Find the Best Protein Powders, Shakes and Drinks

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Curcumin from turmeric has reduced muscle soreness due to intense exercise in some studies, but not all. Although the protein-supplemented group gained more muscle, their increase in strength was the same as that of the group receiving the lower amount of protein -- a finding which surprised the researchers Longland, AJCN There is some evidence that a certain blood level of vitamin D is needed for normal glucose metabolism in women who are overweight and obese but not diabetic , but it is not clear whether any further benefit is gained with higher blood levels. The study found that adding a weekly testosterone injection mg , with or without the extra protein, had no effect on muscle mass or strength but was associated with a 4. Sarcopenia may increase the risk of falls in older adults Clynes, Calcif Tissue Int When choosing a protein powder, which protein source is best -- whey, casein, soy, pea, rice or egg?

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It is also important to understand differences in the forms of protein, such as concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates. Do glutathione supplements work to prevent aging or for other conditions? Although glutathione plays an important role in the body as an antioxidant, supplementing with glutathione has not been shown to slow aging or help with conditions associated with reduced levels of glutathione, such as cancer, cataracts, diabetes, and HIV infection.

Glutathione is a protein normally made in the body from three amino acids: We get small amounts of glutathione from foods, and this is normally broken back down to amino acids by enzymes in the digestive tract. As discussed in the Glutathione article on ConsumerLab. However, a study in which large amounts of glutathione were given daily for six months did show an increase in glutathione levels.

Nevertheless, there are no studies showing a clinical benefit on any disease or medical condition from taking glutathione supplements. For more information, see the Glutathione article on ConsumerLab.

Also see answers to the following questions: What is the best protein supplement for vegetarians and vegans? As discussed in our review of protein powders , two very good sources of protein — whey and casein protein — are both derived from milk, so products that contain these may be suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans.

Whey and casein are both complete proteins, meaning that they contain all of the essential amino acids. Whey protein is particularly high in branched-chain amino acids, which are important to replenish after exercise and are needed for maintaining muscle. If you prefer plant-based protein or are vegan, protein powders made from soy, rice, pea and hemp, or a mix of these sources, can be good choices.

Soy protein is a complete protein, and is considered the most "heart healthy" -- but should not be taken if you have a soy allergy or thyroid condition. Rice and pea proteins can also provide all of the essential amino acids, and some studies have found them to be equal to whey in increasing strength and muscle when taken after resistance exercise. Hemp can also provide all of the essential amino acids, and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acid arginine, although there is little research on its use for muscle building or sports recovery.

Be aware that although these plant-based proteins provide all the essential amino acids, the ratios of these vary by protein source. Consequently, it's generally recommended that a mixture of sources be used, such as combining a grain-based protein, like rice, with a legume-based protein like pea protein. Arsenic contamination is a concern in rice-based products -- see the Warning and Quality Concerns for more about this; however, ConsumerLab.

See the ConsumerTips section of the Protein Powders Review for more about these different types of protein. Also see our Top Picks among supplements made from each protein source.

To be sure a protein supplement does not contain any added ingredients which are non-vegetarian or non-vegan ingredients, you can check the full Ingredients List provided for each protein supplement tested by ConsumerLab. Which supplements can help lower or control my blood sugar? Many different supplements may help lower or control blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who experience hyperglycemia when blood glucose rises higher than normal.

These supplements are discussed below. More details about each, including dosage, drug interactions, potential side effects, and ConsumerLab. Due to the seriousness of hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your physician regarding use of these supplements.

Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled with medication. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. Curcumin from turmeric may improve blood sugar levels, according to preliminary studies, and one study found curcumin to dramatically lower the chances of prediabetes in middle-aged, slightly overweight men and women with somewhat higher than normal blood sugar levels.

Alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, although it may only slightly reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. Chromium picolinate may help some people with type 2 diabetes decrease fasting blood glucose levels as well as levels of insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c.

