Protein powders for increasing muscle
Nov 22, 2010
Nelson I have been working out for a year and want to start taking protein shakes. Is there any better one? What do you take? I read your column and it amazes me how much you know! Juan
Response from Mr. Vergel
There are several power (and liquid) protein products in the market. Bodybuilders consume extra protein hoping that they can build more muscle as they exercise. There are contradictory data about these supplements' bodybuilding aabilities, though.
Two of the most common milk based proteins are whey and casein. Whey seems to be a complete protein with all the branched chain aminoacids needed for health and lean body mass enhancement. Casein is also a complete protein and may be as effective and cheaper than whey. But both can be heavy on the gut for many of us with lactose intolerance.
There are four types of whey products:whey concentrates, whey isolates, whey hydrosolates, and ion exchanged whey. The first two have active immunoglobulins that may be beneficial to the immune system, and the last two are more expensive forms that claim to be more easily digested and that contain less lactose. People with milk protein intolerance usually cannot digest more whey proteins well, and have bloating, gas and diarrhea. In a small HIV study, the use of whey isolates did not improve lean body mass compared to placebo since people tended to decrease their total caloric consumption to compensate for the extra calories provided by the shake, so whey became a meal replacement, not a supplement. But there was a trend towards higher CD4 cells in the whey protein group. Whey can also increase glutathione, our body's own antioxidant. For more studies on whey and HIV, read these abstracts: Whey and HIV studies
Other protein powders are made of egg white, rice and soy. Egg white powders can be a good option for those intolerant to whey. Rice protein is not a complete protein, but it is the easiest to digest for those with sensitive digestive systems. Soy is good for women but it is also not a complete protein. I do not use soy since there are some indications that it may increase estrogen (female hormone) in men.
You can buy protein powders cheaper at
Just make sure that you are using it as a supplement and not as a meal replacement. I mix my powders with almond milk (I am lactose intolerant) and frozen berries and a banana.
I hope this helped!
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