Some Protein Powder Types You Should Consider Trying

Protein powder has become a staple in the serious bodybuilder’s regimen because of its numerous health benefits especially for post workout recovery.

If you want to get ripped, you absolutely need some in your diet.

But what kind should you go for? We’ll help you with that.

WHAT CHOICES DO YOU HAVE?

There are many choices, but every type of powder has its own benefits.

Some people might find one type to be better than the other because of the difference in their needs.

To have a quick view of the common types of protein powder in the market, here is a list to guide you.

1. WHEY

Whey may be high in protein but it also contains lactose, a kind of sugar found in milk. However, during the process of concentrating whey protein, the amount of lactose present is reduced. When the whey protein is isolated, the amount of lactose retained during the process is smaller compared to when it was concentrated.

Just remember that people who are lactose intolerant1 should still be careful in taking whey protein.

It is rich in leucine, a kind of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) that helps in the development of muscles in the body. It is the presence of leucine in whey protein that makes it great for muscle building. Leucine is particularly effective in stimulating protein synthesis2, specifically those in skeletal muscle.

That is why it is recommended for athletes to use this type of protein to recover faster during strength training. In addition, because whey protein helps promote muscle growth, it also aids in reducing fat, due largely to the increase in basal metabolic rate.

If you do decide that whey protein is for you, then make sure you try to look for whey sourced from grass-fed cows. This is made from the milk of cows that are fed with grass alone. The grass these cows eat is not sprayed with synthetic pesticide or any form of inorganic fertilizer.

SO, WHY USE WHEY?

1. Gain Muscle: Leucine is considered the most anabolic type of amino acid. Since whey is rich in leucine, a person taking this type of protein experiences a huge increase in muscle growth.

2. Lose Weight: Not only is it good for strength training and post work out recovery, but it’s also a great supplement for those who are looking to maintain their weight or even to lose some because it has appetite suppression effects.

3. Mitigate Stress: Whey contains an active component called Alpha-lactalbumin. This reduces the level of cortisol and increases the amount of serotonin, a chemical that influences the mood of a person. This leads to a lower level of stress and depression.

4. Improve Immune System: Aside from leucine, whey also contains cysteine, another type of amino acid that produces glutathione. This serves as an antioxidant for the cells and tissues of the body. The level of glutathione is directly proportional to the ability of the immune system to protect the body from diseases.

2. CASEIN

Both casein and whey come from milk. But unlike whey protein, casein isn’t as quickly digested. The body takes more time to fully absorb this type of protein. It helps in reducing the breakdown of muscle protein in the body.

This protein interrupts the absorption of amino acids so that the muscles are more exposed. But when it comes to muscle protein synthesis and strength, whey protein is more effective than casein. In cases when the calorie intake of a person is restricted, casein is more effective than whey in terms of body composition.

SO, WHY USE CASEIN?

1. Lasts Longer in the Body: The amount of time that the protein remains in the body would depend on what type it is. The good thing about casein is that it lasts longer compared to the other types of protein. Since it is not digested quickly, it gives the bloodstream a steady amount of amino acid.

2. Promotes Strength: Casein is known for being an anti-catabolic product. It can double the effect of whey protein when it comes to increase of strength in legs, chest, and shoulders. When the muscle fibers of the body are damaged after a workout, casein supplies the amino acids the body needs in order to develop stronger muscles.

3. Good for Teeth: Enamel erosion is one of the reasons why a person needs to visit a dentist. But regular consumption of casein reduces and even prevents the occurrence of enamel erosion. Just like other dairy products, casein contains calcium, phosphate, and hydroxide that helps strengthen teeth.

3. COLLAGEN

Collagen is more commonly known as an ingredient in beauty products and anti-aging solutions. This is because of its ability to maintain the strength and elasticity of the tissues in the body.

Collagen is a type of protein that is naturally created in the body. It is found in the skin, joints, and muscles. The amino acids present in this protein are lysine, proline, and glycine. These amino acids help in keeping the skin and hair healthy.

Its ability to keep tissues elastic and strong is why it’s essential for the recovery of joints and muscles. This type is especially recommended for older people who want to reverse the signs of aging.

SO, WHY USE COLLAGEN?

