Whey protein is a complete source of protein used for muscle growth. It is the liquid by product of cheese, sold as a dietary supplement. Earlier, whey protein was discarded by cheese and dairy product manufacturers as a waste product, but now it’s being used by body builders as a dietary supplement. Normally, milk has two types of protein-a) casein and b) whey. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or extracted as a by-product of cheese making.Whey protein significantly reduces the need for carbohydrates and fats in excess, it is
Whey protein significantly reduces the need for carbohydrates and fats in excess, it is a main diet component of people who are looking to build up lean muscle mass and muscle growth. If you’ve come across body builders and weight lifters with beefed up bodies, then there’s a possibility that they have a good intake of whey protein.
Since whey protein is a by-product of animals, it produces amino acids that your body cannot produce itself. Hence, it promotes various vital body functions, including skin and connective tissue growth, and body resistance. Contrary to popular belief, whey protein does not contain just protein, but also a composition of lactose, fats and minerals which are helpful for muscle growth and body metabolism.
Benefits of Whey Protien
Usually, our body needs 20 amino acids (the main component of protein), to repair bones, muscles, cells, organs and every tissue of the human body. From whey protein, the body consumes at least 9 amino acids that are essential for growth. We come across various foods to fulfill our nutritive demands, but nothing compares to the dietary benefits of whey protein. Let’s take a quick look at its remarkable benefits
- Weight loss.
- Increase in muscle mass.
- Prevents cancer.
- Increases glutathione levels.
- Decrease in triglycerides.
- Keeps cholesterol under control.
- Assists Cancer Treatment.
- Increases stamina.
The main benefit of whey protein is that it promotes muscle synthesis for solid muscle gain and growth of lean tissue mass. Recent studies have proved that whey protein has miraculous effects on various diseases like asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV, cancer and liver disease. Before we begin to learn the benefits of whey protein and how to use them, it’s best to understand the composition of whey protein
- Bovine serum albumin
Now that we have come to figure out the importance of whey protein, it’s also essential to find out the types of whey protein fit for use. When you visit the market, you’ll find various brands of whey protein to swipe through, some will be cheaper with less results, while others will be expensive with more benefits. Let’s find out the who’s who of whey protein, to scoop out more of its benefits-
- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is generally the cheapest of the three and has the lowest amount of protein per 100 grams of the three types. Despite having the lowest protein content, it still has a very high percentage, typically ranging from 55-89%. The other 11-45% is made up of fat, lactose and contains higher amounts of various immune-enhancing peptides such as alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins.
- Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) has on average 95% of its weight coming from protein, with minimal lactose and fat. This is more expensive than concentrate and there are varying methods of filtration that can keep many of the beneficial qualities of the concentrate, although this generally costs more.
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) is a further degraded protein that digests very quickly in the body and has about 99% of its weight coming from protein. This is the most expensive of the three and generally the worst tasting.
Whey protein tremendously helps build fat free muscles and is considered to be the best dietary supplement compared to other sources of protein. It is easily digestible and mostly preferred by people who are always on the run, as dietary supplements.
Whey Protein to Promote Muscle Growth
We all know that muscle mass declines with age and this increases the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, arteriosclerosis and cancer. But with proper strength training and diet supplements, this process of aging can be prevented, slowed down or even reversed.
People who use large amounts of whey protein have shown better muscle growth during strength training.
Regardless of which form you use, pure or blended, concentrate or hydrolyzed, whey protein is undoubtedly the king of protein supplements. There has been endless research to prove that whey is the ultimate protein for muscle synthesis.
Whey proves to be the fabulous muscle-builder for several reasons. The first is its rapid rate of digestion. Whey is helpful in fast digestion, because its amino acids – the building blocks of all proteins – break down rapidly and are absorbed into the bloodstream. These amino acids are transported to muscle tissue, where they can quickly engage in protein synthesis.
Whey also boosts protein synthesis effectively because it’s an extremely rich source of the branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. Leucine is the most pro-active protein in this group. Research suggests that it acts much like the key to your car, turning on the powerful engine of protein synthesis. The main effects of whey on muscle/strength are:
- Building Blocks: It provides protein and amino acids, which serve as building blocks for increased muscle growth.
- Hormones: It increases release of anabolic hormones that can stimulate muscle growth, such as Insulin.
- Leucine: It is high in the amino acid Leucine, which is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic level.
- Fast Absorption: Whey protein is absorbed and utilized very quickly compared to other types of protein
Whey protein has been shown to be particularly effective at increasing muscle growth when consumed right before, after or during a workout, but muscle protein synthesis is usually maximized in the time period after training.
