Multi-Functional Protein Blends

by Christine Hronec

You’ve been taking protein for years, you know the difference between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, but what is the deal with every protein line having an “advanced protein matrix”? Is it clever marketing or is there real science backing these new protein blends?

You’ve tried every brand from Cytosport’s Muscle Milk- the notorious blend of casein, milk, and whey protein blend to BSN’s Syntha-6 the infamous blend of six proteins consisting of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, and egg albumin.  These types of products are known as multi-functional protein blends, where the combination of ingredients is intended to deliver varied absorption rates, allowing an extended feeding time to the muscles.

In a controlled study [1], patients were given “protein” meals of identical amino acid composition, but different absorption rates.  One group consumed 30g of slow digesting casein protein versus a group that consumed repeated meals (totaling 30g)of rapidly absorbing whey protein.  The slow absorbing meals showed a moderate, yet steady increase in amino acid absorption while the fast absorbing meals induced a rapid flux of amino acid absorption. The key result was that after seven hours, the post meal amino acid content higher with the slow absorbing protein meals compared to the fast absorbing whey protein administered at repeated intervals.  The anabolic process that stimulates muscle growth takes place hours after high intensity resistance exercise.

However, if you only consume rapidly absorbing whey protein after a work-out, you are missing out on hours of amino acid absorption needed to stimulate protein synthesis required for muscle growth.  Ingesting 40g of whey protein in a post workout drink is not only a waste of money, but it gets excreted or is converted into carbs or stored as body fat among other things [2].  Multi-function protein blends such as Muscle Gauge Nutrition’s newly released Huge Impact contains 24g of a protein from 5 different sources with lower carbohydrates than BSN’s Syntha 6 with a total of 15 grams of carbs.  Make smarter decisions with your choice of protein. It’s not the glossy fluorescent brand name label that builds your physique- it’s the quality of the ingredients and their effectiveness-bottom-line.

[1] Dangin et al. The digestion rate of protein is an independent refactor of postprandial protein retention. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 280:E340-E348, 2001
[2] A Review of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans-Shane Bilsborough and Neil Mann

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