The Top 5 Supplements for the Vegan Athlete: A Brief Overview
Creatine Monohydrate Creatine is one of the most popular and widely used sports performance enhancing substances (SPED). It is available in various forms such as powder, tablets, capsules or liquid. It helps improve strength, power and speed during exercise. There are several studies showing its effectiveness in improving athletic performance.
It has been shown to increase aerobic capacity, decrease fatigue and enhance endurance. It increases muscle mass and strength while decreasing fat mass. Creatine supplementation may be beneficial for vegetarians and vegans due to their lack of dietary animal products. However, it does not seem to have any effect on omnivores. Magnesium Magnesium plays an essential role in many bodily processes including nervous system function, blood clotting, heart health and bone growth. Magnesium deficiency is common among athletes and exercisers. Supplementing with magnesium may improve athletic performance. There are two types of magnesium; elemental and non-elemental. Elemental magnesium is found naturally in foods like almonds, beans, spinach, walnuts, pumpkin seeds etc. Non-elemental magnesium comes from pharmaceutical companies or synthetic sources such as chelated minerals or zinc phosphate. Chelation removes some of the negative effects of the mineral on your body so that it can perform better without side effects. CytoSport’s MagSERVE is a popular choice for chelated magnesium. VEG 1 by Molecular Nutrition is another great magnesium supplement. Probiotics Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that improve gut health. Several studies have shown that taking probiotics can improve exercise performance. Probiotics like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus acidophilus help improve immune response, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and decrease allergic reactions. Additionally, they increase lactose tolerance and the ability to digest certain carbohydrates. Probiotics can be found in many vegan foods such as curd, soya beans, tempeh, certain types of cheese and other fermented foods. Alternatively, several companies market probiotic supplements targeted towards vegans and athletes. OptiGreens by Garden of Life is a popular choice among plant-based eaters. Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is essential for proper brain and nervous system function. It helps maintain healthy blood cells and red blood cell production. A B12 deficiency can lead to weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss, dementia and other health issues. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal sources such as meat, fish, milk and eggs. Fortunately, it can be found in vegan-friendly foods such as Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast. It can also be acquired through the consumption of cyanocobalamin supplements.
Whilst B12 is available in several vegan-friendly foods and supplements, it is very difficult to get enough from natural sources. It can be toxic in high doses so it should be taken as a supplement rather than relying on food sources.
Kosher Sports Nutrition
Even if you’re an olympic level swimmer with a degree in nutrition, planning the perfect training diet can be overwhelming. Fortunately, several companies have recognized this difficulty and created products to promote maximum performance without the hassle.
Vega Sport is a complete meal replacement designed for athletes and those with active lifestyles. It comes in both vegan and vegetarian options. The ingredients include pea protein, hemp protein, algal oil, organic ancient grains, vitamins and minerals and more. The formula was developed with input from Brendan Brazier, two-time Canadian National Sprint-Cup Cycling Champion.
Vega Sport is available in 16 oz. (454g), 32 oz. (907g) and 64 oz. (1.8kg) tubs.
Vega Sport Performance Energizer
The Vega Sport Performance Energizer is a pre-workout supplement that can enhance exercise performance, improve endurance and reduce fatigue. It contains nutrients like beta-alanine, l-carnitine, coenzyme q10, pump extract and more.
Vega Sport Performance Energizer is available in 13.7 oz. (390g).
Fusion Active Sport Nutrion
The Fusion Active Sport Nutrition line is made for elite athletes who demand premium performance from their chosen sport. It provides maximum energy, hydration and electrolytes. The line includes a concentrate, liquid drink and bar.
The Fusion Active Sport Nutrition line is available in a concentrate, liquid drink and bar.
FBi Performance is a supplement company with a wide variety of products. Their vegan product is the VeganLean formula, which is a weight loss supplement that can be used as a meal replacement or as an addition to your diet. The ingredients include chromium polynicotinate, green tea, resveratrol, apple cider vinegar, organic acai berry and other nutrients.
FBi Performance’s Vegan Lean formula is available in 1.2 lb. (520g), 2.4 lb.
