The Top 5 Most Safe and Effective Supplements to Increase Muscle Strength and Size


For those looking to enhance their muscle strength and size, supplements can be valuable tools in achieving their fitness goals. While a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are the cornerstones of muscle growth, certain supplements can provide an extra edge. In this article, we will explore five of the most effective and safe supplements for increasing muscle strength and size, backed by scientific evidence and expert recommendations. 

Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most extensively studied and widely used supplements to enhance muscle strength and size. It is a naturally occurring compound found in small amounts in certain foods and is stored in muscles. Creatine helps in the rapid regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a primary energy source for muscle contractions. This results in improved performance during high-intensity, short-duration activities, such as weightlifting and sprinting.

Numerous studies have consistently shown that creatine supplementation can lead to increased muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that creatine supplementation was associated with a significant improvement in muscle strength and size.

Resource: Rawson ES, Volek JS. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):822-31.

Whey Protein
Whey protein is a high-quality protein derived from milk. It is rich in essential amino acids, particularly leucine, which is crucial for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Consuming whey protein after resistance training can promote muscle growth, repair, and recovery.

Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of whey protein supplementation in enhancing muscle strength and size. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that whey protein supplementation was effective in increasing muscle strength and lean body mass in resistance-trained individuals.

Whey protein is available in several different forms, and the most effective and bioavailable form may depend on individual preferences and dietary restrictions. Here are the main forms of whey protein:

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): Whey protein concentrate contains a lower percentage of protein (typically around 70-80%) and higher amounts of fats and carbohydrates. While it has a good profile of essential amino acids and is generally more affordable, it may not be the most bioavailable option due to the presence of these additional components.

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI): Whey protein isolate is processed to remove most of the fats and carbohydrates, resulting in a higher protein content (usually over 90%). WPI is a more bioavailable form of whey protein because of its higher protein concentration. It is an excellent choice for those looking to maximize protein intake without additional calories from fats and carbs. It is often a good option for individuals with lactose intolerance, as most of the lactose is removed during processing.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH): Whey protein hydrolysate is pre-digested or partially hydrolyzed, meaning it is broken down into smaller peptides. This form is often considered the most bioavailable and easy to digest because it has undergone partial hydrolysis, making it less likely to cause allergic reactions or digestive discomfort. It is often recommended for infants or people with specific medical conditions.

The choice of the most effective and bioavailable form of whey protein depends on individual goals, dietary preferences, and any dietary restrictions or sensitivities. Whey protein isolate (WPI) is often favored by athletes and those seeking to increase protein intake with minimal added fats and carbohydrates. If you have lactose intolerance or digestive issues, whey protein isolate or hydrolysate may be a better choice. Ultimately, the "best" form of whey protein will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Resource: Naclerio F, Larumbe-Zabala E. Effects of Whey Protein Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Formulation on Strength, Fat-Free Mass, or Lean Body Mass in Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Meta-analysis. J Sports Sci Med. 2016;15(2):407-415.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs, which include leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are essential amino acids that play a critical role in muscle protein synthesis and energy production during exercise. BCAA supplementation can help reduce muscle soreness, increase endurance, and support muscle recovery.

A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that BCAA supplementation significantly reduced muscle soreness and improved endurance during high-intensity resistance training.

Resource: Coombes JS, McNaughton LR. Effects of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase after prolonged exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2000 Mar;40(1):96-104.

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that combines with histidine to form carnosine, which is found in high concentrations in muscle tissue. Carnosine helps buffer acid buildup in muscles during high-intensity exercise, delaying the onset of fatigue and supporting longer, more intense training sessions.

Multiple studies have shown that beta-alanine supplementation can improve muscle endurance and increase work capacity. Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that beta-alanine supplementation led to enhanced exercise performance and muscle endurance.

Resource: Stout JR, Cramer JT, Mielke M, O'Kroy J, Torok DJ, Zoeller RF. Effects of twenty-eight days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on the physical working capacity at neuromuscular fatigue threshold. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Nov;20(4):928-31.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced inflammation. This reduction in inflammation can lead to improved muscle growth and overall strength gains.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that omega-3 supplementation can enhance muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle soreness, potentially contributing to better muscle development.

Resource: Smith GI, Atherton P, Reeds DN, et al. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;93(2):402-12.


While supplements can be beneficial in supporting muscle strength and size gains, it is crucial to remember that they are most effective when used in conjunction with a well-balanced diet and a consistent training regimen. The supplements mentioned in this article, including creatine monohydrate, whey protein, BCAAs, beta-alanine, and omega-3 fatty acids, have been backed by scientific research and expert recommendations for their safety and effectiveness.

However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified sports nutritionist before adding any new supplements to your regimen, as individual responses may vary. Always follow the recommended dosages and guidelines provided on the product labels to ensure safety and effectiveness in your muscle-building journey.

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