Written by: Len Davis
Creatine. Check. Arginine. Check. Protein powder. Check. Enzymes. Che . . . wait, what was that last one?
You may not think of them as you compile your supplement shopping list, but enzyme products can be a smart choice for packing on muscle mass. Traditionally, enzymes are known as a digestive aid, but studies have shown that they also play an important role in recovery from high-intensity training, making them a prime addition to a bodybuilding nutritional program.
ENZYME EDUCATION | Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts in the body, enabling metabolic processes to occur at lightning speed. Before the protein and carbohydrates we eat can be used for muscle growth, stored enzymes must be released from the digestive system. Three main classes of enzymes break down foods: amylases break down carbohydrates, lipases break down fats and proteases break down proteins. Although these enzymes are naturally produced and stored in our bodies, they can also be obtained from certain foods and dietary supplements. Bodybuilders and hardgainers looking to pack on mass can use enzyme supplements to help their digestive systems handle the large amounts of calories they need to consume; the enzymes help utilize more food so those nutrients can be put to use for muscle building.
Since bodybuilders are more concerned with protein intake than most other athletes, it would make sense that proteases are the most important types of enzymes for our consideration. A recent study confirmed the benefits of protease enzymes, as it demonstrated that a specialized blend of enzymes added to a whey protein drink dramatically increased blood levels of amino acids over drinking whey protein alone. Essentially, more of the whey protein was digested and absorbed when the enzyme supplement was included with the drink, allowing more of the amino acids from the whey protein to enter the circulation and be available to the muscles....