Supplementation is a huge part of the fitness industry in today’s society. Whether it’s for meal replacement, energy, hormone boosters, vitamins, or just to keep your macronutrient levels equal. At the very top of the supplement list is protein. Protein supplements are the most used supplement in the market today.
Protein is a long chain molecule made up of 20 different amino acids. It helps recover, rebuild and heal every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. The reason it is so important to fitness is the recovery and rebuilding process it has on our muscle tissue. After injuring, or breaking down muscle tissue during a workout or stressful activity, the body looks for protein to re build it. During the digestion process of protein it is split up into amino acids and rushed to the injured areas for fuel and healing. When the muscle fibers get broken down in the muscle tissue, the body produces extra fibers to defend from further injury, causing it to grow larger. Protein increases the speed of the recovery process and feeds the muscle to grow in size and strength.
Although the richest and most natural protein can be found in your basic food groups, for some people using a protein supplement can be easier, and more convenient. The two most popular protein supplements on the market today are Whey protein, and Casein Protein. Although they might have close to the same ingredients (depending on brand), they are different in digestion, and purpose of use. Other popular types of protein supplements include Milk, Egg, and Soy.
Whey Protein is the most popular of protein products sold today. It is a quick and easily digested powder, primarily used for pre, and post workout muscle recovery. This “fast acting” protein is great to use in between your gym session and your next meal. With fast acting macronutrients and Essential Amino Acids (EAA), whey protein enters the body and immediately hits the bloodstream and is rushed to the damaged muscle for fast recovery and rebuilding.
Casein Protein, often referred to as the “slow acting” protein is great for prolonged periods where your body isn’t getting the essential nutrients needed. As we all know sleep is the most important time for our bodies to recover from stress and rest. Casein protein is perfect to boost this recovery process. Digesting much more slowly than Whey protein, Casein protein best used before sleep will slowly enter the blood stream and send out nutrients in a timed release phase, causing your body to get the proper amount of nutrients needed while asleep.
Protein is made up of key Amino Acids which all play a role in recovery and healing process of muscle tissue. BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids), which is the three of the eight essential amino acids are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Making up one third of the skeletal muscle in the human body, these three key amino acids play a huge role in providing the body energy, lowering and regulating blood sugar levels, protein synthesis, repairing, broken down muscle tissue. Some other key essential amino acids which the body does not produce are Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, and Tryptophan. Although these eight amino acids can be found in food, they are very big products in the supplement industry among bodybuilders and athletes.
Non Essential Amino Acids (produced by the human body) include Alanine (from pyruvic acid), Arginine (from glutamic acid), Asparagine (from aspartic acid), Aspartic Acid (from oxaloacetic acid), Cysteine, Glutamic Acid (from oxoglutaric acid), Glutamine (from glutamic acid), Glycine (from serine and threonine), Proline (from glutamic acid), Serine (from glucose), and Tyrosine (from phenylalanine).