Use of whey protein in endurance sports


I start rowing 12years ago and back then was all about training. Some years ago sports supplements became more present in every athlete day. For rowing, an endurance sport, I believe whey protein is one of the best supplements a rower can use. My experience with whey protein tells me it helps you recovery better and gives you more endurance to resist long and hard work-outs.

But you can't only rely on my experience. So i recommend reading one of my favorite articles about whey protein!

Focus on Whey Protein

I have been taking and recommending protein supplements for over 30 years. Working in the sports nutrition manufacturing industry I even had the opportunity to research and develop innovative protein supplements. In this article I am going to share with you some of the manufacturing and research insights of a premier sports nutrition protein. As you will soon learn, there are many reasons to take a high quality whey protein supplement that transcend muscle building and sports performance.

For example, do you think that taking one type of protein supplement a day can result in:

* Building muscle?

* Increasing strength?

* Controlling appetite?

* Aiding in weight loss?

* Improving endurance?

* Boosting energy levels?

* Maintaining immune function?

* Promoting circulatory system health?

* Building a stronger, healthier body?

* Stimulating brain function?

This is what high-quality whey protein, and the special building blocks it contains (called amino acids), has to offer your body. Protein is a nutrient we cannot live without; however, researchers are discovering that most of us are still not getting enough of it, especially athletes. When you know the whey protein science, the numerous benefits are revealed and the importance of consuming a high quality whey protein on a regular basis is confirmed.

Not All Proteins Are Created Equal

Protein is essential for all living things, especially humans. Our bodies are mostly made up of various proteins. But not all of the proteins we eat are created equal. What proteins are made of has an impact on whether or not they work well in your body. Your body's activity level, and the type of activity you perform, will dictate what type of protein you need. Whey protein has gotten the reputation of being the "king" of all proteins, especially as a supplement for athletes. Its reputation is well-deserved, as the benefits of whey protein are confirmed in medical research, including sports performance scientific studies by some of the world's leading researchers, universities and medical centers: from Shanxi Medical College in China to Harvard University, USA.

Whey Protein Scores the Best?

But how do scientists know that whey protein is the best? During the mid 1990s, when researchers were experimenting with proteins from plant and animal sources, they discovered that some proteins have all the essential amino acids in proper proportions to support growth and health while others do not. After years of testing and retesting, they determined that whey protein not only scored the highest in amino acid composition, but more importantly it also had a high biological value, or BV, a measure of how much of a protein is actually used by your body. Premium quality whey protein isolate also scores high on other rating scales as well.

Whey Protein Has Multiple Benefits

There is more to the whey protein story. As scientists continued researching proteins, they started to focus on their building blocks, the individual amino acids. As they tested each amino acid separately, they were amazed to learn that individual amino acids exerted profound beneficial effects on the body. In fact, most amino acids have multiple benefits. Below are some of the functions of the main amino acids in high-quality whey protein that occur in significant amounts to promote beneficial effects. These functions are not only important to your good health; they are also of particular interest to the fitness-minded.

Summary of Whey Protein's Key Amino Acids Benefits

BCAA's (Branched-Chain Amino Acids: Leucine, isoleucine, & valine)

* Increase endurance

* Prevent fatigue

* Improve mental performance

* Increase energy levels

* Stimulate protein synthesis

* Improve nitrogen balance


* Maintains nervous system health

* Relieves depression

* Elevates mood

* Decreases pain

* Boosts memory

* Suppresses appetite


* Relieves mild to moderate depression

* Relieves insomnia and promotes restful sleep

* Promotes weight loss by suppressing appetite

* Reduces overall sensation of pain (i.e. migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, general

muscle pain)


* Increases growth hormone levels

* Protects against heart disease

* Reduces cholesterol

* Lowers blood pressure

* Improves poor circulation

* Aids in the production of creatine, an important source of energy

* Lowers ammonia levels, which can be increased in athletes due to frequent exercise

* Boosts NO production


* Boosts immune system function

* Maintains muscle mass

* Prevents muscle catabolism (breakdown)

* Enhances glycogen storage

* Aids recovery from exercise

* Promotes healing

* Increases growth hormone levels


* Rebuilds cartilage and bones

* Speeds injury repair

* Promotes tissue recovery following exercise

* Protects against overuse injuries (sprains, strains, tendinitis)

Whey Protein Gets Results - It Is Money Well Spent

While high-quality whey protein isolate is the most expensive of the primary protein sources used in protein products, it has some distinct nutritional advantages. It enhances the production of glutathione, one of the body's most powerful natural antioxidants. It has the highest levels of BCAA's and has been shown to boost immune system functioning and promote and support protein synthesis. It is high in glutamine and arginine. It has a good proportion of essential and nonessential amino acids.

