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Rebuilding Muscle Protein – When to consume Protein Supplements

Although not a preferred fuel source, protein is used to produce energy during prolonged exercise when muscle glycogen runs low. This process is known as catabolism. Furthermore, the high blood concentration of cortisol that is associated with catabolism also obstructs the rebuilding of muscle protein by diverting its amino acid building blocks to the liver. Because protein is an important structural element of muscles, catabolism leaves the muscles in a weakened state afterward. In order to properly recover from and adapt to this particular training stress, athletes must act quickly to rebuild muscle protein after exercise.

Studies have shown there is a physiological window of opportunity for glycogen replenishment which is the two-hour period immediately following exercise. A very similar window exists for protein rebuilding and for the same reason. Insulin is responsible for delivering both glucose and protein to muscle cells. After exercise, the muscle cells are highly receptive to insulin. In a study performed at Vanderbilt University, subjects were fed a protein-carbohydrate supplement either immediately after working out or three hours later. Members of the “early” group were found to have synthesized new muscle proteins at a much faster rate than members of the “late” group.

In a similar study, this one done at the University of Texas, subjects who consumed an amino acid-carbohydrate supplement immediately before exercise synthesized even more new muscle protein than subjects who consumed the same drink immediately after the workout. (Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.) The apparent reason for this result was that drinking the amino acid-carbohydrate drink before the workout resulted in higher blood insulin levels during the workout. Insulin is known to counteract the catabolic effect of cortisol. With greater amounts of insulin circulating to neutralize cortisol, the subjects who drank before working out were able to get more amino acids delivered to their muscle cells to rebuild proteins.

What this means is that nutritional recovery measures need to begin before workouts, or at least during them and continue afterward. By consuming a sports drink containing carbohydrate and protein/amino acids before, during and after workouts, athletes can ensure that their muscle proteins are rebuilt with maximum efficiency. Using a recovery drink that consists of large amounts of protein or amino acids and little or no carbohydrate is not as effective, however, because these drinks digest more slowly and result in far less insulin release than recovery drinks that contain carbohydrate and protein in the ideal 4:1 ratio.

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How Much Water Should You Drink if You Take Protein Powders?

Protein powders are the preferred choice of muscle-building supplements for most bodybuilders and those who want to put on bulk through exercise. You can use protein powders to gain weight, as a food supplement and as a method to increase muscle mass however, using them alone may cause some problems such as dehydration. It is therefore necessary to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and healthy while you are building muscles and increasing mass.

Importance of Protein
Building muscle mass depends on your intake of protein. Most protein comes from the foods you eat such as beef, chicken, legumes, dairy products etc. however, to speed up muscle mass growth, you can add protein powders to your diet. Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids – however, only 12 of those amino acids are produced by your body. The other eight are introduced into your system by ingesting additional proteins. In addition to the protein foods you eat, protein powders provide some of those essential Amino Acids. Without an adequate amount of protein in your system, you won’t be able to make the proteins needed to create stronger and bigger muscles or support other essential functions in your body.

Protein Powder
Athletes recovering from an injury often depend upon protein powder to assist them in rebuilding and strengthening their muscles. Protein powder also aids in helping dieters and athletes maintain protein levels that may be depleted by too much exercise or not following a well-balanced diet plan. Too much protein powder may introduce heavy metals into your system, and can lead to health issues such as kidney problems, digestive issues and dehydration.

Hydration
When you feel thirsty, drink water as soon as possible since this is your body’s way of informing you that you are becoming dehydrated. Water comprises at least 70 % of your muscle tissues and is therefore very important for maintaining good health. On a cellular level, water is pushed into your muscle cells and the more water present in these cells, the better your muscles will function and grow in size. Dehydration has some serious negative consequences including fatigue, light-headedness, confusion and blood pressure problems. Without proper hydration, your muscles may cramp, your energy levels may plummet and the protein powder will be more difficult to digest.

