Protein Supplements

Patient

Q: My son is 15 years old and wishes to build muscle. He is asking me to buy him protein supplements, the kind they sell over the web, like Whey, etc...I believe he is too young for this but would like your professional opinion and reasoning to help me explain it to him. Thanks. Mary-Kay

Doctor

A:    If your son keeps a balanced and healthy diet he should have all his protein requirements covered. These are the most common types of protein powders used by bodybuilders and athletes: Egg, Casein, and Whey. Casein has a high glutamine content( amino acid glutamine), which can benefit bodybuilders and athletes by helping preserve muscle mass and aiding immune system function, also has more absorption. Casein protein digests slowly, making it an ideal protein to consume before bed time, or anytime throughout the day when there will be a prolonged amount of time between meals. Egg protein is absorbed by the body at a rate in between the fast absorbing whey protein, and the slow absorbing casein protein. You can eat hardboiled eggs instead of spending money on egg protein. Egg protein is low in calories and has a great amino acid profile. Egg protein can be consumed at most meals throughout the day.  It's also a good choice if you are trying to cut body fat. Whey protein is the most commonly consumed type of protein supplement on the market.  It's easily digestible, has an extremely high biological value, and is relatively inexpensive. Whey protein may help stimulate muscle growth by increasing insulin-like growth factor-1. Since whey protein is the fastest absorbing protein, consuming it before and after your workouts is ideal.  Consuming it in the morning along with another type of protein is also advisable.

Comments / Follow Ups

Guest: Hello,
I wish to remove all sources of glutamic acid from my diet. I have been eating eggs whites for several months as my main source of food and protein. My triglyceride levels have dropped from 240 to 150 mg/dL, and I have lost over forty pounds. I have just found out that egg whites have glutamic acid an excitatory neurotransmitter which my body can produce on its own. I wish to change to a source of protein that does not contain glutamic acid and the only way to do this, is to break down my protein source and ingest the nine essential amino acids. I plan on using a supplement accomplish this. What would happen if I take 64 grams the 9 essential amino acids along with the other RDAs per day?

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