Designed to promote increased muscle mass when combined with exercise, powdered protein supplements provide the foundational amino acids required to naturally build muscle tissue quickly and efficiently. In addition to muscle building, proteins have key roles in many biological processes. Required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues, cells and organs, proteins are necessary for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies and enzymes. Protein powders are popular among individuals seeking muscle growth, improved body composition and nutritional value. There are numerous types of protein powders obtained from a variety of sources, such as whey, casein and plant-based proteins. Protein powders can provide high-quality protein in a concentrated, convenient form. However, protein supplements are not necessarily a substitute for whole food protein, but rather an adjunct protein source.
There are different forms of protein powders including concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates. Concentrates use heat, acids or enzymes to extract protein from whole food. Concentrates typically contain 60 – 80 percent protein and 20 – 40 percent carbohydrates and fats. Protein isolates undergo additional filtering processes, removing more fats and carbs and providing a higher level of 90 – 95 percent protein. Additional heating and processing that breaks intact protein down into single amino acids produces highly bioavailable protein hydrolysates. This allows for rapid absorption, thereby maximizing nutrient delivery to muscle tissues. Research shows that whey protein has the ability to promote muscle mass and recovery. Both whey and casein promote satiety and fat loss. Plant-based proteins, such as pea, hemp, or brown rice, as well as a blend of plant proteins, can provide a good protein foundation for vegans and vegetarians.
- Whey: Whey is a water soluble, dairy-based complete protein. It contains all the essential amino acids the body requires and is easily digested and quickly absorbed. Whey protein provides all nine essential amino acids with a high amount of the amino acid leucine. Leucine is key to protein synthesis and plays a major role in promoting muscle growth and recovery after resistance or endurance exercise. Studies have shown that supplementing with whey isolate or concentrate led to improvements in lean muscle mass and strength in individuals who exercised regularly. Both are high quality proteins, although nutritionally whey concentrate has more fat, carbohydrate and lactose.
- Casein: Sourced from dairy curds, casein is the main protein found in milk. As a complete protein, casein provides generous amounts of essential amino acids.
Casein is higher in glutamine than whey, and is slowly digested, resulting in a steady prolonged release of amino acids into the blood stream. Casein is correlated with greater muscle protein synthesis, and improved body composition in weight training programs. Because casein is known as a time-release protein that provides the necessary amino acids for repair and effective muscle growth, some prefer to take casein protein before retiring for the night.
- Soy: Due to its natural phytoestrogen content, soy remains a somewhat controversial food. Soy protein isolate powder is processed to contain very little fat, fiber or phytoestrogens. Rich in nutrients, soy is a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. Soy protein often serves as major source of all-important protein for vegans and vegetarians. For others, research suggests that combining soy with dairy proteins may result in greater muscle protein synthesis. Although soy protein contains leucine, it may not be quite up to par with whey protein for muscle building. Studies have shown that for appetite and weight control, a soy-based high-protein diet may boost weight loss as effectively as a meat-based high-protein diet. Overall, soy is safe for most people and may offer potential health benefits, including weight loss and decreased risk of certain cancers.
- Pea: Suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and those with allergies or sensitivities to dairy, pea protein is sourced from the yellow split pea, a high fiber legume. Pea protein provides all but one of the essential amino acids, and is rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAA supplementation has been shown in several studies to support muscle building, prevent muscle wasting, decrease muscle fatigue and alleviate muscle soreness post exercise.
Protein powders may be selected based on dietary preferences, food tolerances and health and fitness goals. It is generally recommended that individuals not consume more than 30 grams of protein at one time. Many protein powders provide approximately 20 grams of protein per serving.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality protein powders in support of overall health and fitness:
Whey Cool™ Protein by Designs for Health®: Whey Cool™ features low carbohydrate, non-denatured whey protein sourced from cows that graze on pesticide and chemical free, non-GMO New Zealand pastures. Gluten, growth hormone and antibiotic free. Low in sugar and 23 grams of protein per serving. Available in Natural, Chocolate and Vanilla flavors.
Naturally Casein Protein Powder Vanilla by Eat The Bear: This low-carb all natural protein powder features sustained release amino acids in a non-GMO, rGBH-free micellular casein form. All natural whey protein is sourced from the milk of grass-fed cows. Stevia sweetened, naturally flavored, 23 grams of protein per serving.
Klean Isolate™ by Klean Athlete®: This non-flavored, non-sweetened clean whey isolate powder provides a source of protein and branched chain amino acids in support of the maintenance and repair of body tissues. NSF Certified for sport. 20 grams of protein per serving.
Alive! Ultra-Shake™ Soy Protein Vanilla by Nature’s Way: This comprehensive protein enhanced whole food formula provides vitamins and minerals, amino acids, digestive enzymes, green foods, organically grown mushrooms, antioxidants and other nutrients for whole body nourishment. Specific ingredients support energy production and immune defense, as well as bone, colon, eye and cardiac health. 14 grams of protein per serving.
ProVeg Organic Pea Protein by Vital Nutrients: This plant-based organic pea protein powder provides a comprehensive amino acid profile and 23 grams of protein per serving in an easily absorbable formula. Soy, gluten, egg, sugar and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation. Naturally flavored. No artificial coloring or preservatives.
Molecular Biology of the Cell. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26911/
What are the benefits of protein powder? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323093.php
Whey Protein Isolate vs Concentrate: What’s The Difference? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whey-protein-isolate-vs-concentrate
Casein Protein: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-10008598
5 Proven Benefits of BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-bcaa
Protein and older adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15640517