The main source of protein for nutritional supplements is milk. Milk protein almost always derived from cow’s milk and is commercially available as whole milk protein, whey protein and casein.
Milk protein. Because milk protein is given by nature in order to support the being in childhood – a period of life in which there are the highest demands for growth – it is an ideal source for supplements.
Whey protein. Whey has been reported as the supreme form of protein for bodybuilders, due to its composition in essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), sulphurous amino acids, as well as taste, mixability and stability in liquids. The fact that it is digested quickly, especially compared to casein, was considered a plus. Essentially, whey is the liquid that remains after casein and fat have been removed from milk.
Manufacturers separate the casein from whey using acids or specialized filtration methods. Acids in the first method can damage the valuable whey protein fractions. A lower price for these products may indicate that the acid process was used and that the protein in question is not of the highest quality.
Casein. The best two types of casein are in the form of an aggregate of small spheres of protein molecules and the type that is found in breast milk protein (which is about 80% casein and 20% whey). These two types are completely undenatured and contain minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium) found inside the cluster of protein molecules.
Soybean protein. Although some time ago it was not taken in consideration, the soy protein was reconsidered due to the new processes that made it tastier and more digestible. Soy protein has some unique characteristics that separate it from animal proteins. Soybean is the only dietary source of two isoflavone particles: genistein and diadzene. Research shows that they are partly responsible for the antioxidant actions of soy, stimulating properties of thyroid / metabolism, preventing cancer, reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and maintaining bone mass. As a protein from milk, soy is dependent on the processing method. Some use ethanol / water mixtures that remove isoflavones. Ethanol (alcohol) is a bad cause in these methods as it distorts the soy protein.
The whole egg, not only whites, has been used as a reference protein compared to other proteins; this led to the perception that egg protein powders are the best supplements. However, there are less egg protein products on the market due to the fact that these are more expensive than other pure protein, especially when pure whey protein powders appeared. Egg protein are usually added to protein powders in small quantities (less than 5% from protein total), in order to win the buyer’s trust.
Protein mixtures are becoming more sophisticated from one day to another. Manufacturing techniques, including protein mixing, predigesting and amino acid fortification, are used to produce or enhance different proteins.
Proteins released over time. Providing a prolonged and continuous flow of blood and muscle protein is the primary goal of nutrition in bodybuilding. A common tendency in this industry is to expect a high protein content per serving (sometimes up to 60 g.). In liquid form, these could pass through the bowels very quickly – probably too quickly to be effective even when you consume 40 g. or less per serving. These products are great to take anytime – day or night, with meals or between meals.
Predigested proteins. When you really think about becoming strong and big, and you are eating 150-200 grams of solid protein daily and another 100 grams of protein in liquid form, your bowels work just as hard as your muscles. This way you can lower the levels of enzymes that digest proteins. The intense exercises themselves can cause some weaknesses of the intestines through different forms of physiological fatigue.
Let’s say you want more protein to overcome your current level, but you don’t want to stress your intestines anymore. You need something easier to digest. The next snack should have a high content of dipeptides and tripeptides (two or three amino acids linked together), about 30-40%. Recent studies show that these peptides are important because, when taken in large quantities, they increase nitrogen retention (so they have anabolic effect).
High levels of di- and tripeptides in a protein (as opposed to minuscule levels of 5-10% of total protein, for example) release a more favorable and constant amount of amino acids in the blood system. They also do it faster with smaller amounts of energy compared to equal amounts of complete proteins or free amino acids. In addition, they can increase the serum albumin, which acts as a storehouse for amino acids and is of great importance in maintaining the water content in the blood. It is good to take these predigested proteins whenever possible, especially if you are already taking large amounts of protein daily. It would be especially beneficial after training.
Peptides and amino acids. There are two things that led to the development of a glutamine-rich hydrolyzed protein: first, the recent increase in glutamine’s popularity as an ergogenic aid for growth and recovery and, second, knowing that hydrolyzed proteins can increase amino acid absorption better than an equivalent amount of whole protein or free form amino acids. The glutamine peptide is stable – in stomach acid, for example – and easily digested and absorbed. To get enough glutamine you will probably want supplements that are rich in glutamine. Look for glutamine or L-glutamine peptide on the ingredient list, not glutamic acid or “glutamine precursors”, because in fond, these are not the same thing as glutamine.
L-glutamine is over 95% glutamine, while the glutamine peptide contains only 30% glutamine. Furthermore, if a label on a product specifies 10 g. of glutamine peptide, this product contains only 3 g. of usable glutamine. Glutamine not only has anabolic and anticatabolic actions in the body, but also increases the value of other proteins in the process of muscle growth. The recommended dose is 20 g of glutamine per day, which will be taken with water or juice in several phases, but especially after training.
Other amino acids that are being used frequently for fortifying protein supplements are the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) which can be used as source o energy when the sugar in the blood and the muscle glycogen are diminishing.
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