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Gluten Free Fitness

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Gaspari’s New Myofusion Probiotic: Gluten Free Protein Powder Review

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Gaspari Nutrition has been a very gluten free friendly company to deal with in the sports supplement industry.

And for that, I extend a huge thank you to the company in general and all the associates I have had contact with.

Myofusion probiotic

I first corresponded with Gaspari regarding their gluten free products back in September 2009.  They were very helpful then, and continue to be helpful.  In fact, they have recently added a new protein powder to their product line, the Myofusion Probiotic which is marketed as gluten free.  When I heard this exciting news, I contacted Gaspari directly to confirm.  Sean at Gaspari was very helpful and assured me that the product is gluten free.   They do not currently have a gluten free certification, but are moving in that direction.  (YAY!!)

The powder is not made in a dedicated gluten free facility, but the facility is SQF 2000 level 3 certified, which means that stringent controls are in place for allergen control.  (If you are interested, here is the SQF 2000 code, and the section on allergen control is 6.13.  Because I’m a nerd like that.)

Myofusion Pro has no gluten, aspartame, or artificial colors.  It has a shelf stable probiotic blend, and is amazingly very tasty.  It is a blend of different protein sources (it is NOT vegan or dairy free) but because of that it behaves nicely in baking.  And it tastes awesome just in a shaker cup with water, which is generally how I take my protein powder anyway.  (Or made like a pudding with a sliced banana-it’s like a chocolate covered banana treat, you should try it!)

Without further ado, here’s the product review video! Enjoy!

FitFluential product review: The Chia Co Chia Seeds, found at GNC stores!

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My first vlog product review! Going forward, you will be seeing more vlog product reviews.  They give a much better feel for the actual product, I think.  However, I am a newbie to the whole video thing and am still getting the hang of volume, where to put the camera, etc. so bear with me.  They will get better, I promise!  This video is about 6-7 minutes long.  I am trying to keep them fairly short. 🙂

This review is part of my work with my Fitfluential family and our partnership with GNC.  The Chia Co chia seeds can be found at GNC online and also at your local store.  Chia seeds are naturally gluten free (be aware of any cross contamination issues-these are free of any possible contamination from gluten, but are processed in a facility with other nuts and seeds, so be aware of that if you have any sensitivities.)

In the video I talk a bit about the benefits and uses of chia, and also about this product specifically.  Let me know your thoughts, and I’d also love to hear your favorite way to use chia seeds.  Feel free to post a link to a recipe in the comments!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

Enjoy your Omega 3 goodness!

Now, these recipes are delicious and healthy, but they all have calories.  Calories count.  Gluten Free and Fit 101 gives you some more information on fitting treats like this into a healthy diet.

What’s your favorite way to eat (or grow 😉 ) chia?

Gluten Free Protein Powder Review: NeoCell Whey Isolate Collagen Sport

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I was very, very skeptical when I first read about this product.  After trying it, reading more, and reading some more, my skepticism is still there, but has been suspended a bit.  Quite a bit.

To explain, let’s talk about protein.

My go-to source for all information protein related is Lyle McDonald.  He has a great website, Body Recomposition, with tons of articles, and he also is the author of several books.  Of which I think I own all of them.  When it came time for me to do some research on the type of protein in NeoCell Whey Isolate Complex Collagen Sport (which I’m getting to) one of the first places I went was to my bookshelf, pulled off The Protein Book and started reading.

I didn’t find what I was looking for.  I had remembered learning in the past that collagen protein was used in a weight loss research study, and that collagen protein was essentially worthless when it came to sparing lean body mass during periods of caloric restriction.  I finally found it, kind of, in Lyle’s Rapid Fat Loss Handbook.

The last chance diet

In the book, Lyle touches on something that was called the Last Chance Diet, which was centered around a liquid collagen protein product only.  Yes, essentially a liquid diet.  This was not the best for health, as Lyle stated, providing “…essentially zero nutrition to the body.”  Collagen is considered an “incomplete” protein, meaning it does not contain all the amino acids, which are considered the building blocks (ie: raw material) with which to repair and build tissue.  It does not contain tryptophan.  However, there are many anecdotal reports of people using collagen supplementation who report improvement in joint pain and skin, hair, and nail condition.

Collagen and vitamin C

Collagen is actually the main component of the connective tissue in our body (ligaments, tendons, etc.) and makes up 25-35% of total body protein content.  You also need adequate Vitamin C in order to synthesize collagen properly.  Let’s remember, the Last Chance folks were getting no supplemental nutrition, and therefore were definitely not getting enough Vitamin C, nor any of the other nutrients necessary to sustain life.

OK, enough on collagen for the moment.  Let’s talk about whey, baby.

