Breakdown and Background

Protein powder is very common among people who pay the utmost attention to their health. Different types are produced from different sources, and as a result of this, it will be difficult to determine which one will provide the best result. It is a crucial macronutrient necessary for building up muscle tissue, repairing worn-out tissue, and producing enzymes and hormones. It also helps prevent the addition of excess weight and help to increase muscle tone.

What is protein powder?

Protein powder is derived from animals or plants, such as meat, egg, rice, beans, or peas.

Protein powder is available in three common forms: protein concentrate, protein isolate, and protein hydrolysates.

Protein isolates: This is derived from an extra filtering process to remove fat and carbohydrates, leading to increased protein concentration. The protein isolate powder is made up of about 90-95% protein.

Protein hydrolysates: This is derived by heating with acids or with enzymes. This additional heating helps breaks the bond that holds the amino acids together. One of the advantages of protein powder is that it is absorbed by the body and muscle quickly.

Protein concentrates: This is produced by adding heat and acid or enzyme to a whole food. These generate about 60-80% of protein.

What happens when you consume protein?

When you consume proteins, the enzymes in your stomach called pepsin break it down into the building block called amino acids. The essential or the most important building blocks that help develop muscle and fat degeneration are BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids. The branched-chain amino acids are

  1. Leucine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Valine

These three branched-chain amino acids account for about thirty-three percent of the muscle tissue.

Leucine: This branched-chain amino acid helps in the production of protein by the body

Isoleucine: This amino acid helps regulate the blood sugar and enhances the metabolizing of this sugar by the muscle cells.

Valine: Not as important as the above two amino acids. Therefore researches or studies are not carried out on this amino acid.

How is protein powder made?

The process of processing a protein powder is dependent on the type of protein powder being made or produced, and the company that is producing the protein powder.

Most of the commercial protein powder is produced by an acid flush, high heat, ion exchange, and so on to separate the protein powder. It is very cheap, producing protein powder with acid, and that’s why many companies adopt the style.

Plant processing protein

Most of the healthy plant proteins that are used as food supplements are processed and produced using hexane, which is a petroleum-based neurotoxin that’s very effective. It is affordable and cheap. Hence it is very profitable for producers that make use of this method to separate protein and oil from the plant.

Who should take protein supplements?

Protein is very common among athletes and also people who are very active and engage in different activates. It can also be of utmost benefit for those that are deficient or not getting adequate protein. In adults, a diet that is not rich in protein can cause excessive weight gain and can lead to an increase in body fat. Therefore, adequate intake of protein causes an elevated level of the hormone called glucagon. This hormone helps in the control of body fat. Another benefit is that it helps in the development and strengthening of bones as you grow older, and this helps to prevent osteoporosis.

How much protein can you consume?

This depends on several factors.

Size of the muscle: The amount of protein you will consume is dependent on how muscular you are. The amount of muscle you have is a determinant of the amount of protein that you will have to consume.

Activity level: The more activity or strenuous exercise you engage in or perform, the higher the level of your protein intake. This will serve as a compensatory mechanism for the muscle.

Hormonal level: If you don’t have any disease like diabetes Miletus, then the insulin and the insulin-like growth factor in your body will help maximize protein very well in the body. The level of these hormones diminishes as you age. This accounts for the reason while the elderly ones require more protein than the younger ones.

Back to the actual question, how much protein can you come? The standard recommendation for intake of protein is 0.8g per kilogram of the total body mass in an elderly person that is healthy. Although, this recommendation is just to avoid or prevent deficiency of protein and maintain the amount of nitrogen in the body.

When is it ideal to take protein- Before or after a workout?

It depends on your target. If your aim is to decrease the amount of fat that you have in your body and increase the muscle in your body, then the answer is both.

Types of protein powder

There are different types of protein powder, which ranges from diary-based to plant powder. They include the following;

Whey protein: it comes from milk. It is the liquid portion that is extracted from curds in the production of cheese. It has a high concentration of protein, but it is also rich in lactose. Lactose is milk sugar. Research has shown that whey protein helps to build and maintain muscle. It also helps athletes to have a quick recovery after a strenuous exercise and also increases the strength of the muscle in response to strength training.

Casein powder: Casein is a milk protein that forms a gel which interacts with the acid content of the stomach (HCL). It slows down gastric motility and delays the absorption of amino acids by the bloodstreams. Research has shown that casein is very effective at increasing MPS and strength of the muscle.

Egg protein: They are common and reliable sources of good quality protein. Eggs have the highest protein digestion rate and also the best-corrected amino acid score. Eggs help to decrease appetite and keep your stomach full for a longer period of time. Research conducted revealed that egg has a reduced potential when it comes to reducing appetite than the casein or the pea. Also, egg white protein is a great choice for people who are allergic to dairy and preferred supplements based on animal protein.

Pea protein: This is very common among vegetarians, and people are highly sensitive to dairy or eggs. It is produced from a yellow split pea, which is a high fiber legume that contains all the essential amino acids, except one. A study conducted shows that pea proteins are absorbed into the bloodstream and muscle slowly than the whey protein. It has the capability to trigger the release of numerous hormones, and this makes it similar to dairy protein.

