10 Things to Consider When Taking Protein Supplements

1.) Your body is only able to metabolise a finite amount of protein at any one time, although exact data on this is limited. Consuming 25-50g protein per serving is manageable for your body, but this does depend on your bodyweight, level of exertion and what the protein is consumed with.

2.) A great way to ensure you don’t overdo your protein per sitting is to estimate your protein requirements per day, and divide it by 5-6 i.e. the number of meals/mid meal snacks you should consume over the course of the day.

For example, an average 80kg male should aim for 1.5-2g protein per kg bodyweight equating to 120-160g protein per day, divide this by 5-6 = 20-24g per sitting – 27-32g per sitting.

3.) To maximise the absorption of your protein, consume it with a quick releasing carbohydrate (high glycaemic index) such as fruit juice or 20-25g dextrose or maltadextrin. The sugar causes an insulin surge, so this anabolic hormone can significantly enhance the absorption of protein.

4.) Protein is sensitive to heat, if you wish to mix it with porridge or consume it as a hot drink at night before bed, do not mix with boiling water as the heat will denature (render the protein useless) the amino acids. Mix off the boil milk or water to ensure you preserve the integrity of your protein shake.

5.) Protein is a solute (substance dissolved in fluid) when it enters the body, therefore it needs to be taken along side an adequate amount of fluid, e.g. 35ml per kg bodyweight is ideal.

6.) Consider the type of protein you are consuming, protein supplements are mainly derived from milk, egg, soya, pea, hemp and wheat, but the two most common forms are milk based whey and casein.

Protein undergoes a number of processes to form whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, or a whey protein hydrolysate. The difference between these forms of protein depends on the level of processing they undergo. In the protein supplement world, the more processing a supplement undergoes, the purer the protein.

7.) Protein is a nitrogenous organic compound, meaning nitrogenous waste (via protein’s breakdown) has to be excreted via the kidneys. Consuming in excess of 3-4g protein per kg bodyweight could prove to be detrimental to your kidneys. Emphasising the importance of maintaining fluid levels!

8.) Protein isolate is the purest form of protein available; a protein isolate/concentrate blend is also very beneficial to the consumer. Protein isolate is significantly more expensive than the other blends.

9.) The combination of protein and creatine is deemed to be more beneficial than protein or creatine alone. When combined, these products exert a cumulative effect because of their specific role in the muscle (protein is integral to muscle anabolism, whilst creatine is needed for muscle specific energy).

10.) Timing is the key, so ensure that you maximise the 30 minute anabolic window immediately after your training session. Muscles are most receptive to protein within 30mins after training, meaning you should aim to consume your protein shake within this time.

NOTE: Protein will also partially denature (losing its effectiveness) if you leave it mixed for any longer than 40-60 mins, therefore store your protein in powder form during your training session, and top up from a fountain immediately after training to avoid compromising the proteins integrity.


About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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