Should you mix bcaas with protein powder? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman answers this questions and also :
Good morning, Family of Fast. Matt Mosman, the Chief Endurance Officer over at EndurElite. As endurance athletes, I know you all have a lot of questions about nutrition, and supplements, and training. And beyond that, I know it's hard to find really good answers to your questions with all the bullshit on the internet and the bro science floating around. So, at EndurElite, we aim to deliver answers to your questions based on research and facts. So, today, just like Karl "The Mailman" Malone, I'm here to deliver some answers to some frequently asked questions.
So, over the past few weeks, I've been kind of collecting questions I get asked on a frequent basis and kind of put them into categories, and once a week from now on, we're gonna shoot a video that addresses three or four of these questions I received from the Family of Fast. Now, today, the topics are all gonna be centered around something very, very popular, and that is protein. So, here are the questions we are gonna answer today. One, should you be mixing BCAAs with protein? Question number two, do you absolutely need to eat protein within 30 minutes after exercise? Question number three, is too much protein bad for your kidneys? And then to top it all off, we're gonna answer the question if your body can use more than 30 grams of protein in one sitting.
So, let's go back to the first question. Do you need or should you mix BCAAs in a protein powder? Now, the answer isn't straightforward. The answer is yes and no. So, let's go to the no part first. If your protein, like this NutraBio whey protein isolate, has about 20 to 30 grams of protein, there's really no need to add any BCAAs to it. This is because, when you get protein in that amount from a high-quality protein, like an isolate or a whey protein concentrate that's at least 80% pure protein, you're gonna get roughly 2.5 to 3 grams of naturally occurring leucine.
Now, this is important because we take protein to basically stimulate a process called muscle protein synthesis that leads to muscle repair and recovery. But with muscle protein synthesis, the main trigger of it is leucine, which is found in protein powders, and as long as that leucine value is 2.5 to 3 grams, there's really no need to add additional BCAAs because it's not gonna stimulate muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent. So, on the other hand, if the protein you're taking is poor quality or it has less than 20 grams of protein, it may be a good idea to add supplemental BCAAs or EAAs to the protein, basically so you can get that leucine value back up to 2.5 to 3 grams to optimally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
So, again, if you're getting 20 to 30 grams of protein from a high-quality protein powder, again, like something like NutraBio whey protein isolates, there's really no need to add the BCAAs or EAAs. You're just basically wasting your money. It's not gonna do anything. But if it's less than that, you know, it's not gonna hurt, and honestly, I would save like BCAAs and EAAs and use them in between meals as a snack with a carbohydrate. And this is just to basically keep muscle protein synthesis elevated, which we're gonna get into here in a second. So, that's the answer to question number one.
Question number two, do you have to have protein immediately after exercise or within 30 minutes after exercise? Now, this is commonly referred to as the anabolic window, and you've probably been told your whole life that it's absolutely critical to get protein in immediately after exercise. Now, while I don't have a problem with this, it's not absolutely necessary. This is kind of a myth. But here's what's more important. It's not necessarily the timing right after a workout that's most important for muscle repair and growth, it's more based on the total quantity of protein throughout the day, first and foremost.
So, as an endurance athlete, if you're getting about 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram body weight, maybe a little more in some circumstances if you're strength training, you're getting enough protein on a daily basis to basically promote muscle repair and recovery. On the same token too, timing is a little bit important, but not within that 30 minutes. I mean, optimally, I mean, you wanna get it within like that first two hours, but even more importantly is the timing of protein throughout the day. So, you wanna aim to eat anywhere from 20 to 30 grams of protein, or a BCAA or EAA, every three to four hours to keep muscle protein synthesis elevated.
So, when you eat a protein, muscle protein synthesis, or the amino acids in the blood, kind of go like this. They spike real quickly and then they start to decline. So if you were to take like a whey protein concentrate, muscle protein synthesis really spikes within the 30 minutes after consuming it, and then it gradually declines for the next three to four hours, maybe again depending on the protein. So, that's when, again, you wanna have more protein to spike muscle protein synthesis again to keep muscle repair and recovery on track.
So, anabolic window, a little bit of a myth. It's perfectly okay to have protein within that first 30 minutes after exercise, but it's not critical to your gains. On the other hand, I would consume carbohydrates immediately after exercise when the muscle is more sensitive for uptaking it into itself to replenish glycogen, and I'll link an article on how you wanna do that with carbohydrate. Now, that's the answer to question number two.
Question number three, is eating too much protein bad for your kidneys? Is it gonna destroy your kidneys? And the answer is no. There is no lick of scientific evidence produced in the last 100 years that shows eating higher amounts of protein leads to kidney damage. Now, this myth was based on a case study, I believe, 20 years ago, where this individual had a pre-existing kidney issue and he was eating higher amounts of protein, and the dumb-ass doctors, they said, "Oh, this higher protein is basically killing you." Which, it kind of is, but that pre-existing kidney issue was in place, which was, really, kind of spun this myth out of control.
So, there's some, actually, some cool research here too, done by Jose Antonio, and he basically took a group of people and he made them eat 4 grams of protein per kilogram body weight daily for, I believe, it was six months, so four times over the recommended daily allowance for protein according to the RDA. And at the end of the research study, they did some basic metabolic panels, some blood tests, they tested kidney and liver function, measured AST and ALT, and they found eating that higher amounts of protein had no negative effects on any of those things. Now, do you need to go overboard on eating a lot of protein? No, absolutely not, but if you're eating more protein, it's not gonna destroy your kidneys, not at all. So, that's the answer to question number three.
And let's finish this up. Question number four, can your body utilize more than 30 grams of protein in one sitting? And you've probably been told that, no, your body can only absorb and use 30 grams of protein in one sitting. And this is just not true, and this is the way you've got to look at it. There's a difference between muscle protein synthesis and whole body protein synthesis. So, if you were to eat 70 grams of protein, you know, it's going to stimulate muscle protein synthesis up to a point, similarly to if you were to eat 30 grams, but the remainder of that will basically help with whole body protein synthesis. So, you know, if you eat a lot of protein, you're not just gonna piss it out as uric acid or it's not gonna go someplace else, magically. It's just used for whole body protein synthesis.
And, again, do you need to eat more than 30 grams of protein in one sitting? Not necessarily. If you're just looking to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, muscle repair and recovery, you know, the 30 grams of protein is gonna do it. Maybe a little bit higher if your body weight is a little bit higher, but if you eat more than that, really, not a big deal. It just goes to...or it's whole body protein synthesis.
So, that is all I have for today, my endurance friends. I hope those answers, well, answer those questions, provide some good information for you to take home and to spread out in the world to combat all the bro science. Now, comment below with any topics you want me to cover next week as it relates to endurance training, nutrition, and supplementation. So, if you want other videos like this, or if you wanna keep up-to-date to videos like this, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get all social with us on the Instagram and Facebook, and until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.