If you are aware of the wide array of health supplements available in the market, you must also be aware of the fact that the consumption of supplements has become widely popular among people, especially those are associated with the bodybuilding space. Protein, the most essential nutrient of all, is not only good for bodybuilders for muscle building and tissue repairing, but it also balances out fluids, boosts the immune system, creates enzymes and hormones, etc.
A plant-based supplement is also believed to be able to help prevent cancer, increase the chances of weight loss and help in type 2 diabetes management. Beyond the advantages of personal wellness, plant-based proteins can also make a difference in regard to the environment.
However, in today’s world, many nutritional supplement industries are unfairly capitalizing on many unnecessary supplements that may or may not be useful to human health.
With more people focusing on improving their health and fitness, the requirements and intake of supplements have increased dramatically over the few years. Therefore, this blog will guide you through the do’s and don’ts and focus on the needs and in-depth discussions on vegan pre-workout supplements. Let’s begin.
The Best Vegan Body-Building Supplements
1. Plant-Based Protein Powder
If you are cautious about choosing a high-quality vegan protein powder for your body, you’ll notice that often protein supplements can also act as meal replacements as well. They are extremely rich in nourishing properties and are a much effective source of a plant-based protein diet. You can obtain vegan-friendly protein from rice, hemp, peas, soy, etc.; however, a pea protein supplement is known best for its extremely beneficial results.
Vegan protein powder is the best available option for athletes and bodybuilders since they help to provide the body with adequate amino acids and support protein synthesis, to repair muscle and enhance muscle growth. Vegan-friendly protein powders are also as effective as whey and do not differ in composition, performance, strength, and muscle gain.
Additionally, plant-based protein generally contains fiber that promotes good bacteria, better digestion, and excellent heart health.
Creatine is basically a natural substance found in muscle cells. It helps the muscles to produce energy while lifting heavy weights at the gym or following high-intensity exercise routines. Interestingly, almost 95% of the body’s creatine is usually stored as phosphocreatine. The remaining amount of percentage can be found in your brain, liver, and kidneys. Creatine shares a lot of similarities with amino acids.
Meat intake, amount of muscle mass, and exercise are among a few factors that affect your body’s creatine reserve. Therefore, it is perhaps the most popular and well-researched nutrition supplement for gym-goers. Hence, to sum it up:
- Increased anaerobic working capacity, allowing an individual to perform more high-intensive workouts.
- An average increase in endurance strength.
- Increased lean mass gain.
- Increased body energy levels.
It is suggested that athletes who prefer plant-based diets should supplement themselves with creatine monohydrate to regulate an everyday source of creatine in their diet. Have a look at our selection of the Best Vegan Creatine Supplements.
3. Mass Gainers
To begin with, mass gainers are mostly consumed by athletes and sportspersons since they offer a huge portion of calories in the form of proteins, carbs, and fats. These carbs are usually a combination of glucose and maltose. Some notable benefits of mass gainers include:
- Recovery from tough workout routines
- Boosts the overall workout performance of an individual
- Increased muscle growth
However, there is no better winner than an overall well-balanced vegan diet for proper weight and muscle gain for an individual, especially you happen to be an ectomorph. Although one can opt for supplement consumption to meet their calorie deficiencies, one must not completely depend upon supplements for an all-inclusive healthy diet. Check out this article for our top recommended Vegan Mass Gainers.
4. Vegan BCAAs
Whenever you’re adopting a workout regime to cut out on calories or consuming a calorie surplus, your body needs maximum protein as an energy source. Although there might be plenty of options for other people to choose from, there are equally many options for suitable BCAA supplements for vegans and vegetarians in the market. BCAAs are basically a rapid supplement that is metabolized primarily in skeletal muscle, making them the building blocks of protein.
They are usually available in two forms- tablets and powders. BCAAs supplements provide the body with additional amino acids that are essential for overall body development. The rate of protein synthesis for muscle growth must exceed the rate of protein breakdown. Therefore, when your body is at a calorie deficit, is it indeed at risk of proceeding into a catabolic state and hence, your body turns to muscle tissue to break down the energy, which often leads to muscle loss.
