What is Whey Protein?

Athletes, bodybuilders and gym members alike have all found the powerful benefits of whey protein, making it the most popular supplement on the market today. But, what exactly is whey protein? For starters, it is created from milk during the curdling process and contains 9 essential amino acids. Whey protein is heavily researched and many types of people have been relying on it for many years.

whey protein powder

Types of whey protein

Below are the main types of whey protein that you will be able to find on the market today:

  1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) – 10% of the composition comes from fats, minerals and lactose while the remaining 90% is formed via ultra-filtration.
  2. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) – The majority of lactose is removed through various filtration techniques, which provides a higher amount of protein.
  3. Whey Protein Hydrolysates (WPH) — Reacts more quickly in the body due to digestion time being reduced through peptide bonds. Enzymatic hydrolysis is used to create this type and results in either concentrates or isolates.

The composition of whey protein

Whey protein is a mixture of the following:

  • Beta-lactoglobulin
  • Alpha-lactalbumin
  • Bovine serum albumin
  • Immunoglobins

Why should you use whey protein?

If you are looking for a way to build your muscles beyond what normal diet and exercise can do, whey protein is a great option. Whey protein holds all the amino acids that your body needs in order to build and repair muscle tissue. Not only are you able to work out longer and harder, but your metabolism, cardio function and overall energy will be raised as well.

How does whey protein help your muscles?

By using the amino acid L-leucine to stimulate muscle growth and repair. Athletes everywhere have found that using a whey supplement is the best whey to enhance their workouts and create the lean muscle mass that they are looking for.

Recently a study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism showed that those who use whey protein in addition to resistance training received larger benefits and more lean tissue mass than those who did not. It has also been determined that strength gains are intensified with whey isolate supplementation, more so than with casein alone. Men who participated in this study were also able to lose fat as well.

Health benefits of whey protein

Since whey protein is the most researched supplement, scientists are finding new health benefits related to it almost daily. Below are some of the most common areas that people have been able to find positive results:

  • Weight loss – Studies have shown that those who take specialized whey fraction have a greater chance of losing weight than those who do not. Body fat will decrease and lean muscle will increase when you use this supplement.
  • Can protect against cancer – Research has also shown that whey protein has the potential to fight some forms of cancer According to the journal Anticancer Research WPC and glutathione modulation show promising results in this area.
  • High cholesterol – One study tested the cholesterol of a test group and found that over a 12 week period, those who used whey protein showed lower cholesterol than those who used casein.
  • Asthma – Children’s asthma can also be affected positively by using whey protein and studies have shown improvement in the cytokine response after just one month of children being supplemented with a whey product.
  • Blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced – Research has shown that those with hypertension can greatly benefit from whey supplementation and their chances of a stroke are greatly decreased as well.

Whey Protein Side effects

It is important to remember that whey is a milk product, so if you are lactose intolerant, you may find that you are also allergic to whey. Most people do not find themselves affected by these side effects unless whey is taken at a high dosage level. However, if you are allergic to whey, here are some of the side effects that you may experience when using it:

  • Stomach pains
  • Cramps
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

When should you take whey protein?

Due to the rapid digestion process that whey protein undergoes, most say that it is best to take the supplement just after your workout. This is the best way for your body to receive the proteins that it needs during the repair and recovery stage of your workout process. (Check the Top  10 Protein Powders)

However, you may be surprised to learn that you can also use whey as a meal replacement option. Not only is it easy to digest and mixes great with water for a quick meal, but some of our body’s much needed daily protein can also be found here. However, because it digests quickly, you may find that you are hungry quickly after using this supplement. If this is the case, mixing in some fats such as fish oil and peanut butter will help keep you fuller for a longer period of time.