Men love muscles and their lust for a muscular physique has been there since ages. The male gender feels that six-pack abs and a muscular body ooze testosterone and are ready to do anything-literally any crazy thing-to boost their muscles right from eating ultra-bulk protein powders to mass-promoting snack bars without knowing their side effects on the body. Gyms and fitness centers too have made this a business-providing supplements for weight loss, weight gain, body building, muscle mass and more. The marketing gimmicks of these people coupled with the people’s utmost desire in building muscle mass has resulted in this becoming a booming market.
We are ready to eat any quantity of meat or drink those protein shakes to develop muscles. But do you realize that there is more to building muscles than simply devouring protein-enriched products? If you are surprised by this and for those genuinely interested in knowing what exists beyond proteins please visit www.firsteatright.com. The rush over protein intake is such that we have forgotten the side effect of overconsumption of this nutrient and this was analyzed by a group of researchers and the results were published in ‘Nature’s Metabolism’ journal.
Amino Acid Amigos
Amino acid are organic compounds that exist as the building blocks of proteins. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of amino acids that are consumed in order to boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. We use the term ‘consumed’ here because they are essential amino acids-meaning they are not produced by the body but must be obtained from food. While BCAAs are acclaimed for reducing fatigue and increasing muscle mass there are scientific proofs backing the fact that we could pay a hefty price for this later in life. The research here specifically focuses on the effect of BCAAs and other essential amino acids such as tryptophan on the health and body composition of mice.
Serotonin is often known as the ‘happiness hormone’ and most of us would be familiar with it. There are even a number of foods quoted that help in increasing the happiness hormone levels in our body. Tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, a hormone also involved in promoting sleep apart from improving your mood but there is more to this hormone beyond the visible advantages and these are not anywhere near to optimistic results.
The research team supplied BCAA supplements to mice that resulted in increased levels of BCAAs in the blood which competed with tryptophan for transport into the brain. This excess BCAA lowers serotonin levels and also leads to overconsumption of food due to increase in appetite in mice that ultimately became obese and had a shorter lifespan.
Mice were fed double the normal amount of BCAAs (200%), standard quantity (100%), half (50%) or one fifth (20%) for life. It was those mice that consumed 200% of BCAAs that resulted in becoming obese and living a shorter lifespan. Many of the protein-rich foods such as red meats, dairy, chicken, fish and eggs are rich sources of BCAAs while vegetarians can depend on beans, lentils, nuts and soy proteins for their share of the amino acid. Tryptophan-rich foods include nuts, seeds, soybeans, cheese, chicken and turkey. It is recommended that people include a variety of foods in their diet to get hold of a variety of essential amino acids that contribute towards the body’s well-being and health. Though a diet rich in protein and low in carbohydrates could be beneficial for reproductive function they do seem to have detrimental effects on health during mid-late life. Maintaining a balance of the different amino acids acquired is very much essential for ensuring good health and is also the best for getting hold of proteins onto your system. Whey protein which has become extremely popular these days is very high in BCAAs. While your gyms might sell them boasting of improved muscle mass think twice before you choose to buy it!
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.