Protein is composed of up to thousands of Amino Acid chains used for repairing, growing and maintaining tissues in the body. A vital component for general health and a number of bodily functions, protein is present in muscles, bones, blood and major organs. It has been estimated that protein makes up more than 50 per cent of the body’s dry weight. The body is able to compose amino acids; however, there are eight essential amino acids that it cannot produce. These essential acids must be supplied to the body by eating protein rich foods such as poultry, beef, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts and lentils. A lack of protein can potentially lead to the breakdown of muscles, a build up of fluids, and anaemia, which is why many people, particularly athletes, choose to use protein supplements such as protein powder and meal replacement powder1.
Protein powder is most commonly used by athletes and people who exercise regularly to increase and maintain muscle mass as well as meet daily protein requirements. Muscles experience minor damage after exercise and the body sends protein to the affected areas to help maintain and build them. Other benefits include appetite control, increased energy levels and a boost to the immune system1. Convenient and usually low in fat, protein supplements are rapidly digested and are typically consumed immediately after exercise or as a meal replacement. Evidence has revealed that consuming protein within 30-60 minutes after exercise will effectively assist in repairing and maintaining muscle tissue2. Depending on individual goals and intakes, protein powder can perform a variety of functions including weight gain, fat burning and muscle repair. Supplements are available in a range of forms with different levels of bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the amount of protein that directly reaches its site of action. Most forms contain extra vitamins & minerals as well as essential amino acids.
Some common protein supplement blends include whey protein, casein protein, soy protein, egg white protein (or egg albumen), fat loss protein and meal replacement protein. Whey protein is the most popular as it embodies all essential amino acids. Egg albumen, otherwise known as egg white protein, also incorporates the eight essential amino acids and includes the natural vitamins found in eggs. Soy protein is often used by vegetarians as a meat supplement, is low in fat and free of lactose. The amount of protein required daily is dependent on individual circumstances. Protein builds muscle tissue and is therefore required in higher amounts for people who participate in regular strength training, as opposed to people with low levels of physical activity. Daily dosage can also be determined by age, gender, weight, height and the type of exercise performed. It is essential that protein is consumed daily, as the body cannot store it. An average daily intake calculation for adults is 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per kilogram. For example, a 100 kilogram man should consume between 80 and 100 grams per day. The average intake is slightly higher for athletes and strength athletes at between 1.3 grams per kilogram to 2.0 grams per kilogram.
So you don't want the trouble of buying different specific Protein types. But rather would prefer a Protein mix which shall feed you muscles all day and night? Then a Blended Protein may be for you. Some of the most common Protein types utilised to formulate blended proteins are listed below;
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI): Regarded in the Bodybuilding fraternity as the King of all Proteins. WPI has one of the highest Biological Values3, which means it yields more usable grams of Amino Acids than other Protein supplements. It also has short chain peptides which make it available for absorption within fifteen minutes after consumption. This timing is most important as post-training is when your muscles are primed for nutrient and Protein absorption. Whey Isolate contains little to no Fat, Lactose or Cholesterol.
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): Of a similar make-up as the Isolate version, it still has a high biological value, it does contain more of the unwanted contents of Whey such as Fat, Lactose or Cholesterol when compared to Whey Isolate (which incidentially makes it slower absorbing than WPI). Put very simply it’s still Whey Protein, which overall is regarded as the highest quality protein type for bodybuilding, at the lowest cost.
Casein Protein: A milk protein known for its unique Peptides, excellent Amino Acid profile and slow absorption. Casein like other Protein sources provides a rich Amino Acid supply to the body. Casein is pH sensitive and gels in the acidic environment of the stomach; as such it is an extremely slow digesting Protein source that slowly enters the blood stream. Its main advantage is it shall continue to feed your muscles long after Whey Proteins have dropped off. In studies4 Casein has shown to continue working 7 hours after consumption offering a strong Anti-Catabolic effect which is not as prominent with fast digesting Proteins. It does however have only a minor impact on Protein Synthesis, which is why this protein typically may be combined with a fast acting Whey Protein or utilized as a pre sleep, time release or night time supplement.
Egg Protein: In years gone bodybuilders would consume eggs like they were going out of fashion in order to get protein in their diets. Today however it’s been made simple with Egg Protein being produced as supplements. An egg contains about 6 grams of high quality protein, so high that it is used as the standard by which other foods are measured. Eggs also are a rich source of vitamins, including A, E & K, B vitamins, Riboflavin and Folic Acid5. They contain all eight essential amino acids needed for muscle recovery and the building of important minerals. You shall find Egg Protein in some of the blended proteins which are available.
Soy Protein: Soy is a Protein that ranks right up there with the best in the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. Soy Protein is generally very low in or free of Fat, Cholesterol, and Lactose. It is approved for those who are Lactose Intolerant, and is used as a Meat substitute. An Isolate Soy powder shall possess 90%+ Protein4.
Blended & Whey Protein Powders offer synergistic benefits which compliment each separate protein type. They are excellent value for money and a sure fire way get a full spectrum of quality protein and amino acids which are essential for building muscle.
Whey Protein Blends are commonly presented & sold as Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods in Australia. Protein supplements are not a sole source of nutrition and should be used in conjunction with an appropriate physical training or exercise programme. Not suitable for children under 15 years or pregnant women. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision. Always read the label prior to use.1. Jackson (2007), Protein, in Essentials of Human Nutrition. Ed. Mann & Truswell. Oxford University Press