What are the best protein supplements ?

There are a number of different protein supplements to take for pre and post workouts. Here we  look at the timing of  protein supplements, as well as which type of  supplement that is best for you. This may depend on your goals concerning your health. 

Supplementation is usually used as a replacement meal.  This is a good thing to do, and  the timing of your meals is also an important factor. Regardless of your health or fitness goals, timing of meals is important. This includes eating once every three hours or so with some between meal snacks. This can include protein supplements.

Eating six instead of three meals a day will increase your metabolism. The highest amount of calories you should consume is just prior to and after the busiest part of your day. This means things like going to the gym or just for a walk. The remaining amount of calories consumed should be spaced throughout the day.

 A  shake along with some form of carbohydrate between meals should be part of your daily calorie intake. This will help maintain  or increase your metabolic rate  giving you more energy.  Consuming enough protein and increasing your activity level each day becomes more important as we get older mainly due to oxidative stress (1). One of the main amino acids that helps in assisting with this stress is leucine.  This comes in the highest amount in the form of whey protein and can be more effective in assisting in recovery after a workout (5). Because of having more leucine, it may be the best type of supplement to use pre and posts workout. In one study though, this proved not to be the case.

Groups were compared  concerning increases in strength and lean body mass. One group took whey, while the other used soy  replacement. These results showed no significant results concerning differences in strength or size gain between the two groups. This showed soy to have just as much of an effect as does whey on ones’ size and strength. (8).

Timing of supplement Intake

Not only is the type of protein important, but the timing of your meals is also an important factor. Whether your working out or not, the timing of meal consumption is an important factor. This helps you maintain your blood sugar levels, along with a healthy metabolic rate.  As stated before, you should consume the majority of calories prior to the busiest part of the day like a workout.

It has been shown that the ingestion of a supplement both pre and post exercise helped at increasing size and strength (2). Just prior to a workout, it may be best for the majority of calories consumed be from carbohydrates along with some protein or essential amino acids (6) This is because carbohydrates are your bodies’ first choice of calories used. Whey protein also assists in how fast carbohydrate are used allowing the body to use them faster. Therefore, consumption of a supplement along with some form of simple carbohydrate may be best (7).

In one study, the timed ingestion was looked at both before and after exercise. The cross-sectional area of the muscle was measured both before and after twenty-one weeks of resistance training. It turned out that protein intake increased the cross-sectional area of the muscle and that taking a supplement close to a resistance training program may be more advantageous for an increase in muscle size as opposed to other times throughout the day.(3)

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Level of experience

Concerning your level of health and activity, a supplement won’t have the same effect if your inactive.  If you are active and your body is used to stress , the body may react differently when time is taken off for a break between training sessions. It has been shown though that strength and lean mass can be maintained during a time of down training regardless of the supplement taken post exercise (4)

What are the best protein supplements ?  Whey protein may be your best choice when compared to other protein sources such as soy or casein.

Soy has been shown to be as effective as other proteins, but unless it is natural, I would avoid taking it. It has been said that soy could possibly have a negative effect on the neurological system. This may effect those with different neurological disorders such as autism, Alzheimer, epilepsy, or other disorders.(9) Overall, whether it is for a general purpose, or for increasing your strength or size, whey is probably the best type of protein supplement to use.

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23239011#

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17095924#

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18661258#

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28328712#

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29200982#

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23241341#

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28530448#

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29722584#

9  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=((%22Frontiers%20in%20neurology%22%5BJournal%5D)%20AND%20(%222014%2F09%22%5BDate%20-%20Publication%5D%20%3A%20%223000%22%5BDate%20-%20Publication%5D))%20AND%20Westmark%20CJ%5BAuthor%5D#