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Medical Concerns over Protein Supplements

  1. Feb 2, 2010 #1
    I never used protein supplements before. My gym gave me a huge container of protein supplements for free. One of the trainer there said that it's good stuff. I just go to the gym to keep in shape. I don't have any aspirations of building huge muscle mass. But since I got it I might as well investigate it.

    I've been told by an acquaintance that once you build muscle mass using protein supplements, and stop weight lifting, your muscles will degrade to a worse level than if they were built from natural proteins. Is there a grain of truth in this? I couldn't verify this on google.

    Also, the brand is the gym's name. Is this a red flag? Is there a difference in quality over different brands? Are some brands more respectable?

    And finally, the nutritional label shows alot of stuff is in 100's of milli-grams. Are there side effects or health concerns for a reasonably healthy adult? Such as screwing up the heart, or whatever later on.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2010 #2
    Most protein supplements are just whey protein extracted from thinks like dairy products and soy. There's nothing bad about this kind of protein, its just a different form of it and can be better for you than getting protein from sources such as high fat red meats. I don't believe any type of natural protein has the ability to mess with your heart or degrade your muscles if you don't work out.

    Some of those protein powders have some really weird stuff in them that I would probably stay away from. Muscle milk for example seems kind of sketchy to me. I like the stuff made by Biochem as its all natural and has no weird added ingredients that I never heard of.
  4. Feb 3, 2010 #3


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    One thing that you need to be aware of is that a high-protein diet puts strain on your kidneys and could increase your risk of forming kidney stones. A search on PubMed might give you some good leads.
  5. Feb 3, 2010 #4
    1. Once you stop training, you can pretty much be 100% sure that detraining starts after
    a period of time. Doesn't matter if you took a protein supplement or not. Amino-acids are amino-acids, the muscle doesn't really care you get them from a beef stake or some powder.

    Hypertrophy is a relatively stable adaptive process, so it declines at lower rates than other adaptations (for example, the ability to develop maximum anaerobic power, which starts to detrain as close at 15 days to the moment you interrupted the training stimulus, and decreases at very high rates from that moment on).

    You wont get in a worst shape than before starting training if you take a protein supplement. If you cease training, you are expected to get to the pre-training levels in time.

    Of course, if you cease training and do nothing but eat like a pig, you may end in time performing worst / looking worst than before you did any training.

    2. How long have you gone to gym and trained until they suggested you to take supplements ? Most of fresh trainees do not need any kind of protein supplements , considering a good nutritional program.

    3. Yes, some products are better than the others. Look at the labels, see the proportion of various aminoacids. Yes, they'll try to get you buy the products they sell so they make some more $$$.

    4. Keep your protein intake at reasonable levels. Don't go overboard with it. Some of the numbers indicated on internet are too high.

    5. I always keep at home 2-3kg of protein supplements. It is mainly for those days when I can not get enough protein from my meals. If you are able to get your intake from food, there is no need to supplement.
  6. Feb 3, 2010 #5
    no, there is not a grain of truth in that. some proteins are better (more complete) than others, but the "natural" talk is bunk. actually, i usually hear that kind of talk from health food store employees, and i've yet to meet the first one that has a clue on how biology or chemistry or physiology works. i'm not even aware of a protein supplement on the market that is not a food extract.

    if you intend to do some resistance training, a little extra protein will help, and you don't need to go overboard into carnivore mode. for your muscle cells to incorporate the protein, it should either be "complete" (containing sufficient amounts of essential amino acids), or be a mix of protein sources that are complete when combined (beans and rice, e.g.). "incomplete" protein that you may want to avoid would be something like collagen protein (often sold as a liquid predigested product) or, believe it or not, protein from bovine serum. :yuck: these may be good for growing your fingernails, but would be less useful for muscle hypertrophy.

    good proteins for a sport purpose would include whole (white and yolk) egg (the gold standard by which other proteins are measured), animal flesh (meat/fish/chicken/etc), milk proteins (whey and/or casaein), and if your vegan, soy. i personally like whey (it gets skimmed off when cheese is made, so is "natural" if your hippie friend asks).

    if you've got kidney disease, you do need to ask your doctor about taking more protein. but i'm not aware of it being a problem for people with healthy kidneys, that seems to be a myth that gets passed around but never supported.
  7. Feb 5, 2010 #6
    That makes sense. Feeling better.
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