There are a lot of nutrition and fitness supplements on the market that claim one thing and don’t pull through. It’s way too common, and it results in this belief that supplements don’t work.
Investing in supplements to maximize your gains can get expensive, especially for bodybuilding, so you want to ensure that what you’re buying is worthwhile.
But Performance Lab changes that with pure, top-quality supplements designed to supercharge your performance and push your gains to an entirely new level.
We’re giving you a rundown of the best products for vegan bodybuilders.
Let’s get to it.
The Nutritional Pillars Of Bodybuilding
Carbs and protein have long been the staples for bodybuilders to maximize hypertrophy and strength, but they’re not the only ones on the horizon anymore. Here are our top picks for the best vegan bodybuilding supplements:
While a pre-workout is obviously a great addition to a bodybuilders stack, right now we want to talk about creatine. Whether you’re a vegan or not, creatine needs to be in your supplement stack if muscle growth is your goal.
Creatine is a compound naturally produced in the body from arginine and methionine, but roughly half of creatine in the body comes from diet, primarily meat.
But for a vegan who excludes meat from the diet, getting adequate amounts of creatine can be challenging. That’s where supplementation comes in key—and here’s why.
Creatine doesn’t have a direct role in boosting muscle protein synthesis like BCAAs or protein do, but it plays a major supporting role. The function of creatine is to increase intramuscular phosphocreatine (PCr) concentrations, which ultimately helps to enhance work capacity, allowing you to train harder for longer.
The reason is because it plays an essential role in energy availability and the regeneration of ATP—your body’s main energy substrate.
The purpose of creatine is to serve as a substrate for ATP regeneration. In fast-twitch skeletal muscles, there is generally a large phosphocreatine reserve available for immediate regeneration of ATP during high-intensity, short-duration work .
However, as with prolonged intense activity, phosphocreatine levels start to decline, which means that there isn’t enough substrate to provide energy because ATP isn’t being regenerated. When your body can’t meet the demands of high-intensity exercise, you start to fatigue.
So, creatine supplementation helps to safeguard you against resource depletion to ensure adequate energy. More substrate means better work capacity and more muscle growth.
Another staple is β-alanine, a non-essential amino acid produced in muscle tissue that can help extend work time by reducing fatigue and boosting muscular endurance.
Unlike the other 20 amino acids, beta-alanine (because it’s a beta amino acid) serves a bit of a different function.
Rather than being used towards muscle protein synthesis, beta-alanine combines with histidine to produce carnosine—an intramuscular buffer that maintains the proper pH of muscles and prevents lactic acid build-up .
Here’s how: When muscles are working, glucose is the primary energy substrate. The breakdown of glucose in muscles creates lactate and a buildup of hydrogen ions (H+). This buildup causes the pH of muscles to increase, which forms lactic acid.
As lactic acid accumulates, the acidity of the muscles increases to a point where muscles lose their ability to contract, which results in a drop in endurance and power.
However, carnosine plays an important role as an intramuscular buffer of lactic acid to prevent fatigue from setting it.
Carnosine is synthesized in skeletal muscle from the amino acids L-histidine and β-alanine, which means the amount β-alanine dictates how much carnosine is produced and how well lactic acid is buffered.
So, supplementing β-alanine provides sufficient substrate to ensure lactic acid is being broken down and you can continue pushing your limits.
Performance Lab Omega-3
If there’s one supplement vegan bodybuilders should invest in, it’s omega 3s. Because they can’t be produced in the body, they have to come from either diet—of which fish is the primary origin—or supplement for vegans.
But for bodybuilders, the reason omega-3s need to be in your stack is for recovery. They’re potent anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to boost your recovery and minimize muscle soreness .
If you’re ever experienced DOMS—that muscle pain that kicks in 2-3 days after your workout—you’ll quickly see why omega-3s are beneficial.
DOMS not only interferes with your day-to-day activities, but it can be a huge pain in the butt for keeping your training on schedule. And by reducing the inflammatory response that causes DOMS, you can get back to training ASAP.
One study found that 8 weeks of supplementing 2,400mg of omega-3s (600mg EPA and 260mg DHA) reduced the severity of DOMS and prevented transient loss of strength .
Performance Lab Omega-3 the cleanest, safest, and most effective plant-based omega-3 supplement available.
Derived from algae oil, it supplies optimal ratio high-potency EPA+DHA benefits, without the drawbacks of conventional fish oil products to support your body in everything it does.
It’s ultraclean and free of toxic contaminants and by-products that can cause long-term harm. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s completely environmentally friendly and sustainable, and traceable from start to finish.
BCAAs are pretty much a non-negotiable part of any athlete or bodybuilder’s stack, so of course, they’re going to be part of this.
The branched-chain amino acids are a group of three amino acids essential for muscle growth—leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Because they’re essential, they have to be obtained from diet or supplementation.
Here’s how they help you:
- Muscle protein synthesis—All three BCAAs play a role in muscle protein synthesis, but leucine is the most prominent. They serve as substrates for the synthesis of new muscle proteins and as a signal to initiate certain steps involved in MPS . To get specific, the mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex-1) signaling pathway is stimulated by the consumption of essential amino acids following bouts of resistance exercise. So, essentially the goal is to boost substrate to cause greater muscle growth.