Protein and Water – A Potent Combination
When consuming protein powders to build mass, you need to increase your water intake. Normally, you are encouraged to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to maintain proper hydration. While you are training and after you’ve consumed protein powders, drink at least 4 ounces of water every hour to ensure that you are properly hydrated. If you are taking protein powders that include creatine and other supplements as well as protein, your muscles will be able to absorb more water so you can double your water consumption to a gallon of water per day. Perhaps the best way to calculate your water consumption need is to multiply your body weight by 0.6 to determine your daily water intake in ounces. This method will help you keep hydrated as you work out and use protein powder to supplement your protein intake to build muscle mass.

References
Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness: 10 Nutrition Rules for Beginners: Joe Wuebben
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Effect of Hydration State on Strength, Power, and Resistance Exercise Performance: Daniel Judelson et al.
CBS News.com: Could Protein Shakes Harm Your Health?
Nature.ca: What is Protein Synthesis?
Bodybuilding.com: The Importance of Water – A Full Explanation
Medical Online: Nutrition: Protein Powders

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When Cheap is Actually Expensive

By Bruce Cohen – Absolute Organix
Reposted from Absolute Oranix’s Blog
June 20, 2012
There’s an Alice in Wonderland reality to our sector: things are often not what they seem. Even the most dedicated student of conscious eating can be unaware of critical information about food production and quality that can have a huge impact on the nutrient content and perceived value of products.
This issue came into sharp focus recently during a discussion I had with Amelia Karg, founder of Hemptons,  one of the leading suppliers of hemp products in SA (now through the Absolute Organix distribution channel). I questioned Amelia why Hemptons protein powder is more expensive than other hemp proteins on the market; how could our sales team justify this to our retailers? And how would they in turn explain it to their customers? I could see the frustration in her eyes as she found herself once again having to clear up the confusion. It turns out that hemp protein is divided into two very different classes: There’s “A-grade” protein like Hemptons which has a protein content of around 60%, and “B-grade” which is about half that.
The reason for the huge difference in protein content is this: Hemp protein is extracted from the seedcake produced during oil pressing. B grade protein is nothing more than powdered seedcake and contains around 30% protein. It really a flour or a fibre. To get A Grade protein, the seedcake has to go through a series of increasingly finely-meshed seives which progressively separate  fibre and carbohydrate from the protein, eventually reaching a 60% protein concentration. It takes time and it takes care because it’s a purely mechanical process and no chemicals or heat are used. (By the way, hemp protein is not a “raw” food – the temp of the seedcake during oil pressing can go as high as 70-80 degrees during pressing.)
Apart from all this extra effort to produce much higher protein content, there’s also the issue of underlying quality. Hemptons products are made only from certified organic hemp seed and the price difference between conventional and organic is significant.
So if  you’re buying/selling cheaper hemp protein powders, you’re very likely getting half the protein content of an A grade organic product like Hemptons. Expect to pay a less – because you’ll be getting a lot less.
While on the hemp front, did you know that hemp seed must by law be irradiated when it enters SA (it is illegal to grow hemp in this country). It means any locally-produced hemp seed products (such as oil or protein powders) have been made from irradiated (i.e. dead) seed. Far as I know, most hemp seed imported into SA is sold as bird seed (canaries sing sweeter on hemp, so the legend goes), but who knows if some of it is slipping into the human food chain. Hemptons products are all manufactured in Canada and then airfreighted into SA. They are never irradiated and can thus hold their organic status.
The hemp protein saga reminded me of a similar challenge we have had in the green food category. There are several green food powders on the market and Absolute Organix represents Garden of Life and its Perfect Food Raw green food. Often enough we have been asked to explain the difference in quality between Perfect Food Raw and cheaper alternatives. In truth, the difference is really, really big because of the way green foods are processed.
The cheaper products are made from dried, powdered vegetables. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to bear in mind that a plant is >90% cellulose (fibre), so what you land up eating in the cheaper products is mostly fibre – expensive fibre! Products like Perfect Food Raw are made from the juices of vegetables, leaving out all the cellulose, so what you’re getting is highly concentrated plant nutrition. Not dried veggies.
In both cases cited above the more expensive products are actually cheaper if you measure them by nutrient “return on investment”. There’s just no substitute for reading labels and asking those “dumb” questions.