Muscle Milk or Mother’s Milk?

So you want to put on some muscle for the summer.  You’ve started going to the gym and are seeing some results, but you want to get there faster.  You’re eating a good diet, but you want to take it a step further and use nutritional supplements.  You’ve heard about this new stuff called Muscle Milk, and it sounds healthier than the average Ab-Blaster-Rip-Tear-Phytosterol-Gorilla-Pump-XXXX-5000 on GNC’s shelves, so you decide to try it out.  But what does it really do?

One serving of Muscle Milk contains 18g of fat, 12g of carbs, and 32g of protein.  Why all the fat?  Well, Muscle Milk’s marketing angle is that it is designed to mimic human breast milk – it even contains “purified bovine colostrum extract”.  Let me translate – it contains powdered cow breast milk. 

The thought behind this is that we go through our most rapid growth in infancy, and breast milk is optimized to provide the necessary nutrition, immunity boosters, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to achieve that growth.  Apparently cow’s milk is even “stronger” than human breast milk (and presumably easier to obtain in mass quantities) so if you really want to get buff but don’t have the time or inclination to head out to the Ag campus and milk a cow into your water bottle, Muscle Milk is more than happy to provide you the same benefits for about 40 bucks a jar (a little less than $3 a glass). 

Of course, none of these claims are backed up by any scientific evidence whatsoever, nor has Muscle Milk been tested for safety since “supplements” don’t have to go through the same FDA approval process as medicines do.  But the bottle looks cool and Shaq endorses it, so it’s gotta be good, right?

Whether or not Muscle Milk provides any advantage over plain old good nutrition is debatable, and we’re not endorsing the use of it, or any other supplements.   The best we can say is that while it contains many ingredients that are necessary for muscle growth, it should not be the primary source of your nutrition if you decide to use it.  

If you really want to learn how to achieve your goals in a healthy, balanced way, leave the cows to the vet students and come talk to our Registered Dieticians at the Student Health Center.  It’s a lot cheaper and you won’t have to dodge as many cow patties.

Adam Brandeberry, Med IV (OSU COM)

John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU SHS)

Flash mob at Union! See President Gee dancing!

Two days ago, a group of Ohio State students broke out into an “impromptu” dance number at the new Ohio Union.  President Gee stopped by with Brutus and danced along with his fellow Buckeyes.  If you’re a fan of dancing, singing, Glee or Journey, check out this video.  Technically, it has nothing to do with your health – or Student Health Services for that matter – but seeing President Gee dance has got to be good for treating the Wednesday “Hump Day” blahs!

Go Bucks!

Images from Medicine: Be Still My Beating Heart

wellcome images

One of my favorite bloggers is Dr. Wes, a cardiologist who specializes in the heart’s electrical wiring (AKA cardiac electrophysiologist).  He recently posted an absolutely gorgeous image of the muscle fiber orientation in the left ventricle of the heart, generated from a special brand of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging.  You can get a good look by clicking on the image at the right.

The original comes from Wellcome Images Biomedical Collection, and is aptly entitled “Heart Strings.”  The picture clearly demonstrates the “helical alignment of the muscle fibres in the left ventricle.”  The left side of the heart has the responsibility for pumping blood out to the body. The systemic circulation is a high pressure system so the muscle on that side of the heart is thicker, more muscular.  The right side of the heart, in contrast, pumps to the lower-pressure circulation in the lungs and isn’t as “ripped”, as it were.

“Heart Strings” was runner-up in a British Heart Foundation Reflections in Research Competition.  Other short-listed images were equally compelling, but perhaps not quite as macroscopically elegant and relevant.

Put your hand on the left side of your chest and feel those Heart Art fibers squeezing. 

Victoria Rentel MD (OSU SHS)