Being a vegetarian or vegan bodybuilder can be hard if you’re just starting out! If you’re used to relying on getting your proteins or another diet add ons from dairy supplements, then I understand that you might be lost. However, we live in a great era where have amazing vegetarian or vegan replacements, and I will be listing the best bodybuilding supplements for vegetarians in this post.
Keep on reading to find out!
The best Bodybuilding supplements for vegetarians
The science is clear. Research by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics proves that a vegan diet can offer all of the macronutrients your body needs to function, as well as most of the required micronutrients.
However, the same research makes no bones about the fact that vegans need to look to supplements for certain other micronutrients. In the past most of these, like B12 and creatine have generally come from animal sources.
Today though, these things can be made synthetically from non-animal sources or organically from entirely vegetable sources. As such, more vegan bodybuilding supplements are available than ever before.
But which supplements do you really need?
I probably won’t have to, and I won’t go very in-depth about this topic, because I assume you know why protein is so important in the muscle-building process. But for the sake of the importance, I will explain it very briefly.
When you’re lifting weights in the gym you’re tearing down your muscle fibers, and they need to be repaired. That’s where protein comes into play. Protein repairs the damaged muscle tissue and then helps it grow. Therefore It’s super important to reach your daily protein intake day in and day out. Consistency is key!
A protein shake is the best way to supplement your way to your daily protein intake. As is it just a delicious shake and boom you’re 25 grams closer to your protein requirement.
A supplement should always be used as an addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet, and you can’t drink 6 protein shakes a day and think you will stay healthy (actually you can drink 6, but you won’t be healthy… 🙂 )
My favorite vegan protein powder comes from Vivo life, the shakes are vegan with BCAAs, gluten-free & soy-free, and taste absolutely delicious. Absolute essential bodybuilding supplement for vegetarians.
Creatine is the world’s most researched bodybuilding supplement out there. it should be noted that although creatine is found mostly in animal products, the creatine in most supplements is synthesized from sarcosine and cyanamide, does not contain any animal by-products, and is, therefore “vegan-friendly.
Making the switch to vegetarian, or veganism simply to improve health will mean you have less creatine, but there’s no need to supplement. However, if you’re making the nutritional switch and want to maintain optimum performance as an athlete, then it’ll probably help to cover your back with a little extra.
While non-essential, creatine nonetheless offers many fitness and health benefits. It’s stored in the skeletal muscles, where it supplies creatine-phosphate during exercise. This helps to create the energy needed for muscle contraction.
Creatine is in my opinion one of the best bodybuilding supplements for vegetarians you can consume to take your fitness level to the next level.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Most BCAAs are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. With that in mind you should still check the label for ingredients like gelatine, and any other animal products, as some BCAA supplements source their amino acids from animal sources.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAA supplements are commonly taken in order to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. They may also help with weight loss and reduce fatigue after exercise.
This is the vegan bodybuilding supplement that’s most popular among non-vegans. Why? Well, animal-based BCAA supplements are often derived from duck feathers – unappealing to many for obvious reasons.
By contrast, vegan BCAA supplements are mostly made by fermenting plant matter. The best supplements contain all three BCAAs and should be taken about one hour before and after a workouts
Vegetarian Fish Oil (Omega-3)
If you’re pescatarian then you won’t have a problem with taking fish oils. But, if you’re completely vegetarian that doesn’t eat fish. Then you will need to look into supplements to get in those essential omega-3s.
Why are omega-3s important?
Omega-3s contain healthy fats. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions. Omega-3 fats are a key family of polyunsaturated fats.
What is a good vegan or vegetarian fish oil replacements?
My favorite is from the brand Solgar, their supplements are very good and very high, strong quality. Their vegan omega 3 capsules have triple strength so you get all the benefits. Solar has been delivering excellent products for over 70 years, and that is why I always buy their supplements.
7 Other Vegetarian Omega 3 Sources
- Chia seeds ( One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides 4,915 mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, meeting 307–447% of the recommended daily intake)
- Brussels sprouts ( Each half-cup (78-gram) serving of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 135 mg of ALA)
- Algal oil ( Depending on the supplement, algal oil provides 400–500 mg of DHA and EPA)
- Hemp seeds ( One ounce (28 grams) of hemp seeds contains 6,000 mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, or 375–545% of the daily recommended intake)
- Walnuts (One ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains 2,542 mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids)
- Flaxseeds (One ounce (28 grams) of flaxseeds contains 6,388 mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, surpassing the daily recommended amount )
- Perilla oil ( Each tablespoon (14 grams) contains nearly 9,000 mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important micronutrient for general health. But it’s almost impossible to get naturally from non-animal based sources. You can, however, get your fix of B12 synthetically through vegan bodybuilding supplements.
For athletes, vitamin B12 is particularly important as it helps your body to metabolize fats and protein. This means that it will help you achieve a higher rate of muscle gain, as well as reducing your body fat content.
On top of that, vitamin B12 is essential for creating red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the blood. The more oxygen your blood can carry, the higher your anaerobic threshold and therefore your performance.
As the body cannot store vitamin B12, it’s important to get just the right amount. Around 100mcg of B12 per day should be sufficient but it’s best to consult with a health professional on the correct dose for you if unsure.
Vitamin D is naturally produced by our bodies when we’re exposed to direct sunlight. Vitamin D is most useful when it comes to depression and Lethargy. You have probably noticed that you may have felt a bit down in the wintertime. That is because of the less direct sunlight you’re exposed to.
For bodybuilders, in particular, vitamin D supplements are useful for increasing the level of calcium in the bones. It’s also known to regulate neuromuscular functioning, so higher levels of vitamin D can greatly benefit strength, endurance, and recovery.
Vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable form of vitamin D and unlike vitamin D2 it can be properly utilized by our bodies. However, most vitamin D3 on the market is sourced from sheep’s wool and is therefore not suitable for vegans.
The best source of vitamin D3 for a vegan would be via liquid drops, derived from algae, providing a bioavailable source of vitamin D3 without any animal ingredients.
This was the last one of the best ‘bodybuilding supplements for vegetarians’, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!