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View Full Version : Amino Spiking Protein Powder...I am missing something?



Sparty92
05-13-2015, 02:30 AM
Hi everyone. I just purchased Muscle tech Phase 8 protein powder and thought sweet BCAAs in my protein. Would mean I dont need to buy 2 products anymore. I understand that the BCAA additive juices the protein number but I am still getting 23 to 24 grams like my old shake plus the BCAAs. It not like MT tries to hide the BCAA additives. Anyhow I have seen a lot of bad reviews because of amino spiking and unless the company was lying about numbers I dont see what the big deal is. More knowledgeable folks let me know am I missing something else, cause I dont see the downside? BTW the chocolate milk is tasty!
Thanks for any thoughts and feedback.

is304
05-13-2015, 06:21 PM
To add my 2 cents - here's how spiking works.

There are three macronutrient groups - fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Fats consist mainly of carbon chains with hydrogen attached to them, with a little bit of oxygen. Carbohydrates are rings of carbon and oxygen with more oxygen and hydrogen attached, then those rings link into chains. Proteins are chains of carbon and nitrogen with all sorts of "stuff" (radicals) attached to them - the order in which the radicals are attached defines what the protein does - and they do a lot, from carrying oxygen in blood (hemoglobin), to breaking down alcohol (catalase) and, of course, moving you around (muscle fibers).

Now, the differnce between proteins and other nutrients - proteins have a lot more nitrogen. So, to test whether food has protein in it, most labs simply test whether it has nitrogen. Now, on averaqge a molecule of protein has so much of nitrogen, so a number of labs uses the following logic: if nitrogen content of whey protein is 5% (I made up this number, please don't quote me on that), and this sample has 1 gram of nitrogen, then it has 20 gram of protein. This is how they check whether the supplement has enough protein, because an alternative would be to break up protein into aminoacids and count them, and that's much more difficult.

Now, because the nitrogen count is used as a proxy for protein, some suppliers can cheat by mixing cheap stuff, such as creatine, into their proteins. Creatine is a small molecule that has three atoms of nitrogen per three atoms of carbon (to compare, valine - a BCAA - has 1 atom of nitrogen per 5 atoms of carbon). So, technically a mixture of creatine and whey protein concentrate (half of which could be fat and lactose) can show the same nitrogen count as whey protein isolate, which is nearly all protein (producing creatine and whey concentrate is cheaper than whey isolate). There are several problems with it.

First - you are lied to for no good reason, and that alone is pretty bad.
Second - you don't get what you pay for. When you buy protein you want protein because it builds muscle. 3g of creatine may have as much nitrogen as 10g of whey protein, but if you take 10g of whey protein after a strenuous workout half of it becomes muscle. Doesn't sound like much, but do it 5 days a week for a year, and you get 3lbs of muscle. Now, how much creatine is used to build muscle? None. Creatine is not used to build muscle. (It is used to recharge your energy, so if you don't have enough creatine you don't perform either, but that's a different story.) So, you get cheated of muscle.
Third - you get what you don't pay for. A little extra of creatine can't kill most people, but for a competitive athlete who is already maxed out on supplements this little extra can put stress on heart and kidneys. Plus, I've read that now people who recover from surgery or severe burns are told to get protein supplements because they help regenerate faster - and those people need real protein.

Robert said it right - make sure that the first (better yet - the only) ingredient is protein isolate. The company I buy from lists the ingredients by weight - so while I pay extra, I know exactly what I get.

phil_goodman
05-13-2015, 08:55 PM
I don't get the non-essential list. I thought all alpha-amino acids -- the standard 20 -- were essential. For instance alanine accounts for something like 8% of the mass of proteins in the human body. Is it that ubiquity that is responsible for the the non-essential tag? Because it is so common and thus so easy to consume?

is304
05-13-2015, 09:41 PM
I don't get the non-essential list. I thought all alpha-amino acids -- the standard 20 -- were essential. For instance alanine accounts for something like 8% of the mass of proteins in the human body. Is it that ubiquity that is responsible for the the non-essential tag? Because it is so common and thus so easy to consume?

Based on Wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amino_acid) there are 9 essential and 11 or 12 conditionally essential. The essential are the ones our body cannot produce. Conditionally essential are the ones our body can produce from essential. The non-essentials our body can produce on its own from carbs, fats, and minerals.

What you may be referring to are 20 proteinogenic - the ones that are used in constructing protein.