Tag Archives: physical activity

Picking Protein: Weighing the Whey

The mission to achieve optimal health is an evolving journey.  A key component of that journey is finding the best source of nutrients.  In many instances this becomes a case of the least offensive option.  Something that’s going to give you what you’re looking for without leaving too large a trail of collateral damage behind.

Rarely do I find this to be more true than when it comes to protein powder.  Now, in an ideal world all of our protein would safely and conveniently be derived from grass fed animals, free range chickens and eggs, wild fish, etc.  Unfortunately this is not the case and due to convenience, availability and lack of consistently strong alternatives, supplementing with a protein powder is something many (self included) find themselves doing.

All day, everyday we are constantly using protein to carry out life’s functions.  This constant turnover makes it imperative to obtain an adequate amount from an outside source in order to thrive.  Add consequences of life such as elevated stress, physical activity, injury or a virus to the equation and the need for a sustained quality protein source grows .

My personal search for the “best” appears to be a never ending process.  It is a process that also accompanies the search for the best nutritional choices and supplement supply for myself and my patients.  Just when you get comfortable with a product, new research emerges or your own school of thought changes.  Even worse, a report surfaces that your go to product contains traces of antibiotics or metals (true story).

Being that individually we lack the time, knowledge and overall resources to whip up our own concoctions, we will always be at the mercy of a third party manufacturer who to varying degrees, has that bottom line on their mind.  It is our choice and has become my professional and personal duty to avoid the comfort of blissful ignorance and stay diligently abreast on the latest information pertaining to what we put in our one and only body.

One of the most popular, powder protein sources is whey.  And while I personally have not used whey in a couple of years as I try to refrain from dairy products, I do recognize that it does possess many endearing and attractive qualities highlighted by its superior bioavailability.  What I’ve listed below are some buzz words and guide lines to look for if selecting a whey product.

The list is by no means perfect and can be hard to use as a checklist to satisfy all criteria.  It is however a good starting point as you decide which factors are most important to you.  This list has been loosely compiled from research.  Feel free to interject or add your own suggestions as we continue on that quest for the perfect products.

•             NON-DENATURED

WHY:     Traditionally, even the most expensive whey products available (isolates, ion exchange and hydrolyzed) are by-products of cheese manufacture. The milk goes through a heating process at high temperatures (163 degrees F) which damages the whey proteins.

Many manufactured whey proteins are also high in MSG (manufactured glutamic acid), which is toxic to neurological patients. In fact, typical whey protein powders may be detrimental to patients with neurological disorders because they contribute to an excess of glutamate in the body which can damage the nervous system, especially the brain.

True non-denatured whey protein on the other hand, is not a by-product of cheese manufacture; it is a “native” whey protein, which means it is not manufactured at all. It is the optimal natural precursor of glutathione (powerful antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial, detoxifier, etc.). It contains exceptionally high levels of non-denatured Cysteine and Glutamine, the amino acids required for intracellular glutathione production.

•             COLD PROCESSED/MICROFILTERED or ULTRAFILTERED

WHY:     Native Whey protein is obtained through a very specific process that differs from standard whey protein: the proteins are extracted directly from skimmed milk using membrane technologies, preferably COLD PROCESSED or at low temperature (microfiltration and ultrafiltration). The state of the art low temperature process removes casein and lactose to leave only the purest, most biologically active whey protein.

•             NO GROWTH HOMONES or GMOs

It is important to use whey protein from herds that graze on disease-free, pesticide-free, chemical-free, natural grass pastures and the milking of the cows are not subjected to any chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, or injected pathogens.  While some of these may be removed during the filtration process, some remain and can now wreak havoc within your own body.

•             NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS and LOW CARB/SUGAR

•             CONCENTRATE v ISOLATE

Protein isolates are proteins stripped away/isolated from their nutritional cofactors.

Isolates are exposed to acid processing to eliminate the fat, which denatures protein, leaving them deficient in key amino acids and nutritional cofactors.

When you remove fat, you actually remove components of its immune supporting/boosting properties.  Fat provides not only calories; most foods rich in healthful fat – including nuts and seeds like almonds and chia – are carriers of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and phytosterols.

