Protein - The Benefits of Whey Protein
by Jim Duffy
contain enough protein to justify their high price.

Of the many supplement types, soy and whey are two of the most popular
ingredients in supplements. There are a number of benefits of both types, for
instance, both are complete proteins (soy is the only one of the plant based proteins
that is.) However, this kind of protein, which is a byproduct of the production of milk
and cheese, is also a source of the branched chain amino acid (BCAA), and it has the
highest level among natural food sources in fact. BCAAs are the only amino acid
chain that the body can metabolize directly to the muscle tissue and is used first
during exercise and resistance training. (Source: Whey Protein Institute) It may slow
the loss of muscle tissue and bone in the aging, allowing seniors to remain more
active for longer periods.

Additional Whey Benefits

Whey is an excellent source of the essential amino acid leucine, which is vital for
muscle growth. The whey isolate (an isolate is a cultured biological material prepared
for use as a nutritional supplement) has 50% more leucine than the soy protein
isolate does. For the average person, the avid exerciser and the body builder, this
means the same thing: more lean muscle tissue and lower body fat.

Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant needed to boost a healthy immune system, is
increased by whey. It also contains the protective anti-microbial, lactoferrin. (Source:
Whey Protein Institute) Whey, like other proteins, is beneficial to wound healing
because of this. It is also a potentially beneficial supplement for those who are
fighting cancer, because the increased glutathione can help to reduce the risk of
infection in those who are using chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Initial
research is also showing that it may slow or inhibit the growth of certain types of
tumors. Research done by Dr. Thomas Badger, at the Arkansas Children's Nutritional
Center, has shown that rats who were feed diets high in whey had 50% fewer
tumors than those fed with casein as well as with soy.

Whey for Heart Health

Whey may improve blood vessel function possibly by working as an angiotensin
converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. ACE inhibitors work to improve blood flow and
blood pressure by preventing the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II when it
becomes a vasoconstrictor. It also helps to keep a normal blood pressure within
normal limits. One of the peptides that is whey-derived also works toward improving
vascular function. (Mercola 2009)

Whey for Weight Loss

The body uses up more energy to digest protein, more so than any other nutrient.
This process, called the thermic effect, produces heat which causes the body to burn
even more fuel to restore its normal temperature. Protein also takes longer to digest
as well, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. If you eat a candy bar, chances are you
will feel satisfied for an hour or so, but then you will be hungry again. A good quality
protein bar will fill you up for several hours and keep you from returning for a second
snack until it is meal time. Whey benefits the body by helping to stabilize the blood
glucose and slowing the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. In turn, this
leads to lower hunger, lowered insulin levels and increased fat burn.

When the body gets food, it starts digesting and breaking it down to its lowest form
immediately. Foods that get digested too quickly cause the body to be flooded with
insulin in response. The insulin will then direct the body to start storing all of the food
as fat without using it for energy. Not long after the meal is over, the body needs
energy again and the message that you are hungry will go to the brain and the whole
process will begin once more. The more unstable the blood sugar levels, the more
sugar spikes there will be, increasing the flood of insulin and leading to more weight

Whey also affects weight management by the action of two hunger suppressing
hormones: cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). In the
absence of these two hormones, some people may continue to eat and never feel
really satisfied. In this instance, whey has the edge over casein (another byproduct in
milk) with more of an impact on satiety. (Source: Mercola 2009) It is also beneficial
for weight loss because it helps to optimize the body's intake of all of the macro- and
micro-nutrients that it needs for good health.

What is Whey Made of?

Whey is a byproduct of cheese that is made from cow's milk. It contains a mixture of
lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin and serum albumin. (Source: Be Well @ Stanford)
For those who are lactose intolerant, whey isolate is good supplement choice
because it has less lactose content than other byproduct-derived protein sources.

Where Do You Find Whey Protein?

Whey isolates are typically found in a number of different types of protein
supplements, including powders, shakes and bars.

Whey is also found in a number of snack foods and other places where it might be a
little shocking. Some food companies use whey powder to boost their protein count
higher without having to use more expensive ingredients.

What are the Drawbacks of Whey?

Just like with anything else, there can be too much of a good thing with whey. While
it has a number of benefits, too much whey can cause liver damage. Just like with
other types of proteins, there are pros and cons and it should only be consumed in
safe and reasonable amounts. All proteins can be dangerous if they are consumed in
huge amounts and can cause problems that include weight gain, kidney stones, gall
stones and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Anyone who is being treated for any
medical condition should have their doctor's advice on how much protein you actually
need for you own best health.


*Be Well @ Stanford. Benefits of Whey Protein to be Aware of Weight Loss Community, August 7,
*Dr. Mercola Whey Protein Improves Heart Health August 29, 2009
*The Whey Protein Institute

About The Author

Jim Duffy

Protica Research - Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm
specializing in the development of protein-rich, capsulized foods (dense nutrition in
compact liquid and food forms). Protica manufactures Profect protein beverage,
IsoMetric, Fruitasia and more than 100 other brands in its GMP-certified, 250,000
square foot facility.  You can learn more about Protica at
Copyright - Protica Research -
There are a number of different
sources of protein: animal based,
plant based and protein supplements.
All supplements are derived from
either source, and many of the
brands contain both animal and plant
protein ingredients. If you are
vegetarian or a vegan, it is important
to keep these facts in mind when
choosing a protein supplement to
round out your diet. Even if you are
not either of these, it is important to
read labels so that you know exactly
what you are getting. Some protein
supplements are nothing more than
glorified candy bars and do not
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only.  Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise
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