Whey protein is a protein powder often sold as a supplement to help build muscle and maintain a healthy body weight. But what whey protein has health benefits above and beyond just muscle building, it provides the building blocks for all cell repair and growth. It also supports the body’s ability to product glutathione, which we focused on in a previous blog post. We’ll explain what whey protein is, how it works with the body, and what to look for in great whey protein supplements.
Whey protein contains enzymes derived from whey. Whey is a liquid byproduct of milk that is produced while making cheese. In its original liquid state whey contains enough lactose to upset the digestive systems of those with lactose intolerance. However the lactose is nullified when its converted into powder Hydrolysates. The powder is then easier to digest and less allergenic than other forms of whey. The enzymes in whey are a precursor to protein, the body breaks them down into the smallest amino acids and then uses them as ingredients in producing new proteins to be used throughout the body.
Protein itself does more than build new muscles, it is the building block for all parts of the body and the energy source for bodily functions. Without it, the body cannot repair damaged cells or grow new ones, making recovering from injury or disease a challenge. Proteins are used in forming DNA, neurotransmitters, hormones, bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. Without adequate protein the body cannot maintain strong healthy cells in any of these structures and that decreases overall health and increases your chances of disease. Antibodies, the body’s defense system against bacteria and viruses are also made of proteins. Proteins also provide the enzymes used by the digestive system to break down food and transport nutrients from food throughout the body.
When you use your muscles they are put under stress and this stress causes two reactions. It starts both muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown. Old proteins are broken down while new ones form to replace them and strengthen the muscles. But since both are going on at the same time, whether the end result is stronger muscles or muscle loss depends on what proteins the body has available. Without enough proteins for synthesis to exceed the occurring breakdown, muscle is lost and this leaves you feeling sore and weak. This is why whey protein is taken with exercise regimens, it increases the available protein so the body can product more than what is lost and improve the building of muscles.
Glutathione, the most important antioxidant, is produced by the body and is its first line of defense against damage from the environment or over time. As we age our bodies produce less glutathione, which leads to age related degenerative health concerns. In order to maintain healthy glutathione levels, the entire system of producing the antioxidant must be strengthened, and an essential part of that is proteins. Proteins and their enzymes provide the energy and ingredients for the body to keep producing glutathione, so as we age getting a healthy daily intake of protein becomes increasingly essential.
Not all whey protein supplements are created equal. They are made from different types of whey, provide different amounts of protein per serving, and contain varying amounts of carbohydrates and fat per serving as well. The best whey proteins will contain hydrolyzed whey protein, which is the easiest and most efficient for the body to digest. They will contain as few carbs and fat as possible, and contain above 80% protein per serving. To tell how much protein per serving there is you simply need to divide the grams of protein per serving by the serving size in grams. For example, HydroSIZE by Life Vitality is a great whey protein because it provides 83% protein per serving, contains ProHydrolase for superior absorption, and with only 2 grams of carbs and .5 grams of total fat per serving!
If you have any questions or would like to know more about whey protein, the health benefits of protein, or the products we offer feel free to contact us through the comment section below, email, or by phone!
By Samantha Dillon, DR Vitamin Solutions