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Whey Protein

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF WHEY PROTEIN

While at the gym last Friday I encountered a young man who had heard plenty about the effect of whey proteins in muscle building. He asked me to affirm and I told him the much I could. It struck me then that plenty people don’t know much about whey and it’s health benefits. Where is whey contained and what does it do for you?. Milk is made of two proteins, casein and whey and right here we are going to focus on whey. Casein would come later. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making.

Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content. People commonly use it as a supplement, alongside resistance exercise, to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean tissue mass.

Whey protein is a mixture of the following:

*Beta-lactoglobulin
*Alpha-lactalbumin
*Bovine serum albumin
*Immunoglobins.

Whey Protein Types:

There are three primary types of whey protein :
Whey protein concentrate (WPC), 
Whey protein isolate (WPI), and 
Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH). 

Whey protein concentrate : WPC contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates (lactose). The percentage of protein in WPC depends on how concentrated it is. Lower end concentrates tend to have 30% protein and higher end up to 90%

Whey protein isolate:  WPIs are further processed to remove all the fat and lactose. WPI is usually at least 90% protein

Whey protein hydrolysate: WPH is considered to be the “predigested” form of whey protein as it has already undergone partial hydrolysis – a process necessary for the body to absorb protein. WPH doesn’t require as much digestion as the other two forms of whey protein. In addition, it is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas because of it’s improved digestibility and reduced allergen potential.

How is whey protein produced?

When milk is left over and coagulates, it eventually turns into a 5% solution of lactose in water, loaded with minerals. This leftover by-product, called whey, makes up 20% of the protein in milk, the other 80% is called casein (the curds in cottage cheese). The liquid whey is separated from the casein and sent through filters to remove all non-whey ingredients. It is then purified in a process called “ion exchange”.

The final step is removing the water from the whey by turning it into a powder at a drying tower. The protein powder is then ready to be packaged and consumed.

Possible Health Benefits of Whey Protein

There are many benefits associated with the consumption of whey protein, and researchers are constantly finding new possible therapeutic properties. Please Note that many of these potential benefits are based on single studies and more evidence is required before making definitive judgement.

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 associated with obessity including high blood pressure and diabetes. However, this adverse change in body composition can be partly slowed, prevented, or reversed with a combination of proper exercise 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 which 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. Whey protein has been shown to be slightly better compared to other types of protein, such as casein or soy.

Lowering Cholesterol

According to a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, “there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol at week 12 in the whey group compared with the casein (group).”

Asthma

Whey protein could improve immune response in children with asthma. A study  published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, found that children with asthma who were supplemented with whey for one month had an improved cytokine response.

Whey Protein May Lower Blood Pressure

Abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease and numerous studies have linked the consumption of dairy products with reduced blood pressure. This effect could been attributed to a family of bioactive peptides in milk, 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 anyway, 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%. Casein  has similar effects .

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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 discovered that whey proteins may reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of glutathione 

Whey Protein is Highly Satiating (Filling), Which May Help Reduce Hunger and Aid Weight Loss.

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 of which protein is by far the most filling of the three. 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.

A study published in the journal Clinical and Investigative Medicine1 found that whey protein may help reduce weight loss among HIV-positive patients.

Recent developments on whey protein:

The beneficial effects of whey on diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors in obese adults
New evidence shores up findings that whey protein, which is found in milk and cheese, could have health benefits for people who are obese and do not yet have diabetes. The study, which appears in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, examined how different protein sources affect metabolism.
*Whey protein consumption may lead to significant decreases in body weight and body fat and significant increases in lean body mass .

*Research published in the March/April 2014 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that whey protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise or as part of a weight-loss or weight-maintenance diet, may provide men and women benefits related to body composition.

*Researchers from Tel Aviv University have suggested that consuming whey protein before meals may reduce blood sugar spikes. Specifically, they state that a whey protein drink before breakfast can help control erratic glucose levels associated with type 2 diabetes.

Whey Protein Risks?

Generally, most of the complications associated with whey protein intake have to do with digestive issues, such as bloating, headaches, cramps and fatigue. None of these are generally considered life-threatening, more so than annoying complications. Most of the literature has shown that if you’re experiencing any of have these symptoms, they are most likely due to either the lactose (found more in Whey Protein Concentrate) or sweeteners used more so than the whey protein itself. With that said, there are different methods of whey production, such as ion-exchanged that can influence how well your body can utilize the protein, leading to improper digestion of the whey itself.

The biggest fear often expressed about whey protein intake is that too much protein is “bad for the kidneys.” Research though has shown this is not true at all in healthy individuals. For those with known kidney disease, high protein diets can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Healthy individuals, without any underlying or unknown kidney disease have nothing to worry about with higher intakes of protein. What does occur with higher protein intakes is your body adapts to the increase in protein by increasing glomerular filtration rates (which means more fluid passes by your kidneys and there’s an increase in urine production).

Sources:

https://draxe.com/casein-protein/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-whey-protein/

http://www.builtlean.com/2012/03/16/whey-protein/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263371.php?page=2

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