10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WHEY PROTEIN
WHEY PROTEIN is among the best-studied supplements in the world, and for good reason.
It has a very high nutritional value, and scientific studies have revealed numerous health benefits.
Here are 10 health benefits of whey protein that are supported by human studies.
1. WHEY IS AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF HIGH-QUALITY PROTEIN
Whey protein is the protein fraction of whey, which is a liquid that separates from milk during cheese production.
It is a complete, high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids.
In addition, it is very digestible, absorbed from the gut quickly compared to other types of protein.
These qualities make it one of the best dietary sources of protein available.
There are three main types of whey protein powder, concentrate (WPC), isolate (WPI), and hydrolysate (WPH).
The concentrate is the most common type and is also the cheapest.
As a dietary supplement, whey protein is widely popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and others who want additional protein in their diet.
Whey protein has a very high nutritional value and is one of the best dietary sources of high-quality protein. It is highly digestible and absorbed quickly compared to other proteins.
2. WHEY PROTEIN PROMOTES MUSCLE GROWTH
Muscle mass naturally declines with age.
This usually leads to fat gain and raises the risk of many chronic diseases.
However, this adverse change in body composition can be partly slowed, prevented, or reversed with a combination of strength training and adequate diet.
Strength training coupled with the consumption of high-protein foods or protein supplements has been shown to be an effective preventive strategy.
Particularly effective are high-quality protein sources, such as whey, which is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine.
Leucine is the most growth-promoting (anabolic) of the amino acids.
For this reason, whey protein is effective for the prevention of age-related muscle loss, as well as for improved strength and a better-looking body.
For muscle growth, whey protein has been shown to be slightly better compared to other types of protein, such as casein or soy.
However, unless your diet is already lacking in protein, supplements probably won’t make a big difference.
Whey protein is excellent for promoting muscle growth and maintenance when coupled with strength training.
3. WHEY PROTEIN MAY LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease.
Numerous studies have linked the consumption of dairy products with reduced blood pressure.
This effect has been attributed to a family of bioactive peptides in dairy, so-called “angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors” (ACE-inhibitors).
In whey proteins, the ACE-inhibitors are called lactokinins. Several animal studies have demonstrated their beneficial effects on blood pressure.
A limited number of human studies have investigated the effect of whey proteins on blood pressure, and many experts consider the evidence to be inconclusive.
One study in overweight individuals showed that whey protein supplementation, 54 g/day for 12 weeks, lowered systolic blood pressure by 4%. Other milk proteins (casein) had similar effects.
This is supported by another study that found significant effects when participants were given whey protein concentrate (22 g/day) for 6 weeks.
However, blood pressure decreased only in those that had high or slightly elevated blood pressure, to begin with.
No significant effects on blood pressure were detected in a study that used much lower amounts of whey protein (less than 3.25 g/day) mixed with a milk drink.
Whey proteins may lower blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure. This is due to bioactive peptides called lactokinins.
4. WHEY PROTEIN MAY HELP TREAT TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar and impaired function of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is supposed to stimulate the uptake of blood sugar into cells, keeping it within healthy limits.
Whey protein has been found to be effective at moderating blood sugar, increasing both the levels of insulin and the sensitivity to its effects.
When compared with other sources of protein, such as egg white or fish, whey protein seems to have the upper hand.
These properties of whey protein may even be comparable to those of diabetic drugs, such as sulfonylurea.
As a result, whey protein can be effectively used as a supplementary treatment for type 2 diabetes
Taking a whey protein supplement before or with a high-carb meal has been shown to moderate blood sugar in both healthy people and type 2 diabetics.
Whey protein is effective at moderating blood sugar levels, especially when taken before or with high-carb meals. It may be particularly useful for people with type 2 diabetes.
5. WHEY PROTEIN MAY HELP REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is part of the body’s response to damage. Short-term inflammation is beneficial, but under certain circumstances, it may become chronic.
Chronic inflammation can be harmful and is a risk factor for many diseases. It may reflect underlying health problems or bad lifestyle habits.
A large review study found that high doses of whey protein supplements significantly reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker of inflammation in the body.
