Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (2017).


Protein helps to build, maintain, and repair your muscles. It improves your body’s response to athletic training and helps shorten the time you need to recover after exercise. Protein is made from amino acids. Your body makes some amino acids but needs to get others (known as essential amino acids or EAAs) from food. Animal foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products contain all of the EAAs. Plant foods like grains and legumes contain different EAAs, so eating a diet containing different types of plant-based foods is one way to get all EAAs. Most protein powders and drinks contain whey, a protein in milk that provides all the EAAs.

DOES IT WORK? Adequate protein in your diet provides the EAAs necessary for making muscle proteins and reduces the breakdown of proteins in your muscles. You might need more protein for a short time when you’re training intensely or if you reduce your food intake to improve your physique or achieve a competition weight.
IS IT SAFE? High intakes of protein seem to be quite safe.

If you are an athlete, you can probably eat enough foods that contain protein to meet your needs for protein. If needed, protein supplements and protein-fortified food and beverage products can help you get enough protein. Sports-science experts recommend that athletes consume high-quality protein (from animal foods and/or a mix of different plant foods) every 3 to 5 hours, including before sleep and within 2 hours after exercising.

There is no benefit to consuming more than recommended amounts.

REMARK Many performance supplements in the marketplace contain more than one ingredient, and ingredients can work differently when they’re combined. Because most ingredient combinations have not been studied, it is not known how effective or safe they are in improving performance.

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