Overall you’re left with an inferior whey protein if you take the fat out.

Do It Yourself Brain Protection

As we know, the brain serves as the master control center for virtually all bodily functions.  However, when most think of the brain, the immediate association pertains to things like thinking, learning, “intelligence,” memory, etc.  Naturally, when we speak of the increasingly prevalent Alzheimer’s and various forms of dementia, we refer to a loss of memory and a decline in function that all stems in the brain.

Well, what if I told you that there is mounting research backing a “do it yourself” method for potentially preventing and even reversing various aspects of cognitive decline?

What if I told you there is a simple way to actually promote growth in your brain and potentially attenuate the degree of inevitable dementia that is a consequence of our body’s mandatory, lifelong breakdown?

What if this remedy cost you nothing but a little bit of time and effort? (I fear I may have lost some right there.)

Would you be interested?

Would you take it a step further and actually do it?

Well my friends, I’m prepared to disclose this ground breaking technique to you all right here, right now, out of the kindness of my heart.  This is a technique that is also one of the top all natural methods to combat other potentially debilitating and life altering conditions such as depression and diabetes.

I’m speaking of a crazy little thing called EXERCISE.  That’s right, I said it.  My apologies if you were expecting more, but why make it more complicated than it is?

As highlighted in a recent article by Dr. Mercola, the powerfully positive affects of physical activity continue to encompass more and more aspects of our health, and now the brain can be included in that impressive list.

“Recent research reveals that exercise promotes a process now known as neurogenesis, i.e., your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, regardless of your age.

The hippocampus, a brain area closely linked to learning and memory, is especially receptive to new neuron growth in response to endurance exercise.

In essence, physical activity produces biochemical changes that strengthen and renew not only your body but also your brain—particularly areas associated with memory and learning.

Non-exercise activity and movement is also critical for optimal health, as explained by Dr. Joan Vernikos. Sitting for extended periods of time is actually an independent risk factor for poor health and premature death. Even if you exercise regularly and are fit, uninterrupted sitting for a great percentage of the time increases your risk of dying prematurely.

Simply standing up, a minimum of 30 times a day is a powerful antidote to long periods of sitting.  The good news is that there are virtually unlimited opportunities for movement throughout the day, from doing housework or gardening, to cooking and even just standing up every 10 minutes.

Ideally, you’d want to make exercise a regular part of your life from as early on as possible. But it’s never too late to start. Even seniors who take up a fitness regimen can improve their cognitive function.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START…

For example, a team at the University of Edinburgh followed more than 600 people, starting at age 70, who kept detailed logs of their daily physical, mental and social habits. Three years later, their brains were imaged for age-related changes, such as brain shrinkage and damage to the white matter, which is considered the “wiring” of your brain’s communication system. Not surprisingly, seniors who engaged in the most physical exercise showed the least amount of brain shrinkage.

Similarly, Kirk Erickson, PhD of the University of Pittsburgh, found that adults aged 60 to 80 walking moderately (just 30 to 45 minutes, three days per week for one year) increased the volume of their hippocampus by two percent. The hippocampus is a region of your brain important for memory.

Ideally, you’ll want to strive for a varied and well-rounded fitness program that incorporates a wide variety of exercises. As a general rule, as soon as an exercise becomes easy to complete, you need to increase the intensity and/or try another exercise to keep challenging your body.

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, more recent research has really turned the spotlight on the importance of non-exercise movement. Truly, the key to health is to remain as active as you can, all day long, but that doesn’t mean you train like an athlete for hours a day. It simply means, whenever you have a chance to move and stretch your body in the course of going about your day—do it!”

As always, this is truly empowering information.  However, the potential power can only be unlocked if you take action and apply the information, SO GET MOVING!!!

Exercise is one of the most important pieces to the holistic puzzle that is your health, and one that is universally applicable to some degree or another.  Piece it together with proper nutrition and neuro-musculoskeletal health and you are well on your way.

If you have any questions about getting started with any of this, please take me up on my offer to help.

I’m here when you’re ready.

REFERENCES:

http://www.neurology.org/content/79/17/1802

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20120716/exercise-may-reduce-risk-alzheimers

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/10/25/exercise-for-brain-health.aspx