High doses of whey protein have been shown to reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, indicating that it can help reduce inflammation.
6. WHEY PROTEIN MAY BE BENEFICIAL FOR INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE
Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract.
It is a collective term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In both rodents and humans, whey protein supplementation has been found to have beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disease.
However, the available evidence is weak and further studies are needed before any strong claims can be made.
Whey protein supplements may have beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disease.
7. WHEY PROTEIN MAY ENHANCE THE BODY’S ANTIOXIDANT DEFENSES
Antioxidants are substances that act against oxidation in the body, reducing oxidative stress and cutting the risk of various chronic diseases.
One of the most important antioxidants in humans is glutathione.
Unlike most antioxidants we get from the diet, glutathione is produced by the body.
In the body, glutathione production depends on the supply of several amino acids, such as cysteine, which is sometimes of limited supply.
For this reason, high-cysteine foods, such as whey protein, may boost the body’s natural antioxidant defenses.
A number of studies in both humans and rodents have found that whey proteins may reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of glutathione.
Whey protein supplementation may strengthen the body’s antioxidant defenses by promoting the formation of glutathione, one of the body’s main antioxidants.
8. WHEY PROTEIN MAY HAVE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS ON BLOOD FATS
High cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, is a risk factor for heart disease.
In one study in overweight individuals, 54 grams of whey protein per day, for 12 weeks, led to a significant reduction in total and LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol.
Other studies did not find similar effects on blood cholesterol, but the lack of effect might be due to differences in study design.
Further studies are needed before any conclusions can be made.
Long-term, high-dose whey protein supplementation may lower cholesterol levels. The evidence is very limited at this point.
9. WHEY PROTEIN IS HIGHLY SATIATING (FILLING), WHICH MAY HELP REDUCE HUNGER
Satiety is a term used to describe the feeling of fullness we experience after eating a meal.
It is the opposite of appetite and hunger and should suppress cravings for food and the desire to eat.
Some foods are more satiating than others, an effect which is partly mediated by their macronutrient (protein, carb, fat) composition.
Protein is by far the most filling of the three macronutrients.
However, not all proteins have the same effect on satiety. Whey protein appears to be more satiating than other types of protein, such as casein and soy.
These properties make it particularly useful for those who need to eat fewer calories and lose weight.
Whey protein is very satiating (filling), even more so than other types of protein. This makes it a useful addition to a weight loss diet.
10. WHEY PROTEIN CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT
Increased consumption of protein is a well-known weight loss strategy.
Eating more protein may promote fat loss by:
Suppressing appetite, leading to reduced calorie intake.
Boosting metabolism, helping you burn more calories.
Helping to maintain muscle mass when losing weight.
Whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective and may have a superior effect on fat burning and satiety compared to other protein types.
Eating plenty of protein is a very effective way to lose weight, and some studies show that whey protein may have even greater effects than other types of protein.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS IT SAFE FOR ME TO TAKE ?
There have been reports indicating that high protein diets can be detrimental to your health. These concerns have no scientific substantiation whatsoever. Learn more.
A study conducted by the International Society of Sports Nutrition reviewed the position stand of protein and exercise for trained individuals. The article outlined seven specific points relating to the intake of protein for healthy, exercising individuals. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein according to U.S. government standards is 0.8 gram per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of ideal body weight for the adult.
This protein RDA is specified to meet the majority of the populations protein needs. Since athletes and trained individuals have a higher demand for nutrients-particularly protein-it was necessary to reevaluate the current needs of this demographic.
The following points have been approved by the Research Committee of the Society.
Vast research supports the contention that individuals engaged in regular exercise training require more dietary protein than sedentary individuals.
Protein intakes of 1.4 – 2.0 g/kg/day for physically active individuals is not only safe, but may improve the training adaptations to exercise training.
When part of a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, protein intakes at this level are not detrimental to kidney function or bone metabolism in healthy, active persons.
While it is possible for physically active individuals to obtain their daily protein requirements through a varied, regular diet, supplemental protein in various forms are a practical way of ensuring adequate and quality protein intake for athletes.
