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The five best plant-based supplements for muscle growth

Posted by Dayne Hudson in Plant Based

Estimated reading time: 6mins

The five best plant-based supplements for muscle growth.

1. Future Whey: Vegan gains at a cost-effective price

Our Future Whey protein blend recognises the nutritional facts of life for vegans: their plant-derived protein options are simply lower in protein when compared to omnivores. And given muscle growth comes down to adequate levels of protein, specifically, 1.7 grams - 2.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, things can get difficult!

The other challenge vegans have is getting enough leucine. Here are three quick facts about leucine worth remembering:

  1. It's one of the critical keys that unlock muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth and recovery)
  2. It's one of the three branched-chain amino acids
  3. Leucine concentration is LOWER in plant foods, meaning vegans need to ensure they get enough of it for optimal muscle growth and recovery.

And it's this third point that makes our Future Whey a critical supplement for a vegan: it contains enough leucine (and protein via pure amino acids) to ensure you get enough of what you need for muscle growth.

With a supplement like Future Whey, you'll never go without enough protein.
With a supplement like Future Whey, you'll never go without enough protein.

1-2 servings of Future Whey can go a long whey (see what we did there?!) to ensure you meet your daily protein intake combined with a diet rich in wholefood protein sources.

So now you've got enough protein to support your workouts -- you now you need enough energy to muster everything you've got. This brings us to...

2. Creatine for vegans: More energy and muscle growth

Everyone raves about creatine because it works. Creatine is an organic compound that has been researched thoroughly for years.

Given creatine can only be consumed via animal products, vegans must supplement with it if they want to benefit. Specifically, the advantages are:

  • An increase in energy (by bolstering our adenosine triphosphate (ATP), our ultra-powered energy molecule that delivers us power during exercise).
  • Directly enhances muscle growth: those who take creatine may double their muscle gains in comparison to those who don't.
  • Also has been found to enhance brain function and memory.

How much creatine do vegans need for muscle growth?

Let's say Bulk Nutrients customer “Laura” wants to start on creatine immediately. Laura would need to:

  • Load up on creatine for 7 days, taking 25 grams per day
  • After 7 days, take just 5 grams of creatine per day
  • This will bolster Laura's energy, and get her on track to potentially gaining more muscle in comparison to not taking it.

You might hear sometimes that loading creatine is critical. This isn't true: 5 grams a day of creatine is perfectly adequate. Loading just allows you to saturate your muscles with creatine faster.

And we've made sure our Bulk Nutrients Creatine Monohydrate contains a healthy 3 grams per serve, to ensure you get enough when you need it! For more information check out the benefits of creatine for vegans.

Creatine: everyone talks about it because it works!
Creatine: everyone talks about it because it works!

3. Earth Protein: Optimal muscle growth for vegans

Recognising the limitations of plant-based proteins, we combined a blend of both rice and pea proteins to ensure your leucine, protein, and other key amino acids needs are met.

You'll get a whopping 3.4 grams of leucine per serve, and 22 grams of protein from a serving of our Bulk Nutrients Earth Protein.

The taste is not as "creamy" as whey protein, which is a preference for many customers who believe whey to be "too sweet." The smoothness of the pea proteins balances out the texture provided by the rice proteins for a pleasant taste.

The powers of plant-based proteins to give you the protein and key amino acids you need.
The powers of plant-based proteins to give you the protein and key amino acids you need.

4. Beta-alanine: Better muscle growth and performance for vegans

Because of the "tingles", you can get after taking beta-alanine, some think it's a mystical supplement that may not be healthy or beneficial.

But they're wrong!

Beta-alanine is simply a non-essential amino acid that works by delaying your time to exhaustion during a workout set. And like creatine, beta-alanine is only available in animal products, meaning vegans must supplement with it if they want the benefits.

When you can't perform any more reps, it's because your levels of muscle carnosine have been diminished, and the PH level of your muscles has dropped. But by taking beta-alanine, you may get more reps out and thus experience better muscle growth results. And that is not an assumption; research shows that beta-alanine does in fact lead directly to an increase in muscle mass.

To benefit from beta-alanine, you'll need a daily dose of 3.2 - 6.4 grams about 30 minutes before your workout.

And we've got you covered with our Bulk Nutrients Beta-Alanine -- which boasts 2 grams per serve (and works out to be just $19 for 125 serves!)

Beta-alanine: More reps. More growth.
Beta-alanine: More reps. More growth.

5. Best supplements for Vegans: Does Spirulina help with muscle growth and performance?

Spirulina is a blue-green alga that shot to fame when NASA used it as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions. But whether you're planning on being an astronaut or not -- it's terrific for vegans because it's 70% protein!

And here's what also gets us excited about spirulina: it may assist with muscle strength and endurance. As reported in two separate studies, spirulina was found to bolster endurance and time to fatigue.