Hemp protein:  This is also a plant protein supplement that is now becoming very common. Although it contains a small amount of THC, it also rich in omega fatty acids and also contains different essential amino acids. It is not considered a complete protein because the level of lysine and leucine, which are essential amino acids, is very low. Research has shown that hemp protein is easy to digest.

Brown rice protein: This powder protein has been available for a very long time, but they are not very common. It contains all the essential amino acids but contains a low concentration of lysine.

Mixed plant proteins: This is a mixture of two or more plant protein to provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

The mixture can contain:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Pea
  3. Hemp
  4. Chia seeds
  5. Flax seeds

How to use protein powder

Research has shown that excessive intake of protein can cause damage to the kidney, liver, bone, and calcium level in the body. Therefore, before using a protein powder, you need to calculate your nutritional needs. The best timing of protein supplementation is not known. A study conducted shows that intake of 40g protein dose after performing an exercise increases the production of protein in those having a reduced-calorie diet. You can also mix a flavored protein powder with a small quantity or as indicated by the producer. However, some people blend protein powder into smoothies.

Health Benefits of Powder Protein

Protein is one of the major classes of food, and it is a fundamental building block for muscle, skin, bone and tissues, and organs. They also help in the production of hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals that are needed by the body.

The health benefit that is associated with protein powder include;

Weight control: Eating food that is highly rich in protein and regular intake of supplement that contains protein can help you stay full for a longer period of time. Feeling full helps to limit the intake of food, which helps reduce the incidence of obesity. A study conducted shows that whey protein helps reduce the body weight and the total amount of fat in the body in people that are overweight or obese. It also helps to reduce elevated blood pressure, the level of cholesterol in the body, which is a predisposing factor to the development of the cardiovascular disease.

The Building of Muscle:

Protein is an important macronutrient needed for the building up of muscle tissues and repair of women out tissues. Many sportsmen and women consume adequate protein powder on a regular basis because they assume or believe that it will help them build their muscles after training. Research has shown that protein supplements help increase and improve the size and strength of muscle fibers in people who perform exercise or hit the gym regularly.

Quick recovery after exercise: As side from helping in the building up of muscle and repair of worn-out tissue, it is also used by athletes to speed up recovery after a strenuous exercise or as a result of soreness of muscle. Research has shown that regular intake of supplements after strenuous exercise help in recovery by reducing damage to the muscle and increasing muscle performance. It also helps in the synthesis of muscle protein (actin and myosin).

Quality sleep: Regular intake of protein supplements such as protein powder helps to improve the quality of your sleep. Research has shown that food rich in protein helps athletes, overweight and obese people to sleep better. Because protein powder helps to increase your overall intake of protein, take it at night to get better sleep.

Beneficial to patients: The processing of protein powder to produce shakes is highly beneficial to chronically ill patients or those who had surgery and are just recovering. Protein is very useful for people who had bariatric surgery, dental surgery, and those who have GIT disorder and cannot tolerate the intake of solid food. People in this condition needs a lot of protein and do have difficulty in meeting their body’s need without the help and intake of protein supplements like protein powder.

Adequate Energy: protein powder that is mixed with protein smoothies helps to boost of energy adequately. The reason for this is that they contain carbohydrates.

Production of Building blocks: It helps in the production of proteins and amino acids, which helps in the development and act as a building unit for muscles.

Production of Hormones: It stimulates the production of building up hormones, also called anabolic hormones, for example, insulin. Which helps in the stimulation of muscle development.

Rapid absorption: power protein, especially whey protein, is absorbed rapidly and is easily utilized by the body compared to other different types of powder protein.

Contains Essential amino acid: It is rich in the essential amino acid called leucine. Leucine helps in the stimulation of protein synthesis by the muscle at both the molecular and genetic level.

Side Effect of Protein Powder

The addition of a protein powder to your cereals or smoothie may look like a perfect way to boost your health. There is plenty of risk associated with the intake of powder protein, and they include the following:

GIT distress: There are people who are allergic to milk or dairy or having issues digesting milk sugar. Such can develop GIT distress and discomfort if they consume protein powder. However, most of these issues occur as a result of the inability to tolerate lactose. Lactose intolerance is very common and can affect a very large percentage, about 78% of people globally. If you know you can’t tolerate lactose, avoid intake of powder protein.

Constipation: Another side effect of protein powder is constipation. For people who have the inability to tolerate lactose, constipation may arise as a result of the slow movement of the gut. However, constipation can also occur in people who consume fewer fruits and vegetables at the expense of protein powder.

Nutrient deficiency: Excessive intake of powder milk without adequate or proper intake of fruits and vegetables, which contains numerous minerals that are vital for optimal health, can lead to nutrient deficiency. Hence, it is important to eat a balanced diet while taking protein powder. Protein powder is just a protein. Other components are also very important.