However, be aware that high doses may worsen insulin sensitivity in healthy people who are not obese or diabetic. Having adequate blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of insulin resistance in people who are obese. There is some evidence that a certain blood level of vitamin D is needed for normal glucose metabolism in women who are overweight and obese but not diabetic , but it is not clear whether any further benefit is gained with higher blood levels.

In healthy people, consuming a moderate amount of olive oil with a meal has been shown to reduce increases in blood sugar after the meal compared to the same meal consumed with corn oil. In people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, olive oil may improve glucose metabolism.

Increasing dietary fiber , especially insoluble fiber from cereal and grains, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and modestly lower HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes Martin, J Nutr ; Post,J Am Board Fam Med In people with type 1 diabetes, 50 grams of dietary fiber per day has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce hypoglycemic events Giacco, Diabetes Care The American Dietetic Association states that "diets providing 30 to 50 g fiber per day from whole food sources consistently produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a low-fiber diet.

Ginseng , both American and Korean Red ginseng from Panax ginseng , may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to preliminary research. Drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal may help to lessen increases in blood sugar after the meal in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.

Silymarin, a component of milk thistle , may decrease blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes, and reduce insulin resistance in people with coexisting diabetes and alcoholic cirrhosis. Inulin, a type of prebiotic , may improve measures of blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes, although it did not improve blood sugar levels or insulin resistance in a study of prediabetic men and women.

Berberine a compound found in plants such as barberry , Oregon grape and goldenseal may reduce blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, according to a few small studies.

Fenugreek may help to lower blood sugar, according to preliminary studies, and one study found fenugreek extract to significantly improve some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes.

D-ribose , often promoted for energy or sports performance, may also lower blood sugar levels Fenstad, Internet J Nutr Wellness White mulberry Moruns alba or Morus indica has been traditionally used in Asia to help treat type 2 diabetes, and there is some preliminary evidence to support this use.

Mulberry leaf extract species not given may lessen increases in blood sugar after ingestion of table sugar in healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes Mudra, Diabetes Care There is mixed evidence as to whether CoQ10 may lower blood sugar.

To be safe, people with diabetes or who take medication to lower blood sugar should consult a physician before using. Preliminary evidence suggests certain other supplements, including aloe , ashwagandha , ginkgo , green coffee bean extract , glucosamine , black cohosh , rhodiola , reishi mushroom and tart cherry juice may lower blood sugar. While there is not enough clinical research to support the use of these supplements for this purpose, it's important to keep this in mind, as they could enhance the blood sugar lowering effect of other supplements or medications you may be taking.

CLA conjugated linoleic acid , a popular supplement for slimming, may worsen blood sugar control in diabetics and in obese people without diabetes. Mercury poisoning attacks the nervous system, causing drooling, hair loss, uncontrollable muscle twitching, a lurching gait, and difficulties in talking and thinking clearly. Stumbling about in a confused state with slurred speech and trembling hands, affected hatters were sometimes mistaken for drunks.

The ailment became known as "The Danbury Shakes". In very severe cases, they experienced hallucinations. Synonyms and related keywords: Acute mercury exposure has given rise to psychotic reactions characterized by delirium, hallucinations, and suicidal tendency. Occupational exposure has resulted in erethism , with irritability , excitability , excessive shyness , and insomnia as the principal features of a broad-ranging functional disturbance. With continuing exposure, a fine tremor develops, initially involving the hands and later spreading to the eyelids, lips, and tongue, causing violent muscular spasms in the most severe cases.

The tremor is reflected in the handwriting which has a characteristic appearance. In milder cases, erethism and tremor regress slowly over a period of years following removal from exposure. Decreased nerve conduction velocity in mercury-exposed workers has been demonstrated.

Long-term, low-level exposure has been found to be associated with less pronounced symptoms of erethism, characterized by fatigue, irritability, loss of memory, vivid dreams, and depression WHO, The crazy Mad Hatter of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is becoming widely associated with the effects of Mercury on behavior as well as physiology.

