Author Archives: The WellnessFX Team

What Are the Different Types of Protein Powders and Why Should I Use Them?

Protein is quite likely the most important macronutrient consumed in our diet. Not to forget the importance of dietary fats and carbs, but there is something about protein that is alluring both regarding taste, as well as its scientifically verified effect on our health and wellbeing.

Maybe it’s protein’s ability to accelerate muscle gain or to help us shed fat that makes it the macronutrient centerpiece most dishes are based around. Regardless of the reason, there’s much more to protein lingering below the surface of your next meal.

Which brings up the big question: are you getting enough protein? Do you honestly know that you’re eating enough protein every day to achieve maximum muscle growth and improve your health? Chances are you probably aren’t, but don’t worry, the cavalry is here!

Why Use Protein Powders?

Protein powders are convenient, condensed sources of protein that help you easily meet your daily protein requirements. Because you lead a hectic life is why a good protein powder can be a real lifesaver, and it’s the main reason they are the most popular fitness supplements on the market. Let’s make one thing clear though, protein powders won’t ever replace high-quality sources of real meat, which is best source of protein in the world (in particular, we love grass-fed, organic steak).

But because we know it’s not practical to buy and cook expensive steak several times per week, a high-quality protein powder supplement is a great nutritional substitute!

The fact that you are reading this blog post – and are here with us at WellnessFX – means that you are genuinely interested in promoting your health. There are various protein types, each one with its own unique characteristics, that makes one preferable to another based on your particular biochemistry, health status, and what your supplementation goals are. So let’s take a closer look at how consuming the right protein will help you achieve your goals.

Protein Powder Supplements

Insect Proteins

Starting our list is the most uncommon protein source today, but which holds extreme promise – if you are open-minded enough to try it. Insects are incredibly dense in protein, as well as containing considerable amounts of vitamins and minerals, which makes for an unexpectedly nutritious protein powder supplement.

Guess we finally found a purpose for all those roaches running around kitchens, eh? Joking aside, you might be blown out of the water to know that some insect proteins (cricket protein in particular) have been found to contain twice the amount of protein than beef – when compared on a gram-per-gram basis. Cricket protein is also extremely rich in zinc, magnesium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Maybe their protein content isn’t why insects are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, but they are being studied as the superfood of the future. The five insect groups that are currently being studied for their protein content include:
• Crickets
• Honey bees
• Domesticated silkworms
• Yellow mealworms
• Larvae of the African palm weevil

So if you’re looking for a protein powder that also can serve as a natural multi-vitamin/mineral of sorts, then look no further than insects, because they could be viewed more like a nutritious whole food supplement that is also very high in protein.

Vegan Proteins

Even if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, your protein needs are the same as everyone else’s, except you have a much harder time meeting those needs. Humans have grown accustomed to consuming an omnivorous diet, so when you opt to remove animal sources from your diet, it can become a real challenge to ensure all your nutrient requirements are being met. One of the most challenging requirements to meet? You guessed it: protein consumption.

A few decades ago, soy was virtually the universal protein source for vegans. But thankfully those days are gone, because today there are multiple sources of vegan proteins you can take advantage of, all conveniently made in powdered supplemental form.

And before we get down to the details, if you’re male, make sure to skip the soy. Soy has a structure that closely resembles estrogen (a potent female phytoestrogen) and it has been shown to demonstrate estrogenic-like actions when consumed. Consuming soy protein regularly could result in hormonal imbalances if you are sensitive, affecting your androgen profile negatively as you may screen for with the WellnessFX Premium package.

Soy protein in moderation is fine for women, although ideally it should be from an organic source because much of it is GMO (genetically modified). Other notable vegan protein powders include:
• Flaxseed
• Quinoa
• Chia seed
• Brown rice
• Artichoke
• Alfalfa
• Pea
• Pumpkin

You might need to make use of more than one of the above sources for best effects, because some are incomplete proteins. Incomplete proteins don’t contain all the essential amino acids, so you should keep that in mind when making your selection. An excellent choice is Vegalite from Thorne Research, a blend of pea and rice proteins that covers a broad range of the amino acid spectrum.

Collagen

Collagen is an essential structural protein that ensures that the vascular integrity of the joints and connective tissue is maintained. Collagen protein powders are derived from the connective tissues of animals, which are widely deficient in the modern diet because we tend to focus only on the muscle meats.

There are many collagen supplements on the market – some expensive, some cheap – which have similar benefits. An alternative course is to consume a supplement that contains the amino acid glycine, the amino acid that makes up the majority of the amino acid composition of collagen and gelatin. Glycine is very effective at increasing collagen synthesis in the body.

If you’re using collagen as a protein supplement, then it’s good to remember that, like the vegan proteins, it’s not a complete protein. Collagen does not contain the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Collagen is also low in methionine. So it’s best to use other protein sources to balance this out.

Milk-Based Proteins

Milk-based proteins are the undisputed cream of the crop in protein powders. Why? Because milk-based proteins offer clear benefits for health and in the ability to increase muscle mass. These proteins are also versatile and they taste good.

There are three distinct types of milk proteins, although only the first two are well known:

Whey Protein

The most versatile protein in the world, whey is cheap and is one of the most condensed sources of high-quality protein available, with an average supplement scoop having over 20 grams of complete protein. Whey protein is also absorbed into circulation much faster than other types – great when speed matters, such as after waking up and the peri-workout period. Whey isolates offer the best value for the money because they have a high density of amino acids and are very affordable.

Are All Whey Proteins the Same?

Simply put: no, they aren’t. Ninety-five percent of the whey protein powders on the market is not from grass-fed or organic animals, so the five percent that are is the cream of the crop. Grass-fed animals produce a better fatty acid balance, and organic protein is free from damaging man-made hormones or pesticides. Grass-fed whey protein is a great go-to supplement for almost all people.

