In this article, I am going to give you an insight on my favorite supplements for vegans
Before we begin, I would like to clarify some concepts:
Myths about nutrition, training and supplements
The fitness world is surrounded by myths
Some are regarding the training, such as:
- “If you want a defined physique you need to do many reps with little weight”
- “Cardio on an empty stomach is “magical” and you will lose more fat”
- “Women should not work out hard because they will become masculine…
Others are about nutrition:
- “You have to eat every 3 hours in order to enhance the metabolism”
- “Some food makes your skin thicker”
- “You need to about this macronutrient because it is bad, like carbohydrates due to insulin”
- “Fat fatten you up or protein damages the kidneys…”
Even nowadays I still find myself answering questions on social media about the myths and beliefs that people still have. Many are like the previous ones but others do not even make sense at all.
Do you need supplementation?
First of all, no supplement is indispensable, except for vitamin B12 in the case of vegetarians and vegans. Even ovo-lacto-vegetarians also have to take it.
But if we use supplementation properly it will give us interesting benefits. Particularly if you also combine it with a good diet and workout plan.
Evidently, there is a conflict of interest because I am talking about supplementation while working with a company that produces it and sells it through this blog.
In this regard, if you know me, you know that I have always said what I think. If I collaborate with this brand it is because they do not “force” me to promote anything. Everything I show you is because I use it and I firmly believe in its benefits.
For those who do not follow me on social media, I just wanted to say that I have worked according to my beliefs, always using scientific evidence and my personal experience to try and be coherent with my opinions
But I am digressing, 😉 let’s talk about my “favorite” supplements for vegans
This is a must for vegans
In this case, it is absolutely fundamental to use supplementation. Personally, I do not eat any product that comes from animals (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, etc.) and I take 2000mcg of B12 a week.
The type I use is Cyanocobalamin, which is the most stable form. In fact, it is more resistant to the temperature, light and pH variations. Moreover, it is the one that has more scientific evidence. We need to bear in mind that a B12 deficiency can trigger serious health problems and some of them are irreversible.
The only indispensable supplement for a vegan or vegetarian is B12. This is important because we are not only risking our sport performance or physique. In fact, we run the risk of suffering serious health problems if we do not take it every day.
Protein takes the second place in this list of supplements for vegans since there is no doubt about its properties and safety
Even though I see it more like a food than a supplement, some people is still “scared” of it somehow. If you have an efficient protein intake (between 1.8g and 2.5g per kg of weight depending on the phase) you do not need to use supplementation.
Personally, this supplement is fundamental, specially during competitions since meeting high protein requirements is hard when you are trying to keep the calorie intake low
When we talk about vegetarians or vegans, most of the protein comes from soy (textured soy, tofu, tempeh, soy milk…). That is why I tend to suggest alternating the protein sources to ensure that we get the best from each one.
Do not worry, taking soy is completely safe: men do not become more feminine and it does not trigger cancer. Moreover, it is not transgenic, at least in our country.
Another one of those supplements for vegans that has been thoroughly studied
Although there is a percentage of people who is non-responder, which means that they do not feel anything when they use it. But it is quite interesting for vegetarians since most of the creatine from the diet comes from animals.
I use it throughout the whole year, not only during bulking phase. You will not retain fluids and you do not have to “take a break” since it is completely safe. Moreover, it does not trigger baldness in men.
You can do a loading phase only if you want to experience its effects sooner. But it is not necessary, taking between 0.04g and 0.1g per kg of body weight is enough. Personally, I take the higher dose.
I tend to take 5g for my 50/60kg of weight every day, even if I work out or not
Above all, the monohydrate is the most consumed and recommended format. Moreover, I always suggest purchasing the one with the creapure seal since it has the highest purity and it is worth the money.
Another of my supplements for vegans that I tend to use the most are multivitamins
Many people tend to abuse this kind of supplements. Actually, they are quite interesting, specially if we follow a restrictive diet. However, if we eat enough fruit and vegetables it would not be an indispensable supplement.
In the end, this supplement is just a way to make sure that we get all the necessary micronutrients
It is the main protagonist of pre-workout supplementation
In fact, caffeine is a stimulant that decreases the tiredness and enhances the performance. But the problem is that we get used to its effects and we will no longer benefit from them.
Personally, I like using it when the diet is more “strict” to keep up the pace with the workouts
However, stimulants do not have the desired effect for me, which is why I combine it with green tea to create a synergy.
Vegetarians or vegans have lower carnosine levels, which is why beta-alanine supplementation can help to increase them
Above all, beta-alanine is a chemical buffer that improves the performance when there is an accumulation of metabolites.
This function is similar to that of sodium bicarbonate and it makes sense when we perform high intensity exercises, with many reps and a short break. In fact, I use it in a more metabolic period of the workout, with supersets, trisets, combos… It would not make sense to do so during a period of pure strength.
paresthesia. This effect consists of an intense itchiness in the face, hands or other parts of the body. Do not worry, it is harmless although it can be annoying. So, if this happens to you, try to distribute the dose in several servings a day
Another trendy supplement to improve the performance is Citrulline Malate
Even though we still need more research there are some studies that support its use as an ergogenic support. Specially if we take into account the fact that it supports the nitric oxide and production and decreases the ammonia levels in the muscle.
BCAA’s and Glutamine
This is a more complex issue but precisely because of that I wanted to talk about it. Supplements with little or null evidence.
In this section, we tend to include supplements like BCAA’s or glutamine. Actually, I use both but not like others, let me explain:
Vegetarians or vegans have a less varied diet and at this point we should know that it is absolutely healthy if done properly. However, it can be harmful if we come from a diet that just eats processed products. Sometimes, we can buffer this effect by using this type of products.
A well planned vegetarian diet should not cause deficiencies. But in my case, we are talking a vegan diet taken to the extreme, because I am a fitness competitor and the demands in terms of physical composition are high.
Amino acid supplementation
In general, amino acid supplementation tends to be quite useful during a competition diet when our calorie intake is quite low and we need to meet high protein requirements. I use BCAA’s and, depending on the period, leucine in order to make sure that I will not lose muscle mass.
Glutamine for the digestive system
Glutamine works differently.
It is usually sold as an anti-catabolic product, which I do not agree with. Although I have experienced how my digestions improve, specially during stressful periods and when I do not eat as much.During competitions, I tend to use it to support my gastrointestinal health and to improve my physique. I use 5g a day, usually at night.
Supplements for vegans to improve our sleep
After all this, I am aware that there are many more supplements for vegans and if they are not included here it does not mean that they do not work
Some may work for you and others will not, but I want to encourage you to do some research before purchasing them. Do not forget that there are non responders to creatine and it is the supplement with most scientific evidence 😉
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