There is no more effective buzzword from a marketing standpoint than to boast how much protein your product contains. Because the more protein you take, the bigger and stronger your muscles get, right? Again, WRONG!
Endurance athletes certainly have higher protein needs than sedentary individuals. But assuming you maintain a reasonable daily diet, you should still receive more than enough protein to meet your energy and muscle building needs, and special supplementation should not be necessary (1, 2, 3). You will just be making expensive urine.
For moderate-intensity endurance athletes, a total daily dose of 1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram per day (approximately 80-100 grams per day for someone weighing 70 kilograms or 150 pounds) should be sufficient based on current research (1, 2, 3, 4). This is assuming, of course, adequate energy intake in your daily diet. But even among elite athletes, research has shown that the needs do not go beyond 1.6 grams per kilogram per day (3, 4). A typical endurance athlete’s diet contains approximately 1.8 grams per kilogram per day for males and 1.2 grams per kilogram per day for females (2). In other words, as long as you are taking in a reasonable diet, you should be fine as far as protein intake goes.
Does that mean there is no role at all for additional supplementation? Not so fast. Branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine), or BCAAs, have been shown to reduce central fatigue during endurance competition (5, 17). Central fatigue, as opposed to peripheral fatigue, is that sense of exhaustion you feel in your mind as competition wears on, despite your muscles feeling like they can still give much more.
The mechanisms behind central fatigue are still relatively unknown. But research has suggested that increased levels of serotonin in the brain are at least partly responsible (5, 8, 9, 10, 15, 18). Serotonin is produced in the brain from the amino acid tryptophan, and, during endurance exercise, free tryptophan (i.e. not protein bound) is transported into the brain at an increased rate (5, 11, 14). Therefore, decreasing the amount of free tryptophan entering the brain should delay the central fatigue during endurance competition.
One approach to this is to increase the amount of BCAAs in the bloodstream, because they compete with free tryptophan for transport into the brain. And research has demonstrated that with BCAA administration, less tryptophan enters the brain and central fatigue is reduced (5, 14). Although whether this is due to less serotonin (5) or fewer other tryptophan metabolites (14) being produced remains controversial.
The catch is that with increasing BCAA supplementation, more ammonia is likely to be produced (12, 15, 16, 17). And ammonia is, like serotonin, also a mediator of fatigue (13, 15). So with BCAAs and endurance exercise, there has to be a balance between having enough BCAAs to be beneficial (5, 7, 14, 17), but not having too much to generate excessive ammonia (12, 16).
Ultra 26™ products are designed with this research in mind, to contain the optimal blend of protein to decrease central fatigue during endurance exercise, and then enhance recovery when you finish.
Remember, it’s not “the more protein, the better”. Its the right protein at the right dose at the right time that counts. Use Ultra 26™ and let science, not buzzphrases, guide your supplementation!
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