Whey protein is likely the most commonly used and favored in sports supplement products.  It is highly bioavailable with all essential amino acids, and in it’s isolate form also has little to no lactose.

In the last installment of his articles on protein quality, Lyle gives the below chart:

Food Protein Content Digestibility Speed Quality Important AA* Micro-nutrients Fat Content Fatty Acids
Beef High High Slow High N/A Iron, Zinc, B12 Variable N/A
Chicken High High Slow High N/A Iron, Zinc, B12 Variable N/A
Pork High High Slow High N/A N/A Variable N/A
Fish High High Slow High Taurine? B12 Variable W-3 fish oils
Whole Egg Moderate High Slow High N/A Iron, Zinc, B12
If you eat a lot
Moderate N/A
Egg White High Medium Slow Moderate N/A N/A Low N/A
Beans Moderate Medium Slow? Moderate N/A N/A Low N/A
Soy Beans Moderate Medium Slow? Moderate N/A Phytoestrogens Moderate Polyunsaturated
Nuts Moderate Medium Slow? Moderate N/A N/A Moderate Polyunsaturated
Whey powder High High Fast High 23-25% BCAA Calcium Low N/A
Casein Powder High High Slow High 20% BCAA Calcium Low N/A
Soy Isolate High High Fast High BCAA/Glutamine Phytoestrogens Low N/A
Grains/Fruit Very low Low Slow? Low N/A N/A Low N/A

(reproduced from Bodyrecomposition.com, home of Lyle McDonald.)

 

As you can see, whey protein is pretty much the bees knees all around.  I touched on whey protein very briefly in Gluten and Dairy Free Protein Powder 101.  The interesting thing about whey protein isolate (WARNING!! SPECULATION, EDUCATED GUESSING, AND THEORECTICAL WANKING AHEAD!! This is my opinion only, and you should consult your doctor and registered dietitian about your own personal needs.)  is that the lactose has been removed, so theoretically those with lactose intolerance *should* be able to tolerate it, and there is no casein protein, so theoretically those with casein sensitivity *should* be able to tolerate it, so MAYBE dairy intolerant folks would be able to use a pure, high quality protein isolate.  I’m just sayin’.  Your mileage may vary, and we are all biochemical snowflakes.  Unique, that is.

Anyway.

Neocell whey protein

NeoCell Collagen Sport Whey Isolate ComplexNeocell Whey Protein Isolate Collagen Sport is a combination of hydrolyzed collagen  and whey isolate.

It also contains 1,000 mg of L-glutamine.  As I mentioned in my Supplements for the Gluten Free Athlete-Glutamine Edition article, glutamine can assist in healing the gut, which can then absorb nutrition better all the way around.

Jean at Neocell was very kind and sent me samples of the French Vanilla and Belgian Chocolate Powders to try.  Before I get to the taste review though, let’s talk a little more about the ingredients and why this sets this product apart from the collagen protein in the Last Chance group.

Neocell’s big selling point is that this is a “4 in1” product.  It contains whey protein isolate, hydrolyzed collagen peptides, L-glutamine and amino acids, and vitamins and minerals.

From Neocell’s website:

The 4 in 1 Breakdown:

1 – Refuel

Whey Protein Isolate is THE preferred and superior form of protein for athletes. It’s rich in essential and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), necessary especially after strenuous workouts. BCAAs also play a role in the body’s levels of glutathione, an important antioxidant in the immune system. NeoCell’s whey protein isolate is developed using selective ion-exchange technology, which selects the primary functional and nutritional proteins alpha- and beta- lactoglobulins and other protein fractions for a highly effective and bio-active protein.

2 – Recover

Athletes all too often do not supplement their connective tissues in tendons and ligaments until deterioration sets in, resulting in the typical aches and pains of exercise. Super Collagen® 1&3 undergoes an absorption-enhancing process that uses enzyme hydrolyzation. This process yields low molecular weight collagen peptides for maximum bioavailability. Super Collagen® 1&3 is particularly rich in the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, and supports recovery, strength, and flexibility of muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

3 – Regenerate

L-Glutamine & Exogenous Amino Acids – Strenuous activity burns through your body’s glutamine supplies, which can push the body to rip glutamine from your muscles if it isn’t coming from your diet. L-glutamine is the most abundant free-form amino acid in skeletal muscle and is crucial in the muscle recovery process. The special chemical structure of L-glutamine makes it the primary amino acid that drives nitrogen into muscle cells for muscle synthesis. Exogenous amino acids overall are important for increase of net muscle protein synthesis.

