How Does Muscle Milk Work?

How Does Muscle Milk Work?

Muscle Milk, which is made by CytoSport, sells supplements to active, athletic individuals. The company offers a variety of protein supplement products, including ready-to-drink protein drinks, bars and powders. You can consume these before, during or after your workout. CytoSport claims their carbohydrate-containing supplements give your body extra energy and the high-protein ones aid in the recovery process after exercise. In addition to protein, Muscle Milk also provides your body with essential minerals and vitamins as well as lean lipids, which your body can use for muscle energy, according to the Muscle Milk website. Muscle Milk also provides you with dietary fiber to aid in intestinal health.

Muscle Milk Protein
Muscle Milk protein powder and protein drinks are used by many athletes as a way to get in extra protein, which helps build muscle and assists the body in recovering after a workout. The proteins used in the products come from multiple sources, including whey -- a derivative of milk -- soy and milk, which contains both whey and casein. All of these proteins are considered complete, meaning they contain all the amino acids that your body cannot produce. Amino acids contribute to growth and repair of muscle tissue. In addition to the amino acids found in protein, the drinks and powders also contain added amino acids, including:
  • 8 L-glutamine: may improve muscle recovery and fight off infection
  • 8 Lactoferrin: fights infection and assists athletes who consume high amounts of iron moderate their intake
  • 8 Taurine: functions as a cell-protecting antioxidant and improves mental and athletic performance
Protein Needs
The amount of protein in each Muscle Milk product varies, but it can help athletes get their daily requirements. The International Society for Sports Medicine notes that athletes need between 0.63 and 0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily; endurance athletes aim for the lower end while strength-building athletes aim for the higher end.

The amount of protein in one serving of Muscle Milk varies by product. For example, one serving of ready-to-drink Muscle Milk has 15 to 25 grams of protein, depending on size. Two scoops of Muscle Milk powder contains 32 grams of protein, and one Muscle Milk snack bar provides you with 15 grams.

Both strength and endurance athletes benefit from consuming 10 to 20 grams of protein in the 30 minutes after an intense workout. Your body is especially receptive to the amino acids just after being worked; this serving of protein helps your muscles repair and grow faster. Muscle Milk products make a convenient way to obtain protein, especially if you're on the go.

Additional Ingredients
Muscle Milk products also contain medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, that provide some essential fatty acids. MCTs are more likely to be used for energy, rather than stored as fat, like trans or short-chain saturated fats. If you eat more calories of these lean lipids than you burn, though, you will still gain fat -- not muscle.

The carbohydrates in Muscle Milk products, which are most concentrated in the oatmeal and snack bars, can be used by the body to create glycogen, the primary energy source stored in your muscles. Any carbohydrate, such as bread or fruit, breaks down into glycogen, however, so Muscle Milk products aren't special.

The bars, drinks and oatmeal also contain added dietary fiber to supply you with about 20 percent of the daily recommended value. Adequate consumption of dietary fiber helps regulate your digestive tract and may protect you from certain chronic disease, but fiber is readily available in a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Side Effects of Muscle Milk
There are some possible side effects associated with Muscle Milk. Some of the ingredients found in Muscle Milk are known to cause acne in a number of people. Acne can be brought on by several things, like clogged pores and bacteria. Certain foods and drinks can also cause acne, including dairy products, notes the Mayo Clinic website. Muscle Milk contains dairy, which can cause hormone changes in your body, leading to acne.

Muscle Milk has been found to contain traces of heavy metals too, including lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium, according to Consumer Reports. These metals can cause health problems when consumed regularly, specifically cadmium, which can accumulate in the kidneys and damage them. Other side effects of Muscle Milk include weight gain, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vitamin toxicity, notes "Vitamin" magazine.

Using Muscle Milk
  • Use Muscle Milk powder in a variety of ways:
  • Add Muscle Milk to a smoothie made with ice, fresh fruit and nonfat milk.
  • Use it to create a milk shake by mixing milk with Muscle Milk powder.
  • Flavor Muscle Milk by throwing in some pureed fruit before you mix it.
  • Create protein-rich pancakes with Muscle Milk, gluten-free flour, egg whites, baking powder and beet juice.
Mix Muscle Milk powder into foods like steel-cut oatmeal, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes or yogurt for added protein.