acids to synthesise proteins that will become muscle. Supplements will either provide protein directly, or support the processes that build muscle.
You’ll find an array of bodybuilding supplements available in several forms and with different approaches to building body mass. Most include protein powders which target muscle growth by ensuring an adequate supply of amino acids necessary for healthy development. Other products will enhance muscle growth by increasing testosterone levels. We have included both types for your knowledge.
5 of the Best Bodybuilding Supplements in the UK
- 24 g of protein and 5.5 g of branch chain amino acids per serving
- 4 g glutamine and glutamine acid
- 100% whey
- 14 flavours available
- Only 1.8 g carbs per serving
- A universal favourite
- Contains artificial sweeteners
- Some flavouring additives in certain flavours
- Slightly expensive
- Contains 550 mg of magnesium and 30 mg of zinc
- Made in UK
- Users reported sleep improvement
- Ideal for strength trainers
- Money back guarantee with 110 percent returned
- No aftertaste
- Suitable for vegetarians
- Three capsules per serving
- Cannot be taken with dairy products
- Easy to swallow
- Workout energy boost immediately with the booster
- 3-part supplement for 1 month
- Estrogen blocking properties, ideal for men
- Libido boosting properties
- Money back guarantee
- Requires a rigid schedule
- Requires breaks in between usage to cancel out resistancy
- Great as a starter booster
- Contains Vitamin D3, D-Aspartic Acid, zinc, and magnesium
- Some ineffective ingredients
- Dose can be too low for some
- Contains 53g protein per serving
- 5g creatine per serving
- No preservatives
- Glycogen building carbs
- Creatine for workout efficiency
- Has dairy and gluten
How Can Bodybuilding Supplements Help?
The adult reference intake for protein is 50 g per day, according to NHS Choices. That comes out to about 10 percent of your daily caloric intake based on a 2,000 total. However, a report by the Protein Summit published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that this amount is too low to maintain muscle mass as people age.
Their recommendation is 1.0 to 1.5 g/ kg per day. With that goal in mind, the recommended intake is 70 to 105 g per day. That comes out to 14 to 21 percent of the total calories per day. Age-related muscle loss is inevitable. A study by the Columbia University Medical Center describes the physiological basis for it.
Essentially, chemical changes in muscle cause the demise of mitochondria, the energy centres of cells. With less exercise, muscles become weaker and continue to fuel this vicious cycle.
Bodybuilding supplements ensure that your body has the nutrients that it needs to maintain muscle mass and support strength training.
This video by British Nutrition goes into depth about the importance of protein in your diet.
What Do These Supplements Contain?
You’ll find a variety of supplements with proprietary formulas of ingredients. Some may contain amino acids such as creatine. Others will have different protein sources such as whey. You’ll also see products that contain other nutrients such as magnesium that support muscle growth and wound repair. You should avoid taking any products with whey if you are lactose intolerant.
The thing you need to remember is that strength training causes tears in muscle fibres that your body needs to repair. It uses a combination of amino acids and other nutrients for healing. Support for muscle recovery is essential to get the most out of taking supplements, explains a study by Taylor & Francis. Let’s consider the benefits of the ingredients you’re likely to see.
Whey is the liquid by-product from making cheese. It contains several proteins and amino acids which are the building-blocks for other proteins. The ingredients in whey are essential for building lean muscle. It’s a popular ingredient in supplements because it’s easily absorbed by the body. You’ll find it in many different flavours. You’ll see it on its own or in a blend with other proteins.
Creatine is an amino acid and is another common ingredient in supplements. It’s a naturally occurring substance in the human body, found primarily in muscle tissue. It supports bodybuilding by helping your cells produce energy more efficiently. It may also aid in protein and muscle synthesis, explains a study by the University of Manitoba.
Supplements with creatine often include a specific schedule for taking it. Product descriptions may mention a loading period. However, creatine can reach a saturation point in the body where additional supplementation will provide no additional benefits.
L-Arginine is another amino acid that is deemed semi-essential. Whereas infants need it, most adults will get adequate amounts in their diet from other protein sources. You’ll see this ingredient in supplements because of its effects on performance. In the body, it is converted into nitric oxide (NO). This chemical relaxes blood vessels for better blood flow.
It can also help with tissue repair which often occurs after strength training. Because of its effects on the heart, you should use caution when using any supplement that includes it, especially if you are taking medication to control your blood pressure.
Generally, buyers need to be careful about supplements which contain other herbal ingredients. Fenugreek, for example, may interfere with some medication used to treat diabetes. It may also slow blood clotting, explains WebMD. Research all ingredients in a supplement.
Many products will also contain vitamin D and minerals to support muscle growth. Magnesium and zinc are common ingredients. Often, the amounts far exceed reference intakes if the manufacturer provides these details. These supplements can have proprietary mixes of ingredients without actual percentages provided.
How to Use Bodybuilding Supplements
It’s essential to take bodybuilding supplements as directed on the package label. Taking more will not speed up muscle growth and may even be harmful. Your body doesn’t store excess protein like it does for extra fat or sugars. You should always consult your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or take medications.
Conclusion: Which Bodybuilding Supplement Do You Recommend I Buy?
The best bodybuilding supplements help your body perform better by supporting the functions that create lean body mass. The products we considered used a variety of approaches to accomplish this goal, whether it was to supply protein or the nutrients that increase energy production and metabolism. Many also delved into the use of herbs.
The evidence for some of these other ingredients wasn’t as strong as we’d like to see. Our favourite among our choices is the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder. We liked the fact that it supplies 24 g of protein in a form that is easy to digest. We must admit the flavours also swayed our pick.
To choose the best supplement for you, read the label carefully, noting all the ingredients in a particular product. And for best results, follow the recommended guidelines. Finally, be patient. It often takes a few weeks of regular use before you see results.