WHEY PROTEIN: WHY YOU SHOULD BE USING IT

Protein is the “single most important macronutrient for athletes” according to Dr. Jose Antonio, President of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Of course, proper nutrition includes a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat; but recent research has suggested just how important protein intake is for athletes.

Benefits of Whey Protein:

  • Improves Muscle Protein Synthesis
  • Increases Strength and Power
  • Improves Body Composition
  • Increases Antioxidant Activity
    (Protection From Oxidative Stress)
  • Improves Cognitive Function and Sleep Quality

Current RDA recommendation is 0.8g/kg body weight (or 0.36g/lb) per day; this is based on sedentary individuals and is too low for athletes that are training and competing regularly. Research suggests that athletes require a greater amount of protein than the normal population to support muscle protein synthesis. Insufficient levels of protein can lead to a reduction of lean muscle and impaired recovery. In the sports nutrition world, the recommendation for athletes is 1.0g/kg - 2.2 g/kg, meaning up to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily,.

Foods rich in protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and nuts. Eating a balanced diet complete with these foods is a great first step towards filling your nutritional needs; however, most people should strongly consider supplementing with whey protein isolate. Whey Protein Isolate is the most powerful source of protein available. Whey Protein Isolate after workouts will make a huge difference in athletes’ strength and recovery. Most protein powders contain between 20-30 grams per scoop. One scoop of the Whey Protein Isolate that we recommend provides 25 grams of protein with 5.6 grams of Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and 4.8 grams of Glutamine.

BCAA’s reduce muscle fatigue, speed muscle recovery, and improve protein synthesis. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Intense exercise depletes glutamine; supplementing will boost growth hormone levels as well improve immune

Cellular Protection and Therapeutic Benefits

You probably already knew the muscle building effects, but did you know that Whey Protein Isolate has even been hypothesized to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases by increasing glutathione production? Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that research suggests protects against oxidant induced cell death and may reduce the risk of many diseases including cancers. Immune function is also enhanced by the natural immunoglobulins in the whey. Research suggests that whey protein improves lung function in children with asthma. Sleep quality and cognitive function have also been shown to be improved by enhancing neurotransmitter production with whey protein supplementation. Clearly not just for bulking up!

What about other protein powders?

Whey Protein Concentrate is a less pure grade of protein and includes more fat, cholesterol, and lactose. We promote isolate because the lactose in concentrate affects about 25% of the population with gastrointestinal distress, while isolate is more universally tolerated. Vegetable protein powders may also be a good complement to an overall balanced nutrition strategy, but they are not a replacement for whey; their incomplete amino acid profile means that your muscles will not get all of the same benefits that they would get from whey.

How Whey Protein Works

All food, once ingested, goes through the digestion process, breaking down into smaller components that are absorbed and used by the body. Proteins, which are made up of amino acids, are broken back down into amino acids and used to repair damaged muscle tissue and build muscle tissue that is better at handling stresses put on it; this is an extremely important process for the growth and maintenance for anyone, especially athletes that are stressing their bodies through training and competition. Protein from meat is broken down into amino acids in a similar process, however whey protein is convenient and broken down and absorbed more quickly, making them a perfect choice for refueling after a workout.

Safety of Whey Protein

We recommend using whey protein that is produced in a FDA inspected plant that meets GMP regulations and contains no fillers, additives, or banned substances. Whey protein has been proven to be safe and effective. It is hard to even consider whey protein a supplement; we treat it more like a healthy food that is a part of a healthy, balanced nutrition strategy.

Recommended Dosage and Timing

Based on the research, we suggest consuming 1-2 servings of 20-30 grams daily. This amount will be a great supplement to your diet as it will add high quality protein, likely improving your daily macronutirent intake profile, as well as allow your to realize the cognitive and therapeutic benefits. Ideally, take one scoop in the morning with breakfast, and on workout days take one scoop post workout. This strategy will be generally well tolerated, but your exact amounts may vary based on body size and individual goals.

This information is our best synthesis of the research and practical application at the time of this writing. Should new research come out contradicting our information and/or recommendation we will update as soon as possible. With our current knowledge, this information is accurate and recommendations are safe for the vast majority of the population.


