Types of Protein Powder

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Protein Powders

First, let's explore the different types of protein supplements on the market. You can scroll down to the table below to see the pros and cons of each.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is derived from milk and is a byproduct of cheese production. It is one of the most popular types of protein powder due to its high-quality protein content, fast absorption rate, and affordability. Whey protein contains all essential amino acids and is particularly rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that promote muscle growth and recovery (1). There are two primary forms of whey protein: whey concentrate and whey isolate. Whey isolate has a higher protein content and less lactose, making it a better option for individuals with lactose intolerance.

Casein Protein

Like whey protein, casein protein is also derived from milk. However, casein is absorbed more slowly than whey, providing a steady release of amino acids over an extended period. This slow digestion rate makes casein an ideal choice for a pre-bedtime protein supplement to support muscle recovery and growth throughout the night (2). Casein protein is also rich in calcium, which can contribute to bone health.

Pea Protein

Pea protein is a plant-based protein powder made from yellow split peas. It is a popular choice among vegans, vegetarians, and those with dairy or soy allergies. Pea protein is hypoallergenic, easily digestible, and rich in essential amino acids, particularly arginine and BCAAs (3). While its protein quality is slightly lower than whey, it still provides a valuable source of plant-based protein for muscle building and recovery.

Soy Protein

Soy protein is another popular plant-based protein powder made from defatted soybeans. It is a complete protein source containing all essential amino acids, and it is also rich in isoflavones, which may provide additional health benefits, such as reduced cholesterol levels (4). Soy protein is an excellent option for vegans, vegetarians, and individuals with lactose intolerance.

Brown Rice Protein

Brown rice protein is a plant-based protein powder derived from whole-grain brown rice. It is hypoallergenic and easily digestible, making it suitable for individuals with food sensitivities or allergies. While brown rice protein is not a complete protein source, as it lacks some essential amino acids, it can be combined with other plants.

Type Pros Cons
Whey Protein
  • High-quality protein content
  • Fast absorption rate
  • Rich in BCAAs
  • Affordable
  • Contains lactose (concentrate)
  • Not suitable for vegans and some vegetarians
Casein Protein
  • Slow digestion rate
  • Steady release of amino acids
  • Rich in calcium
  • Contains lactose
  • Not suitable for vegans and some vegetarians
Pea Protein
  • Plant-based
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easily digestible
  • Rich in arginine and BCAAs
  • Protein quality slightly lower than whey
  • Some people may not enjoy the taste
Soy Protein
  • Plant-based
  • Complete protein source
  • Rich in isoflavones
  • May not be suitable for individuals with soy allergies
  • Some concerns about estrogen-like effects
Brown Rice Protein
  • Plant-based
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Easily digestible
  • Not a complete protein source
  • May need to be combined with other protein sources
Hemp Protein
  • Plant-based
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • High in fiber
  • Easily digestible
  • Protein content lower than other sources
  • Can be more expensive

Natural Aromatase Inhibitors

Natural Aromatase Inhibitors for TRT

Anti-Estrogen Options Without a Prescription

Aromatase inhibitors are a group of compounds that inhibit the enzyme aromatase, which is responsible for converting androgenic hormones, such as testosterone, into estrogen. In men, excessive estrogen levels can lead to a variety of health issues, including gynecomastia, decreased libido, and prostate problems.

Natural, over-the-counter aromatase inhibitors:

  1. Nettle:

Nettle is a perennial plant that is commonly used in traditional medicine. Nettle leaves and root contain compounds that inhibit aromatase, including lignans and flavonoids. A study on rats showed that nettle root extract decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (1). Another study on humans showed that nettle leaf extract decreased SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) levels, which in turn increased free testosterone levels (2).

  1. Grape seed extract:

Grape seed extract is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that also has aromatase-inhibiting properties. A study on rats showed that grape seed extract decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (3). Another study on humans showed that grape seed extract decreased SHBG levels and increased free testosterone levels (4).

  1. Alpinia purpurata:

Alpinia purpurata, also known as red ginger, is a tropical plant that is traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments. A study on rats showed that Alpinia purpurata extract decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (5).

  1. Coccothrinax Sarg.:

Coccothrinax Sarg. is a species of palm tree that is native to the Caribbean. A study on rats showed that Coccothrinax Sarg. extract decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (6).

