Frequently, people opt to supplement their diets with protein. There are various reasons to do so, including to help with muscle gains. Not many nutrients are as important to our health and wellness and our body composition as protein.
One alternative to traditional protein powders and shakes to up your intake are protein pills and capsules. Protein pills are more convenient and portable, plus they have fewer calories. They’re usually sourced from different types of proteins than powders, including collagen, bone broth, and amino acids. If you’re not familiar with them, you might take a look at some of the best protein pills reviewed to get a feel for what you should know.
Below, we also talk about some things to know about taking protein pills for muscle growth.
Why Is Protein So Important?
No matter what particular type of protein you use or why you’re supplementing, protein is the primary building block of your body. Proteins are used for making hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, and other molecules that play vital roles in how your body functions.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. Your body produces some, but you have to get others from your diet. When you have to get them from your diet, they’re essential amino acids.
Animal protein provides all the needed amino acids in the right ratio so you can use them. Most people who consume animal products probably get enough protein from their diet. If you follow a vegan or plant-based diet or think you have higher protein needs, you might use a supplement. People who are older, and also people with chronic diseases including digestive disorders might need supplements to meet their protein needs.
Protein for Muscle Gains
Muscles are made up primarily of protein. Your muscles are dynamic, and they’re always in a state of being broken down and then rebuilt. Your body needs more muscle protein synthesized than what you’re breaking down, so you can gain muscle.
There needs to be a net positive of protein in your body to put this differently. This is also called nitrogen balance because protein is made up of a lot of nitrogen.
If you want to build muscle, you might combine higher amounts of protein consumption with your exercise.
Higher protein intake can mean more muscle building and strength.
If you want to maintain and keep the muscle you already have, you might also want to increase how much protein you have as you lose body fat. High levels of protein intake can help prevent muscle loss that occurs with dieting and weight loss.
If your goal is gaining muscle, the recommendation is to have a gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Bone Broth for Muscle Building
As mentioned, bone broth is one of the typical protein sources you’ll see in pills. Bone broth can significantly benefit overall health and muscle growth and building.
Bone broth is high in amino acids including proline and glycine. This helps reduce inflammation and speed up your recovery process. Using a bone broth supplement allows your muscles and joints to heal faster, getting you back to working out faster.
Having bone broth regularly also puts collagen back into your body, which helps support stronger joints and healthy bones.
Another type of protein pill you’ll see is sourced from collagen. Bone broth’s benefits come largely from the fact that it contains collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant particular type of protein in your body. Research shows that collagen supplementation can help boost muscle mass, particularly when combined with exercise.
As a side note, if your biggest goal is muscle growth, you should combine collagen with something else like whey protein. Collagen is low in essential acids like leucine, which are part of muscle-building.
Collagen pills can be one aspect of your routine, however.
Finally, another type of protein pill frequently used is one made with amino acids. Amino acids are protein’s critical building blocks, as we talked about above.
The most important for muscle growth and building is leucine.
If you’ve set a goal for yourself to build more muscle or gain muscle mass, protein pills can be helpful. However, we should note that they probably aren’t going to be enough to achieve all of your goals. You will still likely need something like whey protein.
What protein pills can do is help you get more amino acids, and promote faster muscle and joint recovery, so you can push harder in your workouts.
Also, if you cannot use a protein powder for a period of time, such as when you’re traveling, then pills can be a good alternative.