A fundamental benefit of exercising is increased strength and muscle growth.
As I’ve aged, it became more imperative that I learned how to train smarter. Maximizing my time working out to ensure I can still get the results I desire.
Along with smarter training and nutrition, adding supplements become necessary for optimum performance.
Countless supplements claim to increase muscle growth. The reality however is supplements alone won’t deliver muscle growth. If your diet and workout program is inefficient you won’t see the muscle growth you desire.
If you have a workout program in place, listed below are the best supplements for muscle growth.
Most of my supplements I order through Amazon or Best Price Nutrition. Often Best Price Nutrition, like their name implies are less expensive than what I’m able to find on Amazon.
To help your purchasing search I listed a couple brands after each supplement review. You can check prices and navigate through those sites for flavors and sizes that best suit you.
The only exception to this is my current protein. I began ordering protein through Gainful. It’s high quality, personalized protein and I enjoy the autoship convenience.
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO
This will top most lists of the best supplements for muscle growth, and for good reason. The breakdown of protein is a constant process in our muscles. If an adequate amount of protein is not digested, the breakdown of protein will be greater than the rate of muscle protein synthesis. Not only will you not gain muscle growth, but most likely will lose lean muscle mass.
Especially regarding strenuous exercise, we break our body down. After exercise, during recovery process, we build it back up. Our body needs protein to accomplish this. If we don’t provide our bodies with enough protein, we can’t achieve muscle growth.
In addition to muscle growth, protein powders also help damaged muscles recover. An advantage of whey protein powder is that it digests very quickly in our bodies. This allows it to get to our muscles quickly to begin repairing and rebuilding after a workout.
Whey Protein is also comprised of peptides. Peptides are amino acids that will help increase blood flow to your muscles and provide other healthy benefits.
Studies have shown adding additional supplements will multiply the effectiveness of whey protein to increase lean body mass or muscle growth. Along with an overall increase in strength, this enhancement seems to be most evident when whey protein is combined with creatine.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, I personally use Gainful protein now because of the quality and convenience. You can read my Gainful review here.
Some other proteins I’d recommend are:
OPTIMUM NUTRITION Serious Mass Weight Gainer Protein Powder Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Optimum Nutrition has great products in general. I recommend that brand for most supplements they offer.
MusclePharm Combat XL Mass Gainer Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Creatine is one of, if not the most studied supplement available. Amid these studies there is an abundance of results to conclude creatine can boost muscle growth.
Most creatine is stored in the muscles of our bodies. Creatine helps to supply energy to cells throughout the body, particularly muscle cells.
Creatine has been shown to help improve athletic performance and help increase muscle mass due to producing elevated muscle power, during short exercise bursts. Studies show several ways creatine helps create increases in muscle growth, strength, and athletic performance.
Most of creatine’s benefits come from the increase of energy provided to the muscles. This allows for a quicker recovery time between exercise sets. Over time this will provide an accumulative effect by allowing more repetitions and increasing muscle growth.
The major reason for the initial rapid weight gain that can happen when people start creatine is the muscle cells filling up with water. The increase in muscle cell volume causes the cells to stretch. This can initiate long-term increase in muscle growth from greater protein synthesis. Remember what we talked about regarding protein!
There are several other ways in which creatine helps muscle growth and performance.
Creatine can also help by growing the amount of satellite cells in muscle fibers. Adding more muscle satellite cells to existing muscle fibers will cause the muscles to grow bigger.
In an 8-week study subjects supplementing with creatine experienced nearly 100% more satellite cells in their muscle fibers, compared to subjects that took a placebo. In conclusion, increasing the amount of satellite cells relates to larger muscle size and strength.
Another way creatine can help is by lowering levels of myostatin. Myostatin is a protein that hinders muscle growth. Animals that are deficient of myostatin or in studies when subjected to myostatin blockers, have significantly more muscle mass.
Also, humans documented with myostatin gene mutations are significantly stronger and have more muscle mass than normal.
Dymatize Creatine Micronized Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Cellucor Cor-Performance Creatine Monohydrate Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Creatine and protein supplements are likely the most effective choices for muscle gain, but other supplements may be beneficial for certain people.
Amino acids are the building-blocks of a large collections of proteins in the human body. Thousands of different proteins are made by 20 different amino acids.
Nine of these 20 are called essential amino acids. They cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through diet. These are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine.
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs.
BCAAs are found in foods and dairy products high in protein. BCAA supplements can help promote muscle growth and reduce soreness after workouts.
In studies, BCAAs show positive effects on protein absorption by increasing protein synthesis. Leucine in particular, reduced the rate of protein breakdown in muscle at rest.
Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Powder Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Kaged Muscle BCAA Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Glutamine provides countless benefits for your body. It is the amino acid with the highest concentration in your blood, and accounts for the largest amount of amino acids in the body. Glutamine can possibly be the most important external supplement you should purchase.