Spirulina is a convenient supplement that you can mix with water whenever you please, that also boasts a load of healthy goodness like vitamin B12, vitamin A, and Iron.

And we've got spirulina on the shelf for when you're ready!

Spirulina: protein, vitamins, and better performance -- all in one glass!
Spirulina: protein, vitamins, and better performance -- all in one glass!

Everything you need to make vegan gains!

So there are 5 supplements for vegans that can help with muscle growth and performance, and ensure that there are no disadvantages! By supplementing with these 5 options, you're giving yourself a better chance at performing and growing muscle at the best rate you can.

References:

  1. Benton D, Donohoe R. The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. Br J Nutr. 2011 Apr;105(7):1100-5. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510004733. Epub 2010 Dec 1. PMID: 21118604.
  2. Casey A, Greenhaff PL, Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 72, Issue 2, August 2000, Pages 607S–617S.
  3. Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1):33. Published 2012 Jul 20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-33
  4. Culbertson JY, Kreider RB, Greenwood M, Cooke M. Effects of beta-alanine on muscle carnosine and exercise performance: a review of the current literature. Nutrients. 2010;2(1):75-98. doi:10.3390/nu2010075
  5. Dillon JC, Phuc AP, Dubacq JP. Nutritional value of the alga Spirulina. World Rev Nutr Diet. 1995;77:32-46. doi: 10.1159/000424464. PMID: 7732699.
  6. Dodd KM, Tee AR. Leucine and mTORC1: a complex relationship. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jun 1;302(11):E1329-42. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00525.2011. Epub 2012 Feb 21. PMID: 22354780.
  7. Hall M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2. PMID: 23851411.
  8. Hoffman JR, Varanoske A, Stout JR. Effects of β-Alanine Supplementation on Carnosine Elevation and Physiological Performance. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018;84:183-206. doi: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.12.003. Epub 2018 Jan 8. PMID: 29555069.
  9. Kalafati M, Jamurtas AZ, Nikolaidis MG, Paschalis V, Theodorou AA, Sakellariou GK, Koutedakis Y, Kouretas D. Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jan;42(1):142-51. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ac7a45. PMID: 20010119.
  10. Karkos PD, Leong SC, Karkos CD, Sivaji N, Assimakopoulos DA. Spirulina in clinical practice: evidence-based human applications. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:531053. doi:10.1093/ecam/nen058
  11. Kaviani M, Shaw K, Chilibeck PD. Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegetarians Compared to Omnivorous Athletes: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(9):3041. Published 2020 Apr 27. doi:10.3390/ijerph17093041
  12. Lu HK, Hsieh CC, Hsu JJ, Yang YK, Chou HN. Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Sep;98(2):220-6. doi: 10.1007/s00421-006-0263-0. Epub 2006 Aug 30. PMID: 16944194.
  13. Osmond AD, Directo DJ, Elam ML, Juache G, Kreipke VC, Saralegui DE, Wildman R, Wong M, Jo E. The Effects of Leucine-Enriched Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery After High-Intensity Resistance Exercise. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2019 Sep 1;14(8):1081-1088. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0579. PMID: 31172828.
  14. Rae C, Digney AL, McEwan SR, Bates TC. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 22;270(1529):2147-50. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2492. PMID: 14561278; PMCID: PMC1691485.
  15. Saunders B, Elliott-Sale K, Artioli GG, Swinton PA, Dolan E, Roschel H, Sale C, Gualano B. β-alanine supplementation to improve exercise capacity and performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2017 Apr;51(8):658-669. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096396. Epub 2016 Oct 18. PMID: 27797728.
  16. Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fukuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 11;6:5. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-5. PMID: 19210788; PMCID: PMC2649036.
  17. Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients. 2018;10(2):180. Published 2018 Feb 7. doi:10.3390/nu10020180
  18. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:30. Published 2015 Jul 15. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y
  19. Łukasiewicz M, Puppel K, Kuczyńska B, Kamaszewski M, Niemiec J. β-Alanine as a factor influencing the content of bioactive dipeptides in muscles of Hubbard Flex chickens. J Sci Food Agric. 2015 Sep;95(12):2562-5. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6970. Epub 2014 Nov 24. PMID: 25348487.

Featured Products

Bulk Nutrients' 100% Pure Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate

With proven results, Creatine Monohydrate offers great value and can help users gain strength and increase muscle volume.
$13.00 - $39.00
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Earth Protein - Bulk Nutrients' Vegan Protein

Earth Protein

Our most popular plant based protein, Earth Protein is a great alternative to whey based proteins and is available in five great flavours.
$33.00
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Bulk Nutrients' Future Whey

Future Whey

A refreshing way to take protein... Future Whey is now 100% plant based free form amino acids and available in four great flavours (Berry, Cola, Lemonade and Pineapple!).
$39.00
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