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Muscle Gain Truth About Protein Supplements- Are they Necessary

Are Using Protein Supplements Necessary?

Most people would probably assume that building muscle and using supplements go together.  The truth about gaining muscle is when individuals get focused on  muscle building programs and looking more fit, they become open to whatever new product that can help them reach their goals.  As Paul McCarthy (not the ex-Beatle) wrote a some time ago in Physician and Sports Medicine, “Mix one part fact with several parts ignorance; season with advertising, sprinkle on a need for that all-important competitive edge, and you have a recipe for protein supplements”.   So the question becomes, if you maintain good eating habits, are protein supplements necessary?

This Is the Way We Develop Muscle

Before we get into the need for protein supplements, let’s examine how muscles actually develop.  By physically exerting muscle tissues, they are broken down (but of course not damaged or torn).  We consume protein in our diet, which is broken down to produce amino acids.  These are sent into the muscle fiber for repair and rebuilding, and as they are rebuilt they increase slightly in size.  So if in your diet you consume enough protein to appropriately build back the muscles, a protein supplement will not be needed.

How Much Protein do We Need in Our Diet

Muscle Gain TruthNext we have to look at how much protein our body needs to for muscle rebuilding.  More will be required of the high-level athlete who trains harder than the average person working out four times a week for 45 minutes.  Extra protein will be essential during workouts.  But today the average American consumes about 12% of his diet with protein, and with a normal training regimen that should be enough.

User''s Guide Nutritional Supplements

User”s Guide Nutritional Supplements

But if you just want to be safe and consume more protein than you can use, what might be the consequences?  There has been a misconception floating around that because protein will make kidneys work harder, excess protein over a period of time could cause damage to the kidneys.  This may seem logical, but there have been no studies that show a higher amount of kidney issues for athletes and power lifters that consume excessive amounts of protein.

But dehydration could be a problem, as large amounts of protein can lead to water loss when your system disposes of urea.  This is a substance that must be discarded with water after protein is broken down.

So if we don’t have to worry about too much protein doing damage to our kidney, are there any issues we should be concerned with?  It is possible that weight escalation could result from excessive protein.  If a certain food is necessary to meet nutritional needs, and protein certainly is in that category, that in no way implies that by eating more than you need you will be any more fit or healthy.  If there is a surplus over what the body needs, hopefully it will eliminate it, and if not it will go to fat storage.

So are supplements necessary to muscle building?  If you are eating a diet that fulfills all your body needs you are probably now getting all you need.


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