Top 5 Benefits of Whey Protein
Whey Protein- the number one supplement of 2014 that still seems to be on everyone’s mind.
But why, what the heck is so special about Whey protein?
Find out the top 5 reasons why you should be supplementing with Whey protein with these top 5 benefits of whey protein.
What is Whey Protein?
You may have heard positive things about whey protein- but if your putting anything new in your body, its important to know exactly what it is!
Whey protein is a by product of cheese making that contains a mixture of:
-Bovine serum Albumin
-Amino acids- Mainly BCAA’s Leucine, Iso-lecucine and valine.
There are different variations of whey protein, which may make things seem a bit more complicated- but trust me the difference in whey protein all depends on the way whey protein is processed, as a rule of thumb-the more processing and technology used- the higher the purity and percentage of protein the whey product will contain.
1. Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
Top of the list of benefits of whey protein is the ability of this supplement to promote fat loss and muscle gains. Over the past year diets worldwide have been constantly changing- and finally we are starting to shift towards consuming diets higher in protein.
Before, opting for a low fat, high carbohydrate diet was considered the best for weight loss- however, tons of scientific studies have shown whey protein can offer a nutritional advantage towards achieving a desirable body composition- that goes beyond that of promoting lean body mass accretion.
Consuming whey protein as part of a healthy diet can decrease the accumulation of body fat and accelerate weight and fat loss during energy restriction (Marshall 2004). For example in a 12 week study by Fredstedt et al (2008), participants were asked to consume a whey protein drink or a placebo 20 minutes before breakfast and 20 minutes before dinner, whereby their overall calorie intake of was reduced by 500 calories. After 12 weeks, it was found those supplementing with whey protein lost a significant amount of weight and a greater proportion of body fat, when compared to those who did not receive a whey protein supplement. Not only this, but subjects consuming whey protein were also found to have a greater maintenance of lean muscle mass.
In addition to weight loss, whey protein also acts to increase muscle gains. For example Bohé et al reported in his study that supplementing with whey protein allows for a continuous stimulation of muscle protein synthesis, that could stimulate a muscle response, that is additive to the net accumulation of muscle protein in the course of a day.
Overall the effects of consuming whey protein, suggests that whey supplements can facilitate achieving a favourable body weight and composition.
2. Increase Strength and Power
Next on the list of whey protein wonders is its ability to increase your strength and power! When taking part in physical activity the body undergoes a large amount of physical and metabolic stress, whereby many physiological changes occur, including release of stress hormones and consequent shifts in fuel availability.
For instance, when we exercise body stores are broken down in order to meet the exercise-related demand for energy, carbohydrate, fat, and protein. This catabolic state during exercise is typically balanced by an anabolic phase in the recovery period following exercise.
Whey protein contains a series of amino acids including the BCAA’s- Branched chain amino acids, leucine, iso-leucine and valine. The abundance of amino acids is of particular interest, playing a distinct role in protein metabolism. When consumed after exercise whey protein and amino acids present can act to shift the body into muscle building mode and increase protein synthesis and anabolic processes, thus promoting muscle recovery and theoretically enhance training and performance.
For example, in study by Burke et al it was found that men who engaged in resistance training while supplementing with whey protein concentrate showed greater improvements in strength than men who did not consume whey protein. Additionally whey protein supplementation was also shown to increase lean muscle mass (Marshall 2004).
Another point, beyond the composition of amino acids present in whey, is the manner in which whey and other intact proteins are quickly absorbed, whereby when compared to other proteins such as casein, whey is absorbed at a rapid rate. Hayes and Crib (2008) demonstrated that supplementing with whey protein in the hours surrounding exercise and weight training, can act as a dietary strategy to improve the maintenance of skeletal muscle mass, helping to improve the quality of life as we age.
3. Reduce Hunger- Feel Fuller For Longer
Keeping in the theme of weight loss and changes in body composition, whey protein can act to reduce hunger and make you feel fuller for longer.
For example, in a study by Luhovyy et al (2007), whey protein was found to reduce short term food intake when compared to carbohydrates and other placebos, whilst increasing satiety and fullness. Whey protein can act to increase fullness through the amino acids released after digestion, and the combined actions of bioactive peptides, amino acids and milk constituents.