- Prevent fatigue—Onset of central fatigue is thought to result from increasing levels of 5-HT (serotonin) in the brain. Uptake of tryptophan, the precursor for serotonin, increases with exercise, which means serotonin synthesis does, too, signaling to the brain that the body is fatigued, thus reducing power output and strength. However, because larger amino acids like the BCAAs compete with the same transport proteins as tryptophan to enter the brain, a higher concentration of larger amino acids means less tryptophan gets into the brain, thereby delaying fatigue onset.
- Accelerate recovery—The BCAAs’ primary role is to increase MPS and reduce muscle breakdown, which means they conserve muscle tissue during periods of intense training. Studies find that consumption of BCAAs drastically reduces the extent of muscle soreness 48- and 72-hours post-exercise, which may result from enhanced glutamine production from branched-chain amino acid degradation . Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid involved in the immune response to muscle damage and is used as an energy source by lymphocytes and macrophages to fuel repair and recovery . Ingestion of BCAAs may also reduce serum creatine kinase (CK) levels by attenuating CK efflux, reducing muscle soreness, and improving recovery of muscle function .
Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi for Men and Women
A good multi serves as the foundation to a good supplement program; it safeguards you against any possible deficiencies that can interfere with optimal function.
In order for the body to complete its daily tasks, it needs a wide array of vitamins and minerals. When you’re deficient in any one (or more) of those essentials, it disrupts metabolic pathways and your performance takes a nosedive.
And for vegans who are at risk of certain deficiencies like iron, zinc, B12, and vitamin D, having them in supplemental forms becomes essential to ensure the thousands of metabolic reactions that rely on them happen.
Bodybuilders, athletes, and anyone that leads an active lifestyle requires even more nutrients than the average non-active person due to the high demands placed on their body, so grabbing the first multi you see isn’t going to cut it.
That’s why we say that Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi for Men and Women is a must in your stack.
Performance Lab proprietary NutriGenesis Multi for Women and Multi for Men are nutrition technology breakthroughs loaded with 17+ essential vitamins and minerals designed to support individual health and hormonal balance.
NutriGenesis Multi is also complexed with natural cofactors including probiotics, fiber, enzymes, and antioxidants that enhance nutrient bioavailability and health-supportive activity to help you perform at your absolute best.
Protein + Carbs
Protein is the key macronutrient where bodybuilding is concerned because it’s the foundation for muscle growth and maintenance.
Dietary protein is essential for providing the amino acids that are used to build and repair muscles damaged through strenuous lifts. And for bodybuilders who are constantly pushing their muscles to the max, cutting it shy on protein isn’t an option; it can make a huge difference with size and strength.
In order for muscle protein synthesis to occur, your body needs all nine essential amino acids; the non-essentials can be produced from precursor amino acids.
Without these essential amino acids, the rate of muscle protein breakdown exceeds that of muscle protein synthesis and you’re going to lose muscle rather than gain it. To safeguard yourself against MPB, ensure you’re getting a minimum of 30g of protein (or more) per meal.
The second half of this picture is carbs—pure gold for bodybuilders. They not only supply a massive pool of immediate energy to power you through even the most strenuous lifts, but they’re also essential for:
- Replenishing glycogen stores: Glycogen is the major source of fuel during prolonged intense workouts. But when muscle glycogen stores start to decline, the body isn’t capable of using other substrates for fuel (unless you’re metabolically flexible), so you start to fatigue and lose power and strength. But also, no other macronutrient is broken down as quickly and efficiently as carbs to provide an immediate source of energy.
- Preventing muscle breakdown: Restricting carbohydrates can actually be the downfall of your attempt to build muscle. Insulin is required to shuttle amino acids into muscle cells to bolster MPS, but when insulin levels are kept low due to carb restriction, amino acids can’t get into cells to do their job. You may maintain muscle, but you’re not going to build it.
- Supporting recovery: Carbs for muscle recovery is a double whammy. The primary role of carbs pre- or post-workout is to replenish glycogen stores. When your body doesn’t have adequate glycogen to tap into for exercise, it releases cortisol, a powerful catabolic hormone. What cortisol does is essentially eat up muscle tissue to supply amino acids that can be converted into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, thereby raising glucose levels. The net result? Muscle tissue loss. But when you consume enough carbs post-workout, it increases insulin levels, which not only shuttles amino acids into your cells, but insulin is also an anabolic hormone. As such, high insulin helps drive nutrients into your cells to repair damage and stimulate growth.
Bodybuilding is a tough sport. It takes time, hard work, and a whole lot of consistency to achieve the best body and highest degree of strength possible.
And for anyone looking to cash in on their body’s innate muscle-building abilities, having a quality supplement stack can make an absolutely colossal difference in your results.
With the Performance Lab lineup, you’re getting the best of the best. The highest quality nutrients designed to fuel your performance in every aspect with zero concerns about nasty additives that derail or stall progress. Just clean, effective products to support your journey.
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- T Hotfiel, J Freiwald, MW Hoppe, et al. Advances in Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Part I: Pathogenesis and Diagnostics. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – Teil I: Pathogenese und Diagnostik. Sportverletz Sportschaden. 2018;32(4):243-250.
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- TA VanDusseldorp, KA Escobar, KE Johnson, et al. Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery Following Acute Eccentric Exercise. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1389.
- Z Legault, N Bagnall, DS Kimmerly. The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015;25(5):417-426.
- G Howatson, M Hoad, S Goodall, J Tallent, PG Bell, DN French. Exercise-induced muscle damage is reduced in resistance-trained males by branched chain amino acids: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9:20.