1. Promotes Healthy Bones: Daily consumption of collagen peptides can increase bone metabolism. People suffering from conditions that resulted from lack of calcium can benefit from collagen since it stimulates the cells responsible for bone growth.

2. Balances Hormone Production: Amino acids such as arginine, glutamine, glycine, and proline are needed for a balanced production of hormones in the body. Collagen is rich in these amino acids. This protein also counterbalances the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.

3. Good for Digestion: Collagen promotes the hydrochloric acid production in the stomach that leads to easier digestion. It easily absorbs water so it helps the food move into the intestinal tract.

4. INSECT PROTEIN

Insect protein is not really the first choice for some people. Not everyone can handle the notion of eating insects for protein especially when there are alternatives. Despite this fact, a lot of people are starting to see the beauty of insect proteins.

Insect protein typically comes in the form of a multivitamin powder. It has twice as much the protein found in beef. Cricket protein is considered as a very nutritious type of insect protein because it contains iron, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fats.

SO WHY USE INSECT PROTEIN?

1. Provides the Necessary Nutrients: The level of protein found in raw beef is the same level of protein found in locusts and grasshoppers. The protein, calcium, zinc, and iron found in animal-based products are mostly coming from insects.

2. Lesser Risk: Because of the distance between insects and humans, insects have lower chances of transmitting diseases. Livestock like cows are still prone to unknown diseases despite the preventive measures being used by people.

5. VEGAN PROTEIN

Vegan protein commonly has pea, soy, amaranth, and other proteins found in plants. The major downside of this type is that the amino acids found in it do not fully compensate for the necessary protein intake of a person.

The effect of vegan protein is lesser compared to the other types. This is why whey and casein proteins are much more preferred by many.

Related: Ultimate Guide To Vegan And Vegetarian Protein Sources

SO WHY USE VEGAN PROTEIN?

1. Anti-inflammatory Benefits: Vegan protein is a good source of chlorophyll. This results to anti-inflammatory benefits. Hemp protein, in particular, provides this benefit even for those who have food allergies.

2. Lowers Blood Pressure: Least allergenic vegan proteins such as hemp and brown rice protein contain minerals, vitamins, and fibers that lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Should You Know Vaccinations Aren’t Just for Kids

Public health experts often focus immunization awareness efforts toward protecting children, and with good reason: Facing a potentially bewildering schedule of vaccinations for their young ones, parents usually need all the help they can get.

But vaccinations aren’t just kid stuff.

Medical science is creating an increasing number of immunizations targeted at adults, to help them avoid life-threatening diseases in middle-age and opportunistic infections when they’re older.

“Immunization is a life-long issue that we need to pay a lot of attention to,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

Some adult vaccinations are very well-known, like the annual shot that aims to prevent the spread of influenza.

“You need an influenza shot every year,” Benjamin said. “Part of that is because the virus changes every year, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.”

The flu vaccine is the least challenging of adult vaccines to promote because just about everyone can and should get one, with very few exceptions, said Dr. Carolyn B. Bridges, associate director for adult immunizations at the Immunization Services Division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“People don’t have to go through a process to figure out if they are indicated or not for the vaccine,” said Bridges, noting that, as of last year, everyone 6 years and older is recommended to receive an annual flu shot.

Newer vaccines, however, are targeted toward specific age groups, which can make it more difficult to figure out which shots are needed.

For example, the relatively new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents infection by a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer in women.

“The vaccine is recommended for younger girls, but young adults who didn’t receive it as preteens or teens can get it,” Bridges said. It’s still being debated whether boys and young men also should receive the vaccine, to keep them from spreading HPV to vulnerable women.

An increasing number of vaccines either target senior citizens specifically or are highly recommended for them. That’s because these immunizations give the immune system an extra boost when most needed, Benjamin and Bridges said.

“As we age, our ability to fight off disease wanes,” Benjamin said. “Vaccines can help offset the waning of your body’s normal immune responses.”

One example is the herpes zoster vaccination, which is recommended for everyone 60 or older, according to the CDC. The herpes zoster shot prevents the occurrence of shingles, a painful skin disorder linked to childhood infection with chicken pox, Bridges said.

