We said above that protein powders need to – or at least should – have a purpose: to improve recovery times, and ultimately, body composition. But how does that occur? Or more specifically, what needs to happen in the body in order to recover from a workout, and subsequently improve body composition. To sum it up with one phrase, net protein balance needs to be positive.
When you vigorously train or exert yourself, a process called protein degradation (the breakdown of muscle protein) begins so that the body can fuel itself, and a process called muscle protein synthesis (the creation of muscle protein) slows down. Think of this like shutting off your engine (protein synthesis), in order to fuel your car (muscle protein breakdown). As this entire process plays out, the available pool of amino acids in skeletal muscle depletes, as they too are drawn in and broken down in the natural, catabolic process during exercise training.
While this situation is quite adequate during a training session, it’s precisely the opposite of what we want afterwards. At that point, we want the available pool of amino acids to increase, protein degradation to slow or stop, and muscle protein synthesis to increase. Enter protein supplements. Protein powders are a quick, convenient way to rapidly increase the available pool of amino acids in skeletal muscle.
However, not all proteins are created equal when assessed within the matrix of molecular triggers, enzymes, and amino acids that constitute skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Low quality blends, fillers, masking agents, and the like reduce the net protein content of many protein products, ultimately reducing lean muscle impact.
A quality protein supplement not only contains a high amount of protein, but the protein sources from which it draws need to be themselves high quality – and the benefit a particular protein source has can be assessed by analyzing its amino acid profile. Human skeletal muscle makes the most use out of a few, particular amino acids (the BCAAs among them), and so a quality protein needs to have an amino acid profile that is optimal for this context.
We chose the protein blend for Core PRO with optimization in mind. Our mix of cold-processed undenatured whey protein concentrate, cross-flow microfiltered whey protein isolate, and milk protein isolate has a complete amino acid profile that has been shown in research to increase nitrogen retention, lean muscle impact, and satiating ability (the feeling of fullness). This blend has also been specifically configured to provide both rapid and sustained additions to your body’s amino acid profile – meaning your recovery is not only supported immediately after a session, when you most need it, but over time as well.
Best of all, we have moved to a fully transparent label for Core PRO. Meaning that not only do we disclose the protein sources themselves and their specific yields, but we have also disclosed the entire formula’s amino acid profile. You can see, for example, that each serving yields a full 2.6g of leucine – a leucine dose supported in the literature to maximally increase muscle protein synthesis.
Here is a more complete breakdown of each protein source:
Cold-processed undenatured whey protein concentrate: Whey protein concentrate is probably the most common form of whey protein you will find. However, how it is processed is where the benefit truly lies. This process of cold processed undenaturization preserves the molecular structure of the amino acid particles as well as the immune boosting benefits that it contains. This undenatured protein is also a rich source of amino acids, including those needed for the synthesis of glutathione, which is an important antioxidant that can be depleted by stress (exercise stress included). This makes it a great foundation for your post workout recovery nutrition.
Cross-flow microfiltered whey protein isolate: whey protein isolate is an extremely “clean” form of whey protein. It yields a higher amount of amino acids, half of which are from the essential amino acids (cannot be made by the body). Microfiltration eliminates a large majority of the fat and lactose from the whey, which makes it easily digestible and quickly absorbed into the body. This cross-flow process uses a highly intricate method to isolate the protein. It is not subjected to chemicals and is thus left in its most natural state.
Milk Protein Isolate: milk protein isolate is obtained through the partial removal of non-protein materials from skim milk (lactose and other minerals). What you are left with is a dry product that contains more than 90% protein by weight. This product contains both casein and whey proteins in their original proportions found in milk, without combining separately produced casein and whey proteins. It contains very little fat and lactose and also has a very high amino acid composition making it a perfect addition to this blend.
This blend has also been specifically configured to provide both rapid and sustained additions to your body’s amino acid profile – meaning your recovery is not only supported immediately after a session but will also carry you to your next meal. On top of that, our flavors are out of this world! We’ve also boosted this protein blend with digestive enzymes that will provide you with all of the confidence that those nutrients you just supplied your body with will do their part in your quest for the optimal result!
DigeSEB Digestive enzyme blend:
One can easily make the argument that dietary enzymes – and in particular, digestive enzymes – are the most consistently underrated and overlooked component to a supplementation regimen. These powerful little protein structures influence or outright control a vast, complex network of bodily functions. In a fitness-specific context, digestive enzymes play an absolutely crucial role in the breaking down of dietary carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into their constitutive parts, and therefore allow your body to use them in various processes (glycogenesis, protein synthesis, etc).
Despite their critical function, many supplement companies overlook the necessity of digestive enzymes and do not include sufficient levels (and kinds) of enzymes in their products. For a whey product, in particular – a compound that requires significant digestion and breakdown – this is madness.
As usual, we take a much more comprehensive, clinical approach than the average. In Core PRO, we have included a digestive enzyme blend called DigeSEB comprised by amylases, proteases, lactases, amylases, and cellulases, allowing for a full and complete breakdown of all PRO’s components. Research suggests that whey absorption through the blood is heavily impacted by its gastric digestibility. Using DigeSEB ensures that the protein – along with its milk and whey sugars and fats – are completely broken down.
DigeSEB ensures that Core PRO not only provides gourmet taste and clinical ingredients within the protein itself, but that your protein also increases the effectiveness of your pre and post-workout nutrition in general.
Coconut Oil Creamer (Medium Chain Triglycerides):
Coconut oil made of 100% Medium chain triglycerides has been shown to have the greatest health benefits. MCTs are made up of a chemical structure that allows them to quickly and effectively bypass gastric uptake for transport directly to the liver for oxidation and then used for energy. Their unusual chemical structure and metabolic process has resulted in MCTs being a focus for a wide range of therapeutic and exercise supplement uses.
In the context of exercise science, recent research has shown that MCTs significantly (up to 65%) increase resting energy expenditure, along with dose-dependently reducing fatty acid deposition in adipose tissue. These results suggest that MCTs are effectively increasing the body’s metabolic response to food intake.