Additionally, whey protein has been clinically proven to build muscle and improve athletic performance. It has also been shown to help reduce body fat, while at the same time increase ean muscle mass when taken as part of an exercise program. Another important benefit of the protein is its ability to raise levels of IGF-1, a muscle-building biochemical, and decrease levels of cortisol, a muscle & tissue degrading substance.

Whey Protein Source Glutamine and the Athlete

Dr. Eric Newsholme and his associates at Oxford University in the United Kingdom were among the first to hypothesize that an amino acid imbalance may result from strenuous exercise and as a consequence induce a number of phenomena that are collectively referred to as the "over-training syndrome." Decreased performance, depressed mood and increased incidence of infections are among the many symptoms that are related to the syndrome, which has been described by runners, cyclists, swimmers, skiers, ballet dancers, rowers and even racehorses. Dietary glutamine plays a role in counteracting these phenomena because, as has been shown repeatedly, prolonged exercise decreases the plasma glutamine level, suggesting that the muscles cannot provide enough of the nutrient.

Inadequate amounts of circulating glutamine may lead to impaired immune function and increased susceptibility to infection among athletes suffering from over-training syndrome.

In addition, glutamine use by the small intestine has been found to occur at a very high rate. Observations of gastrointestinal disorders, particularly of diarrhea and food allergies may

be due, at least in part, to low concentrations of circulating glutamine. Recently, it was also shown that glycogen storage in the muscles occurred significantly faster when study subjects consumed protein together with carbohydrates as compared to carbohydrates alone. One of the responsible dietary factors for this faster glycogen recovery is thought to be glutamine.

BCAA's Help Increase Training Strength, Endurance and Muscle Mass

A study reported in the journal Medicina Dello Sport looked at the effect of taking supplemental BCAA's on bodybuilding progress. The study involved thirty-one male bodybuilders between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four, all of whom were drug-free, or "natural" bodybuilders. The subjects were divided into two groups: sixteen took a placebo and fifteen took a BCAA supplement. The results showed that while both groups experienced increases in body weight, the BCAA group had greater weight gains. An analysis of the weight gain in the BCAA group showed increases in the lean body mass in both the legs and arms, with no changes in the trunk area of the body. In contrast, the group taking the placebo showed no lean-mass gains in these areas. The BCAA group also showed strength gains in both the squat and bench-press exercises, while the placebo group gained strength only in the squat exercise. In addition, the BCAA group howed improvements in measures of exercise intensity.

From my experience developing protein and amino acid products, and the most recent research, using BCAA's to fortify whey protein can further enhance the anabolic and strength boosting actions. In July 2004 independent researchers reported findings of their newest research that serves to reconfirm my earlier discovery that fortification of whey protein with BCAA's, in particular leucine, will result in greater gains in strength and muscle size. D. J. Housh, and coworkers conducted their study at the exercise physiology lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Men were divided in to either a placebo group or a leucine fortified whey protein group. Subjects trained 3 times a week for 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks the males who were strength training and ingesting the leucine fortified whey protein had significantly greater increases in strength and muscle size when compared to the males who were taking a placebo.

There are specific bio-energetic and physiological control mechanistic reasons why extra amounts of leucine and the other BCAA's, isoleucine and valine, help to boost anabolism. Reasons that I plan to reveal in another article.

The Big IF: Beware of Whey Protein Product Ingredient Trickery

Too often, for various reasons I won't get in to here, protein products can be inferior in nutrient content and ingredient quality. So it is bewildering to know if you are actually getting a high quality product. Some quick tips I can give you include: if you want high quality whey protein isolate, then read the label carefully to make sure whey protein concentrate or other proteins, like soy, are not blended in to the product. Do a little marketing research of your own and compare different brand ingredient content and prices, and you will soon start to see the ingredient game trend. Look for a company that will work directly with you to provide the best quality and best priced products. Some companies are now starting to offer by-the-case discounts.

Sports nutrition supplements can be extremely beneficial to your health, body composition, and performance progress, only if they are high in quality and prescribe an adequate dosage. I do not want to imply that whey protein concentrate or soy isolate are not useful to athletes, they are. My point is that ingredient trickery may lead you into thinking you have purchased pure whey isolate, when you indeed you have not. All serious athletes need to have the opportunity to guarantee they are purchasing the best whey protein isolate to ensure they are getting the best results from their training.

By Daniel Gastelu, M.S., MFS, Director of Nutritional Sciences of the International Sports

Sciences Association (ISSA), author, trainer of fitness trainers, and sports nutrition and

dietary supplement industry expert.

Notice: This article is for information purposes only, and is not intended to replace orgive medical advice. Consult your health care professional for the proper diagnosis and treatment of dis


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