Thanks to those that may have read my last and light hearted article about being the gym idiot. Over my next 3 articles I am going to look at 3 supplements that have been absolutely crucial in training and the achievement of my fitness and physique goals. These 3 supplements are whey protein, creatine monohydrate and virtago pure.
In this article I will look at a supplement that I and many others consider to be an absolute necessity – whey protein.
Those who listened in their science classes will know that water makes up the majority of the human body. What most people won’t know is that after water the next most abundant nutrient in the human body is protein.
All living tissue is made of 22 amino acids and these amino acids are only found in protein. These amino acids help to maintain the health of a substantial amount of the human body, including hair, eyes, skin, the heart, nerve tissues, muscles, digestive systems and cells.
Of the 22 amino acids, 9 are considered to be essential. The essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be supplied by diet. Complete proteins contain all 9 of the essential amino acids. Whey protein is a complete protein and therefore an excellent way to ensure the body receives essential amino acids.
Fact - whey proteins amino acid profile is actually similar to human muscle.
Without consuming the amount of protein you need, you will not be successful in building muscle. Don’t be tricked into thinking you need to consume a highly excessive amount of grams of protein a day (i.e. 400-500g)! Whilst you don’t want an excess of protein you do need to get in enough (an excess of any macro nutrient will ultimately be stored as fat if you are unable to use it).
I would always suggest you shoot for 1.5-2g of protein per LEAN pound of bodyweight. Most people will find it difficult to consume this amount of protein in the form of solid food, and most of us will only have the time to sit down for 3 proper meals a day. I suggest you consume as much of your protein as you can from solid food, and then supplement the rest through whey protein shakes. Whey protein shakes are typically high in protein and low in carbs and fats with around 20g of protein per 25g serving and at around only 100kcals per serving.
Whey is a by product of cheese and typically comes in 3 forms. Whey Isolate, Whey Concentrate (arguably the most common and widely used form of whey protein) and Whey Hydrolysate.
You can purchase whey in any of its various forms either flavoured, or unflavoured, but those opting for a branded and flavoured whey powder product will probably get something that is a blended mix of whey concentrate and whey isolate, with the majority of the whey being provided in the form of concentrate (although don’t expect the ratios of isolate VS concentrate to be listed on the label).
Whey Protein has an excellent biological value, and herein is where a lot of the hype over whey protein started. The biological value of a protein is the measurement applied to the efficiency of how well the protein can be absorbed and used by the body for tissue growth. The more efficient the protein is the higher the biological figure is.
When the scale of biological values was created eggs came out top (as they are an excellent complete protein source) and scored at 100 and were the benchmark for all other proteins to be marked against. In comparison to eggs whey has a biological value of 104, with some whey isolates being claimed to have biological values of up to 160. By comparison beef and fish have a biological value of around 75.
I have previously touched on whey being rich in BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids), and that whey protein supplements usually contain a high amount of luecine. This is important because luecine plays an important role in igniting the transcription pathways that accelerate muscle proteins synthesis. An increased supply of leucine has been shown to provide greater stimulation of protein synthesis after exercise. Whey protein provides not just an abundance of leucine, but also valine and iso-leucine. These 3 amino acids are particularly important in the muscle building and repair process, and a good whey product will provide leucine, valine and iso-leucine in a 2:1:1 ratio.
Exercise, and in particular resistance training causes metabolic stress and severely taxes the central nervous system (CNS) which can lead to illness, or the failure to recover from very minor illness’s such as the common cold. The amino acid profile of whey protein is not only beneficial to recovery after exercise but also bolsters the immune system, with studies, with many more on-going, suggesting that the amino acid profile of whey protein promotes a healthy immune system.
Most of us will know of somebody that has, or has died as a result of cancer, and this is a disease that has been on the rise in the western world for many years. Naturally with cancer being rife in the western world the “western world lifestyle” and diet are now being blamed by many as a massive contributor to this disease. There are numerous ongoing studies, and a wide belief that whey protein may help to deter cancer with cysteine and methionine, 2 amino acids found in whey protein, being thought to possess anti-cancer properties.
It is known that free-radicals in the body contribute to cancer, and that antioxidants prevent the build up of free-radicals. Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur (this can lead to cancerous cells within the body). Whey has been shown to raise levels of glutathione, which is found in every cell and is the major antioxidant produced by a cell and may therefore help with controlling the production of free radicals within the body.
It is generally accepted that protein is the most satiating nutrient, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. This is extremely beneficial to anybody on a calorie reduced diet as it may stop hunger pangs and the craving to nibble between meals. Many top personal trainers and nutritionists recommend a high protein diet for those looking to lose weight or lean up.
In summary, protein is very important for the repair, growth and maintenance of new and existing muscle tissue within the human body. Whey protein provides an excellent complete protein source, with added health benefits. Make sure you top up your requirements and bolster your health by supplementing with a great quality whey protein. Visit MonsterSupplements.com for a wide choice of whey protein powders at excellent prices with FREE deliver!