The Power of Whey Protein
In my opinion whey protein is the most powerful supplement on the market today. Anything you desire, this supplement can bring to you, from good health to better performance, stronger muscles, and weight loss. It’s a complete protein NATURALLY found in milk. It has all the amino acids your body needs.
Everything from organs to nerves, hair, bones, and nails is made of protein. Without it your skin, bones, tissues, and muscles wouldn’t be able to heal themselves.
For decades whey protein was used by bodybuilders and athletes. Now it has come into the mainstream as not just a performance and muscle-building supplement, but also for weight loss, general health, and as an anti-aging supplement. Studies showed that it greatly reduced cancer rates, improved immunity, reduced stress and blood pressure, improved liver function, and lowered cortisol, among many other benefits. No wonder whey protein is used in food for INFANTS.
How Whey Protein Is Produced
Whey proteins come from cow’s milk. Even though whey makes up less than 1% of cow’s milk, it has a major role in nutrition. Scientists use a sophisticated technique to remove whey from cow’s milk and create a powerful protein-packed powder.
First they transport milk to a cheese-making facility. Then the milk is pasteurized and cooled. The milk is comprised of 20% whey and 80% casein. Using special enzymes, scientists separate whey from the curds, while the casein is matured into cheese.
In the next step they filter the liquid whey to remove lactose, water, minerals, and fat. If micro-filtrated whey is desired, it is filtered and becomes whey protein concentrate. If ultra-filtrated whey is desired, it is made into whey protein isolate. The ultra-filtration process results in whey protein isolate that contains zero grams of fat and carbohydrate.
At the end of the process, the liquid whey protein is spray-dried to a powder. Then it’s packaged as a whey protein supplement, and you can now reap its many nutritional benefits.
Remember these two ancient proverbs about whey:
“If you want to live a healthy and active life, drink whey.”
“If everyone were raised on whey, doctors would be bankrupt.”
Studies done on whey protein demonstrated that it had far better health benefits than previously thought. No wonder the use of whey protein for medicinal purposes has been prescribed since the time of HIPPOCRATES. Even ancient Greek doctors described whey as “healing water.”
Glutathione (GSH) is the most important antioxidant found in the body. It’s essential for relieving oxidative stress and for well-being and immunity. If your level of glutathione is low, your body is subject to many diseases. It protects cells and serves as a PRIMARY DETOXIFIER of toxins such as heavy metals. Atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease are all associated with having a low level of glutathione. Whey protein is found to consistently raise glutathione more than any other protein researched (yes, soy included). Animals fed whey protein showed dramatic enhancement of immune response to salmonella and extreme cancer-causing chemicals.
For bone health: Increasing intake of protein leads to less loss of bone mineral, thus less risk for bone fractures in older people.
Whey is a good source of calcium, which is great for maintaining bone mass. Researchers concluded that increased calcium intake is associated with lower blood pressure. Calcium from dairy sources is superior to that from other sources for improving body composition. Dairy products have more bioactive compounds than non-dairy. This synergy, along with calcium, is what makes the difference when losing fat.
Sarcopenia: As you age, your body tends to lose muscle, which is called sarcopenia. Adding whey to your diet limits your body’s natural tendency to lose muscle. If you add resistance training to whey supplementation, you can prevent sarcopenia. Whey also helps stimulate protein synthesis after eating a meal. By preserving lean body mass, you protect yourself against various modern diseases.
Lower body fat: Whey protein shifts the metabolism to increased lipolysis (breakdown of fat) and decreased lipogenesis (fat formation), not through just one mechanism, but through several mechanisms. Hunger and appetite are complex functions because so many factors are involved. Suffice to say that whey protein is superior to any other food in keeping you satiated.
There is much talk in the media about protein diets being superior to other weight-loss diets, and this is true. But there’s not much mention about whey as a superior source of protein compared to other foods. Scientists compared whey to beef and found that whey was superior at reducing body weight, reducing tissue lipid levels, and increasing insulin sensitivity.
If one guy eats beef at one meal a day for six weeks while another eats whey at one meal a day for six weeks, the one who ate whey will have significantly reduced body fat compared to the one who ate beef. The logic behind this is that whey has the higher biological value of protein compared to meat. That’s why I like to call whey a new superfood. It has also been found that taking whey before a workout is better for gaining and preserving lean body mass and maintaining fat-burning during exercise than other foods taken before a workout.
Elevates serotonin: Whey elevates serotonin, causing you to relax and reducing anxiety. It also improves your ability to cope with stress and get relief from depression. When you lose weight, brain serotonin tends to fall, causing mood swings and making you feel anxious and ill-tempered. This is where whey comes in perfectly; it aids in weight loss by raising your serotonin level. You’ve heard of antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft – they are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Manipulating serotonin is how these decrease depression. To put it simply, whey also reduces depressive feelings by elevating serotonin, and you tend to EAT LESS.
