Whey protein is regarded as a supplement staple, used by athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts to help with muscle recovery, lean muscle growth, and general health.
Whey protein is commonly marketed and ingested as a dietary supplement, and various health claims have been attributed to it in the alternative medicine community. Although whey proteins are responsible for some milk allergies, the major allergens in milk are the caseins.
What Is Whey Protein
Whey protein is a mixture of globular proteins isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. Some preclinical studies in rodents have suggested that whey protein may possess anti-inflammatory or anti-cancer properties; however, human data is lacking. The effects of whey protein on human health are of great interest and are currently being investigated as a way of reducing disease risk, as well as a possible supplementary treatment for several diseases.
Do any Foods Contain Whey Protein?
No foods contain actual whey protein. (edit: whey protein can be found in protein powders, protein bars and some drinks) However, many foods do contain high levels of protein. Here are the most common types of high protein foods:
- Lean red meat (20% protein)
- Chicken/turkey (20% protein)
- Fish (20% protein)
- Eggs (6-8% protein)
- Cheese (10-30% protein, but high in fat)
Whey Protein Health Benefits
The use of whey protein as a source of amino acids and its effect on reducing the risks of diseases such as heart disease and cancer is the focus of ongoing research. Whey is an abundant source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs),which are used to fuel working muscles and stimulate protein synthesis. In particular, leucine plays a key role in initiating the transcription of protein synthesis.When leucine is ingested in high amounts, such as with whey protein supplementation, there is greater stimulation of protein synthesis, which may speed recovery and adaptation to stress (exercise).
Whey protein contains the amino acid cysteine, which can be used to make glutathione. However, this amino acid is not essential for the synthesis of glutathione, and some studies have suggested that the amount of cysteine in the diet may have little effect on glutathione synthesis. However, another study suggested that large amounts of whey protein can increase cellular glutathione levels. Glutathione is an antioxidant that defends the body against free radical damage and some toxins, and studies in animals have suggested that milk proteins might reduce the risk of cancer.
Are all protein supplements the same?
No. Protein supplements can be made from a few different source of protein. These include milk protein, egg protein, soy protein. In addition, not all protein is absorbed in the same way in the body. The better a protein is absorbed by the body the higher the Biological Value (BV) the protein is said to have.
What is the BV rating I see associated with protein?
This measures the amount of protein ( or more precisely – the nitrogen) retained in the human body per gram of protein absorbed. This measure started out as a percentage – with a whole egg being at the top of the chart – 100% nitrogen absorbed. However, things got a little more confusing when Whey Protein was discovered. The problem is whey is a better source of protein than an egg – so it actually scores higher than 100. This means the percentage must be dropped – because greater than 100% does not make much sense. So, today BV is a number which lets you compare different types of protein. Here is the BV of some common foods:
Whey Protein Digestive Issues
A significant portion of the population experiences severe digestive issues following consumption of whey protein powder. These may include gas, bloating, cramps, tiredness, weakness, fatigue, headaches, and irritability. The cause of these digestive problems has not yet been determined but is reported frequently on strength training forums. One assumption is that these digestive issues are caused by consumers’ lactose intolerance after they ingest whey concentrate. However, these digestive issues are most likely attributable to the fact that the human body can only properly process 4 grams to 9 grams of protein per hour, and some of the large amounts of protein (regardless of the type of protein, e.g. whey, casein, egg, soy, meat, et cetera) that bodybuilders typically ingest are left undigested in the intestinal tract. Undigested protein in the colon will undergo bacterial fermentation which leads to the production of, among other things, gas and fatty acids.
What Can be Done To Combat Protein Digestive Issues?
You can help your body rid itself of excess protein deposits, gas and bloating by supplementing your diet or protein consumption with IsaFlush.
IsaFlush! effectively and safely improves digestion, encourages regularity and helps soothe intestinal discomfort.
IsaFlush! does not use harsh laxatives, but instead combines magnesium with gentle cleansing herbs and minerals to safely improve digestion, encourage regularity and soothe intestinal discomfort, as well as supporting heart and lung health.