Other vaccinations recommended for seniors include:

  • A pneumococcal vaccination at age 65, if you’ve never had the shot before. “We try to tag that to when you become Medicare eligible,” Benjamin said.
  • A second dose of the measles/mumps/rubella vaccination. “We encourage people to get a second dose of MMR at the age of 50 and older,” he said.
  • A tetanus/diphtheria booster every 10 years after age 65.
  • The influenza vaccine, every year. “Flu is still a major problem in terms of mortality for seniors,” Benjamin said.

People at increased risk for certain diseases, either because of work, illness or lifestyle, also might require vaccination as an adult.

For instance, those planning to travel abroad should talk with their family physician about shots they might need to provide additional protection against infectious disease. “If you’re going to travel to other places where you might have some risk for some diseases, you might need to get a travel vaccine,” Benjamin said.

Health-care workers also need to receive a wide variety of vaccinations, including hepatitis A and B shots, tetanus/diphtheria and measles/mumps/rubella, according to the CDC.

However, pregnant women are not recommended to get most vaccinations, Benjamin said. A notable exception, though, is the influenza vaccine, which pregnant women are encouraged to get, Bridges said.

“There are now numerous studies that have shown that influenza vaccine provides protection in an infant’s first six months of life,” she said. “The mother transfers antibody to the unborn child so when they are born they have some protection against influenza.”

Yet despite health-care workers’ efforts, some adults remain reluctant to get vaccinated because of various health concerns. A common one is that, by getting the flu shot, they will actually contract the flu.

Bridges said that public health officials need to help people overcome such fears so that they will protect themselves against deadly but easily avoidable illnesses.

“These vaccines are all licensed because they’ve been deemed safe and effective,” she said. “The risk of adverse events is much lower than the risk of severe illness.”

States for Your Brain

Congratulations to the Old Line State: Maryland has emerged as the state with the best brain health in the 2011 America’s Brain Health Index. Developed by National Center for Creative Aging, the index ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 21 brain health indicators including diet, physical health, mental health, and social well-being. This is the second time the index has been calculated; the first one appeared in 2009.

In the 2011 report, Maryland edged out the District of Columbia, which slipped to No. 2 from its first-place 2009 ranking. Maryland took top honors because it experienced a decrease in Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths, and because residents consume a high amount of fish, a natural source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that is tied to brain and eye health. Residents of Washington, DC, came in second due to its high proportion of active readers – more than any of the 50 states.

The Brain Health Index was created by health experts including Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and creator of the RealAge concept, and Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness and assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The index was created as part of a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds: Finding Your Lifelong Potential, aimed at encouraging adults in the second half of life to develop and maintain brain health. It’s sponsored by Life’sDHA, a supplement created by the nutritional products company Market Biosciences Corporation.

Wondering How Your State Stacks Up?

Here are the top 10 states in the 2011 index and the factors that give them a brain health advantage:

1. Maryland: Marylanders consume plenty of omega-3-rich foods, such as fish, and have a low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths.

2. District of Columbia: Residents of Washington, DC, are the top active readers and have a high consumption of healthy foods.

3. Washington State: The Evergreen State is among the top five states in consumption of DHA-rich fish.

4. Colorado: Residents of colorful Colorado consume a healthy diet and have a low incidence of diabetes.

5. Vermont: People in the Green Mountain State keep their minds engaged by reading and are active community participants.

6. New Hampshire: The state has a high level of mental engagement through game playing, and residents tend to consume healthy diets of fruits, vegetables, and fish.

7. Oregon: Oregonians are bookworms, fish lovers, and involved in their community.

8. Utah: Residents are active in their communities and have a low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

9. Maine: This coastal state has a high level of fish consumption, and reading is a popular pastime.

10. New Jersey: Despite what you’ve seen on the Jersey Shore, the Garden State ranks relatively high in education, and has a low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

The states that fall at the bottom of the index are:

42. North Dakota: North Dakotans are active game players, but the state has a high prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.

43. Kentucky: Kentucky does boast a high level of religious activity, but is tied with West Virginia for unhealthy smoking habits.

44. Indiana: Indiana ranks high in education, but has many smokers and low fish consumption.

45. Tennessee: The Volunteer State does have a high level of religious activity, but has a high incidence of Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths.

