Building muscle is a goal for many individuals, and we all know that the foundation for building muscle and gaining strength is hard training, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep.
Still, many individuals seek to optimize their quest for building muscle by incorporating certain dietary supplements. And rest assured, spent even a fraction of time browsing through a supplement store (online or in-person), and you'll be bombarded by all sorts of products claiming that they will help build muscle.
The truth is that, more often than not, these products are nothing more than hype.
That being said, there are a handful of supplements that are known to support muscle growth.
With that in mind, let’s discuss the best supplements for muscle growth.
The Top 3 Best Supplements for Muscle Growth
#1 Protein Powder
Consuming enough daily protein is essential to building muscle (as well as supporting overall health and wellness).
Your body is made of protein and consuming protein supplies the body with the essential building blocks it needs -- amino acids -- to repair damaged muscle tissue and build new muscle.
But that’s not all.
Protein is also required for:
- Hormone Production
- Neurotransmitter Synthesis
- Tissue/Organ Maintenance
- Hair Growth
- Fluid Balance
- pH Regulation
Simply put, you need to consume enough protein to get results from your training program.
Understand that there’s nothing inherently magical about protein powder. It won’t make you lose fat or build slabs of muscle if you’re not consuming enough total calories or training hard.
What protein powder does is provide you a convenient, affordable, and delicious option to help make sure you consume enough protein each day.
Anyone who has built a decent amount of muscle over the years will tell you firsthand that eating enough food is often the most challenging part, and there is a lot of truth to that, especially if you're someone with a fast metabolism.
There's only so much chicken, rice, oats, etc., you can stomach in a day before you're ready to hurl (literally).
Protein powder is fast-digesting and easy on the stomach. It's also naturally rich in amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which stimulate muscle protein synthesis -- the biological pathway that fuels muscle growth.
Based on all of this, you can see why so many gym rats drink a protein shake after their workout is over.
Plus, fixing a protein shake requires next to no effort and minimal clean-up. So many of your other meals during the day will require prepping, cooking, and cleaning, which takes time. It's nice to have at least one meal during the day that allows you to mix, shake, and get back to what you're doing!
#2 Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate is the one supplement that’s more synonymous with building muscle than any other supplement in the history of sports nutrition, including protein powder.
Our bodies naturally produce creatine, and it's also found in food, particularly red meat.
Creatine helps our bodies rapidly regenerate ATP -- the cellular currency of energy production. The more rapidly you replenish cellular energy, the longer you can maintain peak levels of force output, as well as the faster you'll recover between sets.
Furthermore, creatine also serves as a natural osmolyte, encouraging your cells to absorb and retain more water. This is the main reason individuals will notice a slight (1-3 pound) increase in weight after initially starting creatine supplementation. This is entirely normal and expected. It's not fat gain... It's your muscles retaining more water, not fat cells getting bigger.
The added benefit of this increased intramuscular water storage is that it improves stamina, reduces the onset of fatigue, and enhances muscle volume and fullness!
Numerous studies have also shown that creatine supplementation effectively improves resistance training performance, stamina, endurance, and (most importantly) lean mass gains. [1,2,3]
Creatine is also known to help improve recovery and reduce muscle damage during training. 
Best of all, creatine has been incredibly well studied and shown to be safe for a diverse range of age groups!
Since creatine is found in meat, it's theoretically possible to get all the creatine you need from food. However, this would entail you need to eat several pounds of red meat each day.
While this may be appealing for some individuals, such as those following a carnivore diet, consuming pounds of red meat day in and day out can get boring (not to mention pricey!).
Creatine monohydrate supplements offer an easy, effective, and affordable means to get in your daily creatine. There are tons of options for creatine supplements on the market; some possibilities include "novel" or "enhanced" forms of creatine, such as magnesium creatine chelate, buffered creatine, etc.
Rest assured, no form of creatine to date is superior to the gold standard of creatine – Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate.
For these reasons, we use only the best creatine supplement on the market – Creapure® creatine monohydrate -- in Pure Steel™ Creapure®.
As we mentioned above, consuming enough protein is essential if you want to build muscle efficiently. The reason that it's important to consume enough protein because protein supplies your body with amino acids.
Now, there are three main classes of amino acids:
- Essential Amino Acids
- Non-Essential Amino Acids
- Conditionally Essential Amino Acids
As the name implies, essential amino acids are ones that you must obtain through the diet, either by food or supplements, such as our Pure Steel™ Vegan Amino9®.
Within the family of essential amino acids are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) -- leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
BCAAs, particularly leucine, have been identified by researchers as being able to stimulate protein synthesis, reduce protein breakdown, and support recovery.
Moreover, supplementation with BCAAs has also been found to reduce, improve endurance and levels of muscle damage during exercise. [5,6,7]
As we mentioned with protein powder, it’s possible to get enough amino acids to satisfy your body’s requirements to repair and build muscle tissue through food alone.
Still, many individuals struggle to consume enough protein each day, hindering their performance, recovery, and growth.
Using an amino acid supplement, such as Steel Fuel® or Pure Steel™ Vegan Amino9® can help you get enough essential amino acids to support your goals. Plus, many individuals struggle to consume enough fluids each day not to enjoy the taste of plain water. Mixing up a scoop of our refreshing Steel Fuel® and sipping on it throughout the day can help you stay sufficiently hydrated, which aids performance, recovery, and growth!
- Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1):33. Published 2012 Jul 20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-33
- Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 18 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
- Feuerbacher JF, von Schöning V, Melcher J, Notbohm HL, Freitag N, Schumann M. Short-Term Creatine Loading Improves Total Work and Repetitions to Failure but Not Load-Velocity Characteristics in Strength-Trained Men. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 3;13(3):826. doi: 10.3390/nu13030826. PMID: 33802283; PMCID: PMC8001551.
- Wang CC, Fang CC, Lee YH, Yang MT, Chan KH. Effects of 4-Week Creatine Supplementation Combined with Complex Training on Muscle Damage and Sport Performance. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1640. Published 2018 Nov 2. doi:10.3390/nu10111640
- Nosaka, K., Sacco, P., & Mawatari, K. (2006). Effects of amino acid supplementation on muscle soreness and damage. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16(6), 620.
- Shimomura, Y., Inaguma, A., Watanabe, S., Yamamoto, Y., Muramatsu, Y., Bajotto, G., & Mawatari, K. (2010). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 20(3), 236.
- Matsumoto, K., Koba, T., Hamada, K., Tsujimoto, H., & Mitsuzono, R. (2009). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation increases the lactate threshold during an incremental exercise test in trained individuals. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 55(1), 52-58