Mercury was used to process the felt hats used in England around Lewis' time. Erratic, flamboyant behavior was one of the most evident alterations caused by mercury. Others included excessive drooling, mood swings, various debilities. The study found that adding a weekly testosterone injection mg , with or without the extra protein, had no effect on muscle mass or strength but was associated with a 4.

Along the same lines, a five-month study among women in Japan aged 65 to 80 years who were already getting adequate protein from their diet found that consuming Maintaining muscle and improving fat loss during dieting: All participants ate similar prepared meals and consumed 3 to 4 drinks per day of a dairy beverage which, for some, contained added whey protein isolate about 34 extra grams per drink but also less fat to offset the calories of the extra protein.

Although the protein-supplemented group gained more muscle, their increase in strength was the same as that of the group receiving the lower amount of protein -- a finding which surprised the researchers Longland, AJCN Diabetes, blood sugar and insulin response: A small, one-day study in people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal resulted in improved insulin response compared to those who did not receive the protein.

In the study, 15 men and women whose diabetes was well controlled with the medications sulfonylurea or metformin drank either 50 g whey protein in ml water or plain water before a high glycemic meal. A longer-term study of 30 men and women with type 2 diabetes in the U. Normal physical activity was maintained and one-to-one weekly counseling support was provided. Over the next two weeks, shakes were gradually replaced with solid foods and a diet providing adequate calories for weight maintenance.

The reversal of diabetes was sustained for the next 6 months during which participants continued with an individualized weight maintenance diet and physical activity was encouraged. On average, participants lost 31 lbs during the first 8 weeks and remained close to the lower weight for the duration of the study Steven, Diabetes Care Food and Drug Administration FDA , nor any other federal or state agency, routinely tests nutrition powders and drinks for quality prior to sale.

However, most problems, and the magnitude of such problems, can be determined only with laboratory testing. As pointed out in an article in the Journal of Nutrition about the quality of protein supplements Maughan, J of Nutr , other potential issues include the absence of active ingredients, inclusion of unwanted or harmful substances, and poor manufacturing practices.

The article cites ConsumerLab. The article concludes that risks associated with protein powders can be reduced by using only products that have been tested by quality assurance programs such as ConsumerLab. Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal and known carcinogen which can damage organs.

Arsenic contamination can be a concern with products made from rice, including protein powders made from rice. In , FDA tests found arsenic levels in twelve rice protein supplements product names were not provided to range between 0. The cancer-warning threshold of the State of California is 10 mcg of arsenic per daily serving, meaning that if someone consumed more than one serving of some of these products in one day, they could exceed this amount.

Several years ago, a quality concern specific to protein products was contamination with melamine. Melamine has been illegally used in place of protein in some products because it is cheaper than protein but can make poor quality or diluted material appear to be higher in protein by elevating the total nitrogen content detected by simple protein tests.

Kidney stones, kidney failure and death were reported in and due to melamine used in place of protein in pet foods, milk, and infant formulas. Consequently, products in the current review were not tested for melamine. A study of contaminants in popular protein powders published in indicated that the majority contained detectable amounts of arsenic Egg- and milk-based proteins contained the smallest amounts of metals.

Review of the published data which lacked product names by ConsumerLab, however, showed that, based on a 35 gram serving, none of the samples exceeded reasonable safety limits for arsenic or mercury, but 10 exceeded limits for cadmium and three for lead. The average detectable amount of cadmium per serving was only 1.

In ConsumerLab's experience, elevated cadmium in protein powder tends to be due to chocolate flavoring with cocoa powder a known source of cadmium , not the protein ingredient itself. The average detectable amount of lead was 0. Not surprisingly, "organic" products contained about twice the concentration of heavy metals as other products — an issue ConsumerLab has noted in its reviews over the years. The products were first evaluated to make sure that their listed ingredients and claims were in compliance with FDA labeling regulations.

Products were then tested for the accuracy of their label claims regarding total calories, total carbohydrates, total sugars, total protein, total fat including a breakout of saturated fat and trans fat , sodium and cholesterol.