If you’ve ever tried to research about vegan pre-workout supplements while wondering, you must have noticed that they all usually contain high doses of caffeine. It is frequently used in such supplements to increase an individual’s energy and focus. Apart from proven increased energy results, caffeine also helps to improve mental health, memory, exercise, overall performance, and fat-burning processes. However, too much of anything is not good for health. Similarly, excessive caffeine intake can cause insomnia, increased blood pressure, and anxiety.
Pre-workout supplements are basically used to provide your muscles with ready-to-use energy, and since carbs are the primary source of energy for your muscles, you must aim for a carbohydrate-packed snack as your pre-workout meal/snacks. Some of the best pre-workout meals/snacks include:
- Fruit smoothie with soy milk.
- Whole-grain crackers with Unsweetened and unflavoured peanut butter.
- Dry fruits platter.
- Mushrooms with baked vegetables
- Tofu with vegetable ginger-soy stir fry and white rice
- Humus with salad wrap and soy/nut milk
If you’re not aware of it, Beta-alanine is one of the essential amino acids that occurs naturally in our bodies and turn into carnosine once our bodies can digest it. Carnosine usually acts as a bulwark for acid and also helps to prevent your body from producing excessive lactic acid, which is generally produced when we follow intensive workout exercises. Beta-alanine, thus, helps to raise the intramuscular carnosine levels, actively impacting the durability of weight lifting.
Other benefits of Beta-alanine include:
- Less caused fatigue due to exercise exhaustion
- Increased anaerobic workout capabilities
- Visible muscle gains
However, there’s an important thing to keep in mind while you’re dealing with Beta-alanine supplements. You may feel a tingling or itchy sensation in a few parts of your body initially, but there is nothing to worry about. This is often known as ‘paresthesia.’
7. Citrulline Malate
To let you all know more about it, Citrulline Malate is a compound consisting of a non-essential amino acid (citrulline). This compound, upon ingestion, stimulates the production of arginine, therefore, in return boosting the levels of nitric oxide. This is a popular ingredient among various pre-workout supplements globally because it increases blood flow and impacts visibly on muscle endurance, muscle gain, muscle soreness, and aerobic performance.
Here are some of the most common compounds that your body uses to produce nitric oxide:
- Beetroot juice
What Should You Expect From Vegan Supplements?
Before we proceed any further, you have to understand that pre-workout supplements are not suitable for everyone. If you often lack energy or find it difficult to push yourself through a particularly difficult workout, you must not immediately incline towards vegan health supplements.
People frequently make the mistake of solely depending upon supplements to obtain their regular sources of nutrition, ignoring the basic steps of proper hydration, a good amount of sleep, and a well-packed balanced diet for a perfectly healthy mind and body. Additionally, the variety of ingredients available in pre-workout supplements also makes it difficult to determine their effectiveness individually. Another thing to remember is that they are a lot more expensive in comparison to a proper diet meal.
Pre-workout supplements are also not free of potential downsides:
- It contains artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols
- Sometimes makes you feel jittery
- Increases water retention
- Often have mild side effects
- Can Cause headaches
Therefore, supplements cannot provide you with maximum muscle gain or a well-packed nutrition meal if you neglect your diet and exercise programs at the same time. Hence, you must focus on your calories and protein intake, exercise and only consider taking any dietary supplement once you check in with your exercise and nutrition regimes.
Are There Other Supplements That Vegan Bodybuilders Should Take?
Apart from the aforementioned list of necessary vegan pre-workout supplements, there are a few more that you can consider based on your nutritional diet and body requirements. Let’s take a quick glance at them.
Being a vegan, if you’re wondering about whether or not to pt for vegan multivitamins supplements, this article should help you. The vegan multivitamin is usually formulated especially for vegans following a plant-based diet, and it supplies essential vitamins such as Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Although multivitamin supplements won’t be necessary if you follow through with a well-balanced vegan diet, it is important to know the benefits and uses of multivitamins for your body. Many vegans opt for multivitamins to secure a good and daily source of iodine and zinc.
However, you must remember to avoid buying a multivitamin that contains iron until your doctor recommends do. It is because, with supplements, it is usually easier to push your iron intake past the recommended levels, which can result in hazardous health problems.
