When you take up a new exercise regime or health kick itâ€™s natural to want to make it a success and do everything you can to help yourself. Â For years gym-goers have been told that upping their protein intake can boost a workout, particularly if they want to accelerate muscle growth, but now new research suggest that popular artificial supplements could be doing more harm than good.
Protein is essential to help muscles, skin and hair to grow, and low carbohydrate/high protein diets have also been proven to aid weightloss. Protein is found naturally in red meat, beans and pulses and dairy products, but since the late 1970s it has also been available as a supplement.
Protein supplements, such as whey, typically come in powder form which are then added to water, juice or milk and consumed before and after a workout to support muscle growth and development. These enhancers are commonly used by bodybuilders and weightlifters but the British Diabetic Association (BDA) claims that they could have a dangerous effect on your body, including kidney and liver damage and heightened aggression.
So could excessive protein affect you? If youâ€™ve suffered from nausea or aggression following ingesting protein shakes or bars then the answer could be yes.
The danger comes when taking additional protein on top of an already protein-rich diet (which is often suggested to gym bunnies who are looking to improve muscle size, weight loss and enhancing their workouts) and the side effects can also include weight gain, chest pain and hyperfiltration of the kidneys.
Excessive intake of protein supplements has also reportedly caused noticeable aggression in users. One of the reasons for this is that the powders and supplements are highly processed and can contain numerous chemicals and even metals, such as lead and mercury â€“ the latter of which can contribute to mood swings and depression.
Synthetic vs Natural Supplements
Enhancers containing the ingredient DMAA have recently been pulled from the shelves after the Food Standards Agency declared the chemical to be dangerous to health. Even trials in dogs and mice have shown that higher levels of protein can lead to aggression.
So what are the alternatives if you feel that you need an extra boost of protein? Aside from a healthy, balanced diet you could invest in organic and natural protein sources such as Spirulina. This â€˜superfoodâ€™ is made of around 60% protein, is suitable for vegans and also rich in omega 3, vitamin A and it has been known to ease mild depression.
When considering making dietary changes or undertaking a new exercise regime, be sure to do your research and donâ€™t forget to consult your doctor or sports dietician if you have any concerns about any supplements you might be taking.
As with any medical treatments you might buy online, make sure you buy from a reputable site, such as Doctor Fox, that offers consultations with GMC registered doctors.