Whey Over The Top
George L Redmon PHD takes a closer look at the latest scientific research and the host of amazing benefits that Whey Protein offers for those seeking a leaner more muscular build.
Studies have suggested for some time that whey protein can up-regulate immune system surveillance systems due to the presence of several live bioactive fractions. Those fractions include beta-lactoglobulin, alphalactalbumin, glycomacropeptide and lactoferrin. Lactoferrin has been shown to stop the growth of pathogens commonly associated with food poisoning. Interestingly, new research has shown that lactoferrin is able to increase the production of new bone, in cases of osteoporosis and non-healing bone fractures. Whey also contains bovine serum albumin, a protein that increases white blood cell, T-cell and antioxidant cell activity, as well as immunoglobulin anti-bodies that build the immune system. Additionally, all the critical amino acids for cellular repair, growth, and glutathione production naturally occur within whey protein. As you know glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant that protects your cells, essentially the body’s defender of your internal homeostasis, which refers to the ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes. It would appear from our discussion thus far that whey, while holding the status of gold standard within the fitness and body-building community, is clearly more dynamic or more highly anabolic than ever imagined, meaning having the ability to make bio-chemically charged processes, metabolically better. In fact, there are two ancient proverbs from the Italian city of Florence that say, if you want to live a healthy and active life, drink whey, and, if everyone were raised on whey, doctors would be bankrupt.
Whey In the Muscle’s Anabolic Zone
While researchers outside the sports nutrition community are unlocking the potential medicinal benefits of whey protein, conversely this same scenario is occurring within the sports medicine arena. For example, in a recent study conducted at Baylor University, resistance trained individuals who utilized a whey/casein combination gained five pounds (5lbs) more muscle after 10wks versus subjects using whey alone. Similarly, researchers at the Department of Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Texas found that a synergistic blend of 25% whey, 25% soy and 50% of casein protein sustained a longer consistent delivery of amino acids.
Whey: A One Minute Primer
Different dietary proteins affect whole body protein anabolism and growth differently, and therefore have the potential to influence results obtained from resistance training. However, no other supplemental protein is as important as whey. It is the fastest-digesting protein as compared to casein, egg or soy protein. Once digested it is rapidly broken down according to researchers at the Nutritional Biochemistry Department at the University of Yaounde in Careroon within a matter of 1.5 hours. Because of this, amino acids- the building blocks of all proteins are also metabolized rapidly and are absorbed into the bloodstream. These busy bees so to speak quickly start repairing damaged muscle tissue by jump starting protein synthesis. Phenomenally, current data indicates that in some cases whey protein can increase protein synthesis by 70%. On the other hand, studies have shown that casein protein in many cases increases protein synthesis by only 30% because of its slower rate of break-down. Also, according to bodybuilding guru and sports medicine expert Jim Stoppani, whey protein also boosts blood flow to muscle tissue, which is another secret to its protein-synthesis power. He went on to say that increased blood flow enhances the delivery of nutrients, including glucose (energy), amino acids, and oxygen, all key nutrients that support muscle growth and accelerate recovery after a workout.
Whey/Leucine Drives the Protein Synthesis Continuum
Collectively, one of greatest attributes that whey has over other protein sources is its high leucine content. Leucine is considered to be the prime anabolic signaling agent that ignites the mTor pathway, short for Mammalian Target of Rapamycin. This pathway is responsible for signaling the muscle to make more protein. The mTOR pathway could be compared to a back- up generator that kicks in when protein production shuts down. However, mTOR isn’t a back-up system in case of error, it is the system. Simply
leucine is the only amino acid known to stimulate protein synthesis without help from another source
put, leucine not only provides the building blocks for protein synthesis, it also controls the bio-chemical processes that run the protein synthesis processes. In fact, without leucine, the body can’t correctly decipher cellular instructions that stimulate protein synthesis and prevent the degradation of muscle tissue at times of nutritional inadequacies and recovery. Paradoxically, in a recent study appearing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition researchers reported that to date leucine is the only amino acid known to stimulate protein synthesis without help from another source. More specifically, a series of recent studies have demonstrated that leucine has a 10 fold greater impact on protein synthesis than any other amino acid.
The Whey Super Blends
While whey stimulates new protein creation faster than casein and is considered a better protein source than other proteins for increasing a number of anabolic parameters, the question becomes why use anything else with it? The fact is nutritionally, as nature intended, no one nutrient can serve as the sole source of nutritional adequacy. However, when you combine nutrients together you have what is referred to as a synergistic effect. However, like everything, one single nutrient like many in nature up and even down-regulate the dominate qualities or unhealthy ones exhibited by other nutrients, essentially, making them better. This is why sports scientist have experimented with combining whey with some very dynamic products in their own right. The study results have shown a possible isotonic link that appears to maximize whey’s anabolic potential.
Isotonic Physiology and Chemical Exercising
The term isotonic from a physiological stand point refers to specially formulated chemicals in a specific product that stoke(make stronger) the body’s anabolic machinery and prime metabolic pathways that encourage growth and repair by improving a process known as chemical exercising. It is here where spare parts are provided to sustain bio-chemical processes in situations where key nutrients are used up, especially during vigorous workouts. From all the collective research it appears that whey just doesn’t work well with other nutrients; it works extraordinarily well with them. In this report, I will outline some of this emerging research that has clearly pushed whey – way over the top.
