This is a collection of useful whey information you can use to make smart choices when purchasing whey and learn what makes whey a unique protein source, both for active people/athlete, as well as health minded individuals.
Whey protein is one of the most popular protein supplements sold. It’s used by athletes of all kinds and those looking to benefit from this protein, that has literally been used as a medicinal food for thousands of years. However, much confusion over whey abounds. What types are best? Isolates or concentrates? Grass fed organic whey best? Can it help with weight loss? What about cancer and immunity? Where does whey come from and what about compounds within whey (such as lactoferrin) that have their own potential benefits?
Fifty Shades Of Whey will clear up the confusion – using objective science based information vs. marketing and hyperbole so common – to help users of this food supplement make smart decisions on whey proteins.
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This is a topic so large it could take stacks of text books (and it does!) and many semesters in college and years of research afterward, so an exhaustive review is both beyond the scope of this article and my brain!
There’s a few key areas however I plan to address in this article people will find helpful to making smart decisions the over hyped ads for protein, amino acids, and peptides don’t cover. For the most part, I recommend whole protein sources, such as whey, eggs, lean meats, fish etc. in terms of dietary protein* intakes, but some individual amino acids can be of benefit in specific applications. Those applications may be sports performance related, general health, or medical, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back In The Day…
Back in the day when I was taking my first nutrition courses and reading what research existed - right after the Pleistocene era – the mantra of nutrition was that digested proteins were broken down into individual amino acids during digestion and absorbed, and that was that. As with virtually all overly simplified models generated from the early research examining human nutrition and physiology, it was wrong. To this day however, there are still those who believe it, but I digress. However, most know that ingested proteins are broken down primarily into small peptides and individual amino acids. The fact is, to this day, human digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients we ingest is still being elucidated with more discoveries being made than most people realize or appreciate. It’s amazing to me however the number of people – some educated enough in the sciences to know better – who think digestion, absorption, and utilization of the food we eat can be summarized as “it get’s dumped into the acid in your stomach, then absorbed via voodoo, the end.” Human digestion, absorption, and utilization of the nutrients we ingest, is an incredibly complex process, that as previously mentioned, still being elucidated. If you want to get a glimpse of how complex, the Encyclopedia Britannica site has a nice write up on that, and remember: digestion, absorption, and utilization of protein is but one very small aspect of it.
As mentioned previously, there are benefits and potentially unique effects to using individual amino acids, but studies indicate peptides are better absorbed and or utilized than individual amino acids. What that suggests is, even if the goal is to derive benefits from a singe amino acid (e.g., Leucine, Glutamine, etc.), it’s likely best to get it in peptide form. For example, instead of taking L-leucine alone as the free amino acid, to increase intakes of L-leucine, ingesting a leucine rich peptide is likely to be the superior approach. The science and understanding of the value of peptides in human nutrition, be it for health, performance, increased muscle mass, etc., is an evolving area of research yielding useful findings, and still in it’s early stages in fact. Because this is such a wide-open and extensive topic, I’m going to stay focused on a few key issues, such as the value of using individual amino acids or “free” amino acids vs. peptides even if the goal is to increase levels of a specific amino acid.
Whether you are a serious athlete seeking improved sports performance or a casual weekend warrior crushing cathartic heavy deadlifts, most veteran gym goers understand that the iron game is a long term investment. The key to success is accumulating hours of consistent quality stimulation over a long period of time.
A serious impediment to obtaining this aforementioned goal is suboptimal tissue quality and impaired movement. In recent years, self myofascial release and foam rolling have swept the strength training community as a means to ameliorate these deficits. Although the science regarding foam rolling remains a contentious issue, many practitioners and athletes consider the practice a staple of proper recovery. Although this article will not discuss the background and science of foam rolling, as the Brink Zone includes innumerable resources concerning the topic, it will instead introduce a new potent tool for your extensive recovery arsenal.
Time to get Buff
One day during a training session, a good friend of mine revealed a car buffer from his training bag. Although I started laughing, as it was typical for this avid engineer to regularly carry spare tools. What did surprise me however, was when he instructed me to apply the device to my adductors. At first I was skeptical, but with some enticing I positioned my foot upon a bench and began to buff the inner portions of my leg. Fighting the urge to pull away, I was instantly stunned by the precise intensity of the pressure. Despite its common use as a car polisher, the newly repurposed tool now functioned as a Brookstone massage wand on steroids. After a few concentrated strokes across the length of my adductors, I instantly experienced relief. My friend began to smile as he realized my astonished delight and subsequent excitement. Soon I was buffing my pecs, traps, quads, calves, and any other area that I could reach. It appeared that this tool provided an enhanced self myofascial release in a fraction of the time. Before I could recommend the tool to my fellow friends and clients I decided to experiment for a month. The results were absolutely tremendous and I expressed to my friend the possibility of marketing a new product. Together we began to research and soon discovered that similar to many other fitness “discoveries,” we were not truly original in our self massage epiphanies.
It appears that Clint Darden and Brett Summers had discovered the massage technique years ago but were largely unnoticed. Their original article can be read here. In relation to introductory self myofascial release techniques, this guide can be viewed in conjunction with Mike Robertson’s PDF here for added completeness.
