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Plasma Protein for Recovery


You are familiar with whey and casein, as well as soya, and probably other vegetable protein powders, such as rice and pea protein. But plasma protein powders are fairly new to the market.

Plasma (also known as serum) protein starts with blood, typically from cows. The red blood cells are removed and the remaining liquid is plasma, or serum if the blood-clotting factors are removed. This liquid is spray-dried and ground into a fine powder that is more than 90% powder. Most of that is from albumin, which is the major protein in blood and is responsible for carrying certain hormones and maintaining blood volume, and from immunoglobulins or antibodies, which fight off foreign invaders in the body. Taking plasma protein can boost your immune system, which can help prevent you getting sick or help you recover quicker from an illness. In fact, University of Barcelona researchers reported that rats infected with the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium, that were given plasma protein powder, produced more anti-inflammatory and fewer inflammatory agents than rats given regular milk proteins, and thus had a better capacity to recover from the infection.

To prevent illness from derailing your training, especially during the flu season, choose plasma (or serum) protein that supplies at least 40% immuniglobulins and add about 10 grams to your pre-workout and post-workout protein shakes. Also add 10 grams to other shakes you have throughout the day.


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Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)


High quality whey protein isolate should be the top priority supplement for everyone at all levels of training. WPI is ideal for bodybuilders because it is low in fat and carbohydrates and has a very high amino acid content. Supporting research has accumulated over the past 20 years showing that ingestion of whey protein isolate ensures a sustained steady stream of amino acids that enter the blood quickly. The resulting rush of branched-chain amino acids and glutamine make WPI a potent anabolic activator and powerful anti-catabolic agent. Research has unequivocally illustrated that ingesting whey protein isolate before training and immediately post-workout results in more rapid increases in strength and muscularity. After training, WPI has shown to increase growth hormone release as well as augment insulin sensitivity and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) secretion, all of which create the perfect anabolic environment for growth and recovery.

Before your workout drink one shake contacting 30-40 grams of WPI 30 minutes before training.

After your workout drink an additional shake containing 30-40 grams of WPI immediately after training.


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Glutamine Basics


What Is It?
A free-form amino acid that is abundant in the body, especially in skeletal muscle, and in most protein-rich foods. The body’s glutamine level is depleted with exercise and dietary stress.

What Does It Do?
When ingested as a free-form amino acid, glutamine supports the immune system stops muscle wasting and increases protein synthesis. It also acts a potent inhibitor of myostatin hyperactivity.

When Should It Be Taken?
30 minutes to 1 hour before and immediately after weight training.

How Much?
Take 5-10 grams per dose, starting with the lowest dose and working your way up according to individual tolerance.


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Get Your Glutamine


Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the human body, so the fact it serves as the primary amino acid pool supplying the body with proteins in times of need is no surprise, especially when your bodily systems are under conditions of stress, including dieting, heavy training and injury. Scientists have been very interested in the pathways that mediate muscle wastage in such conditions. Recent research indicates hyperexpression of myostatin is a key player in this response. In the most basic sense, myostatin in the body acts as the brakes for muscle growth.

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle, is depleted during and after heavy stress. Years of research has demonstrated supplementing with glutamine before and after your training sessions leads to greater protein synthesis and decreased catabolism.

Evidence indicates the muscle-sparing and anabolic effects of glutamine supplementation are a direct outcome of its ability to inhibit myostatin, essentially taking the “brakes” off muscle growth. In a study publishes in Amino Acids, researchers showed that when muscle cells were exposed to TNFα (to induce catabolism) and supplemented with glutamine, the process completely reversed the hyperactivity of myostatin and therefore halted catabolism.

Since its genetic discovery in 1997 supplement research and development teams have been on a dedicated search to fine safe and effective compounds that inhibit myostatin. Remarkably they have discovered a well-known amino acid can effectively reverse the negative impact of myostatin hyperactivity. Although this study was completed in vitro (in a controlled environment such as a test tube or Petri dish, not in a living organism), it provides a powerful mechanism for the muscle-sparing effect of glutamine, therefore reinforcing the importance of pre and post-workout glutamine supplementation.


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Consumption of Protein Shakes


I know that protein shakes are beneficial post-workout. Is it as good to have them at other times of the day?

You can drink protein shakes through the day between whole-food meals to supplement your protein intake. If you are struggling to make gains, it is recommended to drink a protein shake before going to bed. A supplement with multiple protein sources such as fast-digesting whey and slower-digesting casein, is ideal.