Whey protein, creatine and glutamine are substances found in nature that are also available in supplement form. Whey protein is a fast-absorbing protein supplement that features the highest biological value (BV) of any protein, meaning your body utilizes it better than other proteins. Creatine is found naturally in foods, such as meat and seafood, and is responsible for providing energy for muscle tissue. Glutamine is an amino acid produced by your body. Before taking any of these supplements, consult your doctor to be sure it’s right for you.
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Whey is a protein found in milk. There are three main types of whey supplements, including concentrates (WPC), isolates (WPI) and hydrolysates. Hydrolysates are more easily absorbed than the other types, so this type is used in infant formulas and premium supplements. WPIs contain 90 percent or more protein by weight, according to the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center. WPCs contain less than 90 percent protein by weight, so these varieties contain slightly more fat and lactose that the other types. Each type supports muscle growth, fat loss and immune system function.
Creatine is stored in muscle tissue as phosphocreatine. It’s an organic acid involved in providing your muscles with energy during vigorous activities, such as lifting weights or sprinting. A substance called ATP is responsible for the short burst of energy your muscles use during a heavy lift or vigorous movement. This source of energy lasts a matter of seconds, which is why it’s hard to do a heavy set of weight lifting for more than 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Creatine stored in your muscles synthesizes to produce more ATP when needed. This allows for an increased number of repetitions and sets in the weight room.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body. The body makes its own glutamine, but athletes may benefit from additional glutamine. Glutamine is involved in maintaining proper immune system function and muscle health. It can help in the muscle recovery process, which is similar to the effects of whey protein.
Glutamine supplements are safe to consume in doses of up to 1,500 mg per day, according to UMMC. An exception to this rule is for people suffering from kidney/liver disease or Reye syndrome. A 2001 study published in the “International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism” found that whey protein taken with creatine yielded better results compared to taking whey protein alone. Whey and creatine taken together lead to greater increases in lean muscle mass and bench press over the six-week test period. Before trying any of these supplements, consult your doctor to properly plan your dosing schedule of each supplement.