Whey is the watery portion that remains after milk is curdled and strained during the manufacture of cheese. Earlier this whey was discarded but now it is treated as a by-product with numerous commercial uses.
Whey protein is the powdered form of whey and is considered a complete protein as is contains the nine essential amino acids which are very important nutrition requirements for muscle growth.
Since amino acids are easily and rapidly digestible, it containing them is a superb protein supplement promoting muscle growth.
Here most of the people don’t have such clear ideas of whey protein, so it has been given another article to enhance clear concepts of whey protein. The article is here: “What Is Whey Protein? How Is Made? Types & Benefits.”
It comes in three forms-isolate, concentrate and hydrolysate.
Concentrated whey is the least processed while hydrolyzed whey is the most processed one. All three types have their own benefits to offer.
Other than muscle synthesis and growth, there are various other benefits of whey protein which have made it the most popular protein supplement recommended by nutritionists and dieticians around the globe.
1. Promotes Muscle Growth
Aging and muscle mass loss are directly proportionate.
With age, people tend to lose their muscle mass and the rate of muscle growth also slows down.
Proper diet, strength training, and protein supplements can help prevent or speed down the process of muscle loss.
Whey protein contains leucine which is the most effective growth promoting amino acid among the nine. It contains about 12% of leucine and thus consuming whey supplement stimulates muscle growth by preventing muscle protein degradation.
2. Maintains Body Composition
An interesting fact about whey protein is that though it helps in muscle building, it does not make the muscles look unnaturally bulked up.
It is often termed as ‘stay lean supplement’ as it promotes muscle growth preserving lean muscle mass and speeding up fat loss.
Whey lessens hunger and makes one feel full which consequently reduces food consumption. This helps one lose fat without losing muscle mass. In this context, the benefits of whey protein are that it helps to improve and maintain the overall body composition of an individual.
3. Benefits Women Bone Health
Osteoporosis is common in women and its rate increases in the post-menopausal phase.
Hormonal changes cause the bone to degrade and become very fragile. This degradation of bones can also be termed as bone resorption.
Studies have proved that whey protein consumption helps to improve the bone health of women.
The benefits of whey protein lie in the fact that it reduces the rate of bone loss in women when they are in the state of increased bone resumption and decreased levels of estrogen and help women to maintain their bone health.
4. Reduces Hunger
Fast satiety is an important factor for diet regulated weight loss. High protein diets are recommended for this purpose as they increase amino acid concentration in the blood making an individual feel satiated at a faster rate.
The high content of amino acids in whey makes it a better choice as a protein supplement than soy or casein.
Consuming a portion of whey protein with breakfast or an hour prior to a meal activates the satiety hormone making one feel full at a sooner rate and thus reducing the rate of food consumption.
5. Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Insulin is a hormone that helps to keep blood sugar in healthy limits. In diabetics, insulin function reduces thus increasing blood sugar levels.
Studies have found that whey increases insulin sensitivity and response.
People with high blood sugar levels, especially type 2 diabetics, or individuals who want to keep a check on their blood sugar levels can get benefitted from whey.
It basically decreases the level of blood glucose and enhances the response of insulin.
Thus, the intake of whey protein supplements before a meal reduces the post-meal glucose level.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Lactokine is a bioactive peptide which has the property of lowering blood pressure level in patients with high blood pressure.
These benefits of whey protein also help to maintain cardiovascular health. High blood pressure drugs contain a synthetic version of lactokine.
In the composition of whey protein, this bioactive peptide is naturally present and so consumption of whey supplements helps to reduce high blood pressure level and also maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
7. Improve Immunity
Whey protein is not only a complete protein containing amino acids but it also contains other bioactive compounds that play a vital role in boosting immunity.
Some of these bioactive compounds are lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, immunoglobulins, and lactoperoxidase and lysozyme.
Lactoferrin comes with the properties of anti-cancer and immunity-boosting. Beta-lactoglobulin contains anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties and helps to cure severe sepsis infection.
Immunoglobulins function by binding with antigens and helping the body recognize the antigens so that they can be destroyed.
Lactoperoxidase and lysozymes are potential antibacterial enzymes present in whey.
8. Provides Protection Against Cancer
Glutathione is the cellular protector of the body, deficiency of which can cause different types of cancer.
In a normal cell, glutathione provides protection against cell death but this property of glutathione on cancer cells creates hazards as then the glutathione content of the cancer cells resists cancer therapy.
It has the property of increasing synthesis of glutathione in normal cells while reducing glutathione levels in cancer cells.
Thus, the consumption of whey protein is sure to help one tackle resistance to cancer therapies.
9. Maintains Body Health
The intestinal wall can undergo damage due to anti-biotics, inflammation or infections and can develop a leaky gut which may cause toxins to leak from the intestinal wall and get mixed with blood.
Whey being prebiotic helps the good bacteria present in the gut to combat damage and also helps to improve and maintain intestinal health.
The lactoferrin content of whey protein also helps in the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract. Iron helps in the growth of red blood cells and thus this component of whey makes it essential for anemic patients.
10. Maintains Cognitive Health
Cognitive health improvement is an important benefit of whey protein which is not known to people.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals present in the brain that determine the thought, the feeling and the behavior of an individual.
The most determinant neurotransmitter is serotonin, a reduced level of which may cause stress and consequently depression. It can also impair an individual’s cognitive performance.
Research has shown high levels of tryptophan supplements improve brain function in people under stress.
Alpha-lactalbumin is the required tryptophan supplement that helps to rejuvenate cognitive health.
36% of whey protein composition contains alpha-lactalbumin thus making it a required protein supplement for lowering oxidative stress and inducing increased serotonin level and maintaining the overall cognitive well-being of an individual.
A simple by-product can deliver so many health benefits is in itself interesting to think of. Protein supplements were earlier only recommended for body-builders or gym goers but extensive researches have revealed that protein supplements can be consumed by any individual who wants to have a healthy lifestyle.
Among the different protein supplements, It is winning hearts because of the varied benefits of whey protein.
It is unbelievable truth that whey protein is the king of all proteins, are you surprised?
If surprised then must read this article “Why whey protein is the best protein among all”
Ranging from brain heath to muscle health, from immunity boost to anti-cancer, from balancing blood sugar levels to maintaining digestive health, It has proved its worth.
From bodybuilders, athletes to health-lovers all recommend that whey protein must be included in everyone’s diet for a happier and healthier life.
Does whey protein increase hair growth?
Protein helps our body build muscles and tissues, and that includes hair follicles. Lack of protein is associated with hair fall. So, you need protein for healthy hair. However, if you do consume enough protein, eating any more will not lead to hair growth.
Can whey protein reduce belly fat?
A diet with enough protein facilitates weight loss. Whey also suppresses hunger and helps you eat less. So, in a way, whey can help you lose body fat, including your belly fat. However, you do have to work out along with taking whey.
Can I take whey protein without exercising?
You can consume whey protein without exercising if you stay within healthy protein consumption limits. Eating too much protein while being inactive can make your kidneys work overtime. A person with a sedentary lifestyle shouldn’t eat more than 50 – 60grams of protein in a day.
Can I drink whey protein to gain weight?
Whey generally won’t add body fat. But you can drink whey protein and work out to build muscles. More muscles in your body will directly increase your weight. Whey can build lean muscles and help you gain weight.
Can whey protein replace a meal?
No, and it’s not even recommended. Protein is a part of a healthy diet that includes other nutrients like carbs and fat. Drinking only whey will not meet your nutritional requirements. However, if you have to choose between skipping a meal and drinking whey, then do drink your protein. But don’t do it regularly.