Don’t take our word for it: The Science Behind Whey Protein

Body Composition, Strength, and Recovery

Flakoll, P.J., Judy, T., Flinn, K., Carr, C., Flinn, S. (2004). Postexercise protein supplementation improves health and muscle soreness during basic military training in Marine recruits. Journal of Applied Physiology, 96(3):951-956

Blomstrand, E., Eliason, J., Karlsson, H.K., Kohnke, R. (2006). Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. Journal of Nutrition, 136(1 Suppl):269S-273S

Biolo, G., Tipton, K.D., Klein, S., Wolfe, R.R. (1997). An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. American Journal of Physiology, 273, 122-129

Julmi, J.J., Lockwood, C.M., Stout, J.R. (2010). Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7:51

Sharp, C.P., Pearson, D.R. (2010). Amino acid supplements and recovery from high-intensity resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24:4, 1125-1130

Willoughby, D.D., Stout, J.R., Wilborn, C.D. (2007). Effects of resistance training and protein plus amino acid supplementation on muscle anabolism, mass, and strength. Amino Acids, 32, 467-477

Frestedt, J.L., Zenk, J.L., Kuskowsi, M.A., Ward, L.S., Bastian, E.D. (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition and Metabolism, 5:8.

Antonio, J., Peacock, C.A., Ellerbroek, A., Fromhoff, B., Silver, T. (2014). The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11:19

 

Cognitive

Markus C.R., Jonkman L.M., Lammers J.H., Deutz, N.E., Messer, M.H., Rigtering, N. (2005). Evening intake of alpha-lactalbumin increases plasma tryptophan availability and improves morning alertness and brain measures of attention. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81:1026-1033.

Markus C.R., Olivier B., de Haan E.H. (2002). Whey protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin increases the ratio of plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids and improves cognitive performance in stress-vulnerable subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 75:1051-1056.

Booij, L., Merens, W., Markus, C.R., Van der Does, A.J. (2006). Diet rich in alpha-lactalbumin improves memory in unmedicated recovered depressed patients and matched controls. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 20(4):526-535

Schmitt, J.A., Jorissen, B.L., Dye, L., Markus, C.R., Deutz, N.E., Riedel, W.J. (2005). Memory function in women with premenstrual complaints and the effect of serotonergic stimulation by acute administration of an alpha-lactalbumin protein. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 19(4):375-384.

Newsholme, E.A., Blomstrand, E., Ekbolm, B. (1992). Physical and mental fatigue: metabolic mechanisms and importance of plasma amino acids. British Medical Bulletin, 48(3):477-495

 

Antioxidant Properties and Therapeutic Applications

Middleton, N., Jelen, P., Bell, G. (2004). Whole blood and mononuclear cell glutathione response to dietary whey protein supplementation in sedentary and trained male human subjects. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 55:2, 131-141

Kent, K.D., Harper, W.J., Bomser, J.A. (2003). Effect of whey protein isolate on intracellular glutathione and oxidant-induced cell death in human prostate epithelial cells. Toxicology In Vitro, 17, 27-33

Lothian, J.B., Grey, V., Lands, L.C. (2006). Effect of whey protein to modulate immune response in children with atopic asthma. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 57:3-4, 204-211

Kloek, J., Moratz, E., Van Ark, I., Bloksma, N., Garssen, J., Nijkamp, F.P., Folkerts, G. (2011). A whey based glutathione-enhancing diet decreases allergen-induced airway contraction in a guinea-pig model of asthma. British Journal of Nutrition, 105:10, 1465-1470

Marshall, K. (2004). Therapeutic applications of whey protein. Alternative Medicine Review, 9(2): 136-156

Madureira, A.R., Pereira, C.I., Gomes, A.M.P., Pintado, M.E., Malcata, F.X. (2007). Bovine whey proteins – Overview on their main biological properties. Food Research International, 40(10):1187-1211

 

Safety

Martin, W.F., Armstrong, L.E., Rodriguez, N.R. (2005).Dietary protein intake and renal function. Nutrition and Metabolism, 2:25

Knight, E.L., Stampfer, M.J., Hankinson, S.E., Spiegelman, D., Curhan, G.C. (2003). The impact of protein intake on renal function decline in women with normal renal function or mild renal insufficiency. Annals of Internal Medicine, 138(6):460-467

Pecoits-Filho, R. (2007). Dietary protein intake and kidney disease in Western diet. Contributions to Nephrology, 155:102-112