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admin | Supplements To Gain Muscle | 24.09.2013
Ask any seasoned bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast about the virtues of a high protein diet, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear about the importance of maintaining a positive nitrogen balance. But nitrogen isn’t the only element in quality protein which can support the body’s repair processes. But most of us rarely hear about how essential dietary sulfur is to our health - or how easily we can be become relatively sulfur-deficient under periods of intense training, dieting, or stress. Sulfur is an important part of our physical structure, acting as an integral component of our joints and connective tissue. And with as many roles as sulfur plays, it’s no wonder that it can sometimes be difficult to meet our bodies’ hefty sulfur requirements. In the world of protein supplements, we often see all sorts of proteins being touted as “quality protein,” but have you ever wondered exactly how the scientific community measures protein quality? Several different scientific methods exist for evaluating a protein’s quality, each method with its own relative advantages and disadvantages - but across all methods, one of the greatest indicators of a protein’s overall quality is the level of sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine) it contains. Sulfur is a necessary structural component of collagen which comprises cartilage and other types of connective tissue. Study Link - Coordinated collagen and muscle protein synthesis in human patella tendon and quadriceps muscle after exercise.
Thus, there is a rapid increase in collagen synthesis after strenuous exercise in human tendon and muscle.
But it makes sense when you think about it – our bodies aren’t going to build larger muscles without also building the connective tissue to support them.


And, as we’ve written about many times in the Integrated Supplement Blog, the cellular antioxidant glutathione requires the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine for its production. Because sulfur is such an important component of protective detoxifying molecules and the connective tissue, researchers have hypothesized that under times of stress and toxic burden our body may “rob” sulfur from connective tissue to supply the more pressing needs of liver function. Study Link - Calcium, sulfur, and zinc distribution in normal and arthritic articular equine cartilage: A synchrotron radiation-induced X-ray emission (SRIXE) study. Sulfur concentration in arthritic cartilage is reduced to about one-third with respect to that in normal tissue.
Study Link - Competition for glutathione precursors between the immune system and the skeletal muscle: pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome. It is conceivable that the priority of the immune system for the survival of the host has drawn to this vital area the ever-diminishing GSH precursors, thus depriving the skeletal muscle of adequate GSH precursors to sustain a normal aerobic metabolism resulting in fatigue and eventually myalgia.
Its high sulfur content and direct glutathione precursors are more reasons why CFM® Whey Protein Isolate is the ideal protein supplement for tissue repair and recovery. In addition to a diet containing other high quality protein sources like eggs, and casein (unlike whey isolate, egg and casein protein are easy to come by, and are much higher quality when they come from real food rather than supplements), CFM® Whey Isolate may be just the thing we need to optimize not only our nitrogen balance, but our sulfur balance as well.
As protein is the only macronutrient source of nitrogen, achieving a positive nitrogen balance (when nitrogen intake exceeds its excretion) is a sign that sufficient protein is being consumed to support protein synthesis and muscle building. Researchers are now beginning to see that, because it plays such an integral role in so many metabolic functions, the mineral, sulfur may be equally as important as nitrogen for building a strong, healthy, body. Sulfur is also an important substance used by the liver for detoxifying various chemicals and pharmaceuticals, as well as a rate-limiting component in the manufacture of the powerful cellular antioxidant, glutathione.


And it just so happens that whey protein is by far the richest source of these sulfur-containing amino acids. Sulfur-containing connective tissue can be found not only in our joints, ligaments, and tendons; but throughout our body, supporting and protecting our muscles, bones, and internal organs as well. Sulfation, the binding of a compound to sulfur, is one process the liver uses to detoxify certain potentially harmful substances. And as we’ve written about as well, CFM® Whey Isolate will not only contain abundant cysteine, but, because CFM® contains the highest level of unaltered, undenatured, proteins, it will even contain a fragile peptide known as glutamylcysteine, the direct precursor to glutathione. Whey Isolate will contain 50% more sulfur-containing amino acids than casein, and twice the sulfur-containing amino acids of soy protein. The detoxification of many pharmaceutical drugs, including the pain-reliever, acetaminophen, places enormous demands on the bodies’ sulfur status.
In fact, sulfur is so important for several of the liver’s detoxification pathways, that certain sulfur-containing amino acids are used therapeutically in cases of acetaminophen overdose. But even if our daily doses aren’t excessive, any long-term usage of acetaminophen can be problematic. The depletion of sulfur is just one mechanism by which the chronic use of pain medications may actually make a person’s health worse in the long-run.



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