Supplements to build muscle mass and strength have more far-reaching positive effects than just on bodybuilders. Runners seeking speed or endurance, the elderly who need to fight off declining muscle mass, and everyone from volleyball players to basketball stars who want to improve performance may benefit from muscle supplements.
Omega 3 Supplements
Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are very popular for their anti-inflammatory effects on the body. However, they may also have a vital role in building muscle. Omega-3 fatty acids can boost your muscle synthesis when added to your diet.
You already know that amino acids are the building blocks for proteins, vital in muscle structure and function. Experts say omega-3 supplements may make these amino acids more available to you and increase other biochemical functions necessary for muscle formation or synthesis. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids decrease muscle recovery times by reducing the amount of muscular damage. Finally, omega-3s work with exercise to improve muscular strength and performance beyond activity alone.
The best sources of omega 3 fatty foods are oily fish, flaxseeds, or walnuts. Some suppliers fortify milk or eggs with omega-3 fatty acids, but whole food sources are ideal. Common delivery means for omega fatty acids, in general, are fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and flaxseed oil.
Many people in the bodybuilding and health community consider creatine to be the most important supplement for building muscular bulk. Creatine is effective because it helps lean muscle synthesis and, combined with exercise, may significantly increase your strength, perhaps as much as twofold.
Among creatine's possible benefits to the muscles is an increase in the muscular growth hormone IGF-1, a rise in the availability of water for muscle cells, increased muscle stamina during repetitions and intervals, and reduced muscular breakdown and damage during activity. Ultimately, creatine appears to trigger the formation of new proteins necessary for muscle building.
Creatine's most important function, however, is to increase storage capacity for phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine increases the ability of your cells to produce ATP, a primary cellular fuel. ATP enables you to perform the high intensity exercises necessary for increasing endurance, fitness, and muscle mass. Creatine, specifically, shows much higher results for fast-speed muscle requirements such as weightlifting and sprinting than endurance. Since you use ATP so quickly, increased stores mean more repetitions which lead to faster achievement of your goals.
Beta-Alanine's primary mode of action as a supplement is to buffer the pH of your muscles. What does pH have to do with muscle functionality and strength? You already know that one of the factors limiting repetitions (and thus, muscle building) is low ATP stores.
Another factor is rising levels of lactic acid as you work out. Lactic acid lowers pH, which diminishes the muscle's ability to use fuel and contract. By increasing carnitine levels in your muscles, Beta-Alanine can diminish acidity, improving muscular endurance, work volume, power output, and strength with prolonged use.
While poultry, red meat, and fish are excellent sources of carnitine, studies suggest the oral intake of beta-alanine provides more availability for bodybuilders and other athletes. Sustained-release forms avoid the tingling sensation, a common but harmless side effect of beta-alanine supplements. Finally, isolated animal experiments report it may be important to add taurine as Beta-Alanine competes for the same cell receptors as the essential amino acid.
Omega 3s, creatine, and beta-alanine are a few of the more effective and well-studied supplements to improve muscle strength in various ways. By helping fight the damaging effects of exercise or helping muscles to grow, supplements using natural chemical compounds can help athletes and health-conscious individuals achieve long term goals for strength and body mass.
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