46. West Virginia: Another state with high religious activity, West Virginia has a large number of smokers and the second-worst diabetes rate in the nation.

47. Alabama: The state’s high involvement in religious activities boosts social well-being, but its residents’ brain health suffers due to a high incidence of diabetes and Alzheimer’s-related deaths.

48. Oklahoma: Oklahomans engage their brains through religious activities and playing games, but don’t consume many fruits, vegetables, or omega-3 fatty acids.

49. Arkansas: Arkansans are active game players and participate in religious activity, but they’re not big on reading and eating DHA-rich foods.

50. Louisiana: Up from the last spot in the 2009 rankings, Louisiana residents have a high incidence of diabetes and Alzheimer’s-related deaths.

51. Mississippi: The Magnolia State comes in last place because of its high incidence of diabetes, low educational rankings, and low consumption of brain-healthy foods.

Breaking Down the Brain Health Statistics

States that ranked high in the 2011 America’s Brain Health Indexshare some traits, such as good diets and higher levels of physical activity, and residents of the top states tend to be intellectually curious. “It’s so important to have an intellectual passion and hobbies,” says Cleveland Clinic chief wellness officer Dr. Michael Roizen. The Beautiful Minds campaign also highlights inspiring seniors who are putting their minds to good use by volunteering, teaching classes, writing novels, and even bodybuilding.

Roizen notes that many of the states in the South rank at the bottom of the list, which he attributes to unhealthy diets and physical inactivity, reflected in the high incidence of diabetes.

But Southerners don’t have it all wrong: A positive brain health factor the Southern states share is a high level of religious and spiritual activity, which is a big boost for emotional health. “The benefit of believing in a higher being is that it will help you manage stress better,” says Roizen. “Stress ages you more than any other factor.” Several scientific studies have confirmed the benefits of religious activity: The Whitehall study of British civil servants, a major study on the health effects of stress, found that the participants who said they were more spiritual experienced less aging from stress and aged better. “Spirituality and religious practices may also help slow the regression of cognitive abilities caused by Alzheimer’s disease,” adds Roizen.

Check out the Brain Health Index interactive map for the full ranking of all the states.

Dr. Roizen’s Four Steps to Better Brain Health

Although healthy living habits are always important for your mind and body, they take on special importance in the mid-fifties and beyond. From the age of 55, our faculties begin to decline, and we are less able to multitask. “Our goal with the Beautiful Minds campaign is to motivate people to change how their minds age,” Dr. Roizen told Everyday Health. “Keeping the brain healthy is easier than many people realize.”

Roizen outlines the following steps you can take to improve your brain health:

  • Get more physical activity. Exercise doesn’t just help your body – “Staying fit can actually help reconstruct your brain,” says Roizen. Although any exercise you enjoy doing is fine, Roizen recommends interval training, meaning doing an exercise at a moderate pace and then ramping up to a faster pace during the last minute, provided that your doctor says you are fit enough. For example, if you spend 20 minutes on a treadmill, spend the last minute running at a higher speed.
  • Be socially engaged. People who are involved with their family, friends, and community tend to stay sharper than those who aren’t. In addition to socializing with your immediate circle, brain health experts suggest getting involved with your community through religious or spiritual activities as a way to lower your stress levels. “In research, men and women who had the most social interaction within their community had less than half the rate of memory loss as those with the least social engagement,” says Roizen.
  • Get your blood pressure checked. The brain is dependent on blood supply, and as we get older, these blood vessels age, too. “When we’re older, our brains actually decrease in IQ every five years,” says Roizen. Keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range will help your blood vessels stay as healthy as possible. A study published in the journal Neurologyfound that treating traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol may also help to prevent the progression of cognitive problems into full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Get more DHA in your diet. The Memory Improvement With DHA Study (MIDAS) presented at the 2009 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease found that DHA supplements may help slow the rate of progression of age-related mental decline in healthy seniors. “The best natural sources of DHA are salmon and trout. DHA is also in fortified foods like soy milk, eggs, and nutrition bars, or in supplements,” Roizen says. Of course, eating a healthy, well-rounded diet is important too.

Onions Make Cry

For some people, slicing a raw onion is no big deal, but for others, it causes a stinging reaction that results in tears and mild discomfort.

