Last Updated on March 10, 2010 by Jimson Lee
Complete Guide to Protein Powder Supplements
– Part 1 can be found here.
Side effects of protein powder, safety and toxicity
There is literature which suggests that protein supplementation, without a balanced diet or sufficient exercise, may lead to dehydration, gout, liver and kidney damage, calcium loss and adverse gastrointestinal effects. Although little evidence suggests any toxicity or safety problems are associated with the general use of protein powder, it is neither inspected nor regulated by the FDA and, as such, its purity, safety and efficacy may be questionable from blend to blend and brand to brand. Consumer agencies warn users to be wary of protein powders manufactured outside the U.S.
Nutritionists and trainers suggest using protein powder with a purpose in mind and one focused on reasons for boosting protein intake such as enhanced endurance, a desire to build lean muscle, trauma recovery or muscle healing or a boost in immune system strength.
One documented setback to whey protein is its quick digestion and absorption into the bloodstream, resulting in many of its health-enhancing qualities being destroyed by the liver before benefiting muscle tissue. For this reason, protein powders made exclusively with whey protein may do nothing to stop catabolism, experts say. There are whey protein powders available, however, with delivery systems specifically designed to slow the absorption of whey protein and deliver more of its benefits to muscle.
Clinical studies and protein powder research
Incontrovertible scientific evidence suggests that protein is needed by all body systems to ensure good health. Clinical findings regarding protein powder, however, are relatively inconsistent, as are the criteria for control and experimental groups used in various published studies. Notwithstanding it’s ranking by the FDA as a dietary supplement:
- Some studies indicate that soy protein powders may be superior to milk-based protein powders in helping to balance hormones in women and strengthen bones.
- Reports from Ohio State University researchers imply that a protein powder regimen may strengthen a man’s prostate.
- University of Tokyo research indicates that long-term benefits of using protein powders result in quicker workout recovery and heightened levels of oxygen in the blood, possibly increasing overall athletic endurance.
- Research published in the Alternative Medicine Review reveal numerous benefits to engaging in a protein powder regimen:
â€¢ More lean tissue mass and muscle strength when used in conjunction with exercise
â€¢ Peak power and work performance
â€¢ Balanced cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels
â€¢ Improved markers of health in cases of liver toxification
â€¢ Strengthen healthy cells and fight free radicals
â€¢ Helps boost levels of glutathione (a potent antioxidant) to enhance immune system strength
â€¢ Improve gastrointestinal immunity in infants when added to baby formula.
Protein powder efficacy and the FDA
Protein powders in the U.S. are sold without FDA approval of safety or effectiveness. One downside to efficacy is that some nutritionists insist that an increase in muscle mass resulting from the use of protein powder over time may just be muscles retaining water – with a prolonged regimen sustaining these results. On the upside: protein powder supplementation may indeed build muscle mass, improve endurance and benefit a healthy immune system.
As a result of continued research, perspectives and opinions by nutritionists and dieticians regarding the effectiveness of protein powder supplementation have shifted in recent years. New findings suggest that, as a result of poor diet, escalating stress and new trends in bodybuilding and athletic performance, humans need more protein now than ever – and protein powder may be the most practical way to add pure protein to the diet without the fat and carbohydrates found in whole food protein sources.
Protein powders may do more good than harm, say experts, when used as directed and in conjunction with a balanced diet and sufficient exercise.
1. Casein protein powder + flaxseed oil: optimize the effects of casein protein powder by adding a little flaxseed oil. Jim Stoppani. Flex. Dec 2006 v24 i10 p248(1).
2. Top protein picks: from casein to whey and everything in between, this complete guide to protein powder gives you the lowdown on the best choices for muscle growth. Jim Stoppani. Flex. Sept 2006 v24 i7 p104(8).
3. Protein plus: for years, all protein powder needed was water and a blender. Now these 17 high-tech additives can make your growth fuel a high-octane mix. Tabatha Elliott, Jim Stoppani. Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness. April 2006 v67 i4 p190(6).
4. The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. Robert R. Wolfe. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sept 2006 v84 i3 p475(8).
5. Build your bones faster with the right protein powder. Women’s Health Letter. Feb 2004 v10 i2 p5(1).
6. Protein powder protects prostates. Men’s Fitness. Oct 2003 v19 i10 p18(1).
7. Hemp protein powder. Nutraceuticals World. Sept 2003 v6 i9 p108(1).
8. Whey protein defects exposed! “Your muscle growth stops when your protein does…” when does your whey protein powder stop working? Muscle & Fitness. July 2002 v63 i7 p151(3).
9. The “do not do” list gaining mass: forget about what you should be doing. Here are 10 things you could be doing wrong in your quest for more muscle. Eric Velazquez. Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness. Nov 2007 v68 i11 p142(3).
10. The best whey to boost health: so much more than a muscle builder, whey protein is shaping up to be a superfood with multiple benefits for your health. Vera Tweed. Better Nutrition. April 2007 v69 i4 p48(2).
11. What’s shaking? Men’s Fitness. March 2007 v23 i2 p28(1).
12. Winning wheys in bars and beverages: whey protein is the new “hot” ingredient being used in many health/wellness products. The benefits of whey protein range from scientific claims of increased muscle mass to its flexibility and good taste. Laura Gottschalk. Prepared Foods. August 2006 v175 i8 p71(3).
For more information on Protein Powder, visit www.VitaCost.com.