Before jumping into a regimen of supplements, it is important to know what they are and why they may be necessary. First on the list for muscle building is Creatine. Creatine is an organic acid which occurs naturally in animals. It helps to supply energy to muscles. Creatine supplements help to boost the amounts of Creatine in muscles. Creatine is most beneficial to those who engage in such activities as weight-lifting and strength building activities. Creatine supplements are available in powdered, chewable and capsule forms. It is also available in some meats and fish in smaller amounts.
As with any supplement, it is best to consult a physician before beginning a regimen. If using Creatine for serious muscle building, most will begin taking 20-25 grams per day. After about a week’s time, the amount is decreased to 3-5 grams per day. Taking Creatine without muscle building activities may lead to increased water weight gain. In this instance, muscle cramps, dehydration, nausea and vomiting may occur. The use of Creatine has shown to be effective in short-term muscle building when combined with a strength training regimen. However, the use of Creatine has not been evaluated nor is it regulated by the FDA. Some athletes may take Creatine in combination with a high protein supplement such as Whey powder. It is believed that taking the two after exercise can help to boost the storage of Creatine in the muscles.
Whey proteins have also been found to be effective muscle enhancers. It is high quality protein contained in cow’s milk which contains many valuable vitamins and nutrients including amino acids and antioxidants. Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process. When milk is curdled and separated, the liquid remaining is whey. This liquid is then further processed and filtered to produce the whey which is then dried into a powder.
There are three types of whey protein—concentrates, isolates and hydrozilates. Whey concentrate is the least expensive to produce but also contains the least amount of protein, ranging from 35% to 85% protein. It also contains the most fat and carbohydrates of the three. Whey isolates that have undergone a micro filtering process can be much safer and more beneficial. These why isolates will retain 90% or more of the protein with all fat and cholesterol compounds removed. It will also retain more of the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as well. Finally, the whey hydroszilates have undergone a process of predigestion which makes them easier to digest but cuts down greatly on the nutrients available.
The various forms of whey are dried into powder for distribution. These powders are available at both health food stores and supermarkets. Physicians recommend no more than 25 grams of whey protein a day as too much can result in liver conditions. Bodybuilders who wish to take more than 25 grams a day should consult with a health care provider, especially if taking in conjunction with Creatine.