Having read my previous articles Im hoping you've now chosen a suitable eating lifestyle with clean foods to supplement this. Now I say lifestyle for good reason. The word diet suggests that your current practice is temporary whereas lifestyle suggests it is a more permanent addition to your healthy living. You will now have decided on a training program that fulfils your goals and aspirations. So your next consideration may be the confusing world of supplements. This industry over the past ten years has grown beyond belief. If your new to all this you may be wondering what do they all do and which ones are worth supplementing with. What I hope to achieve during these articles is to give you an insight into what the main supplements are, what they do and most importantly which ones are worth taking. I have been training consistently now for 30 years and in that time I can say I have tried most supplements. Im now 52 years of age and my goals are to live a long healthy life. For this reason I have been fasting for coming up to a year now. My reason for this is to stay lean and for the longevity benefits associated with autophagy. I covered this in more depth in the recent fasting article. Due to this being a massive topic I will break this down over the new few weeks. So lets cover some of the most basic supplement in part 1 of this article.
1. Protein Powders.
Now just this one supplement forms the bulk of all supplement sales. A protein powder is exactly what is says on the tin. Its a protein that has been reduced into a powder for you to then reconstitute in water or milk. The main reason people take protein supplements is for muscle gain.
After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibres through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibres together to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy (growth).Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. This adaption, however, does not happen while you actually lift the weights. Instead, it occurs while you rest. By supplementing with protein powders you are providing your body with the necessary amino acids required to increase protein synthesis and due to the powder being processed it absorbs much quicker than say meat.
Now not all protein powders are the same. The bulk of them obtain their source from milk in the form of whey protein concentrate. This is around 70-80% protein and does contain lactose. It is the cheapest to produce hence its popularity. The next best whey protein is Isolate. Now this contains 90% + protein and has less lactose. Then there is Hydrolysate Whey which has predigested to allow quicker absorption. The last two forms are the most expensive types of whey. The last type is Casein protein which has a much slower release time and best taken before bed for its sustained release benefits.
Now if your lactose intolerant or are looking to reduce your diary consumption you may want to consider a different type of protein. This is where plant based proteins come into their own. This side of the industry has boomed in the last few years as more people understand the benefits of a plant based diet. The most common plant based protein powders are pea, hemp, brown rice, soy, and sunflower. All of these can be purchased individually but more commonly now the industry is producing vegan blends. The reason for this is that each plant absorbs at a different rates and provides different nutrients thus a blend gives you the best bang for your buck. Most plant based proteins are around 70-80% protein
Now the new kid on the block is Collagen Protein. I have covered collagen in a previous article but briefly I will remind you of its benefits. Collagen is the skin-firming ingredient that is actually produced in the human body, making up a huge 90% of the bone mass and a third of all proteins produced. It is the connective tissue for the heart, lungs, muscles, joints, blood cells, arteries, etc.
Collagen hydrolysate, or collagen peptide, is a purified form of collagen, extracted from bovine and marine sources, and contains around 90% protein content. In addition to the high protein content, Collagen Hydrolysate also promotes all of the incredible health benefits of normal gelatine. These include weight loss, improved skin health, joint pain relief, bone loss prevention and muscle gain. As a protein source alone, collagen is a good one, packing in more protein per calorie than other sources while containing less sodium and sugar. The supplementation of collagen at the most basic level, serves as the building blocks for production of further collagen within the body. Most collagen powders are 80% + protein.
So now you have an insight into the different types of protein supplements you just need to decide which ones are best for you. From a longevity aspect I have cut down massively on diary products. I now only drink soya, almond and coconuts milks. As a result of that my go to protein sources are vegan blend powders and our very own collagen powders. This way I get a varied source of proteins along with their associated benefits. Im more into the field of the consumption of quality products rather than quantity. The recognised consumption rates of protein are 1g of protein per 1 pound of bodyweight. This is based upon a person who wishes to sustain muscle growth. Therefore if you weighed 80kgs (176 pounds) you would need around 176g of protein per day. The average chicken breast contains around 50 grams of protein so if your fasting you can see the benefits of protein supplementation alongside whole foods.
My next article will cover further supplements I feel are worth taking.