Protein Supplement: Are They Necessary?
Do protein supplements work? Do they aid in repairing muscle tissue? Do they aid in getting bigger muscles? Faster development? These are questions that many people should ask themselves and fitness professionals should have these answers when asked.
According to a review which was published in the Journal of Nutrition reviewed these questions and many others. Over a period of time, the studies, both random, observed along with metanalytic data, were performed to suggest a rational and improved set of data. These studies were designed to answer the role to whether protein and/or amino acid supplements have an active responsibility strength and muscle repair.
Protein and protein breakdown occurs in the muscles of the body. There is constant breakdown and regeneration being created within the cell bodies of our muscle. More often than not, breakdown is usually occurring more often than muscle building. However, strength training, muscle breakdown, coupled with rest and recuperation, along with protein supplementation can increase muscle, strength, and reverse degeneration of muscle cells. So, it is a true statement; strength resistant training can produce more muscle.
Now breaking down from a molecular point of view, protein will have an active role in the regeneration of muscle in the cell body. The result of amino acid supplementation and the recovery method in which muscles need regarding time and rest will determine the amount of muscle that will be produced.
Muscle Building 101
Everyone who has a goal of building muscle regardless of their age or gender has the same capability to produce muscle. The key is depending on how much weight is moved, how often, the rest and recovery time, and the amount of protein taken in. This is where supplementation in the form of protein is indicative of muscle building. When we exercise, especially vigorously with weights, we succumb our muscles to tiny microscopic tears in the muscle. This is a result of ‘injuring’ the muscle with intense exercise. When we wake up the next morning, we may have some soreness in the muscles worked. This is due to the ‘injuring’ or tearing of the muscle. Now this tearing of the muscle needs rest, recuperation, and protein intake to promote muscle growth. These muscles need to be fed the proper amount of protein in order to allow muscle regeneration. Usually, depending on the amount of muscle an athlete is attempting to gain, a safe amount of protein intake is anywhere from 0.5-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, if a 150 lbs. athlete would take in anywhere between 75 – 225 grams of protein. Protein rich foods such as eggs, turkey, fish, chicken, and lean cuts of red meat are excellent sources of protein. Should an athlete wish to supplement a meal with a protein supplement such as in the form of a shake or drink, protein powder is available with the essential amino acids to allow for adequate protein intake to feed muscles.
Losing Weight While Maintaining Muscle
If one is looking to lose weight, muscle is usually sacrificed along with that weight loss since muscle weighs more than fat. This is something that should be taken into consideration since muscle is essential for an increase in metabolism and allowing for strong muscles that prevent injury.
If an athlete is looking to lose weight without sacrificing muscle, it is recommended that they supplement with a protein to allow for muscle maintenance. Even though more active athletes such as high school and college age individuals aim for these goals, it is also important to remember that those who are older athletes in their 50s and 60s could benefit from using a protein supplement as well in so muscle is not lost while attempting to shed unwanted fat weight and extra adipose tissue.
1Reidy PT, Rasmussen BB. Role of Ingested Amino Acids and Protein in the Promotion of Resistance Exercise–Induced Muscle Protein Anabolism. The Journal of Nutrition. 2016;146(2):155-183. doi:10.3945/jn.114.203208.