(1kg), 9 lb. (4kg) and 18 lb. (8kg) tubs
Gaspari Nutrition produces a line of innovative supplements suitable for everyone from elite athletes to the average gym goer. They offer over 70 products covering everything from protein and amino acids to pre-workout and weight loss supplements.
One of their newer products is MyoFusion Pro Low Carb, a weight loss supplement that can be used in place of a meal. It includes ingredients like waxy maize starch, cellulose gum, cellulose powder and more. The carbohydrate content is less than 2 grams per serving (1 scoop), making it suitable for low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet.
Gaspari Nutrition’s MyoFusion Pro Low Carb is available in 13.5 oz. (390g), 27.5 oz.
(780g), 54 oz. (1.5kg) and 27.5 lb. (12kg) containers
Labrada Nutrition makes high-quality supplements for dieting and weight loss. Their products include the following:
Protein powders: Lean Protein, Whey Protein, True Nutrition(R)
Amino acids: Amino Energy(TM), Essential Amino Acids(R), BCAA 2:1:1(R)
Other supplements: Glutamine Powder, Pre-Workout Formula(R) (C4 and Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite(TM)), Cell Mass(R), CLA Core(R), CLA Extra Strength(R), Glucose Depletion(R), Inner Armour(R) Glutamine, Joint Matrix(R), Liquid Caffeine(R), Maximum Strength Beta-Alanine(R), Nitric Oxide(R), Post-Workout (Intra-aid Beverage), Probiotic 10(R), Protein(R), Shred Her(TM), Thermogenic Fat Burners(R), Weight Management Formula, Women’s Pre-natal, ZMA
Labrada Nutrition’s Lean Protein is a concentrate of Whey Protein Isolate, with added branch-chained amino acids and digestive enzymes. It can be used as a meal replacement for weight loss, or as a protein supplement.
Labrada Nutrition’s Lean Protein is available in 5 lb. (2.3kg), 13 lb. (5.9kg) and 27 lb.
Muscletech is an innovative supplement company with over 20 products suitable for everyone from elite athletes to the average gym goer. They offer products in every category including weight gain powders, fat burners, pre-workouts, protein supplementation and more.
One of their most popular products is Muscletech Nitro Tech, a weight gain formula with a high calorie content. Each serving contains 500 calories, making it suitable for people who struggle to eat enough to put on weight. It’s available in cookies and cream and chocolate peanut butter flavour, and also available in bulk packages.
Muscletech Nitro Tech is available in 12.7 oz. (360g), 27.6 oz.
(800g) and 54 oz. (1.7kg) containers
Myotein is a high-protein supplement for dieting and weight loss, providing 65% of calories from protein, 25% from carbs and 10% from fat. It’s available in a number of flavours including choc raspberry, vanilla bean, cinnamon swirl and banana cream. One serving also contains 25% of your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals.
MUSCLE PROTEIN is a high-quality blend of fast, medium and slow release proteins designed to be used any time of the day to support lean muscle growth. It comes in choc and berries & cream flavour. Each serving contains 180 calories, 9g fat, 22g carbs, 1.5g fiber and 25g protein.
Myotide is suitable for anyone looking to increase daily protein intake, whilst also aiming to restrict calories and lose fat.
Myotide is available in 1.76 lb (800g), 5.5 lb (2.5kg) and 15 lb (6.8kg) containers
Labrada Nutrition’s The Ultimate Fat Burner is the strongest, most powerful thermogenic fat burner you can buy without a prescription. It contains a powerful concentration of ingredients that boost metabolism, increase energy and burn stored fat. It’s very effective at targeting stored body fat, whilst minimizing any unnecessary cardiovascular strain.
The Ultimate Fat Burner is available in 10 ct. (45g), 20 ct. (90g), 40 ct. (180g) and 80 ct.
Nitrix is a Nitric Oxide booster for increasing vascularity, improving blood flow and delivering more nutrients to muscles faster.
Nitrix is available in 10ct. (45g), 28ct. (140g) and 56ct. (280g) containers
Labrada Nutrition’s Testrone Extreme is a hardcore testosterone booster formulated specifically for men. It contains a powerful combination of ingredients to support libido, muscle growth, fat loss and overall vigor and well-being.