Casein

Casein is the most abundant protein found in milk, but it’s still whey’s little brother. Casein is a much longer-acting, slower-digesting protein, and is best consumed before bed or when meals are far between. Casein is great for helping you feel full because it stays in the stomach much longer than whey does. And casein possesses immense muscle-building and positive health benefits, similar to whey – it just needs to be taken advantage of in a different way due to its timing profile.

Colostrum

Colostrum is unique, because it’s not derived from “true” milk – rather, it comes from the clearish liquid produced by the mother cow’s mammary glands during the first several days after a calf is born.

Colostrum is loaded with protein, carbohydrates, and minerals, as well as antibodies that boost the immune system. Most important are the presence of natural growth factors, with IGF-1 being key.
IGF-1 is a hormone that plays a central role in muscle protein synthesis. Colostrum supports healthy IGF-1 stores in the presence of growth factor deficiency1.

If you have generally low levels of IGF-1, then colostrum would be a great choice as part of your supplemental protein intake.

Wrapping Up

Proteins are essential, so be sure to get enough in your diet – and from a variety of sources. Use supplements wisely, to add to your intake and for their health benefits.

Remember that protein is a cornerstone of overall good nutrition, but protein isn’t everything. To learn more about your overall health and nutritional status, you can take a deeper dive with one of the advanced biomarker panels offered through WellnessFX.

 

Reference
1. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2008 May-Jun;32(3):266-275.


Written by:

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out his guide on The Ultimate Guide to Manly Cooking or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

How the Healthcare Industry is Changing and What This Means for Women

Although some statistics show the healthcare industry is lagging when it comes to embracing few technology, that situation is not universal. After all, given the HIPPA law, it can take a while for health clinics and practices to transition to cloud-supported e-documents instead of solely retaining hard copies.

On the other hand, there are many other areas where healthcare is setting the bar high with innovation. For example, the ability to “see” a physician virtually has made huge strides in removing geographic and mobility barriers. Patients in rural areas or who are homebound no longer have a barrier between themselves and seeing their preferred, skilled practitioner in an easy, accessible way.

An although big changes in the healthcare industry mean big changes for female patients in particular, not all changes are necessarily positive for women. Shifting insurance coverage may leave some women with gaps in their care and concerns about how to access services they want or need.

For instance, physicians saw a surge in women requesting IUDs at the tail end of 2016 in response to fears that birth control might no longer be readily affordable and/or accessible if their coverage were to change.

For better or worse, the healthcare industry will continue to evolve, and women should keep a close eye on what this will mean for their health and wellness. Here are three items to watch, and how women’s health might be impacted:

  1. Diagnostics are getting much more accessible. Gone are the days when you “had” to go to a specific practitioner for routine diagnostics, panel screenings, and labs. Now, there are expansive national networks, intertwined online, so your practitioner(s) can easily access your records – which can be obtained from numerous diagnostic labs around the nation. This saves everyone time, headaches, and money.
  2. At-home tests are easier and more reliable than ever. Testing kits for at-home use are not new, but they are certainly more high-tech, more user-friendly, and more accurate than ever before. Testing for everything from pregnancy to ovulation cycles, HIV status to blood sugar levels, and everything in between has been overhauled in recent years.
  3. Medicine is moving toward being integrative and personalized. It’s increasingly common for a woman to have a “medical team” rather than a single healthcare provider. Complementing mainstream medicine in the U.S. with practices including acupuncture, massage therapy, natural supplements, and treating the whole body (not just the physical) has re-imagined how we view medicine and health.

There is also a trend toward prevention and not just treatment. The earlier a health issue can be identified, the easier and more affordable it will be to treat, and the higher will be the likelihood of a full recovery. This is true for both mental and physical health. For women, healthcare changes are ongoing and fluid.

Keeping an eye on the news and issues from coverage to available offerings, will help assure that you can access the best care and advice for your own health concerns.


Written by: Emily Walters

Emily is an experienced content writer.  She has written about an array of topics, from business, healthcare, and technology to travel, culinary, education and even fashion and lifestyle. In her free time, Emily enjoys traveling, training for half marathons, and cooking for her family.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

What our hormones tell us as women: Progesterone

In Part 2 of our May series on women and their hormones, we are going to talk progesterone.

Credit: istockphoto

Progesterone has the root “-gest-” right in the middle to tell you that its most well-known functions are all about gestation or pregnancy. A woman makes this important hormone in a temporary endocrine gland called the corpus luteum, which is formed in the space that is left behind after an egg is released from her ovary. Pretty cool, right?

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

What our hormones tell us as women: Estrogen

Most women know their hormones impact how they feel. In fact, they probably blame these pesky chemicals for things like bloating, skin changes, headaches, and weight gain.  But most women don’t really know what hormones are and how they impact health.

In honor of Mother’s Day and women everywhere, we’ll discuss several important hormones during the month of May.

Estrogen word written on the book and hormones list

Credit: istockphoto

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Sugar vs. Salt: Which One is Worse For You?

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, urbanfoodie33

If you’ve explored various nutrition plans and diets, you’ll see a common theme of eliminating various things. Maybe you’ve even tried some of them yourself or know someone who did (andcan’tstoptalkingaboutit)? Some examples of elimination: Continue reading

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Want to Own Your Nutrition? Try These 6 Tips to Gain Control

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Owning your nutrition is part of the overall picture when it comes to health. Your body is a system of many parts working together! For this installment in our #OwnYourHealth series, Certified Health Coach and founder of Healthy Chicks Rachel Kaczynski weighs in with her 6 tips to taking control of your nutrition.  Continue reading

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.