Creatine is one of the few dietary supplements that have a very solid scientific support for its efficacy in increasing strength, explosive performance and muscle mass. So the question in not whether it is effective, but rather how to supplement it to reap maximal effectiveness?
There are several theories on how to take creatine; some say your should load and then lower the dose, while others say you can get good results by a low dosage regimen without loading. Yet others say you should cycle the creatine and take breaks from it in between cycles. And then we have the issue of dosages and how to ingest it. In addition there is a lot of confusion about the myriad for creatine forms that claim to be superior over the golden standard creatine monohydrate. Are the new fancy creatine-super-duper formulations really worth their price? Let’s review it all here and see what the research is saying.
In this vid, I discuss the popular “Testosterone booster” supplement D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) and update my opinions of this general category of supplements.
Study mentioned in the vid:
D-Aspartic acid supplementation combined with 28 days of heavy resistance training has no effect on body composition, muscle strength, and serum hormones associated with the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in resistance-trained men
Department of Health, Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Lab, Human Performance, and Recreation, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA
It was hypothesized that d-aspartic acid (D-ASP) supplementation would not increase endogenous testosterone levels or improve muscular performance associated with resistance training. Therefore, body composition, muscle strength, and serum hormone levels associated with the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis were studied after 28 days of resistance training and D-ASP supplementation. Resistance-trained men resistance trained 4 times/wk for 28 days while orally ingesting either 3 g of placebo or 3 g of D-ASP.
Data were analyzed with 2 × 2 analysis of variance (P < .05). Before and after resistance training and supplementation, body composition and muscle strength, serum gonadal hormones, and serum D-ASP and d-aspartate oxidase (DDO) were determined. Body composition and muscle strength were significantly increased in both groups in response to resistance training (P < .05) but not different from one another (P > .05). Total and free testosterone, luteinizing hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and estradiol were unchanged with resistance training and D-ASP supplementation (P > .05).
For serum D-ASP and DDO, D-ASP resulted in a slight increase compared with baseline levels (P > .05). For the D-ASP group, the levels of serum DDO were significantly increased compared with placebo (P < .05). [B]The gonadal hormones were unaffected by 28 days of D-ASP supplementation and not associated with the observed increases in muscle strength and mass.
Therefore, at the dose provided, D-ASP supplementation is ineffective in up-regulating the activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis and has no anabolic or ergogenic effects in skeletal muscle.
Alleged concerns regarding risk of cardiovascular disease with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have been promulgated recently. However, a large and growing number of intervention studies show to the contrary that TRT reduces cardiovascular risk factors and confers multiple beneficial health effects. Thus, fears promoted by some recent flawed studies need to be critically re-evaluated.
This article gives an overview of studies that have investigated health effects and safety of TRT. As outlined here, the position that testosterone deficiency (TD) should be regarded as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease is supported by a rapidly expanding body of evidence.[2-4]
Yes, some people are non responders to exercise while some are “super” responders. A recent study looked at 1000 people put on the same exercise program. The results, which I discuss in this vid, may shock you!
This is a very interesting area of research. We all know people who do the same exercise as we do, yet either don’t seem to benefit much, or benefit far more than we might expect. Having trained hundreds at this point and or communicated with many thousands more, I have seen that first hand.
The Triceps are no pushover…they need serious workload to build substantial mass and strength. They can take a beating and kickbacks just won’t cut it. If you want big, strong arms, you need to press, and you need to press HEAVY.
That’s where this exercise comes into play…it’s a variation of the Close Grip Bench Press, the classic mass-builder for the triceps.
Important Information For Those on Thryoid meds and or SSRI’s
Considering how many people are on thyroid meds and or SSRI’s, it’s surprising – especially in the case of thyroid medications – how much confusion exists in the medical community on how best to treat people with hypothyroid.
I find many people feel they are often in some sort of battle between themselves and their doctor as to what doses, types, etc of thyroid meds they need.
A book called “Thyroid Disorders” written by a Dr Gilbert Daniels, listed as Co- Director of the Thyroid Clinic at Mass General Hospital makes for a good reference guide. The book was published in 2006, so I am assuming he’s still there. The book is written for physicians, specifically for GPs/family physicians vs. specialists. Most of the information would be basic rehash for the people here that have already done a lot of research on the topic, and most of what he recommends is in line with the standard recommendations. Some of Dr. Daniels comments below on T4/T3 combination therapy was supported by recent studies that found people on a combo therapy much prefer it over a T4 mono therapy.
Testosterone deficiency, also known as hypogonadism, is a state with sub-optimal circulating levels of testosterone concomitant with clinical signs and symptoms attributed to low physiological testosterone levels.[1-3]
Sexual dysfunction is the most commonly recognized symptom of testosterone deficiency. However, testosterone also plays a broader role in men’s health. A growing body of evidence has established associations between low testosterone levels and multiple risk factors and diseases including the metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, sarcopenia, frailty, mobility limitations, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment, depression, cardiovascular disease, and reduced longevity.[3-12]
In this article I provide an overview of the detrimental impact of testosterone deficiency on a wide range of health outcomes.