Whey protein therefore has the potential to be functional food component for individuals looking to lose weight and reduce food intake.
4. Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
One of the most common diseases and leading killers in America is Cardiovascular disease. CVD is linked to a number of factors from weight to alcohol intake and lack of exercise, whereby major risk factors include high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol levels. However, it has been shown in several studies that milk products such as whey protein can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension.
For example in a study of 20 healthy adults- supplementation with whey protein concentrate, compared to a placebo, was found to increase levels of healthy blood cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (Marshall 2004).
Supporting the effect of Whey protein supplementation on blood pressure, in a study by Pal and Ellis (2002) 70 men and women were randomized to consume either whey protein, casein or glucose supplementation for 12 weeks. Amongst participants, after 12 weeks it was found that systolic diastolic blood and pressure decreased significantly compared to baseline.
Not only this, but Kawase et al (2000) demonstrated in an 8-wk study, that consuming whey protein could significantly increase the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and significantly decrease systolic blood pressure. However, in individuals who did not consume whey protein there was no change in cholesterol or blood pressure- highlighting the beneficial effects of whey protein on CVD risk factors.
5. Support your Immune System
Last but by no means least- whey protein can help to support our immune systems!
In general, active people tend to have a stronger immune system and be less prone to illness than those who are not physically active- i.e. the couch potatoes of the world. However, the ability of exercise to enhance the immune system seems to genrerally apply to those taking part in moderate activity, whereas exhaustive exercise can actually act to suppress immune function.
For example, there are a number of studies that have reported an increased in upper respiratory tract infections in athletes following bouts of strenuous exercise, including a study by Nieman et al, who reported a two-fold greater incidence of infectious episodes in runners who trained more heavily for a marathon. This effect on immunity is thought to be caused by a decrease in immunoglobulin A (IgA), and amino acids such as glutamine after intense exercise.
However, supplementing with whey protein after exercise can have a beneficial effect on the immune system whereby several studies have revealed lactoferrin found in whey protein can play a direct role in the body’s defence against pathogens. For example in scientific review, lactoferrin was shown to exhibit action against a number of bacteria organisms including E. coli and Salmonella, whilst also demonstrating antifungal activity (Marshall 2004).
Additionally a study by Bounous et al 1998 showed supplementing the diet of mice with whey protein (lactobumin) was found to significantly increase immune response in comparison to that of mice fed soy protein or casein.
Whey proteins positive influence on the body’s immune system is thought to be due to it being a source of IgA and glutamine, along with “immunonutrients” to protect against infection. Lactoferrin and its peptide product, lactoferricin, have demonstrated strong anti-microbial and protective activity against viral and bacterial organisms.
A Take Home Message
So the science is all there, all that’s left is for you to witness the benefits for yourself! Whey protein has many benefits but if you have main goals of losing weight, building muscle and generally improving your healthy and well being whey protein is the number one supplement for you.
To Buy our whey protein click buy now.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
Bounous, G., Kongshavn, P. A. L., & Gold, P. (1988). The immunoenhancing property of dietary whey protein concentrate. Clin Invest Med, 11(4), 271-278.
Frestedt, J. L., Zenk, J. L., Kuskowski, M. A., Ward, L. S., & Bastian, E. D. (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr Metab (Lond), 5(1), 8.
Ha, E., & Zemel, M. B. (2003). Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids: mechanisms underlying health benefits for active people (review). The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 14(5), 251-258.
Hayes, A., & Cribb, P. J. (2008). Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 11(1), 40-44.
Kawase, M., Hashimoto, H., Hosoda, M., Morita, H., & Hosono, A. (2000). Effect of administration of fermented milk containing whey protein concentrate to rats and healthy men on serum lipids and blood pressure. Journal of dairy science, 83(2), 255-263.
Keri Marshall, N. D. (2004). Therapeutic applications of whey protein. Alternative Medicine Review, 9(2), 136-156.
Pal, S., & Ellis, V. (2010). The chronic effects of whey proteins on blood pressure, vascular function, and inflammatory markers in overweight individuals. Obesity, 18(7), 1354-1359.