Cancer: A recent study showed regression in tumors in patients using whey protein. There seems to be a relationship between cancerous cells, whey protein, and glutathione. It has been found that whey protein depletes cancer cells of their glutathione, thus making them more sensitive to cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. An interesting fact is that the concentration of glutathione in tumor cells is higher than in normal cells. This difference is an important factor in cancer cells’ resistance to chemotherapy. The depletion of cells inhibits cancer growth. What is more interesting is that whey depletes only tumor cells of their glutathione, while healthy cells maintain their glutathione. These effects where not seen with other proteins. By this mechanism, tumor cells are more vulnerable to chemotherapy while healthy cells are “protected” against the disastrous effects of chemotherapy.
Diabetes: By starting their day with whey protein, patients with type 2 diabetes were able to lose weight and more efficiently stabilize blood sugar. Researchers separated three groups of people. Those who consumed whey protein at breakfast reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied than those in groups that consumed other types of breakfasts. As you age, insulin no longer prevents you from losing muscle. This also occurs when you are insulin resistant or diabetic. Whey increases a satiety peptide that promotes insulin secretion, thus making insulin work more efficiently. It looks like whey is a great way to become more insulin sensitive and manage type 2 diabetes.
Cholesterol: When lactoferrin (a naturally occurring protein found in milk) was removed from whey protein, the ability of whey protein to prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation was reduced. This research led scientists to believe that lactoferrin is the main factor responsible for the inhibitory effect of whey protein on LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol). Another study examined the effects of whey protein and casein on cholesterol. Casein is known to increase cholesterol in humans. It’s surprising that whey protein has the opposite effect, leading researchers to conclude that whey protein significantly lowers plasma and liver cholesterol. It’s been traditionally thought that animal-based proteins are pro-atherogenic, but whey protein has been shown to be an exception to the rule. Atherogenesis is the formation of plaque in arteries; atherosclerosis is the damage that results. Anything that can prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol is thought to be antiatherogenic. It is believed that whey can contribute antiatherogenic powers because it is made of several major and minor components such as immunoglobulin, albumin, lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin, and beta-lactoglobulin.
Lactoferrin (The Superman among bioactive peptides found in whey protein): Lactoferrin is a component of the immune system that provides antibacterial activity in human infants. No wonder the highest concentration of lactoferrin is found in human milk (15%); next comes cow’s milk (1%). Lactoferrin belongs to the innate immune system. This is an important subsystem of the overall immune system; its mechanism defends you from infections. Apart from its main biological function, lactoferrin also has antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-allergic functions.
It’s being reported that lactoferrin can inhibit several types of cancer. It has also been found that lactoferrin interferes with some of the most important steps involved in cancer development. Mice given lactoferrin had dramatically increased survival rates when exposed to human B-cell type lymphoma. Its impressive anticancer effects don’t stop there. It has also been shown to be a powerful anticancer peptide in the treatment of breast cancer and colon carcinogenesis. Lactoferrin is just one of the peptides found in whey; others are found to have its biological properties, too.
One study examined how baby pigs survived an injection of the endotoxin Escherichia coli. Of pigs that were fed lactoferrin, only 17% died, while a whopping 74% of pigs without lactoferrin died!
It’s been shown that lactoferrin dramatically increased good microflora and decreased bad bacteria such as streptococcus, E. coli, and others. Establishing good intestinal flora equips your body with the weapons to fight disease. Not only that, but it has also been suggested that lactoferrin can stimulate intestinal cell growth, which leads to better digestive function.
One of many functions of lactoferrin is that it both directly and indirectly inhibits several viruses that cause disease in humans. It directly inhibits a virus by binding to viral receptor sites, thus preventing the virus from infecting a healthy cell. It kills the virus indirectly by enhancing systemic immune response to a viral invasion. No wonder there is a deficiency of lactoferrin in HIV patients.
Adding lactoferrin to mice subjected to cancer-causing chemicals suppressed angiogenesis (production of new blood vessels), which tumors need to survive. Many studies have found that this magical peptide inhibits metastasis of liver and lung cancer cells.
Now you see why I like to call whey protein a superfood.
What Whey to Choose
Whey protein is made of many sub-fraction peptides that effect health and immunity. With modern filtration, those valuable health-promoting components are destroyed. This occurs in whey protein isolate and ion exchange isolate. That’s why they have higher protein content per gram. Everything has its cost.
So use whey concentrate. It contains glutamylcysteine, the major precursor of glutathione. Whey protein isolates are bereft of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and lipids, which are lost in processing. They have little fat, so they also have fewer components found in fat such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, lgG immunoglobulins, etc. These are lost during processing.
How to Use It
Mix 25grams of whey protein with 300ml of water or milk. Drinking this two or three times a day is all you need to skyrocket your body composition and health in general. Have it first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed. That’s what I do. Sometimes I take it only once a day, but I always make sure to take it at breakfast. I bet that using this supplement alone for, let’s say, twelve weeks will change your body composition without making any other changes to your diet or lifestyle.