Protein powder is a dietary supplement that is made from one or more of four basic sources of protein: whey, eggs, soy and rice. These concentrated sources of protein are processed into powdered form, which can be reconstituted into liquid form as a protein shake when mixed with water, fruit juice or milk. Protein powder also can be sprinkled on cereal, stirred into soups or stews, mixed into other types of food or cooked into baked goods and other meals. Bodybuilders and athletes have long relied on protein powder to make sure that they get the high levels of protein needed to build up their muscles through lifting weights and exercise. Research has shown that ingesting protein powder every day also can boost immune system health, facilitate the healing of wounds after surgery or injury and promote healthy skin.
Why Protein is Important
The human body needs protein daily because that is the substance from which muscles and tissues are built, and there is no place where the body can store extra protein. The need for adequate protein in the human body is second only to the need for water. People who follow healthy diets get plenty of protein through the daily intake of various food combinations. Some people, however, like to supplement their protein intake with a protein powder or occasionally substitute a fast, easy protein shake for a meal.
Protein powder is designed to be taken every day as a dietary supplement. Even for someone who isn't a bodybuilder, starting the day with a protein shake can provide nutritional benefits. Many nutritionists advise consuming protein throughout the day, but a healthy boost of protein first thing in the morning can help the body stabilize its blood sugar levels throughout the rest of the day.
Some studies have indicated that a steady amount of excess protein might be unhealthy, especially for people who have liver or kidney problems. The recommended daily dose is based on weight, age and activity levels. Athletes should consult a nutritionist who specializes in sports medicine. Others can consult a healthcare professional or check the recommendations from health agencies.
There are many brands of protein powder on the market. These products are available in a range of flavors and at various prices. People who are shopping for protein powder can find it at health food stores, many grocery chains and online.