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The Effects of Protein Powder in Teen Athletes

By Carson Boddicker

The consumption of a high-protein diet has been demonized in popular media outlets, citing that excessive protein powder consumption may damage the kidneys and increase the risk of bodily harm. These claims lack veracity is almost all cases except those in which a preexisting kidney disease is present, says nutritional biochemist, John Berardi, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas. Protein supplements in reasonable doses can result in a number of healthful benefits.

Increased Metabolism

Dr. Rick Hursel's research in the March 2010 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition demonstrates that teens who consumed a smoothie with added whey protein powder had greater metabolic rates throughout the day and decreased appetite. Dr. Hursel suggests that athletes who consume some protein-rich food during breakfast may induce an increase in metabolic rate, which may also help reduce the incidence of metabolic disease, such as diabetes, and help facilitate an increase in healthy muscle tissue.

Improved Recovery

Teen athletes frequently exhaust themselves in training during sport practices and strength training sessions. The consumption of two scoops of whey protein powder following any training session can expedite muscular recovery, ultimately reducing the risk of overtraining syndromes, says Dr. John Ivy of the University of Texas. For an added improvement in recovery, Dr. Ivy suggests adding a serving of high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as a sports drink, to the recovery meal.

Improved Immune Function

The immune system is vital in protecting athletes from a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to more sinister diseases. Adding protein powder following training can improve the function of the immune system by providing it with peptides called immunoglobins in whey protein powder, says Dr. Ivy. Immunoglobins enhance the immune system by providing energy for the system and also by providing building blocks of many of the cells involved in protecting the body from illness.

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