More than one sources of protein combined together form protein blends. Each of these protein sources have unique amino acid profile. They also have different rates of digestion. Some of them digest and absorb faster and some digest slow resulting in slower absorption. Combining different slow and fast digesting proteins fulfills different objectives and makes the amino acid profile complete. A protein blend may contain a mix of whey protein, egg white protein and casein or other composition of different sources of protein.
The idea of protein blend for athletes
Sports nutritionists, while planning effective nutritional protein supplement source, realized, different protein supplements have different amino acid profiles, biological value, digestion and absorption time. However, by creating the protein blend which could have a mix of a range of amino acids of different biological values, the nutritional value couldn be effectively provided to the demanding athletes.
Making the Protein blend effective
The secret behind making an effective protein blend is look at the the amino acid profile of the individual protein sources and evaluate their nutritional value. For instance, proteins like Casein, Soy and whey protein are labelled by the Food and Drug administration as complete proteins. They are considered as complete proteins because, they have a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score of 1.00. In simpler words, these proteins have an impressive amino acid profile which the human body can readily digest and assimilate. Hence they make excellent components of a protein blend.
As different protein sources and amino acids serve different purposes, looking at them closely and including them in the right proportion helps the athlete gain the maximum nutrition and functional benefits. Isolated Soy protein which has higher composition of Glutamine , is known to help in faster recovery and immunity, whereas the high arginine content helps in giving that pumped up feeling to the muscles while exercising. If we consider Whey and casein protein, both are rich in branched chain amino acids such as valine and leucine) . They are responsible for preventing muscle breakdown and help in protein synthesis. As discussed in this paragraph, different amino acids have different functions. So depending on the athletes goals and training regime, the nutritionist may choose the protein sources to be included in the blend.
The rate of absorption of particular proteins or amino acids in the protein blend also need to be considered. For example, Casein is absorbed much lower in the body than soy and whey protein. Hence it is ideal to consume casein before bed, as it is absorbed slowly during the sleep and drip feeds the muscles helping in faster recovery. On the contrary the soy isolate and whey get absorbed faster so they should be consumed just after the training or as post workout supplements.
There has been different studies conducted into effectiveness of protein blends, a study conducted recently showed that a composition of 25 % soy isolate, 25 % whey and 50 % casein was better than whey isolate alone. Though the scientists do not know the exact physiological processes underlying this metabolism, protein blends are considered to be more effec in contrast to single source proteins supplements.