Concerning muscle growth, glutamine assists by increasing levels of leucine in muscle fibers. In addition, glutamine helps diminish muscle soreness after workout and boost growth hormones. Studies also show glutamine can increase fat burn at rest and while exercising.
With exercise, an increase in glutamine consumption is needed. Natural production in the body does not generate adequate amounts. Similarly, as we age production of glutamine can also slow down. Therefore, consuming glutamine as a supplement becomes extremely important.
Bodylogix Micronized L-Glutamine Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Nutrex Glutamine Drive Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Ashwagandha, also called Indian ginseng, is an important herb in one of the world’s oldest and still active medical systems called Ayurvedic Medicine. It has been linked to a plethora of health benefits including stress and anxiety reduction, arthritis, improved brain function. There is also some positive reports with stopping cell growth of certain cancers.
Studies have shown ashwagandha can increase muscle mass, improve body composition, improve recovery, and increase strength. Ashwagandha supplements have shown to be incredibly effective raising testosterone levels and improving semen quality and fertility.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that has been used for over 3,000 years. It provides countless benefits and is an essential supplement to add to your diet.
NOW Foods Ashwagandha Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder
Fenugreek has been used in some cultures to treat diseases for millenniums. It is an herb that is common in culinary dishes, most commonly related to Indian cuisine. The seeds as well contain a large amount of fiber and nutrients.
In relation to this article on what is the best supplements for muscle growth, fenugreek supplements can boost testosterone and increase libido.
The list of benefits fenugreek provides to the human body is long. Lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, increasing milk production in breastfeeding mothers, and helping heartburn are just a few of the many benefits of fenugreek.
Best Price Nutrition Fenugreek Options
FenuTrax Fenugreek Seed Extract
ZMA is a blend of zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6. It’s an important supplement for muscle growth because heavy training can cause a deficiency in these minerals and influence testosterone levels. These three minerals play an important role maintaining hormone levels and helping you get good sleep, critical for recovery.
An important note about ZMA.
There is very little research to support ZMA’s benefits and the International Society of Sports Nutrition positions it as having no clear benefits. I wanted to include it because I personally know successful bodybuilders who use and promote ZMA.
Also, because of the benefits from zinc and magnesium specifically, regarding an increase in testosterone levels. Increasing testosterone levels can provide enormous impacts on muscle growth.
Optimum Nutrition ZMA Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
I wasn’t going to add these to the list. With the popularity of these products on TV and social media ads I felt we should discuss them.
I feel many of these are a little gimmicky regarding muscle growth. They are more likely to just raise your sexual desire. If raising your libido is something you desire as well, look for some key ingredients when purchasing testosterone boosting supplements.
To boost your testosterone make sure to confirm zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 are main ingredients. If your primary concern is muscle growth, the testosterone boosters are probably a waste of your money. It might be a wiser investment just purchasing ZMA supplements instead.
Regular exercise and a good diet combined with adequate rest, often promote a boosted libido and a better sex life. If you still feel the need for increasing your libido then go ahead and purchase some testosterone boosters.
Quality products for testosterone and libido that combine multiple supplements from this article:
Primeval Labs Neanderthal Amazon Link
GAT Sport Testrol Elite Amazon Link and Best Price Nutrition Link.
I hope this article on supplements for muscle growth assist you in your training and reaching your fitness goals.
If you’ve tried any of these supplements let us know of your results and how you felt taking them.
Are there any supplements for muscle growth that you recommend?
This Post Has 4 Comments
This an informative post, I like the elaborate manner in which you stated about all the health supplements. I have some questions for you:
1) I have heard this…some claim that Creatine causes weight gain, cramping, and digestive, liver, or kidney problems ? Is this true?
2) It it possible that glutamine supplements may not have the same effects if you eat an animal-based, high-protein diet, compared to a plant-based, lower-protein diet?
Would love to hear your thoughts on the same.
I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
Creatine is a extensively tested supplement and is considered safe when the appropriate amount is consumed. Here is a study demonstrating that. “The major reason for the initial rapid weight gain that can happen when people start creatine is the muscle cells filling up with water.”
I regards to glutamine in a plant based vs an animal based diet I have never heard that there is a difference. Glutamine is the highest concentrated amino acid in your body and is involved with a lot of functions. I don’t see why it would matter what your diet is in regards to the effects a glutamine supplement would have.
On a side note, I tried to research and find a study that answered your question and I could not find anything. If you find an answer I’d appreciate you letting us know.
Great post Lee!
This is a really thorough explanation of supplements for muscle growth. With the current lock down its tough not having a gym to go to but there is no excuse for not working out some how.
I often get confused with all the protein and strength and muscle building supplements out there so this is great. Will bookmark this page and study more in depth. Thanks heaps.
Thanks Kevin, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. With the shutdown from the pandemic I think it’s extra critical we find ways to work out and help with the anxiety.
Hopefully this article helps in regards to supplements. I always try and provide science and links to my content while keeping it easy to understand.