What’s to blame for this teary reaction? Enzymes in the onion that release a pungent gas when you slice into it, and when the gas comes into contact with your eyes, it forms sulfuric acid, which is responsible for that telltale stinging sensation. “The more pungent the onion is, the more likely it will make you tear up,” says Irwin Goldman, PhD, department chair and professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

That means that yellow onions popular in cooking are the biggest culprits, and sweet, mild Vidalia onions are the least likely to trigger tears. Luckily, onions are the only type of vegetable that cause this crying reaction, because of their unique sulfur compounds.

So why do onions make you well up, but don’t seem to make your partner weepy at all? Dr. Goldman says it’s probably due to the individual chemistry of your eyes: Some people have little or no reaction to sulfuric acid, while others have a stronger sensitivity. And while some people find that wearing contact lenses reduces their onion-related tears, others may find it makes no difference.

Dry Up Those Onion Tears

To minimize onion-triggered weepiness, Goldman recommends freezing or chilling onions before cutting them up. The cold temperature causes a slower release of the enzymes, which helps reduce your reaction. “You can also start chopping an onion from the top end — where the skin comes together — instead of from the bottom end, where the stem is,” he adds. Enzymes are more conentrated in the bottom of the onion.

If onions cause you to tear up excessively, consider wearing eye protection when you slice them. “Swimming goggles really do work,” says Goldman. Or just delegate the chore to another cook in the kitchen.

Talk in Sleep

Has your partner ever referred to a conversation that occurred the night before — and you can’t remember a thing you said? Unless it’s after a wild night out, the cause may be somniloquy, better known as sleep talking.

Sleep talking falls under the category of parasomnias, which are disruptive sleep disorders. Other parasomnias include sleepwalking, bedwetting, and night terrors. Although it can be startling, sleepwalking is generally nothing to worry about.

“Sleep talking is benign for most people,” says Russell Rosenberg, PhD, who is the chairman of the National Sleep Foundation in Atlanta. “No one knows exactly what causes it.” A lot of nighttime chitchat can cause you to feel tired the next day, but it’s generally not a cause for concern. It’s also quite common: although statistics vary, about 60 percent of us will have at least one episode of sleep talking, according to William Kohler, MD, the medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Tampa.

The When and How of Sleep Talking

Sleep talking tends to occur during two different stages of sleep: During stage two, when it’s just a stream of thoughts not accompanied by a dream, and during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when it’s accompanied by active dreams. During REM sleep it’s easy to arouse a person out of sleep talking, but during stage two, it’s very hard to wake someone up, and they likely won’t remember what they were talking about. And even during REM sleep, what a sleep-talker is saying may not be related to what’s happening in their dream.

“With sleep talking, we may have active dreams — we may be speaking about what we’re dreaming. On the other hand, we could be dreaming one thing and speaking something completely different,” says Dr. Kohler.

Sleep talking can vary in frequency and intensity, and can be caused by a variety of factors, which may be as simple as drinking alcohol before going to sleep. “Having a high fever, being under emotional stress, taking certain medications, and having underlying sleep problems like sleep apnea can all cause a person to talk in their sleep,” says Kohler. Sleep talking may also run in families, he says. There aren’t any specific medications that have been singled out to cause sleep talking.

What Does All That Chitchat Mean?

Although you may be tempted to read a lot into what your partner utters in their sleep, experts don’t recommend taking too much stock in those sweet nothings. “It’s not a reflection of what’s going on in your life,” Rosenberg says. Kohler agrees: “There’s a myth that secrets can be revealed with sleep talking, but that’s not really accurate. The things people are talking about can potentially have nothing to do with reality.”

And as many parents know, sleep talking is common in kids. “This is more of a brain development issue in children,” says Rosenberg. “Most kids will grow out of it.”

If your partner or child is chattering away in their sleep, “let it play itself out — just observe and make sure they are safe,” recommends Rosenberg.

So when would sleep talking actually be a cause for concern? Only if you feel overly tired during the day, if your nocturnal chatter is disturbing your partner, or if your sleep talking is accompanied by any other “acting out,” such as sleepwalking. If you’re feeling sleepy all the time, a sleep specialist can help determine the best course of action to ensure you get better sleep.