WHEY PROTEIN HYDROLYSATE
Health Benefits of Whey Protein
Here are some of the scientifically-backed benefits of whey protein supplements:
1. Whey protein is high-quality and easily digested
There are nine essential amino acids, namely valine, phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, methionine, isoleucine, lysine, tryptophan and histidine. These cannot be synthesized naturally by the human body, so they need to be obtained from the diet.
Consider 26 grams of whey protein and how much of it constitutes essential amino acids - you can see from the table below that 40% of whey protein consists of essential amino acids.
Essential Amino Acid Amount in milligrams
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition points out that increased intake of essential amino acids also helps in anti-ageing.
Whey protein is also rich in non-essential amino acids, which are produced naturally by the human body, but get spent during exercise. Whey protein helps replenish these nutrients as well.
The same 26 grams of whey protein also contains the following non-essential amino acids.
Non-essential Amino acid Amount in milligrams
Aspartic Acid 2039
Glutamic acid 2683
Some time ago, whole eggs were awarded a perfect biological value of 100. This became the benchmark, and whey protein beats this, while other sources of protein are lower than that of whole eggs.
Protein Biological value
Whey isolate 140
Whey concentrate 104
Whole eggs 100
Cow milk 91
Egg whites 88
The difference between whey isolate and whey concentrate is in the way whey is obtained from cheese/milk. Whey isolate contains 90% protein, while whey concentrate is 80% protein. The remaining part for both variants of whey is supplied by lactose or milk sugar, and fat.
Whey protein not only contains all these (which is why it is considered to be a 'high-quality' protein), but is also easily absorbed from the gut.
2. Muscle growth
Leucine is one of the amino acids present in whey protein. Leucine is anabolic (it is actually the most anabolic of all amino acids), or in simple words, promotes growth by building muscle at the molecular level. Because muscle mass declines with age, with fat taking its place, leucine can arrest this trend. Leucine also helps increase the levels of insulin, a hormone that aids muscle growth, in the body.
For best results, whey protein intake needs to be augmented with weight/resistance training. The protein is synthesized by your body only after training. This means that lean muscle mass in your body is actually improved upon when you are not working out. Comparing muscle mass before and after training might be futile, but there should be a gradual change were you to document the changes, say on a daily basis.
3. Lower blood pressure
For those with high or elevated levels of blood pressure, whey protein intake lowers it, according to studies undertaken. 54 grams a day (roughly two scoops) of whey protein supplement, when taken over twelve weeks, causes systolic blood pressure to come down by 4%. It is understood that this is due to the action of lactokinins, which are bioactive peptides (the main components of protein). They function as ACE (angiotensin-converting-enzyme) inhibitors, so that blood vessels are relaxed and the flow of blood is smoother.
There are no side effects - those with normal levels of blood pressure do not see any fall in the systolic pressure of their blood.
4. Whey protein helps in the fight against Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a condition that is marked by low levels of insulin, which helps convert/process sugar into energy. With low insulin levels, the blood sugar levels also rise correspondingly. Type 1 diabetes ("juvenile diabetes") is seen in children, while it is Type 2 diabetes that is seen in adults. The amino acid leucine present in whey protein increases levels of insulin, helping those who suffer from diabetes mellitus.
5. Whey protein reduces inflammation, including inflammatory bowel disease
C-Reactive Protein or CRP is what characterizes inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can be caused by bad lifestyle habits or may be indicator of other diseases. Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, is brought about by inflammation in the digestive tract lining. Intake of whey protein reduces the levels of C-Reactive Protein, bringing down inflammation.
6. Weight loss
Overweight people who consumed 22 grams of whey protein per day for six weeks showed a nine percent decrease in body fat and increase in lean muscle. When studied, it was seen that their bodies has higher levels of glutathione and Vitamin C. Glutathione is an antioxidant. In this case, it helped prevent oxidative stress, promoting muscle growth.
Whey protein also improves metabolism by as much as 80-100 calories in a day. This also means that existing fat cells are converted into energy, reducing body weight.
7. Lesser food cravings
Satiety is the feeling of 'being full' after a heavy meal. There are three types of macronutrients - proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Of these, proteins provide the most satiety, and even among proteins, whey protein is way ahead of soy protein and casein. Because of this, the person consuming whey protein supplements experiences lesser food cravings, marked by appetite or hunger. This also aids in weight loss, as lesser fat is consumed as part of his/her diet.
8. Improves immunity, less stress
Glutathione, an antioxidant, is naturally produced by the human body. However, this is dependent on cysteine, and for the latter, whey protein is a very good source. Because it reduces oxidative stress (damage caused by free radicals / highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules), there is a lesser chance of disease. This may include Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, gene mutation, cardiac or heart-related problems, atherosclerosis, and inflammation-caused disorders.
It is not just oxidative stress that is cut down. A 2013 study found that lesser levels of cortisol (associated with mental stress, which manifests itself physically) was produced during training with whey protein supplements compared to soy protein supplements or carbohydrates.
9. Whey protein lowers cholestrol
There are two types of cholesterol – good (HDL) cholesterol and bad (LDL) cholesterol. A whey protein intake of 54 grams per day, for twelve weeks, resulted in a reduction in both total as well as bad/LDL cholesterol.
10. Stronger bones
Bones are essentially collagen protein. A higher intake of protein increases bone density and brings down the chances of osteoporosis (brittle bones), and whey protein is best suited in this regard, as it also prevents bone loss and aids in the formation of bones. In young women, whey protein has been shown to increase bone mineral density.
For a younger generation that hates milk, whey protein supplements may be the answer. Whey shakes may be substituted in place of milk.
What you need to keep in mind is that whey protein is a supplement to your diet and not your diet itself. There are several other nutrients supplied by your diet and foregoing all these for whey protein alone is not always a good idea.