  1. Agaricus bisporus:

Agaricus bisporus, also known as the white button mushroom, is a common edible mushroom that has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. A study on rats showed that Agaricus bisporus extract decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (7).

  1. Cyperus:

Cyperus is a genus of plants that is commonly used in traditional medicine. A study on rats showed that Cyperus extract decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (8).

  1. Flavonoids:

Flavonoids are a group of compounds that are found in many fruits and vegetables. Some flavonoids, such as apigenin, chrysin, 7-hydroxyflavone, isolicoflavonol, and eriodictyol, have been shown to have aromatase-inhibiting properties. A study on rats showed that apigenin and chrysin decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (9). Another study on rats showed that 7-hydroxyflavone and isolicoflavonol decreased aromatase activity and estrogen levels (10). A study on human cells showed that eriodictyol inhibited aromatase activity (11).

Differences between estriol, estrone, and estradiol in men:

Estriol, estrone, and estradiol are three different types of estrogen. Estriol is the weakest and least potent of the three estrogens, and it is primarily produced during pregnancy. Estrone is the second weakest estrogen and is produced in small amounts in men and postmenopausal women. Estradiol is the most potent estrogen and is the primary estrogen produced in premenopausal women.

In men, estradiol is primarily produced by the conversion of testosterone by the enzyme aromatase. High levels of estradiol in men can lead to a variety of health issues, including gynecomastia, decreased libido, and prostate problems. Therefore, inhibiting aromatase and reducing estradiol levels in men can have beneficial effects on their health.

Natural, over-the-counter aromatase inhibitors can be a safe and effective way for men to reduce estrogen levels and improve their hormonal balance. Compounds such as nettle, grape seed extract, Alpinia purpurata, Coccothrinax Sarg., Agaricus bisporus, Cyperus, and flavonoids have been shown to inhibit aromatase activity and reduce estrogen levels. It is important to note that while these compounds are generally safe, they should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure proper dosing and to avoid any potential interactions with other medications.

In addition to the references below, I found this Pub Med review of an article first published in Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2008 Aug; 8(6): 646–682 called Natural Products as Aromatase Inhibitors to be most helpful.


  1. Nahata A, Dixit VK. Ameliorative effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia in rats. Andrologia. 2012;44 Suppl 1:396-409.
  2. Safarinejad MR. Urtica dioica for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. J Herb Pharmacother. 2005;5(4):1-11.
  3. Sun Z, Huang Y, Cao Y, et al. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract regulates aromatase activity and expression in human adipose stromal cells and adipose tissue in vitro and in vivo. Endocrinology. 2014;155(11):4234-4242.
  4. Singh RB, Mengi SA, Xu YJ, et al. Effects of grape seed extract in Type 2 diabetic subjects at high cardiovascular risk: a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial examining metabolic markers, vascular tone, inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin sensitivity. Diabet Med. 2009;26(5):526-531.
  5. Kim J, Han SH, Lee JH, et al. Alpinia purpurata ethanol extract suppresses estrogen biosynthesis through the modulation of estrogen-related receptor alpha in MCF-7 cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16:467.
  6. Kim J, Jeong D, Kang S, et al. Coccothrinax Sarg. ethanol extract inhibits estrogen biosynthesis in human ovarian granulosa cells by suppressing aromatase activity and mRNA expression. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):353.
  7. Kamat SG, Saxena N, Rai AK. Evaluation of anti-aromatase activity of phytoconstituents from white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2014;16(2):119-127.
  8. Li J, Li S, Guan H, et al. Cyperus rotundus extract inhibits aromatase activity in mammalian cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;137(2):1023-1027.
  9. Wang Y, Lee KW, Chan FL, et al. The red wine polyphenol resveratrol displays bilevel inhibition on aromatase in breast cancer cells. Toxicol Sci. 2006;92(1):71-77.
  10. Lee YJ, Lee YM, Lee CK, Jung JC, Han SB, Hong JT. Therapeutic applications of compounds in the Magnolia family. Pharmacol Ther. 2011;130(2):157-176.
  11. Kim Y. W., Zhao F., Qi H., et al. Flavonoids inhibit aromatase expression and activity in mouse trophoblast cells. Biol Reprod. 2011;84(3): 579–586.

