Building muscle fast has always been one of the main concerns for bodybuilders. Because of this, most will want stuff that will help them get to the point where they are ready to show off their massive arms and legs. But there has always been a bit of a dark shadow when it comes to taking supplements. Grunewald and Bailey made this statement in the journal of sports medicine:
We conducted a survey of 624 commercially available supplements targeted towards body building athletes. Over 800 performance claims were made for these supplements. Supplements include amino acids, boron, carnitine, choline, chromium, dibencozide, ferulic acid, gamma oryzanol, medium chain triglycerides, weight gain powders, Smilax compounds and yohimbine. Many performance claims advertised were not supported by published research studies.
Since that article has been published, there has been a lot of scientific research and advancement in the field of supplements that promote muscle growth and building. Here is a look at some of the best muscle building supplements and how they affect your body from a scientific viewpoint.
Kreider, in a paper published in 2003 in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry notes,
Although not all studies report significant results, the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that creatine supplementation appears to be a generally effective nutritional ergogenic aid for a variety of exercise tasks in a number of athletic and clinical populations.
Among the muscle builders, creatine has always been one of the more favored supplements. Because of its ability to cause bulking in a small space of time, it is a good choice for a supplement that will leave a lasting effect on your body. This chemical occurs naturally in your body’s muscle cells and is responsible for promoting muscle growth and cell division in these areas. It can have a number of positive effects on your body, ranging from faster post-workout recovery times to increased high-intensity muscle performance. Because of the fact that creatine is a natural substance produced by the body, there is usually no withdrawal from stopping intake, making it ideal as a natural way to bulk up quickly.
Beta-Alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that resides as carnosine in fast-twitch muscle fibers of the body. Dr. Derave, in a March 2010 article in the Journal of Sports Medicine says,
Carnosine is a dipeptide with a high concentration in mammalian skeletal muscle. It is synthesized by carnosine synthase from the amino acids L-histidine and beta-alanine, of which the latter is the rate-limiting precursor, and degraded by carnosinase. Recent studies have shown that the chronic oral ingestion of beta-alanine can substantially elevate (up to 80%) the carnosine content of human skeletal muscle.
The way in which beta-alanine works is by increasing the point to which your muscles are able to manage lactic acid buildup. During your workout routines, your respiration is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic since the amount of energy your muscles require for this is usually more than pure aerobic respiration can provide. Anaerobic respiration has the side effect of creating lactic acid in your tissues which can be dangerous if left in pronounced concentrations for too long. Your body converts this lactic acid at the earliest convenience by paying back oxygen debt. The carnosine (which has beta-alanine as a main component) allows your muscles to endure lactic acid buildup for a longer period, making your high intensity training that much more effective.
Protein is required for the building of muscle mass, since muscles require proteins as their major building block. In a study done in 2006, it was noted that whey protein and soy protein when added to a regimen of training and exercise was able to produce an increase in lean tissue mass and strength in young adults. Taking this into account, it is obvious why whey protein is a popular supplement. This type of protein benefits the body by lowering recovery times post workout; a result of it increasing the blood flow to muscles. It is easily digested and many of the shakes that contain whey protein are able to be taken by people who are lactose intolerant. Because of its ease of digestion and its ability to get to muscles quickly, it is a very good choice as a supplement to aid in the construction and maintenance of muscle tissue.
Branch-Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
BCAA’s are another major supplement component for obvious reasons, being an amino acid. The human body contains twenty-one different types of amino acids. Of these, only three (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are termed BCAA’s. These amino acids help the body build and maintain muscle mass, and some estimates give it the ability to cause muscle synthesis of up to 145 percent if taken after strength training. In addition to muscle growth, it can also increase the stamina of the muscle tissue, making you last longer in a workout, as well as allowing you to train with less damage to muscle fibers and reducing the pain you may have after a workout. Making up about 30% of the skeletal department of the body, these amino acids are important additions to your supplement sheet.
Supplements have advanced quite a way from when the only information we had on if something worked was anecdotal evidence. The world of sport medicine has tested and proved the viability of many of the supplements available for muscle building and maintenance. The supplements mentioned here make up a minor portion of a much larger slice of the pie. Some commercial supplements combine one or more these chemicals to make for a potent brew. As with anything that enhances the human body on a core level, care must be taken with taking supplements.
Trusted brand names and dealers are a good way to ensure that you get exactly what you pay for. Depending on what you are looking for, endurance, sustained workout strength or just something to help bulk up, there is something for you in the world of supplemental bodybuilding.