There are many protein powders available on the market but whey protein powder has become the best-selling protein powder – by a long shot. One main reason for this is that studies show that whey protein powder is the best protein source known for quickly and effectively building and repairing muscles after intensive exercise. However, the health benefits of whey protein powder don’t just end there. Whey protein powder is also an excellent supplement for boosting the immune system and is also a great supplement for aiding in many weight loss programs.
Let’s look in more detail at these 3 benefits of taking whey protein powder on a regular basis –
1) Muscle Building and Repair
Research has shown that whey protein powder is the most effective source of protein known for building muscles quickly and effectively. To ensure that we feed muscles with what they need after intensive exercise we have to ingest a protein source that delivers all 8 of the essential amino acids, that muscles tissue needs to repair and rebuild, in high enough doses.
Depending on how many of the 8 essential amino acids a protein source has and the amount each of these amino acids come in will determine the biological value (BV) of that protein source. BV meaning how effectively that protein source is digested and absorbed into our cells. If any particular protein source, for example, has great levels of 7 of the essential amino acids but is completely missing number 8 then that will seriously affect the BV of that protein source. A protein source that has moderate levels of all 8 essential amino acid would get a higher BV score than the previous example. The great thing with whey protein powder is that it delivers all 8 essential amino acids in high doses, making it the number one protein source on the BV scale – there is nothing higher!
2) Weight management
Whey protein powder is a great food that can complement any diet program or weight management effort. There is in fact, several different types of whey protein powder and whey protein isolate is the best choice for cutting back on body fat. Whey protein isolate is a very pure form of whey protein that contain very little or even none of the fat and sugar originally present in cows milk. Whey protein comes from cows milk. So whey protein isolate is pretty much protein and nothing else and protein is harder to digest than fat or carbohydrates. This creates a thermogenic effect, meaning that more calories are needed to digest protein, especially something as pure as whey protein isolate.
In addition to this the branched chain amino acids in whey protein powder are metabolically more likely to convert to lean muscle tissue than fat – especially as part of a healthy eating regime. One of these branched chain amino acids called leucine also helps us not lose muscle tone during calorie restricted diets, therefore helping us to burn fat and not precious muscle tone.
3) Immune System Benefits
A surprising health benefit of consuming whey protein powder on a regular basis is that it can help boost the immune system by increasing the presence of an antioxidant called l-glutahione in our cells. The role of l-glutahione in the body should not be underestimated – it is often called the master antioxidant by health experts. Whereas all other antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E and the plant chemicals lycopene and chlorophyll are powerful antioxidants in their own right they only operate in specific areas of the body. L-glutathione, however, should be present in every cell of the body protecting them from oxidative damage that can lead to cancers, heart disease, premature aging, cataracts, diabetes and other degenerative diseases. The reality is that many of us do not have enough l-glutathione and if this deficiency becomes chronic enough it can greatly decrease our life expectancy. The levels of l-glutathione in the body is in fact the best way known way of predicting how long a person will live!
So how does whey protein powder increase l-glutathione levels you may ask? Well, l-glutathione is made from a combination of 3 specific amino acids bonding together and whey protein supplies these amino acids abundantly. So this naturally increases glutathione levels.