2. Vitamin B12
Usually, vegan diets do not contain any reliable source of Vitamin B12 that is essential for good health and energy. Therefore, it becomes vital to intake vegan vitamin B12 supplements to create a proper balance of healthy nutrition. It is important to note that Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in devastating health issues such as psychosis, paralysis, blindness, and even death. Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D are the two vitamins that are basically hard to obtain naturally and hence, require to be either chemically induce in food items or introduced as food supplements.
Vitamin B12 can be consumed in the form of oral or sublingual pills. However, Vitamin B12 pills must be consumed with a few days of a gap in between, not consequently.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is generally known for its hormone monitoring capabilities and is also popularly known as “sunshine vitamin.” It is so because Vitamin D is naturally produced in a larger quantity in people who are more exposed to natural sunlight. Vitamin D ensures a lot of health benefits, such as muscle recovery, better mood, improved memory, and immunity, along with low mortality rates.
Unfortunately, there are very few food options that can be used as good examples of Vitamin D sources. Hence, many people, both vegans, and omnivores end up being Vitamin D deficient, which can cause several serious threats to human health such as cancer, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular diseases, weaker bones, asthma, etc.
When a person is exposed to the Ultra-Violet ray of the sun, a chemical present in the human skin reacts to the sunlight by producing Vitamin D, which is then carried away to the liver and the kidneys to activate it for the body. Here’s our carefully curated list of the Best Vegan Vitamin D Supplement for your reference.
Calcium is a vital mineral essential for good bone health, proper muscle functioning, nerve signaling, and heart health. It is often believed that vegans usually have lower levels of calcium requirements as they do not use it to neutralize acidity produced by a meat-rich diet, although more research must be conducted to find out how meatless diets affect the daily calcium requirements of the body.
Some of the best plant-based sources of calcium are kale, mustard greens, bok choy, broccoli, watercress, turnip greens, tofu, chickpeas, fortified plant juices.
Calcium deficit in an individual can often cause severe health concerns, including the increased risk of bone fractures. Therefore, supplements are necessary when the ideal quantity of calcium cannot be achieved through diet or fortified food alone.
Let’s first understand what probiotics are. Probiotics are living organisms that are induced in various food items through a process of fermentation. They are comprised of fungi and bacteria belonging to the Rhizopus, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces groups. Probiotics are termed as ‘good bacteria’ since they help to sustain the natural supply of important microbes in the stomach, along with helping to prevent diarrhea, UTi, and other intestinal disorders.
Yogurt is the most popular high probiotic source of food; however, it is not suitable for vegans as it contains milk as its primary ingredient. But here’s the thing: there are plenty of plant-based probiotic food options available that as tasty and nutritious as those containing dairy. Three of the most common plant-based probiotics are sauerkraut (sour cabbage), tempeh (soy produce), and kombucha (fermented black or green tea). They are highly packed with rich essential nutrients such as fibers, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants.
If these don’t quite intrigue you, you could simply opt for a vegan probiotic supplement instead. These often come as capsules and ensure a higher survivability rate, giving you the most benefits.
Recommended: How Long Does It Take for Probiotics to Work?
Iodine is one of those chemical products that our body cannot produce naturally. However, it is an essential element to the body since the thyroid gland requires iodine to produce hormones. In case of insufficient iodine, the thyroid gland exerts more pressure to produce a hormone which, in return, may pose several health issues.
Some of the major problems caused by iodine deficiency include ovulation issues and infertility in women. It can also pave the path for thyroid cancer.
However, be careful of how much iodine you’re consuming to avoid unnecessary health problems caused by excessive iodine intake in your body. Be sure to avoid these ingredients to be careful of their abnormal iodine carrying quantities: Paddle weed, Hijiki, and Kelp. You can either rely on iodized salt instead of normal salt or take a vegan iodine supplement if you want to get your fix.
To conclude, you must remember that supplements are not substitutes for your daily food and nutrition. There are no magic pills or easy ways to achieve certain health goals while you’re working on building a good physique or just exercising in general.
Things that you need to keep in mind to ensure a good diet for your body:
- Proper eating habits and nutrient-dense foods meals.
- Working on your calories every day.
- Proper intake of micronutrients and amino acids to help prevent any deficiency.
- Having and following a proper all-in-all focused workout regime.
Supplements act as an extra dose of a nutritional push to help your body keep up with everything that it requires. Thus, choose your supplements wisely, and don’t forget to stress the ingredients before you go and buy them for yourself.