Shake It Up: A Closer Look At Protein Supplement Shakes
If you like exercising, chances are that you’re not getting the right levels of protein you need from your diet. Protein is vital for your wellbeing, necessary for repairing and building muscle, so many people, especially people who exercise frequently, choose to supplement their diets with protein shakes, but which is best?
Whey isolate shakes are the most popular choice, containing large amounts of branched-chain amino acids as well as the full spectrum of nine essential amino acids. Whey has a high biological value (BV) ranking, meaning that its amino acid ratio is excellent for building muscle and that your body absorbs and uses a large proportion of the protein ingested. Whey isolate can also be digested quickly, and has fewer carbohydrates and fats than whey, so it’s a wellness boost for anyone looking to build lean muscle and/or drop weight.
Like whey isolate, casein is a complete protein but it is released in your body in a slower, more sustained way. This makes casein an ideal protein supplement to sustain long periods of an anabolic or muscle-building environment, whereas whey is better for a quick burst of protein synthesis. If you want to build size and preserve muscle, an ideal combination would be whey in the morning and immediately after your workout, and a scoop of casein at night.
You have an abundance of glutamine already in your body for muscle tissue repair, but periods of heavy and intense training deplete your levels of glutamine, decreasing your strength, stamina and recovery, impairing your immune function and enhancing your risk of muscle injuries and tears. As it could take five to six days for your glutamine levels to return to normal, taking five to 10g of glutamine before, during and after your workout could prevent muscle tears and strengthen immune function.
Finally, creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid-like compound that is found primarily in your muscles, as well as in foods such as beef, salmon and milk. However, studies have shown that increasing muscle creatine stores through supplementation is one of the safest and most effective ways to improve your strength, muscle mass and performance, especially if quick muscle growth is your goal. However, as with all of these and any supplement, always consult a physician before use.