- A board-certified sports dietitian said supplementation with BCAA, HMB, and beta-alanine is not necessary to build muscle.
- BCAA supplements contain the same amino acids as protein-rich foods, and may be more expensive.
- Research has not shown that HMB and beta-alanine help build muscle in healthy, well-nourished adults.
Lifting weights is only part of the puzzle when it comes to building muscle mass.
What you consume plays a huge role in building lean muscle, which has led many gym-goers to turn to nutritional supplements, a market that has been Increase in sales over the past few years.
Jason MachowskyWhile protein and creatine supplements can help support muscle gains, other supplements marketed for building muscle may not be helpful, according to the research.
Machowsky said nutritional supplements marketed to help build muscle mass such as BCAAs, HMB and beta-Alanine are not as effective as consuming enough calories and getting enough protein in your diet. But research has shown that protein and creatine supplementation can help with gains.
A high-protein diet is more effective at building muscle than most supplements alone
Supplements that contain acids that make up protein like BCAAs (branch chain amino acids), or help break down muscle like HMBs (beta hydroxy beta methylbutyrate), are touted as Muscle Building Supplements by retailers. Some research suggests that BCAAs may have a greater effect on muscle growth than other acids such as threonineWhich prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver methionineWhich strengthens the skin and nails.
But Machusky said BCAAs are found in protein, making it “just another source of protein.” Protein sources like eggs, yogurt, and chicken also contain BCAAs.
Machowsky said that getting enough calories and protein from food, along with strength training, is the most important part of increasing muscle mass.
If a person doing strength training is unable to get enough protein through their diet, Machusky said he can understand the craving for BCAAs, but supplements contain very few calories, and the body requires a caloric surplus. Thermogenics both fuel exercises and get enough said muscle building.
“The thing I have to assure people is that if you’re eating 10 grams of branch chain amino acids, that’s 40 calories,” Machusky said. “If you’re not eating enough calories all over the place, your body will burn that protein for energy.”
“Honestly for the amount you get, it’s probably cheaper to eat than to get it through a supplement,” he added.
Machowsky said beta-alanine is also marketed as a supplement that can help promote muscle gains, but there isn’t enough evidence to support this.
Research found about the amino acid beta-alanine It can improve the performance of anaerobic person, or high-intensity exercises that occur over short periods of time, such as frequent sprints. But current research on beta-alanine has not indicated that the amino acid helps during strength training, according to International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Finally, Machowsky said that while HMB supplementation can help frail or elderly people rebuild their strength, the same has not been shown for young people who are well-nourished.
Research shows that protein and creatine supplements can help build muscle
Protein is especially important in building muscle, Machowsky said. protein It is a macronutrient consisting of amino acids and essential compounds that grow and maintain muscle, skin, and other tissues.
Nutrition experts recommend eating 1.2 to 2 grams of protein Per kilogram of body weight to put on muscle. Although foods like meat and yogurt contain high amounts of protein, Machusky said protein supplements can help meet the recommended daily protein requirements.
Creatine is another scientifically backed protein-building supplement that can help strength trainers increase muscle mass, according to Machusky.
creatine It is an amino acid stored in muscle tissue that helps the body produce a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP provides energy for cells during muscle movements, and having more of the molecule means your muscles can work harder for longer periods of time.
The supplement has been extensively studied and experts consider safe for most people, Brandon University professor and sports nutrition expert Scott Forbes. He previously said from the inside.
“The way creatine works is that it allows your body to recover a little better between sets in strength training so you can get in extra reps,” Machusky said.