Soy Protein, Propecia, Back & Shoulder Pain, ECA

Posted in: Basic Nutrition  on Thursday, August 14, 2008
By Dr. Ron Higuera

Soy Protein
Q: I have a question about soy protein after reading your article, "Soy Protein - Give It Some Respect," in issue number 40, March 2002. It mentions that soy protein is 92% protein. Does that mean that soy is an incomplete protein? And, what is the other 8%? I use soy protein powder regularly and I’m concerned that I’m not getting a complete protein.

A: "Soy has been considered a complete protein for years," advises Dr. Susan Kleiner, author of Power Eating and a leading researcher in the field. "The confusion arises because soy had been an incomplete protein before the plant was hybridized. You may still find a nutritionist or two over 40 who was in college before soy hybrids were developed and who may not be current with their information." As for the other 8% that is not protein, a 28-gram (one ounce) serving of soy protein isolate would typically contain 24 grams of protein and one gram of unsaturated fat - that’s the "good" kind. The other three grams are basically a little moisture present in all foods, and occasionally a little vanilla bean for natural-source flavor.
Source: MM Sports Nutrition Research Team, Dr. Susan Kleiner, and

Q: I am an avid reader of Max Sports & Fitness magazine, but have noticed that there is a topic little attention has been paid to. I know myself and several people at the gym take Propecia for obvious reasons, don’t want to loose our hair. Our concern is that Propecia suppresses dihydrotestosterone in the body. As far as I’m aware, testosterone is an anabolic, does taking Propecia hinder muscle growth?

A:"Yes, Propecia does prevent DHT conversion in the muscles," advises Dr. Abraham Kryger, creator of the prescription brand Testocreme® topical testosterone and a noted lecturer in the field. "Propecia or finasteride is an enzyme blocking agent," says the Monterey, California physician and author of an upcoming book on the topic. "It prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT, which plays a crucial role in both sex drive and the growth of muscle tissue. Since DHT is responsible for muscle-building at the receptor level, it does not help to have testosterone available if it cannot be used. Many men have plenty of testosterone but cannot build muscle because it is not available. The reason sex drive is suppressed with Propecia is the same...... less DHT." Though Propecia has prevented millions from hair loss, research finds that Propecia does prevent testosterone conversion to muscle and may even inhibit sex drive.
Source: MM Sports Nutrition Research Team; Dr. Abraham Kryger

Shoulder Pain
Q: Larry, a 40 year old who works out 3-4 days per week, asks what causes his recurring shoulder pain and what exercises can be done?

A:The pain in your shoulder is probably caused by underdevelopment of your external rotators. You must increase your pulling exercises. Specifically, prior to your chest work out lie on your side on a flat bench with a dumbbell. Keep your elbow to your side at a 90-degree angle while you externally rotate your shoulder. Think of a door opening. (12-15 repetitions 3-4 sets) In his classic text Poliquin Principles, pro sports trainer Charles Poliquin devotes an entire section to training external rotators. For additional information:
Source: Dr. Ron Higuera; Charles Polquin

ECA Stack
Q: I’ve noticed that many fat-burners include an ECA stack What do those letters stand for and what does it do?

A:The ECA stack is a weight loss and fat-burning formulation that contains ephedra, caffeine, and aspirin-the first letter of each ingredient spells ECA. The original patented formulation contains specific amounts and proportions of each ingredient. A number of supplement manufacturers have created formulas that utilize similar natural ingredients, but they are often in markedly different proportions. For example, the kola nut may be used as a caffeine source, or White willow bark may be used for its natural aspirin precursor. The proportions are frequently changed to provide more effectiveness. Max Lean (daytime formula) is one of these later products. Of course, ephedra should not be used by people with high blood pressure, hypertension, or women who are pregnant. New ephedra-free formulations like Max Lean EF and soon to be released Max Lean NS (non-stimulant) are an excellent ephedra-free alternative.
Source: MM Sports Nutrition Research Team, Spotlight Health in

Lower Back Injuries
Q: I am a former police officer (age 38) who retired due to a low back injury. I want to get back in the gym but I am concerned as to what I should do to strengthen and not hurt myself? ?

A:Always ask your doctor first, but in general strengthening will significantly improve your condition except for compression type exercises. Some examples are, standing calf raises, hack squats, leg press, seated cable rows and seated military press. For decompressing the spine post-workout hang from a chin up bar or lie face up on a Swiss ball. Stretching is essential!
Source: Dr. Ron Higuera