Health Benefits of Whey Protein Consumption
by Dr. Mariangel Leota
Whey Protein is the most popular protein supplement in the world: its scientific value has been proven for years, and not only to gain muscle mass (its most common use), but also to improve immunity by enhancing the availability of proteins in the body, a necessary element for the creation of cells that make up the immune system.
A good protein extract is a nutritional tool capable of easily providing conditions for the strengthening, maintenance and detoxification of the body.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey Protein is a protein derived from whey, which is extracted during the process of making cheese and cow’s milk. This Whey Protein is processed so that the proteins that form it separate. The proteins of cow’s milk are 20% whey and 80% casein.
The main distinguishing feature of Whey Protein, in relation to the common proteins found in food in general, is that it is rapidly absorbed by the body! Therefore, after the ingestion of Whey Protein it will take, on average, only about 40 minutes for there to be a peak of synthetic amino acids and proteins in the blood.
Proven benefits of Whey Protein
Helps to gain muscle mass
According to scientific literature, Whey Protein is a wonderful source of protein, since it has an amino acid profile that makes it the best protein available when it comes to hypertrophy.
Several studies have shown that Whey Protein helps increase muscle mass. This is because it has proteins of high biological value, which comprise a good amount of BCAA (branched chain amino acids) that help repair muscles that have suffered micro injuries due to exercise, making them larger and stronger.
On the other hand, in the absence of carbohydrates, these amino acids are the primary source of muscle energy, since they are those that can be converted into the muscle itself, whose main source of energy are carbohydrates. Among the branched-chain amino acids, the most important is leucine, mainly responsible for the increase in muscle size.
It is important to keep in mind that the supplement will only be an ally in the gain of muscle mass if the person practices physical activities and maintains a balanced diet.
Health Benefits of Whey Protein
Reduce cholesterol level in blood
It contributes to the significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, known as the “bad cholesterol”, which helps prevent arteriosclerosis and heart disease.
Good for people with HIV
Whey Protein can be a good complement for people with HIV, as it helps preserve lean body mass and also contains immunomodulatory amino acids such as glutamine, which strengthens the immune system. It is important that you talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
Promotes skin growth and accelerates wound healing
By making the growth of the skin faster it can be especially beneficial to heal large wounds and those of burn victims.
Control your weight with Whey Protein
The whey has a satiating effect, which avoids the anxiety of eating compulsively. Likewise, it reactivates the basal metabolism and helps to gain muscle mass, especially if its consumption is complemented by physical exercise.
No more stress in your life
Feeling stressed can often lead to overeating. Whey protein helps reduce the production of cortisol, a hormone that the body secretes when it undergoes stress. It also promotes the secretion of the hormone serotonin which has a calming effect.
Other advantages of Whey Protein
Whey Protein, being a high-quality protein, strengthens the nails, hair, skin and, most importantly, the mucous membranes of the body, especially those of the digestive tract (intestine). A diet rich in proteins of easy assimilation strengthens and relaxes the mucous membranes, which reduces inflammation and food intolerances of any kind. Other benefits are:
- Rich in essential amino acids;
- Fast absorption;
- It has a high biological value, that is, it is a supplement of the complete protein that the body needs;
- It is concentrated protein, free of fats and low in carbohydrates.
One of the recommendations is to eat one full spoonful on waking and another in the snack. Or at any other time of the day when protein consumption is required. This measure gives approximately 50 g of protein per day, which excellently complements a traditional diet.
Another idea is to prepare a shake with the ingredients of your choice (fruits, seeds, milk, etc.) and add a dose of Whey Protein, mixing with the blender. Protein enriched beverages are excellent for replacing intermediate foods (such as morning or afternoon snack), especially if combined with other nutrients.
When should athletes drink Whey Protein?
After training is the best choice. Another appropriate time to take whey protein is to wake up, since we spend a long period of time without eating, and the catabolism is correct. Then nothing better than Whey Protein and its rapid absorption.
For hypertrophy, you can ingest it with dextrose after training, because carbohydrates help in the transport of nutrients to the cells, which are proteins, creatine, BCAA and glutamine.
Therefore, when you go to prepare your shake, mix 200 ml of water, 30 to 40 grams of Whey Protein and maltodextrin / dextrose (visit the articles in which we present the amount you should use of these two supplements, so that do not make mistakes). If you are taking creatine, mix it with this shake in the post workout.
Does Whey Protein help you gain weight or lose weight?
If you think that whey protein is used only in diets to increase muscle, you’re wrong: it is also recommended for those people who want to lose weight without losing muscle mass. It helps control blood sugar levels and quench hunger faster than other proteins. But if your consumption is not controlled, you can get fat. That’s why we created the article: Whey Protein: To gain weight, lose weight or simply gain muscle mass? If you have any questions about this topic, it is important that you read it.
The amount of whey protein to be ingested daily varies according to the need of each person and the treatment he is doing. There is no recommendation for the daily intake of Whey Protein, neither for healthy people nor for athletes.
Side effects of Whey Protein
No side effects of Whey Protein have been documented. Even so, you should review the components of the brand you are buying. Check if you have allergy or intolerance to any of the components of the formula, such as gluten, phenylalanine or lactose.
Beware of excess protein
The ingestion of proteins is essential to keep the body functioning well, but you have to be careful with the excess. Lately, many people have resorted to restrictive diets in proteins to lose weight, gain muscle mass or improve weight performance, but this excess can overload the kidneys, clog the arteries and even damage the heart.
A diet rich in protein really helps you lose weight, especially because it causes the person to lose a large amount of water. But in the long term, it gives undesirable results due to the lack of other elements, such as carbohydrates, which can also cause lack of energy and weakness.
The ideal to have good health is to achieve a harmonious combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. But you cannot always get the optimal amount of protein for a day, so sometimes you’ll have to supplement, and that’s the importance of Whey Protein. On the other hand, it is better if the recommended daily intake of protein is made in several small portions during the day (instead of in a single shot). Since it’s unlikely that anyone will consume protein naturally at every meal (you’re not going to snack on grilled chicken, right?), Whey Protein is a good complement.
Types of Whey Protein
Whey Protein is extracted from whey, whose water content is too high (93 to 95%) and only 0.7 to 1.2% protein, a very low value. Therefore, it is necessary to go through a process of microfiltration and ultrafiltration through precipitation by acids or bases, with ion exchange or membrane separation, which results in a higher protein concentration. This will result in 3 types of whey protein:
Concentrated Whey Protein: A economic option, since the cost of preparing this product is cheaper because it only goes through the process of filtering the light, previously mentioned as microfiltration and ultrafiltration. The result is 70 to 80% protein and the rest divided between carbohydrates and fat. Even so, these whey proteins contain high amounts of BCAA and glutamine, in addition to which most peptide fractions are maintained. These particles are responsible for many functions of our body and improve our immunity, since they have antioxidant actions.
Whey Protein Isolated: Its protein concentration is much higher compared to whey protein concentrate, as it goes through a much larger filtration process and undergoes an ion exchange. The result is up to 95% protein (in some brands the amount of carbohydrates and fat reaches zero). It is a great option for those who are on a calorie reduction diet, with the goal of lowering sizes.
Whey Hydrolyzed Protein: In addition to undergoing careful filtration, this type of whey protein goes through a process known as hydrolysis, which is done to break protein chains into smaller peptide fragments. This makes it easier and faster absorption for the body.