Choosing the Right Protein for Maximum Muscle Power

Every athlete knows that proteins provide the building blocks of life. Most fitness enthusiasts are unaware, however, that getting the right amount of the right proteins is key not just to athletic performance but also to a healthy immune system. For most, the need isn’t for more protein, it’s for better protein, and it’s the health of the immune system that makes the different between ordinary results and extraordinary results.

The relationship between exercise and the immune system is paradoxical. Low to moderate intensity exercise stimulates the immune system and increases resistance to infection. High-intensity exercise and participation in athletic competition, on the other hand, often leads to immune suppression and increased susceptibility to colds, flu, and diarrhea—any of which can ruin an athlete’s performance.

Here’s the basic principle:

Your protein needs are greatest when your glycogen levels are low.

In other words, if you’ve worked out so hard that your liver has released all the carbohydrates you loaded before exercise, your body needs additional protein.

The human body is ingenious at getting the protein it needs. It will take proteins from food, or it will deprive muscles of the proteins they need to grow, or, in extreme cases, it will harvest protein from immune cells.

If you don’t replace your proteins after heavy exercise, you are setting yourself up for infection. But what kind of protein is best, and when?

All proteins were not created equal, and certain protein sources are more appropriate for certain fitness goals than others. If you are working to gain muscle and lose fat through moderate intensity exercise, a milk protein isolate is probably your best protein source. If your goal is to maintain muscle and maximize athletic performance, whey proteins with their antioxidant potential are best for protecting the immune system.

If your immune system is healthy, you won’t suffer the setbacks infections can cause. Men and women alike benefit from added protein during the acute-phase response to exercise, the period of four to twenty-four hours in which muscle proteins are broken down with the generation of tissue-destruction free radicals. And it’s also important to note that women of reproductive age need more protein during the second two weeks of their periods.

The best time to take your whey protein is just before, during, or just after your workout. Modern sports science research has found that the first hour after exercise is the one time your muscles have to have the maximum supply of amino acids. You can replace carbohydrates (in moderate amounts) at any time, but you must consume protein so that it is available just before the acute-phase response kicks in. Muscles make the proteins that bulk them out from 20 amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids that muscles use to make protein, 9 are said to be essential. That means your body can’t make them. The other 11 can be made by the body and are said to be non-essential.

It’s also important to know, however, that the fact that an amino acid isn’t “essential” doesn’t mean you don’t need it in your protein supplement. Non-essential amino acids in the form of hydrolyzed or isolated whey protein are more easily digested and assimilated into muscle. Three of the nine “essential” amino acids are branched chain amino acids (BCAA) necessary for preventing muscle pain and muscle fatigue.

Whey provides the complete range of amino acids your muscles need to grow stronger after they’ve been shaped by exercise. It provides the antioxidants that activate your immune system to fight infection. And it provides branched chain amino acids that turn the “burn” into new muscle power.

Author's Bio.

As editor and owner of natural health store Darrell always provides people good useful information that people can relate to, and use to help improve your health.

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For most people who are serious about exercise, the best source of supplemental protein is whey. Visit for your advanced whey protein supplement now.

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