Sprinting to Boost Testosterone

Research has shown that short, intense workouts like sprinting can significantly impact muscle mass and hormone production, particularly when compared to long-distance running. Here we explore the science behind sprinting and testosterone production, providing you with valuable insights on how to optimize your workouts for maximum hormonal benefits.


How Some Health Supplements Can Drop Testosterone Levels

I was going to title this post:
How So-Called "Natural" Testosterone Boosters, Prohormones and Other Over-The-Counter Health Supplements for Building Muscle May Cause Hypogonadism

But that's a little long ;-)

4-chloro-17a-methyl-androst-1-4-diene-3b-17b-diolWhile the FDA does a pretty good job of regulating "medicines" they don't do such a good job of regulating health supplements, which generally fall under "food" guidelines, which are much more lenient than what prescription-grade pharmaceuticals have to deal with (e.g. years of laboratory testing, human trials, etc...). The FDA has tried several times to expand the definition of pharmaceutical drugs and thus their jurisdiction over health supplements. Some see this as a good thing; others see it as a bad thing. I'm going to stay out of that argument. But I will say this: There's a big difference between something like vitamin B, whey protein, or acai berries and things like 3,17-keto-etiocholetriene and 4-chloro-17a-methyl-androst-1,4-diene-3b,17b-diol.

Have you ever taken an over-the-counter, legal supplement - like pro-hormones - only to find out afterwards that you have low testosterone?
Did you gain  lose fat while taking a supplement, only to gain all of it - and more - back when you stopped taking it? Did you get steroid-like side effects (e.g. gynecomastia, hair growth...) from legal bodybuilding supplements? You may be surprised to find out that many of those so-called supplements actually break down into the same ingredients found in "real" illegal or prescription-grade steroids, aromatase inhibitors, estrogen blockers, erectile dysfunction drugs and other pharmaceutical substances. If you find this difficult to believe, just read some of these recalls, which are just the tip of the iceburg (those that got busted) when compared to how many are still out there:

Recalled Health "Supplements":

Gaspari Nutrition Recalls Novedex XT, Marketed as a Dietary Supplement Containing ATD
(AKA 3,17-keto-etiocholetriene, an anti-aromatase used to lower estrogen-related side-effects in men taking steroids.)
iForce Nutrition Recalls Reversitol, a Dietary Supplement Containing ATD
(See above description RE: ATD)
Bodybuilding.com Supplements Recalled: May Contain Steroids
(Big recall in 2009 involving dozens of supplements that the FDA said should have been classified as steroids like Trenbolone, Androstenedione and Turinabol.)
Good Health, Inc. Recalls Vialipro – Contains Prescription-Only Ingredients
(These recalls in which sexual enhancement drugs sold at gas stations, truckstops and online contain real erectil dysfunction medications like sildenafil -aka Viagra - or substances like Sulfoaildenafil, that break down into Sildenafil, are quite common.)
IDS Sports Conducts a Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Bromodrol, Dual Action Grow Tabs, Grow Tabs, Mass Tabs, and Ripped Tabs TR
(Similar to the Bodybuilding.com recall, there were several supplements that were found to contain ingredients the FDA deemed should have been classified as steroids.)

Want to see hundreds more like this? Check out US Recall News' Dietary Supplement section

If something is being marketed in the back of a bodybuilding magazine with steroid-sounding names like Bromodrol, Dbolz, Testosterone Booster Tripple X... you should think about what that marketing is trying accomplish. I'm not anti-steroids when it comes to adults making their own health decisions. And I certainly don't think the government should be telling us what vitamins we can take without a prescription. But neither should teenagers, women or unsuspecting male athletes be conned into taking health risks and job risks under the false pretense that they are taking "legal" supplements that don't have any side effects.

So if you've ever taken a health supplement that produce too-good-to-be-true results, only to find that you crashed when you came off, or that your testosterone levels were low after long-term use of these drugs, you may have actually been taking steroids, or something analogous to them in effects and side-effects. It makes me wonder how many guys end up on lifelong testosterone replacement because of these supplements, especially since they probably didn't take appropriate post-cycle-therapy precautions.