Whey + Casein + Soy
In the study mentioned earlier at the University of Texas individuals who took part performed a single session of resistance exercise and then 1 hour later consume either whey protein or a blend of whey, casein, and soy. The supplements both contained 19 grams of protein. The blend consisted of 50% casein, 25% whey, and 25% soy. Both supplements equally increased muscle protein synthesis during the 2 hr post-exercise time period. However, from the 2 to 4 hr post-exercise recovery period only the protein blend increased protein synthesis. In a related overview presented at the Science in Nutrition 1st International Congress held in Rome, Italy, by Dr. Gregory L. Paul the Director of Sports Nutrition at Solae, a soy based technological company in
the group that consumed both whey and creatine together had significant higher increases in lean mass and bench press strength.....
St. Louis, he concluded that by blending soy protein, casein, and whey protein it creates a more balanced amino acid profile, specifically for branch chain amino acids (BCAAs), glutamine, and arginine. He went on say that this confers an advantage because a more balanced amino acid profile provides a wider range of benefits such as acid-base balance, growth hormone release, enhanced muscle blood flow and immunity more so than a single protein source rich in only 1 or 2 of these key amino acids.
Whey + CLA +Creatine
Creatine as you known is well known for its ability to enhance energy in the muscle via its ability to quickly recycle ATP (adenosine –Tri-Phosphate) thus improving workload capacity and protein synthesis. CLA short for conjugated linoleic acid has been researched extensively at the University of Wisconsin and plays a key role in reducing body fat in a number of different ways. In fact, researchers at the Link Medical Research Center in Kjeller Norway reported that while CLA reduced body fat mass and increases lean body mass, that it is selective, even targeting regionalspecific fat deposits in overweight and obese individuals. In contrast to these individual attributes, in a current Canadian study at the College of Kinesiology, at the University of Saskatchewan, scientist tested the combo of whey, creatine and CLA on strength training. They also looked at variations in the combinations. This double blind study, was comprised of sixty-nine participants randomly placed in three different groups. The first group labeled CCP was given 6 g/d of CLA + 9 g/d Creatine+ 36 g/d of whey. The second group labeled CP received Creatine + whey + a placebo(same dose). The 3rd group labeled P received whey + a placebo during 5 wks of strength training (4-5 sets, 6-12 repetitions, and 6d/wk). At the conclusion of the study the creatine, CLA, whey protein group (CCP) had statistically considerable increases in: bench press +16.2%, leg press +13.1% and lean tissue mass +2.4%, as compared to minimal gains in the other groups.
In a study to assess if the combination of creatine and whey had a greater impact on strength and lean mass development versus using either supplement alone, Canadian researchers at St. Francis Xavier University measured notable changes or stages of increased power output and body composition changes of weight training subjects for 6wks. They looked at bench press, squat strength, and knee extension/flexion peak torque (ability to overcome resistance). These subjects (36 males) were divided into 3 groups. Group #1 was given a placebo, (1.2 g/kg/day maltodextrin), Group#2 , whey protein, (1.2 g/kg/day) and Group#3, whey+creatine monohydrate, (1g/kg/day, W; 1.2 g/kg/day CM ).
At the end of the trial these researchers reported that: 1.The group that consumed both whey and creatine together had significantly higher increases in lean mass and bench press strength versus the other two groups. 2.Knee extension power was greater than before in the creatine+whey combination and whey group, but not in the placebo group. Please Note: Interestingly, this trial was extended for an additional six weeks, however without supplementation of either whey or creatine. Ironically, the strength and lean muscle gains exhibited at the studies initial end (6wks) were maintained during the extended trial period, exhibiting some possible isotonic attribute. Furthermore in a related study investigators at the Exercise Sport and the School of Biomedical Sciences, at Victoria University in Australia recently confirmed the isotonic capabilities of whey and creatine. In a double-blind randomized procedure, resistance-trained males were matched for strength and placed into one of four groups: (1)creatine/carbohydrate (CrCHO), (2) creatine/whey protein (CrWP), (3)WP(creatine/whey protein, or (4)carbohydrate only (CHO) at 1.5 g x kg of body weight daily for 11wks. The changes in lean mass, fiberspecific hypertrophy ( size increase), and contractile protein content(changes in the contents of skeletal muscle myofibrillary proteins) were the markers they were tracking. Myofibrils are composed of long proteins such as actin, myosin and titin and others that hold them together. Reporting in the journal Medical Science Sports and Exercise these guys revealed that the creatine/ carbohydrate , whey protein , and creatine/whey protein groups had 5% increases in strength and muscle hypertrophy compared to the carbohydrate only group. They concluded that 76% of the strength gains in the squat were attributed to muscle hypertrophy changes alongside adaptations at the cellular and sub-cellular levels to increased activity of creatine and whey protein.
Please Note: Muscles contract by sliding the thin (actin) and thick (myosin) filaments along each other, hence the tag actomyosin. Whey protein has demonstrated the ability to enhance myofibrillar protein synthesis, in doses of 20g in young adults and 40g in aging muscle by research scientist at the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada.
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