Higher-protein diets have been shown to:
· promote gains in muscle mass, especially when paired with resistance training.
· Reduce muscle mass loss when dieting.
· Reduce natural loss of muscle as we get older.
What are protein supplements?
Protein supplements are dietary supplements that contain a high percentage of protein. This protein is derived from a variety of different food sources. It’s comprised of multiple amino acids, the compounds of lean body tissue that promote healthy skin, hair, bones, fingernails and muscles.
What are the different types of Protein Supplements?
Whey, Soy, Casein, egg, hemp, rice, pea and weight gainer.
How do protein supplements differ to each other?
Proteins differ in their processing, source and their quality. Some are derived from animal produce such as diary products, some come from soy beans, rice and split peas. Quality of a protein is based on their amino acid (AA) content, digestibility speed, and bioavailability. These differences are important to understand how best to combine them with nutrition and training.
Is one protein supplement better than another?
Whey protein is argued to have the highest quality rating out of all protein supplements. This is because of its complete amino acid content (all 9-essential amino acids) and rapid digestibility. Since it is acid-soluble, it exits the stomach quickly resulting in a pronounced rise in blood AA, which is thought to be critical to the stimulation of Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) which is integral to the process of gaining muscle. Therefore, Whey is considered the best protein supplement.
However, each individual will have different goals and reasons for needing more protein in their diet, and alternative protein supplements may be more suitable. For example, vegetarians or vegans may opt for soy protein as it is not derived from animals.
How does a protein supplement help with decreasing muscle loss?
When dieting, exercising or just generally getting older, we lose muscle mass. When your body needs to work harder to function it looks for more sources of energy to balance its processes and repair itself. It uses the amino acids in protein to do this. Thus, we need a higher percentage of protein in our diet, which sometimes can be difficult to fit in on a daily basis. Adding on the go convenient supplements like Whey protein into your diet can help to reduce this loss, as they contain essential acids to keep you stronger and healthier for longer.
How do resistance training and protein supplements work together?
Resistance exercise alone stimulates MPS, but it also increases muscle protein breakdown (MPB). When eating/drinking protein following resistance exercise there is a synergistic effect of resistance exercise and protein, resulting in a greater increase in MPS than either element would produce alone.
Another thing to consider is the timing of protein intake following resistance exercise. Consuming a protein supplement during what is called the “anabolic window” 1 hour before or after resistance exercise is thought to be ideal for promoting muscle growth and strength gains.
So, if you’re looking to increase your muscle mass, or reduce muscle loss or keep a healthy body as you age, combine protein supplements like Whey with your existing diet.
Read the full journal paper here