What is the Best Protein Supplement?

In this article I explain why the best protein supplement on the market today is Vega One. Not only is it a protein supplement, but it also provides key nutrients that athletes need for optimal performance and recovery.

When you are involved in intense exercise like playing hockey and working out, some of your muscle cells break down and need to regenerate. One of the key nutrients for rebuilding muscle cells are the amino acids found in protein foods. It is important to provide the building blocks necessary for muscle cell regeneration through optimal nutrition. An athlete’s diet is even more important than the average person because they are always breaking down muscle cells and therefore in need of nutrient-dense foods to rebuild these muscle cells. The speed at which you recover post-exercise is one of the greatest determining factors of athletic success. Therefore, reducing your recovery time between workouts can make a big impact on your overall performance.

Lactic acid production causing fatigue and muscle breakdown

An important concept that is gaining attention in the sports nutrition world is blood pH or the acid-alkaline balance of the blood. When you exercise intensely, like playing hockey or working out, you create lactic acid in your system as a by-product of energy production. This lactic acid production can create a slightly acidic level of your blood pH. Your body will work hard to balance this acidic environment and pull alkaline materials from your blood (minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium) to buffer the acidic blood environment and restore your normal blood pH. Unfortunately, the standard Western diet includes a lot of foods that are acid-forming in the body. An acid-forming diet—high in animal-proteins and low in minerals such as potassium, magnesium or calcium—has long been associated with poor health. In contrast, an alkaline-forming diet can accelerate growth, development and metabolism. Alkaline-forming foods are almost exclusively found in the fruit and vegatable groups. Research has shown that it is possible to efficiently modify pH by diet alone (Wynn, E. Et al. (2010). Positive influence of nutritional alkalinity on bone health. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 69, 166-173).

Since the standard Western diet is acid-forming and low in nutrients, athletes should choose as many whole foods (fresh fruits and vegetables) as possible to improve recovery and overall performance. In order to boost muscle cell regeneration, most high-level athletes should also take a protein supplement after hockey games and workouts. With so many protein supplement choices on the market which one should you choose?

Blended Plant-based Protein versus Whey and Soy

Why should you choose a blended, multi-source, plant-based protein supplement for your post-workout protein boost over traditional whey or soy proteins?

Whey or casein protein are common allergens and can be harder to digest, especially with long term usage. Many people avoid soy because they are sensitive or allergic to soy or are wary about soy phytoestrogens. Both whey and soy protein isolates are also highly acid-forming. Remember, acid-forming foods are not very good for muscle regeneration and can slow recovery. Blended plant-based protein provides a full spectrum of amino acids through complementary sources. Proteins from a variety of plant-based sources can be blended specifically to achieve an optimum protein content and amino acid profile, as well as for digestibility, making them a truly viable—and digestion-friendly—alternative to traditional post- workout protein sources. A blended plant- based protein—for example, the combination of brown rice, pea and hemp—is an excellent, high-quality protein choice. This blend is also alkaline-forming. One of my favorite alklaine, high-quality, plant-based protein supplements is made by Vega.

It’s best to get most of the nutrients you need to nourish your body and support your athletic pursuits from nutrient-dense whole food sources. However, active people have additional nutritional needs that can be met by conscientiously choosing food supplements that offer the key nutrients that help sustain the physical demands of sport.

Dr. Chad Moreau is the President of HockeyOT.com, an online training site dedicated to improving the fitness level of hockey players of all levels. He was the former Strength & Conditioning/Nutrition Consultant for the Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and the Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL). For more information please visit hockeyot.com.

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