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Plant based? These 3 supplements work best on you

April 26, 2023 2 min read

Plant based? These 3 supplements work best on you

Vegan and plant-based diets are continuing to grow in interest and popularity in both people looking to generally improve their health and fitness, as well as athletes chasing a competitive goal. It’s no secret that a vegan, vegetarian or plant based diet brings a set of distinct considerations to achieving nutritional adequacy and optimal performance. But also a really interesting and unique result: some supplements become more effective.


Creatine is a non-protein amino acid, and one of the most highly studied sports supplements. This makes it arguably one of the most popular and effective muscle growth supplements in the market. By supplementing with creatine and saturating our body’s creatine stores, it helps increase muscle strength and power while delaying muscle fatigue . This means you can train a bit longer and with more intensity, resulting in subsequent muscle growth and strength improvements.

You obtain a certain amount of creatine from the food you consume - typically from meat and seafood. But as plant-based athletes exclude meat from their diets, their existing muscle creatine stores are lower than their omnivorous buddies.

Consequently, implementing creatine supplementation is more effective at augmenting the creatine stores of vegan athletes - resulting in a more pronounced effect.


Leucine is an amino acid found in protein, and is one of nine essential amino acids that our body must obtain from food.

It is most well known for its muscle-building properties. Specifically, Leucine is known as a catalyst for muscle protein synthesis as well as helping regulate several cellular processes, such as tissue regeneration and metabolism. So when it comes to growing muscle, if you don’t have enough leucine, it’s like trying to light a fire without a match.

Leucine is easily found in animal-products, like chicken, beef, pork, tuna, dairy and eggs. And to optimise muscle growth, you want to eat an adequate amount of protein each day split across 3-6 meals, with 2.5-3g of leucine in each of those meals from the protein you consume.

Leucine-Vpa Australia
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But unlike animal proteins, plant proteins often have less than 1g of Leucine. The one exception is soy-based foods. Nevertheless, it’s more difficult for vegans to get enough leucine and frequently, to optimise their muscle growth. This may be particularly important if they’re an athlete, bodybuilder, or trying to build muscle.

As a result, supplementing with leucine provides that amount they may be missing, helping them optimise their muscle growth more than someone who is omnivorous who already consumes a suitable amount of Leucine.


Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid which is a precursor to carnosine. Carnosine is highly concentrated in muscle and brain tissues, and offsets lactic acid build up in your muscles as a result of exercise. Carnosine, and in turn beta-alanine, helps reduce fatigue and improves athletic performance.

Beta-alanine is consumed from foods like poultry and meat. As vegans and vegetarians avoid consuming meat, they ingest less beta-alanine and have lower concentrations of muscle carnosine.

This means that implementing beta-alanine supplementation on a plant-based diet leads to a more substantial increase in these muscle carnosine concentrations, which enhances performance in high intensity exercise.t

Caitlin Adler

A vegan Accredited Sports Nutritionist, Strength & Conditioning coach and bodybuilder at Plant Forged Physique. Her passion is helping vegans achieve their health and fitness goals with evidence-based guidance and expertise.

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