Different types and quality of protein can affect amino acid bioavailability following protein supplementation. The superiority of one protein type over another in terms of optimizing recovery and/or training adaptations remains to be convincingly demonstrated.
Appropriately timed protein intake is an important component of an overall exercise training program, essential for proper recovery, immune function, and the growth and maintenance of lean body mass.
Under certain circumstances, specific amino acid supplements, such as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), may improve exercise performance and recovery from exercise.
PROTEIN INTAKE RECOMMENDATIONS
The RDA for healthy adults (0.8 g/kg body weight per day) was created to allow for an individual’s differences in protein metabolism-since people’s metabolic rate can vary due to numerous factors. That recommendation for protein intake covers that vast majority of society-approximately 97.5%- which may be adequate for non-exercising individuals. Since exercise breaks down additional foodstuffs coming from protein, carbohydrates, and fats, trained individuals require more calories-especially coming from protein to accommodate recovery and muscle maintenance.
Most studies related to protein requirements use nitrogen balance assessments and amino acid tracer studies. This has one primary disadvantage for trained individuals because nitrogen balance studies may underestimate the amount of protein needed for optimal performance related to exercise. All athletes whether endurance, resistance, or any other form of training require additional protein to fuel their metabolism.
For endurance training individuals, recommended protein intakes range from of 1.0 g/kg to 1.6 g/kg per day depending on the intensity and duration of the endurance exercise, as well as the training status of the individual. Strength/power exercise is thought to increase protein requirements even more than endurance exercise, particularly during the initial stages of training and/or sharp increases in volume. Recommendations for strength/power exercise typically range from 1.6 to 2.0 g/kg/day.
Little research has been conducted on exercise activities that are intermittent in nature (e.g., soccer, basketball, mixed martial arts, etc.).
The position of the International Society of Sports Nutrition is that exercising individuals ingest protein ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/day.
Endurance Exercise: Should ingest levels at the lower end of the Calculated range.
Intermittent Activities: Should ingest levels in the middle of the Calculated range.
Strength/Power Exercise: Should ingest levels at the upper end of the Calculated range.
SAFETY OF PROTEIN INTAKES HIGHER THAN RDA
Within the media, there have been widespread reports that high levels of protein intake put heavy stress on the kidneys. There have been other reports indicating that high protein diets increase excretion of calcium-leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Both of these concerns have no scientific substantiation whatsoever. Most of the cited sources relate to studies done on animals and patients with co-existing renal (kidney) disease. For healthy individuals with no disease or impairment-higher levels of protein intake for exercising individuals are safe and desired for optimal performance.
PROTEIN QUALITY AND COMMON TYPES OF PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS
To obtain supplemental dietary protein, exercising individuals often ingest protein powders. Powdered protein is convenient and, depending on the product, can be cost-efficient as well. Common sources of protein include milk, whey, casein, egg, and soy-based powders. Different protein sources and purification methods may affect the bioavailability of amino acids. Bioavailability can be best defined as how well your body breaks down and absorbs protein in the bloodstream.
Commercially, the two most popular types of proteins in supplemental form are whey and casein. The differences in the digestibility and absorption of these protein types may indicate that the ingestion of “slow” (casein) and “fast” (whey) proteins differentially mediate whole body protein metabolism due to their digestive properties.
The recommendation of the International Society of Sports Nutrition is that individuals engaging in exercise attempt to obtain their protein requirements through whole foods. When supplements are ingested, we recommend that the protein contain both whey and casein components due to their high protein digestibility corrected amino acid score and ability to increase muscle protein accretion.
THE ROLE OF BCAAS IN EXERCISE
The branched-chain amino acids (i.e. leucine, isoleucine, and valine) constitute approximately one-third of skeletal muscle protein. An increasing amount of literature suggests that of the three BCAAs, leucine appears to play the most significant role in stimulating protein synthesis. In this regard, amino acid supplementation (particularly the BCAAs) may be advantageous for the exercising individual.
