Biological value is a measure of the amount of protein retained in the human body per grams of protein absorbed. The higher the BV value of a protein is, the more it yields in nitrogen retention and systemic anabolism. The whole egg is 100 BV, while just the egg white is about 88 BV, but without cholesterol and fat. Egg protein has the best protein digestion rate and is given a protein rating of 100. All other protein sources are rated according to how digestible they are, in relationship to egg protein!
However, with some re-emphasis on casein and the emergence of high-quality whey protein which has very fast absorption and other great, muscle-building qualities, egg protein has lessened on the bodybuilding radar screen. (Of note, with some whey proteins, if you develop gas, belching/bloat and high sugar and lactose, it is likely of less quality, but that’s a different story).With whey and casein grabbing bodybuilding headlines, do not overlook that egg is no yolk (err, I mean joke!)
Egg protein is considered one of the best forms of natural protein. Most of the protein is found within the whites of the egg. Egg yolks are high in cholesterol and don’t go raw (as Stallone as Rocky Balboa helped popularize), as tests show the protein in raw eggs is only 52% bio-available. When prepared, a cooked egg is close to 91 bio-available. Egg white (called albumen), contains the majority of the protein and has little or no fat. Egg protein also contains all the essential amino acids in the exact proportions required by the body for optimum growth and maintenance of lean muscle tissue.
Six egg whites mixed with 2 yolks provide 26.5 grams of protein, zero carbohydrates, 5.23 grams of fat (2.7 grams, unsaturated) and 152 calories. Adding a bowl of oatmeal, a banana and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed is 39 grams of protein, now 78 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat (4 grams, saturated) and 900 calories. Egg yolks also contain about 300 mgs of choline and this B-vitamin is vital to the proper communication of brain neurotransmitters.
Some researchers, despite current thinking with stroke and heart maladies, argue that it’s not the cholesterol that cause many of these long-term problems with too much red meat, whole milk and whole eggs, (in that regard, it’s not cholesterol per se, exactly but the relative fractions, the ‘high HDL, low LDL stuff), but really is the amount of saturated fat in these foods.
The total fat content of one egg is about the same as its total protein, around 6 grams. Some bodybuilders do eat 1-2 dozen eggs daily, so they go egg white only. Egg yolk is high in eicosanoids, hormone-like substances that have some input in regulating blood vessel vasodilatation (widening of arteries), pain regulation and even damping down inflammation.
As readers know, if you have not taken enough protein in your day by bedtime, your body may need to ‘borrow’ off of existing muscle tissues in sleep if the body is repairing from a heavy workout that day. Over time, the body will store more fat because of this. Casein protein is a slow-releasing night-time protein generally taken by bodybuilders at night, but egg is also absorbed a lot slower than whey, so can be taken at bed or at any time for optimum effect (and omelets are one hell of a lot more tasty)!
Egg Protein contains all the essential amino acids. Egg is high in the BCAA group and lactose free. Egg has over 40 different proteins such as ovalbumin, (protein with carbs), ovotransferrin (an iron-biding protein) and ovomucin (a glycoprotein with antimicrobial capabilities). Egg may even encourage production of hormones that tend to decrease appetite and over-eating.
Egg increases total muscle protein synthesis substantially when added to whey after the workout. Egg is loaded with vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and potassium and naturally-occurring vitamin D. It also is high in the sulfur aminos, to stimulate varying hormone production. Egg is almost completely absorbed and also keeps testosterone up. Both effects minimize catabolism, a key if one is doing very heavy workouts and who also may be decreasing calories.
Eggs are rich in the amino acid leucine, a keen regulator of overall protein synthesis. Leucine acts synergistically with insulin, allowing skeletal muscle to manage protein metabolism and fuel selection, in relationship to dietary intake. Egg has the highest ratio of the amino acids alanine, arginine and glycine of all protein sources. It is an excellent alternative for individuals who are allergic to casein, whey, or soy protein.
Numerous studies show that whey protein can improve protein synthesis by as much as 68% (when consumed post-workout), but many also show that whey protein isn’t the best source to prevent muscle catabolism (muscle-wasting) due to its quick breakdown and digestion rate of about 30 minutes. Casein is better and so is egg!
“While whey is fast and casein is slow, egg protein, may be the best for improving actual muscle gains due to being a medium-rate digesting protein and having both a direct anabolic and indirect anti-catabolic, muscle-building effects. Overall, egg still might be gold — the best for improving nitrogen utilization and retention.”
Remember it’s the dietary nitrogen that actually builds muscle. Furthermore, there is new data that has definitely shown that the substrate (active compound) follistatin of egg protein within the yolk plays a key role as a myostatin inhibitor or blocker. Myostatin is a muscle growth inhibitor.
Remember, its dietary nitrogen (the amine part of amino acid, NH2), that build muscle! So, with egg, let’s revisit leucine. Leucine is one of the most critical amino acids of the branch chain aminos (BCAA), which are a combination of leucine, isoleucine and valine. Leucine is called a ‘master signaling amino acid’ to perpetuate muscle protein synthesis. Leucine accelerates mTOR signaling, a protein that is primarily responsible for turning on and off the cell’s translation process, which controls protein synthesis in human muscle tissue.
In short, clearly, all the best data and observation over the years, suggest that bodybuilders should both consider using quality commercial egg protein 1-2 times a day and/or eating ample eat egg whites and some yolk, if they wish to build their maximum muscle mass over time!
Written By: Dr. George Redmon