Whey Protein has been a surrounding name in the muscle building world but also proves to be of great benefit to a person’s general health. But what is really Whey Protein?
Basically, Whey Protein is the collection of globular proteins from whey. Cow’s milk contains 20 percent whey and 80 percent casein while the human milk is 60 percent whey and 40 percent casein. Whey Protein is the by-product of the cheese making process and also undergoes additional processing methods to what is not known as powdered whey protein in various supplements. It comes in 4 major forms- concentrate (WPC), isolate (WPI), hydrolysate (WPH), and Native Whey. (1)
Now, why are Whey Proteins such a popular supplement today? This is because Whey is an easily digested source of protein and contains high levels of amino acids. And as we all know, amino acids are biologically important organic compounds that serve to function as the building blocks (4). Although it is naturally produced inside the body, some are considered to be essential amino acids. Meaning to say, our body cannot produce them thus, we need a source of it through diet and/or supplementation.
Whey protein contains the essential amino acids needed. It contains high levels of BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids such as Leucine and Leucine has been considered to be the greatest growth promoting amino acid. Also, Whey Protein contains high levels of cysteine which functions by boosting levels of glutathione, a potent antioxidant.
Whey protein is one of the most widely used supplements in the body building world due to its benefits to muscle building and repair, strength, power, and aesthetic purposes.
Muscle building while eliminating fat
One study conducted in Minnesota supports this claim that Whey Protein does really help in muscle building while losing body fat. All subjects were controlled as to having only a daily caloric intake of 500 calories with one group receiving whey protein supplement while the other group received an isocaloric beverage. Subjects who received whey protein showed significant results. They lost 6.6 percent total body fat as compared to the other group who only received isocaloric beverage.
This study gives us a clear basis as to why may body builders and active individuals take Whey Protein supplements. It preserves the muscular gains of the individuals taking it, helps in the recovery of the muscles, while also losing body fat.
Once you build up muscle, your strength increases as well. A study in Texas suggests that one group who received 14 grams of whey protein and casein as well as 6 grams of amino acids showed significant results as compared to the placebo group. The experimental group had an increase in fat-free mass and strength.
Whey protein can actually reduce hunger. This is because as a fulfilling macronutrient, whey boosts metabolism but reduces cravings as well and increases satiety.
A study showed that subjects who were given a beverage containing 50 grams of whey had a reduction in the levels of ghrelin, as compared to the other groups who received three other different types of drinks. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals hunger.
The effect of which can be experienced for up to 4 hours after intake, thus aiding in unhealthy and unnecessary eating habits.
Other health benefits
Whey protein also serves to have other various health benefits aside from its popular use for its muscle building ability. It serves to lower blood pressure levels, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and can reduce overall symptoms of depression and stress.
It has been shown to also have anti-cancer benefits, increase bone density, reduce the symptoms of hepatitis, and can also boost the immune function in HIV patients.
1. Proper Whey Protein dosage and administration
In the body building world, Whey Protein is usually consumed with a daily dose of one to two scoops, which is approximately 25 grams to 50 grams and is best consumed after workout sessions. In relation to that, other sources specify a daily dose of about 1.2 to 1.5 grams/kg of whey protein in combination of strength training. (2) (3)
Since there have been a lot of Whey Protein available at the market today, it would be best to follow the instructions written by the manufacturer regarding its use and dosage.
2. Is Whey Protein safe to use? What are its related side effects?
Basically, the consumption of Whey Protein is generally safe for most adults when taken by mouth, for a single daily dose of up to 50 grams. However, there have been some reported side effects especially when consumed in high dosages. This include but are not limited to headache and gastrointestinal problems such as gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation, cramps, nausea, increased and/or abnormal bowel movements, upset stomach, and reduced appetite. Moreover, Whey Protein can also cause abnormal heart rhythms, increased thirst, and changes in cholesterol levels. Also it has not been proven yet, Whey Protein may increase the risks of having diabetes, fracture, osteoporosis, kidney dysfunction, and liver damage. Studies supporting these claims are yet to be established and further clinical researches and trials are still needed. (2) (3)
As for pregnant and lactating mothers, there has been limited evidence regarding its safety for the said population. Also, only approved sources of protein are considered safe for use in infant formulas. With this, it would be best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider first. (2) (3)
3. Are there any precautions and contraindications to Whey Protein use?
On the hand, some part of the population might not be well-fitted to take Whey Protein. Some of them may take Whey with much precaution while some are absolutely contraindicated.
Since Whey Protein may lower blood sugar levels, it should be used with caution among people who have Diabetes or people who have low blood sugar levels. In addition to that, it may also cause low blood pressure levels so it should be used with caution in people who have low blood pressure as well.
As mentioned earlier, the supplement may also cause gastrointestinal problems so it should be used with caution among people who have stomach or intestine disorders. Moreover, the use of Whey should be avoided in people who have known allergy or sensitivity to milk or milk products including cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, and mare’s milk. (2) (3)
4. Drug Interactions to Whey Protein
A number of drugs and supplements have been found to interact with Whey Protein. One major interaction that should never be used with Whey Protein is Levodopa, the mainstay treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. This is because Whey Protein might decrease how much Levodopa is absorbed inside the body. In this way, the supplement might decrease the effectiveness of Levodopa.
In addition to that, other drugs that have been found to interact with Whey Protein include Aledronate (Fosamax), and Antibiotics including Quinolone and Tetracycline antibiotics. (3)
Whey Protein is readily available at the market today and is sold under different manufacturers. You may order it online or you may buy it in various health and supplement stores. Due to its popularity and variations, be sure to do your research first and choose the best Whey Protein supplement suitable for your daily needs. Buy Whey Protein now and experience a variety of its benefits both aesthetically and for your general body health.References:
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