Whey protein has been the most popular supplement for bodybuilders and athletes for decades. It is the most researched type of protein and is now even more often used by anyone who does some kind of physical activity or has some fitness goals.
Therefore, I decided to make a list of TOP 10 SCIENCE PROVEN benefits of Whey Protein. Here we go!
1. Enhanced Muscle Function and Muscle Building
It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that whey protein aids in muscle building.
Muscle is a tissue that is made up of mostly protein and fibers.
Protein can be broken down into amino acids and there are 20 of those. Some are produced by your body (11 of them) and some are needed to be obtained through your diet (9 of them) and they are called essential amino acids.
Whey protein is considered a high-quality COMPLETE protein, which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids, but usually, it contains all 20.
When whey protein is being consumed after a workout, your body breaks down the protein into the amino acids and sends them to the muscle to get repaired.
2. Reduced Recovery Time
In 2017, the University of Toronto conducted a double-blind study to see whether whey protein aids in muscle recovery.
Twelve trained men performed a resistance exercise in the evening and consumed either 25g of whey protein, or a placebo immediately after the exercise, and again the following morning.
The performance was assessed pre-exercise and at 0, 10, and 24 hours after training.
They saw an enhanced performance in those who took the whey protein supplement.
Another study, conducted on women, observed that those who take whey protein after a workout, have improved muscle flexibility, and higher reactive strength index.
Both studies concluded that whey protein aids in faster recovery time compared to those who do not consume whey protein after an exercise.
3. Release of Anabolic Hormones
Another great benefit of whey protein is its ability to potentially increase the level of growth hormone present in the human body. Muscles need growth hormone to develop.
A study published in 2018 investigated the effect of whey protein (WP) on muscle performance through the evaluation of the growth and the testosterone hormones
Sixty subjects were randomly selected for the study in which they consumed whey protein daily for 6 weeks and did strength training 3 times a week.
As a result, growth hormone showed a significant difference between that group and a control group (who trained but did not consume whey protein).
They concluded that whey protein combined with resistance exercise has a significant difference on anabolic hormones and muscle strength. These findings determined that whey protein might enhance muscle strength and anabolism.
4. Better Metabolism
Not only whey protein contains all essential amino acids, but it also contains bioactive compounds such as lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, glutamine, and lactalbumin, all of which are associated with a lower risk of metabolic disorders.
25 recent studies examined chronic and/or acute effects of whey protein supplementation on lipid and glucose metabolism. They saw that whey protein has blood glucose and/or insulin lowering effects and may increase protein synthesis.
The study could not make a strong recommendation on the dose or the duration, but they concluded that whey protein may affect glucose metabolism and muscle protein synthesis
5. Regulates sugar in Type 2 Diabetes
Whey protein also has insulinotropic and glucose-lowering properties and seams to induce these effects via bioactive peptides and amino acids generated during gastrointestinal digestion.
These amino acids and peptides stimulate the release of several gut hormones that potentiate insulin secretion and blood glucose regulation.
The study showed that whey protein might be a potential clinical application for obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
6. Reduced Age-Related Muscle Loss
As we age, our muscles get weaker and smaller. Muscle loss causes problems like weakness, nerve damage, and increases your risk of chronic disease.
However, science shows that this does not have to be the case.
You can prevent muscle-loss by lifting weights and eating enough protein that is saturated with essential amino acids (like whey).
One study showed that an intake of whey protein in elderly women may be recommended for muscle preservation and anabolic resistance.
7. Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to damage. Some inflammation is necessary to protect the organisms (like preventing too much blood loss during the cut).
Chronic inflammation, however, puts individual at a lot of risks and predisposes them to many harmful and potentially life-threatening diseases.
A study showed that whey protein reduces the circulating C- reactive protein, a sensitive marker of inflammation.
8. Enhanced Immunity
In addition to the amino acids that whey protein contains, it also has a handful of immune-boosting compounds:
- Beta-lactoglobulin: enhances the human immune response, has antimicrobial and anticancer properties
- Alpha-lactalbumin: gut development and immunity of a growing fetus
- Lactoferrin: immune-boosting and anticancer properties
- Immunoglobulins: immune particles that fight infection
- Lysozyme: antibacterial enzyme
9. Antioxidant Support
Antioxidants are substances that reduce oxidative stress in the body and decrease the risk of various chronic diseases.
One of the important antioxidants is glutathione.
Glutathione is produced by the body based on the levels of cysteine present.
Cysteine is one of the amino acids contained in whey protein. When the levels of cysteine in the body are low, supplementation with whey protein will make sure the body gets the necessary supply of this important antioxidant.
A number of studies in both humans and rodents have found that whey proteins may reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of glutathione.
10. Cognitive Health
And the last benefit I decided to include in this list is cognitive health.
This was one of the most surprising benefits of whey protein to me.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals in our body that help transmit stimuli and information to our brain and to our body.
Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter. Lower levels of serotonin are linked to depression and lower cognitive performance.
Scientists have suggested that tryptophan supplements can improve the level of serotonin in humans. That high-tryptophan supplement was alpha-lactalbumin which is a component found in whey protein.
Alpha-lactalbumin supplementation boosted tryptophan levels and improved memory in stress-prone people.
One study found that whey protein stimulates mitochondrial activity and decreases oxidative stress in a female mouses brain.
Therefore, whey protein not only makes you stronger, but smarter as well 😊