Saturday, June 16, 2007

Muscle Building - 6 Essential Supplements

Muscle Building - 6 Essential Supplements
By Rob Pitt

The following are the most basic muscle building supplements. Each has been thoroughly researched and shown to be both safe and effective. They should form the core of your supplementation program.

1) Protein Supplements

If you are trying to build muscle then protein is an absolute must. In fact, without adequate amounts of protein the muscle building process is literally impossible. However, it can be difficult to get all the protein you need simply from the foods you eat. That is where whey protein powder, meal replacement shakes and protein bars come in.

a) Whey Protein Powder: As proteins go, whey is definitely the highest quality, as well as the most effective. It has the highest bio-availability, meaning your body will absorb the greatest amount, and it contains all of the essential amino acids. The two main types are whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. Isolates have a higher absorption rate within the body, a higher percentage of protein per scoop and a better overall amino acids profile.

b) Meal Replacement Shakes: Unlike whey protein powders, which contain just the whey protein, meal replacement shakes contain more than one type of protein, such as milk, egg, whey and casein. Also, meal replacement shakes contain slow-release carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals.

c) Protein Bars: Protein Bars are a convenient way to get the protein you need, since they can be carried with you wherever you go. However, protein bars are usually a lot higher in simple sugar and fat, and the protein quality tends to be lower as well.

2) Creatine Supplements

Creatine, the most popular and effective muscle building supplement out there, has been proven to significantly impact muscle size and strength. Additionally, creatine speeds up your rate of recovery, decreases lactic acid build-up and also lessens mental fatigue. Creatine is available in three different forms.

a) Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine monohydrate is a white, tasteless, odorless powder which can be mixed with water or juice. When mixed with a drink, such as grape juice, that contains simple sugars, muscle absorption can be increased by up to 60 percent.

b) Delivery System Sugar Drinks: These drinks combine creatine with all of the nutrients needed for proper absorption.

c) Delivery System Insulin Mimicking Drinks: These drinks use ingredients known as "insulin mimickers", instead of simple sugars, to spike your insulin levels, enhancing the absorption of creatine.

3) Glutamine

Glutamine, an amino acid, is best known for its anti-catabolic effects. The immune system, fueled by glutamine, is heavily stressed during resistance training. In order to compensate, the body, seeking to obtain a source of glutamine, breaks down muscle tissue, which eventually leads to muscle loss. Glutamine supplements prevent this by providing your body with the extra glutamine it needs to avoid muscle catabolism.

4) Multivitamins

While whole foods contain all the vitamins and minerals needed to fuel the most active lifestyle, most people's diets are heavy in simple sugar and fast food. As a result, a high-potency multivitamin is recommended. In addition to overall health, vitamins directly impact a number of muscle building processes. For example, Vitamin A plays a role in protein synthesis, the conversion of amino acids into muscle tissue, Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is heavily involved in protein metabolism and growth, and Vitamin C is arguably the most important vitamin for those trying to gain weight. From protein digestion to energy metabolism to fat burning to hormone production, the importance of vitamins cannot be overstated.

5) Glucosamine

Glucosamine sulfate, a sugary compound formed when glucose joins together with the amino acid glutamine, does what other supplements and pills designed for healing joints cannot. Glucosamine rebuilds damaged cartilage and connective tissue, rather than just reducing inflammation and pain. It also increases the body's secretion of synovial fluid, which reduces friction between the cartilage and other tissues in joints to lubricate and cushion them during exercise.

6) Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids are an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which serve many important functions in muscle building, as well overall health. Essential Fatty Acids, or EFA's, must be consumed through our diets, since the body does not produce them on its own. EFA's are derived from sources such as fatty fish, nuts, avocados, seeds, dark leafy vegetables and liquids such as flaxseed oil and olive oil.

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