Testrone Extreme is available in 10 ct. (45g), 28 ct. (140g) and 56 ct. (280g) containers
Labrada Nutrition’s CLA contains high quality, natural Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). It’s made from safflower oil and contains 80% CLA. It has been shown to enhance fat loss, improve immune system function and provide a general sense of well-being.
CLA is available in 1000mg, 600mg and 300mg softgels
Labrada Nutrition’s L-Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that is often neglected but provides benefits for immune system support, nutrient absorption and gut health. In addition, it has been shown to improve recovery and decrease muscle soreness after exercise. L-Glutamine can also be used to prevent muscle breakdown and reduce cravings for junk foods.
L-Glutamine is available in 6000mg, 2000mg and 1000mg powder packets
Labrada Nutrition’s Shilajit is an organic mineral concentrate, containing over 85 different minerals and trace elements including Iron, Boron, Manganese and Silica. It has been shown to support healthy testosterone levels and increase libido.
Shilajit is available in 60ct. (150g), 180 ct. (450g) and 300 ct. (750g).
Labrada Nutrition’s Tribulus is an herbal extract that has been used for centuries to enhance athletic performance, libido and fertility in men and women.
Tribulus is available in 600mg, 300mg and 100mg softgels
Zinc is an essential mineral for testosterone production and normal sexual functioning in men. It’s vital for immune system function and produces enzyme proteins that are essential for DNA transcription.
Zinc is available in 25mg, 65mg and 130mg tablets
Magnesium is a mineral used by the body for hundreds of chemical reactions. It’s necessary for maintaining proper bone density and strong bones. It’s also used to process cholesterol and aid in the absorption of important vitamins, such as Vitamin D.
Magnesium is available in 320mg, 980mg and 1260mg tablets
Labrada Nutrition’s Milk Thistle is an herbal supplement used to support the liver. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat ailments such as jaundice, swelling, fever and liver damage.
Milk Thistle is available in 70ct. (85g), 200 ct. (170g) and 500 ct. (340g) containers
Labrada Nutrition’s Glutamine Powder is an Amino Acid used by your muscles to maintain a positive nitrogen balance and prevent muscle breakdown. It is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that under certain circumstances the body cannot produce its own Glutamine and must rely on external sources. These situations include intense physical activity, injury, heavy immune system activity and stress.
Glutamine is available in 1500mg, 5lbs and 10lbs containers
Labrada Nutrition’s BCAA’s (Leucine, Iso-Leucine, Valine) are the three Branched Chain Amino Acids involved in muscle growth, fat loss and recovery. They play an important role in liver function, immune system activity and mental health.
BCAA’s are available in 2300mg, 5.5lbs and 11lbs containers
Labrada Nutrition’s MCT Oil is a fat source that has been shown to support fat loss and muscle gain. It contains Medium Chain Triglycerides in a 6:12:60 ratio of Caproic Acid:Caprylic Acid:Capric Acid.
MCT Oil is available in 8oz and 16oz plastic bottles
Labrada Nutrition’s Pre-Workout is a supplement designed to improve training performance. It contains a unique combination of ingredients that support improved endurance, strength and focus.
Labrada Nutrition’s Pre-Workout is available in both Fruit Punch and Watermelon flavors
Labrada Nutrition’s BCAA Powder is a potent blend of the three Branched Chain Amino Acids involved in muscle growth, fat loss and recovery. It plays an important role in liver function, immune system activity and mental health.
BCAA Powder is available in 11 Servings, 33 Servings and 66 Servings containers
Labrada Nutrition’s Creatine Monohydrate is an excellent source of this trusted performance supplement. It’s a naturally occurring compound that has been used by athletes for decades to improve strength, endurance and muscle growth.
Labrada Nutrition’s Creatine Monohydrate is available in 1kg, 2.
Sources & references used in this article:
Fueling the vegetarian (vegan) athlete by J Fuhrman, DM Ferreri – Current sports medicine reports, 2010 – journals.lww.com
Vegetarian diets by AM Venderley, WW Campbell – Sports medicine, 2006 – Springer
IOC consensus statement: dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete by RJ Maughan, LM Burke, J Dvorak… – … journal of sport …, 2018 – journals.humankinetics.com
Nutritional considerations for vegetarian athletes by SI Barr, CA Rideout – Nutrition, 2004 – Elsevier