BCAA ingestion has been shown to be beneficial during aerobic exercise. When BCAAs are taken during aerobic exercise the net rate of protein degradation has been shown to decrease. Equally important, BCAA administration given before and during exhaustive aerobic exercise to individuals with reduced muscle glycogen stores may also delay muscle glycogen depletion.
Because BCAAs have been shown to aid in recovery processes from exercise such as stimulating protein synthesis, aiding in glycogen resynthesis, as well as delaying the onset of fatigue and helping maintain mental function in aerobic-based exercise, we suggest consuming BCAAs (in addition to carbohydrates) before, during, and following an exercise bout. Any deficiency in BCAA intake from whole foods can easily be remedied by consuming whey protein during the time frame encompassing the exercise session; however, an attempt should be made to obtain all recommended BCAAs from whole food protein sources.
THE TIMING OF PROTEIN INTAKE IN THE TIME PERIOD ENCOMPASSING THE EXERCISE SESSION HAS SEVERAL BENEFITS INCLUDING IMPROVED RECOVERY AND GREATER GAINS IN FAT-FREE MASS.
The position of the International Society of Sports Nutrition is that exercising individuals need approximately 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The amount is dependent upon the mode and intensity of the exercise, the quality of the protein ingested, and the status of the energy and carbohydrate intake of the individual. Concerns that protein intake within this range is unhealthy are unfounded in healthy, exercising individuals. An attempt should be made to obtain protein requirements from whole foods, but supplemental protein is a safe and convenient method of ingesting high-quality dietary protein.
The timing of protein intake in the time period encompassing the exercise session has several benefits including improved recovery and greater gains in fat-free mass. Protein residues such as branched-chain amino acids have been shown to be beneficial for the exercising individual, including increasing the rates of protein synthesis, decreasing the rate of protein degradation, and possibly aiding in recovery from exercise. In summary, exercising individuals need more dietary protein than their sedentary counterparts, which can be obtained from whole foods as well as from high-quality supplemental protein sources such as whey and casein protein.
WHAT IS WHEY PROTEIN?
Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production.
Milk actually contains two main types of protein: casein (80%) and whey (20%).
Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a by-product.
If you’ve ever opened a yogurt container to see liquid floating on top, this is whey. Cheesemakers used to discard it before they discovered its commercial value.
After being separated during cheese production, whey goes through a series of processing steps to become what people generally recognize as whey protein… a powder that is added to shakes, meal replacements, and protein bars.
Whey protein doesn’t taste very good on its own, which is why it is usually flavored. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavored powders are popular.
Taking whey protein is a convenient way to add 25-50 grams of protein on top of your daily intake. This can be important for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as people who need to lose weight or are simply lacking protein in their diet.
Flavoured whey proteins are also pretty delicious and can be used to make healthy recipes (like smoothies) taste incredibly good.
Whey is used as a protein supplement. It is very useful for hitting targeted daily protein goals. Whey is absorbed faster than other forms of protein, which means it also increases muscle protein synthesis used to break a fasted state.
Whey also delivers a large amount of the amino acid L-cysteine, which can alleviate deficiencies that occur during aging and diabetes, as well as other conditions. whey has also been claimed to increase fat loss.
Whey does not harm the liver or kidneys.it has no side effects. It’s dietary food supplement.
TYPES OF WHEY PROTEIN: CONCENTRATE vs ISOLATE vs HYDROLYSATE-
There are several popular types of whey protein available.
The main difference between them is the way they have been processed.
1.CONCENTRATE: About 70-80% protein. Contains some lactose (milk sugar) and fat, and has the best flavor.
2.ISOLATE: 90% protein, or higher. Contains less lactose and fat, and is missing a lot of the beneficial nutrients found in whey protein concentrate.
3.HYDROLYSATE: Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type has been pre-digested so that it gets absorbed faster. It causes a 28-43% greater spike in insulin levels than isolate.
Whey protein concentrate seems to be the overall best option… it is the cheapest and retains most of the beneficial nutrients found naturally in whey. Many people also prefer the taste, which is probably because of the small amounts of lactose and fat. If you have problems tolerating concentrate, or you’re trying to emphasize protein while keeping carbs and fat low, then whey protein isolate (or even hydrolysate) may be a better option.