Whey protein is one of the most common ingredients in protein supplements, nutritional bars, and health shakes, thanks to its high protein levels.
Whey is the liquid that separates from milk during cheese production. It contains eight proteins, as well as a host of other nutrients like healthy fats and all of the essential amino acids. The powdered version of this compound offers a wide range of health benefits.
Because whey contains such a large amount of protein, it is one of the quickest methods of delivering high protein doses to the body. Additionally, most people find it much easier to digest than other forms of protein. These qualities together mean that whey protein is one of the best options for maximizing protein intake.
A large body of evidence links dairy products with lower blood pressure. Researchers attribute this to some special peptides in dairy, called ACE inhibitors.
It is worth noting that in the studies, positive blood pressure changes only occur in people who already have hypertension or slightly elevated blood pressure. Additionally, the effect is nonexistent with lower amounts of whey protein.
Many people use protein supplements to improve their muscle growth while strength training. Whey protein is one of the best choices for this purpose, as it is rich in leucine, an amino acid. Leucine is the most anabolic of the amino acids, meaning it promotes the most muscle growth.
Because of this, studies show that whey protein may be slightly better for muscle growth than other high-quality proteins, such as casein or soy.
Some of the worst conditions that humans face stem from problems with inflammation. Generally, inflammation is the body’s way of responding to damage. In the short-term, inflammation can be helpful, but if it's chronic, it can contribute to cancer, obesity, asthma, and many other conditions.
High doses of whey protein supplements dramatically lower C-reactive protein levels, which indicates significantly reduced inflammation.
Type 2 diabetes is a major medical condition involving an impairment in the way the body controls and uses glucose as energy. This is due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin and the cells responding poorly to insulin, causing them to take in less sugar.
According to some research, whey protein can alter blood sugar, allowing insulin levels to increase, and boosting insulin sensitivity.
Consuming more protein has consistently been among the best advice for losing weight, for several reasons. First, taking in more protein can suppress appetite, helping prevent snacking and binge eating. It can also boost metabolism, which can slightly increase the rate that a person burns calories. Protein also helps maintain muscle mass during weight loss.
While all forms of protein have these effects, whey protein may have a stronger fat-burning effect.
Chronic inflammation in the digestive tract can cause a range of illnesses that fall under the umbrella term of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Both human and animal studies confirm that whey protein supplements help combat IBD, though the full effects are not yet known.
Having high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and other serious cardiac issues. This is particularly true for LDL (bad) cholesterol. In a study featuring overweight participants, high levels of whey protein successfully reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels.
While similar studies have not confirmed these findings, that could be due to differences in study design. Though more research is necessary to confirm the effects, whey protein could limit bad cholesterol levels.
Oxidative stress has connections to many conditions, as well as the various effects of aging. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit the process of oxidation. The only dietary antioxidants are vitamins A, C, and E, but the body can produce some of its own. The most important of these is glutathione.
In order to produce glutathione, the body requires plenty of amino acids, including cysteine. Whey protein is high in cysteine and can provide enough of the amino acid to help boost the body’s antioxidant production and antioxidant defenses.
Proteins are the main components for cell renewal, tissue growth, and repair during the process of wound healing. Regularly taking a protein supplement can ensure a faster healing process.
Beyond that, studies indicate that whey protein’s amino acids and other nutrients are particularly helpful. Whey protein dramatically speeds up wound healing from surgeries and major injuries like burns and chronic wounds.
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