Muscle Milk -- Side Effects and Benefits
Muscle Milk Side Effects
Muscle Milk is a relatively new protein product that basically has the usual side effects that many proteins have including things like:
- Abdominal cramps
But probably the biggest unwanted effect of muscle milk is the cost. Sure, it has a lot of bells and whistles, but Muscle Milk is really a combination between a quick release protein like whey protein, a slower release protein, and medium chain triglyceride fats for energy. The reason why I was first intrigued by Muscle Milk was because the producers of Muscle Milk claimed that they designed it after actual human mother's milk. This surprised me because babies often build large stores of fat that stay with them for many months after they're finished breastfeeding. Yet Muscle Milk claims the opposite, that it promotes efficient fat burning and lean muscle growth. Muscle Milk in fact has around 330 calories according to GNC and one of the Muscle Milk side effects is unwanted weight gain due to high calorie intake and not enough fat burning.
G-amine, which is one of the ingredients used in Muscle Milk has been shown to elevate levels of a compound known as homocysteine in the blood. This has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. In addition to this, people suffering from diabetes should be careful when considering Muscle Milk because of the L-Glutamate that's used in Muscle Milk, because it can have some unpredictable effects on blood sugar. Another reported Muscle Milk side effect is bloating and gas. This is because of a compound called Crystalline Fructose, which is the main ingredient in Muscle Milk. There have also been reports that one of the Muscle Milk side effects is an adverse effect on the reproductive system. I've been doing a lot of research to find out if this claim is accurate, but I haven't been able to find anything. This may be due to the fact that people often combine Cytosport, which is the powder form of Muscle Milk, with soy milk. Since soy is being shown more and more to have estrogenic effects on the body, this may be how Muscle Milk is said to effect the reproduction system negatively.
My Preferred Protein and Energy Supplements
I use a couple natural products to really give me a nice boost to energy levels during a workout, and a great dose of protein for building muscle. First, I take a scoop of coconut oil, because of its high content of a certain type of fat, medium chain triglycerides. The body prefers to burn these rather than store them, and as a result, you get a nice consistent boost of energy throughout your workout. There are a number of other benefits as well, and if you want to read more, check out my article on MCT Oil and Medium Chain Triglyceride Sources. Second, I take a simple whey protein after the workout. Whey has been shown to be one of the best proteins at helping the body to repair muscle tissue. It gets absorbed super quickly by the digestive system and gets amino acids into the bloodstream fast. It's hard to beat whey, not only in terms of effectiveness, but also in terms of cost. I've left you a link below to my favorite form of coconut oil, and my favorite whey protein.
Muscle Milk Benefits
Even though Muscle Milk is high in calories and fats, the producers claim that the combination found in Muscle Milk is ideal for fat burning and muscle building. Even though this sounds backward, it could actually be true. The fats present in Muscle Milk are generally medium chain tryglicerides and are readily absorbed and burned by the body. In addition, Muscle Milk is high in certain amino acids that promote fat burning. Carnitine in particular is involved in transporting fats directly into the mitochondria of the cell, which is the cell's power plant responsible for generating energy. So having a nice balance of Carnitine and healthy fats can actually give a person quite a boost in energy. Still, if you're taking Muscle Milk and are experiencing unwanted fat gains as a side effect, you might want to discontinue use and go with a different protein powder. Muscle Milk is formulated specifically with fat burning and lean muscle building in mind, but it reacts differently with different body types and metabolisms, so you should definitely figure out how it affects you personally.
I also think that Muscle Milk is interesting because of its nutritional content. Muscle Milk contains high concentrations of both Vitamin A and Vitamin D. In fact, Muscle Milk contains the bovine, or cow, equivalent of a compound known as Colostrum, which is a compound found just after birth. As you can imagine, Colostrum is very nutritious and contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. This is the part that really makes Muscle Milk different from other proteins. This is also what makes Muscle Milk not generally a post workout protein. It will definitely work post workout, and you'll see some nice gains, but many people take Muscle Milk before a workout as well. The product manufacturers recommend that "For Best Results" a person should take Muscle Milk after waking up, before a workout, after a workout, and before bed. But who wants to drink a protein shake 4 times a day? What that really says to me is that it really doesn't matter when you take Muscle Milk.