However, a recent review of the evidence concluded that total daily protein intake is the most relevant factor in muscle growth. Whether protein is consumed around the workout or not doesn’t seem to matter much.
Which is the Best Type Of Whey Protein?
There are basically three different types of whey protein which undergo different degrees of filtering. Whey protein concentrate is the cheapest of all forms as it undergoes minimum processing. Whey protein concentrate follows a micro-filtration process, which retains around 70 to 80% of protein.
Whey isolate is fine as it undergoes further processing through a cross-flow microfiltration or ion exchange chromatography. It has protein content higher than 95% due to which it is easily absorbed in the blood stream and is a great source of protein for dieters, and as post and pre-workout supplements.
Whey protein hydrolase is considered the best and finest of all, as it undergoes synthesis with the help of hydrolysis. It breaks longer protein chains into easily digestible smaller fragments. Hydrolase protein is also found in infant formulas, sports nutrition products and medicine nutrition products.
Sometimes the manufacturers combine all these three types of proteins together, so that you can reap the benefits of all three of them.
Whey Protein against Casein and Other Nutrients
Whey protein has advantages over other proteins like casein. Research has shown that body builders taking whey protein paired with 10 weeks of weight training program experienced a gain of 11 pounds’ muscle mass compared to body builders taking casein, who produced only 2 pounds of muscle mass.
When compared to casein, the evidence is more mixed. Whey appears to be effective in the short-term, but casein stimulates muscle growth over a longer period.
Similarly, compared to other types of protein, such as soy protein, whey protein has better impact. If you’re already eating plenty of meat, fish, eggs and dairy, then the benefits of adding whey will probably be minimal.
Few Other Benefits of Whey Protein
Let’s take quick look at some of the other benefits of whey protein-
1. Maintains Healthy Weight
Due to its high protein content, whey protein has positive effects on weight control. If you maintain a high protein diet after weight loss, you will gain weight only as lean muscle mass. Whey protein promotes weight loss through blood sugar balance, thermogenesis and increasing satiety.
2. Helps Building Lean Muscle
With the help of regular resistance exercise, whey protein increases the amount of lean muscle. It has a wonder group of BCAA (Branched Chain of Amino Acids) which steps up the body’s tendency to make lean muscle. It is a great source of leucine, one of the most prominent amino acids of the BCAA chain which helps in lean muscle growth.
While most of the amino acids first synthesise in the liver followed by the muscle tissue, BCAA heads directly towards the muscle tissue. Studies have shown that a combination of protein with resistance exercise promotes muscle growth.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Research has linked consumption of dairy products to low blood pressure. In whey protein, there is an ACE inhibitor called lactokinin which helps control blood pressure.
4. Treats 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 conversion of blood sugar into energy, keeping it under control.
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 score more points. Whey protein has a remarkable effect on people with type A diabetes, if consumed with a high carb diet.
5. Boosts Immunity
In today’s world, there are lot of ways to contribute towards greater disease immunity. Compared to other sources of protein, whey protein has a stronger ability to protect our immune system.
It has a special component called Glutathione (GSH), which a master component of the body’s immune system. It works as an antioxidant to boost the body’s natural resistance.
6. Promotes Bone Health
Animal protein is easier to digest compared to plant protein. Research has suggested that increase in intake of whey protein has lowered the risk of fractures and increases bone density among senior people. Whey protein is an excellent source of dietary calcium. Higher amount of calcium not only improves bone mass, but also supresses growth of fat cells.
7. Supports A Healthy Cardiovascular System
Research shows that whey protein contains numerous bioactive peptides which helps lower hypertension. Whey peptides control cholesterol levels in blood and formation of plaque, which may lead to atherosclerosis.
They inhibit an enzyme called ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) which may cause arterial blockage.
8. Cures 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.
Whey protein is known to control inflammatory bowel disease.
9. Side Effects, Dosage, and How to Use It
Whey protein is very easy to incorporate into diet. It is sold as a powder that can be added to smoothies, yogurts, or simply mixed with water or milk.
25-50 grams per day (1-2 scoops) is a commonly recommended dosage, but don’t forget to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging.
Keep in mind that taking too much protein is a waste. The body can only utilize a limited amount of protein at a given time. Excessive consumption may also cause digestive problems, such as nausea, pain, bloating, cramping, flatulence, and diarrhoea.
If you are lactose intolerant, whey protein hydrolysate or isolate may be more suitable than concentrate. If you have ever had liver or kidney problems, then consult a doctor before taking a protein supplement. To wrap it up, whey protein is not just a convenient way to boost your protein intake, it may have some powerful health benefits as well. The high nutritive value and fast absorption are good reasons to make it a part of our daily diets.