With the recent trend of celebrities and athletes endorsing various muscle building supplements, people have started to rely more on quick ways to gain muscle mass. New brands of expensive supplements are popping up every day. Often, you’ll find a whole aisle dedicated to them at the supermarket. Celebrities will swear by a particular brand but how trustworthy is the word of someone who is paid to endorse products? Are muscle building supplements safe to consume at all? Do you know about EAAs vs BCAAs? If you want answers to all these questions keep on reading.
Safe Muscle Building Supplements
1. Protein Supplements
Protein supplements mostly contain amino acids. These are the “building blocks of protein” and are essential if you want to bulk up. To gain more muscle, you have to ensure that you’re consuming more protein than you are breaking down.
Amino acids are essential to have in your diet. Your body also needs them for several bodily functions, other than building muscles. As mentioned earlier, protein supplements contain amino acids. Twenty amino acids make up the proteins in our body. Of these 20, 2 categories are essential for building muscles. These are the EAA (essential amino acids) and BCAA (branched-chain amino acids).
EAAs are 9 amino acids that the body cannot naturally produce and thus must rely on external sources of EAA. These amino acids include:
BCAAs, on the other hand, are amino acids with a branched-chain structure and include
Many athletes claim that BCAAs help them exercise for a more extended period. However, this may not entirely be true. If you consume a good dose of EAAs, through food, then perhaps BCAA supplementation may help improve exercise performance. But if your body lacks EAAs, then it will break down muscle, get the amino acids that it needs. This can be counterproductive to your goal of bulking up.
However, like everything else, protein through food or supplements is only useful when consumed in moderation. The Department of Health recommends not to consume protein more than twice the recommended daily intake. Protein recommended daily intake is 45 grams for women and 55.5 grams for men.
Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule in our body that provides various tissues with energy. Creatine is an essential substance for muscle growth and repair. It’s one of the few supplements that is allowed by the International Olympic Committee and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Research has shown that taking Creatine as a dietary supplement helps increase muscle mass, improves exercise performance, and delays muscle fatigue. Creatine helps increase muscle size by increasing water absorption into the muscles, causing them to swell and also by signaling growth hormones such as IGF-1. Creatine also helps decrease muscle breakdown and promotes the regeneration of worn-out muscles.
Overall, Creatine is one of the safest supplements to take if you’re looking to increase your muscle mass.
Unsafe Muscle Building Supplements
1. Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroids are one of the most dangerous ingredients that are present in supplements. Steroids are miracle workers when it comes to gaining weight. They allow your body to increase pressure and gain muscle while decreasing fat.
However, the repercussions of using steroids are many and can be highly dangerous. Anabolic steroids are class C drugs and can only be sold under prescription for medical reasons. If you’re found to possess anabolic steroids without a prescription, it can have legal consequences. Although banned, these substances are still used by many people illegally to increase their muscle mass.
Most illegal supplements contain some form of steroids. Their use is not only banned by all sports agencies, but athletes are also regularly tested for steroids before significant sports competitions. One such steroid is the Celtic Dragon. This steroid is so dangerous that it once left two men hospitalized with symptoms of severe jaundice and liver damage.
There are a plethora of side effects that come with taking anabolic steroids. Dangerous ones include but are not limited to
- Heart attack
- Liver problems or liver failure
- Kidney problems or even their failure
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Blood clots
- Fluid retention in the body
- High cholesterol
2. Testosterone Boosters
Testosterone is a male sex hormone found naturally in the body of both males and females. Levels of testosterone are much higher in males than women. This hormone is responsible for most of the male sex characteristics found in men, including increased muscle mass and facial hair. Testosterone is also known to increase erythropoietin production, a hormone that increases red blood cell production and leads to better oxygenation of the body.
Testosterone boosters are often misused by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass and delay muscle fatigue. However, the side effects of taking these are highly dangerous and cannot be ignored. Some of them include increased risk of blood clots, kidney problems, fluid retention, and infertility in women.
Taking muscle building supplements has become a trend, but users seem unconcerned with safety precautions. You can give your body most of the supplements it needs to improve body shape through a healthy, balanced diet. Relying solely on supplements may mean you ignore other vital nutrients your body requires to be in optimal form.
Exercise and a proper diet are all you should ideally require to get the perfect body. If, however, you do want to take supplements, make sure they’re not riddled with dangerous side effects.