4 – Replenish

Each serving of Collagen Sport™ provides a good source of daily vitamins and minerals as well as the antioxidant power of Pomegranate extract. Increased activity results in higher oxidation in the body, requiring active individuals to counteract with high quality antioxidants. NeoCell’s pomegranate extract is standardized to 70% ellagic acid, an extraordinary antioxidant that fights cell-damaging free radicals generated during exercise.

Connective tissue and collagen

Jean also sent me some company based information which was an overview of the research on connective tissue and collagen.  I am attaching a copy of that PDF here, for any one who is interested.  Keep in mind this is compiled by The Collagen Research Institute, so they do have an interest in showing the positive results.  That doesn’t negate anything that is stated, I’m just sayin’.  Be aware.

Medline/Pubmed, extracts, and articles

I also did a little looking around on MEDLINE/Pubmed, and after getting frustrated reading articles for which I could only access the abstract and not the full text (reading the full text is important, because many times you can see that perhaps methods used were less than stellar, or the conclusion doesn’t match the actual findings, or the study was funded by a company/entity that has financial interest.  You’d be surprised, research is not near as black and white as it appears to be) I was rescued by Daniel Green (@dgrreen on Twitter) who was so nice and sent me the full text of a paper I was very interested in reading.  (Aside-Daniel is a very smart cookie at Cornell whose advisor is Brian Wansink, the author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, which you really should read if you haven’t already.  Outstanding book.)

The paper that I was so jazzed to read was Effects of whey and fortified collagen hydrosalate protein supplements on nitrogen balance and body composition in older women.  You don’t have to tell me how exciting my life is, I know.

Protein requirements

One very important point I want to make from this paper first though, is that it is suggested that the current RDA of protein which is .8 grams/kg/day may be inadequate to meet the protein needs of older people.  As we grow older, maintaining muscle mass and bone health gets more difficult, so eat your protein!  Also, protein quality becomes less important if protein quantity and food quality is adequate.  For the average person, all this nit picking about the minutiae of protein is a mute point.  It’s even stated in this paper:

Because subjects in our study were provided about half of their dietary protein requirement using high-quality foods, it is possible that this combination (ie, a diet comprised of foods containing sufficient amounts of indispensible amino acids necessary to meet specific protein synthesis needs and a nitrogen-rich collagen supplement necessary to meet nonspecific nitrogen needs) was sufficient to maintain nitrogen balance despite the low PDCAAS of the supplement.

Conflict of interests?

The study was fairly well constructed, using the same small number of subjects (11 women) for both interventions.  They used the Bod Pod to measure body composition, which isn’t fantastic, but not horrible either.  Nitrogen balance is discussed, but it’s not clear if nitrogen balance has a direct relationship to lean tissue, as far as I understand.  ANYWAY-I promise there is a point here-their conclusion was that supplementing with a collagen based supplement was as effective as a whey supplement for maintaining lean body mass.  This is all good stuff.  Now, a caveat.  The study was funded by grant from Medical Nutrition, USA.  They happen to manufacture the collagen based supplement.  I’m just sayin’.

By now, I’m sure you’ve had enough of my lesson on protein.  I know I have.

So what about this Collagen Sport stuff?

There’s a lot of things to like about it.  I like that it is sweetened with xylitol (some people may not like this), obviously, that it is gluten free, and I really do like the idea of combining the protein sources.  I like the fact that the company has been so helpful in answering my questions and providing me with information.

Flavors, textures and colors

I tried the vanilla flavor first.  Whenever I review I protein powder, I use a shaker cup and mix with water only, as to get a true idea of flavor and texture.  I was a little surprised to see the vanilla (which smelled awesome when I opened the canister) turn a brown color after I shook it.  It mixed well and easily with no clumps.  I did NOT like the taste the first time I tried it.  I know that with hydrolyzed whey products, masking the bitter taste is a challenge, so I assume with the limited amount of additives and sweeteners in the NeoCell you are actually getting more of the true flavor of the protein.

I took Jean’s advice, and tried mixing it with less water and drinking it immediately after mixing the next time, and it tasted much better.  Also, I much prefer the chocolate flavor, but also will mix it with only a small amount of water (as directed on the canister, actually, of course I didn’t read the directions) and drink it immediately after mixing with very cold water.  Jean shared with me that she will often blend it with frozen bananas.

Given the potential benefits of the protein, I’m willing to have a less than dessert like flavor.  It’s not unpleasant, just “mild” to use Jean’s adjective.  I’ve grown accustomed to some over sweetened and over flavored protein powders, so it is just a question of readjusting expectations.  Like so much in life.  But I digress.   If you are still with me, thanks for reading this massive post!  This turned out to be a monster!

If you are new here and would like to read more information about living a healthy gluten free life, start with Gluten Free and Fit 101.  There are other poorly formatted but well written articles there 😉


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