Good health requires protein. It’s protein that repairs the cells in our body, builds and maintains our muscles and bones, gives us energy and rides herd over a lot of what goes on inside us. And it’s protein that keeps our endocrine system chugging along. Diets with inadequate protein lead down a dreary path to incapacity.

Protein supplements offer a quick way to ramp up the amount of protein we get. You can choose between three kinds of protein: Free form, whey and soy. Each comes in supplement form, whether pill, powder or liquid. Whey and soy protein also come in the form of protein shakes.

In all of them, we’re talking about getting protein in the form of essential amino acids. ‘Essential’ means it’s essential that we get them as part of our diet because our bodies can’t synthesize them on its own. Amino acids are the basis for all protein, and our bodies absorb aminos easily.

So let’s talk about which is best.

If you choose soy, I will personally come and snatch your face off. For crying out loud! First off, soy is a filthy, insecticide-laden crop. It suppresses thyroid function. It makes a mess out of estrogen, throwing everybody–man, woman and child–into endocrine chaos. It makes it impossible for you to absorb the minerals you need. And it causes kidney stones. Offhand, it’s safe to say soy is a bad choice.

Whey protein, on the other hand, offers protein without all of soy’s baggage. It comes from cheese processing. Remember little Miss Muffett eating her curds and whey? That’s what you get when you make cheese.

Whey comes in two forms: Concentrate and isolate. Advocates of either won’t listen to anything from advocates of the other. So we’ll talk amongst ourselves.

Concentrated whey retains a little fat, which is a good thing. Some people cower in fear at the very thought of a smidgen of saturated fat, but as a matter of researched fact, it’s good for us.

People with a dairy allergy can have a problem with whey concentrate. To minimize this, look at the percentage of protein in the whey. The more protein, the less problem with dairy allergies.

Whey isolate has no fat and no dairy allergy problems, but you have to get a quality product. Avoid isolates made by ion exchange; the acid-based process damages the protein molecules, and they won’t do much of a job.

Other isolates come from a filtration process. The quality of the process determines the quality of the whey, so check that out. And add some fat–preferably saturated, perhaps coconut oil–to your protein shake so your body can absorb the nutrition.

Finally, the Rolls Royce of protein, free form amino acids, the ultimate in purity and potency. Free form amino acids come only as supplements, not shakes. I highly, highly, highly recommend them–but don’t be going at them willy-nilly.

Starting with a balanced combination of aminos makes sense. Country Life makes Max-Amino Caps. Vitabase offers MaxAmino 1200. And there are others. These products provide a balance of all the essential amino acids. Take a couple a day, an hour away from food. (Proteins in food can interfere with what aminos do.)

Individual amino acids can accomplish tremendous things, but get educated about them before you head in that direction. Using that much power without knowing what each does can create problems. I’ll be talking more about them, but for now, proceed only with knowledge.

Some companies make amino acid supplements from soy. If the bottle doesn’t say “free form” or somehow make the point (does not contain soy, milk), put it back and walk away. Quickly.

You can combine whey and free form, say drinking a whey concentrate shake and taking free form amino supplements both. Taking them at separate times enhances what happens. Aminos don’t hang around once you take them; they work fast and are gone.

Whatever protein supplements you take, don’t abandon eggs, meat, fish and poultry. Besides protein, they provide other nutrients bound together with the protein, which helps our bodies maximize the nutrition. Supplements, as the name says, can only supplement our diet, not replace it.

Author's Bio: 

Confused about what vitamins and minerals you need? Not certain about what to look for in nutritional supplements? Bette Dowdell dug herself out of a really deep health ditch, and she wants to use her years of study to help you do the same. Don’t go dragging through life when you don’t have to. Bette’s e-book Pep for the Pooped: Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Is Starving For helps you build a solid health foundation–and takes you directly to the right brand, the best type, at the lowest price. Save time and money–plus get the knowledge you’re on the right track. Real help is waiting for you at