Kidney damage: Excessive intake of protein powder or protein meal can elevate the pressure through which the kidney filters and can lead to proteinuria. Proteinuria is the presence of protein in the urine, and it is a very severe clinical condition indicating kidney failure. However, this does not mean a meal rich in protein will cause damage to the kidney. If you have any preexisting kidney injury or damage to the kidney, you need to consult your doctor to make a proper evaluation and assessment of whether you can consume protein powder or not and how much of it you can consume.

Liver damage: Although the liver needs a lot of protein to convert fat into lipoproteins and repair itself. It also helps in reducing the blood level of triglycerides and cholesterol, which are a predisposing factor to hypertension and heart disease. In people who have liver cirrhosis, excessive intake of protein powder can cause more damage to the liver because, in this condition, the liver function is not optimal, so high consumption of protein can increase the level of ammonia in the body, and this can cause more harm to the liver and to the entire body system.

Hidden calorie: There are some protein supplements that are very low in calories. They contain a small amount of fat and carbohydrate, which might be similar when compared to the number of calories in a tuna fish or chicken. The bad thing about this is that it can cause gaining weight, which has defeated the main purpose of the protein powder. If your protein powder contains more than 200 calories, it could you more harm than good.

Getting Heavy: Excessive intake of protein powder can lead to exposure to heavy metals. Some of these heavy metals include arsenic and cadmium, and lead. This was said by the sports Dieticians Australia Website. If you like protein powder, and you get it from protein shakes, it is advisable that you limit your intake to about one or two times a day. Also, you can eat protein from meat, fish, and dairy to balance it up.

Can Cause Acne: Protein powders contain some hormones and some biochemical peptides that are very active and can cause an increase in the production of sebum, which is the major cause of acne in humans.

Destabilizes Gut Mycobacteria: Protein powder contains antibacterial compounds like lactoferrin, which can cause problems in the adult gut flora, and this can lead to stomach disorder and GIT distress.

Elevate insulin level: Protein powder can cause an elevated level of insulin and insulin-like growth factor. Intake of protein powder after workout or activities can cause elevated insulin levels in the body, and this can result in hypoglycemia.

Drug Interaction: Protein powder can interact with different drugs. If you are on any medication, it is advisable not to take protein powder. IF you have a medical condition like osteoporosis, it is advisable not to consume protein because it decreases the absorption of this drug. Also, if you are taking any drug like NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug), antiplatelet drugs, there is a high risk of bleeding if you are consuming protein powder with this drug.

Can increase the Risk of Cancer: Studies have shown that protein powder helps to reduce the size of the tumor mass and also helps to prevent the proliferation of tumor cells. However, some protein powder contains heavy metals, and these heavy metals put you at risk of developing cancer. Hence, it is important to all check the content and expiry date of the protein powder you want to buy.

Can cause Dehydration: Studies have shown that intake of protein diet requires adequate and sufficient intake of water. Failure to drink water can lead to dehydration.

Can cause Hair Loss: Human hair contains keratin. Keratin is a protein. Protein powder increases the level of testosterone in the body, and this leads to the production of DIHYDROTESTOTERONE (DHT) in the blood. This chemical cause hair loss in human.

What to consider when buying a protein supplement

Storage and expiration date:

 It is very important that all your protein supplements are properly stored to prevent contamination, which can be very harmful to your health. Also, when buying your protein powder, ensure that you check the expiry date. This is very important.

Extra ingredients:

 Almost all supplement bottles have a section that talks about extra ingredients. It is very essential to read the ingredients on the list in this section because some unwanted characters can be in your supplement if you don’t know what to look for. A perfect supplement won’t contain chemicals, artificial colors, sweeteners.

Third-party certifications:

  This means that a company has a third party that monitors the activities of the company. They help regulate and monitor the quality and quantity of the product they produce, maybe it is substandard or up to standard…

Company’s best practice:

 Another important factor to consider when picking a supplement is to check for the transparency of the company when it comes to how they label, produce, and test their products. If they are transparent, it gives you the confidence that you are getting

Recommendations of Protein Powder

Protein powder is highly recommended. The following daily recommendation is from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • An average adult requires about 0.8 grams of protein per kg of the total body weight in a day.
  • Athletes, those that are doing it for recreational purpose requires about 1.1 to 1.4g of the protein per kg of the total body weight.
  • Athletes who perform in competitions needs about 1.2 to 1.4g of protein per kg of the total body weight.

Summary and Review

In conclusion, the benefit of regular and adequate intake of protein powder to us as an individual and to the society at large cannot be overemphasized. One can spend the entire day thinking about why we have to add this supplement to our diet. However, there are different diseases in our society because of the inadequate consumption of these supplements, and this is because they are missing in our diet. Diseases such as kwashiorkor and clinical conditions like edema and others occur as a result of inadequate consumption of this supplement. With regular intake of this supplement, all these diseases can be reduced in our society. Therefore, it’s mandatory and important that regular intake and adequate protein powder should be encouraged in all institutions, religious, educational, and commercial.


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