Whey protein is a complete, high-quality protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. It’s highly digestible and highly absorbed by the body, making it one of the best sources of protein available. Whey protein has an excellent reputation for refueling and repairing muscles and reducing recovery time after an intense workout. But whey also offers a variety of benefits for those of us who aren’t athletes.
Anyone battling sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass, could benefit from whey protein. Combined with osteoporosis, sarcopenia results in frailty and is linked to poor balance, falls, and fractures. Whey protein supplementation stimulates a mechanism that preserves muscle mass, and studies suggest that it helps minimize the loss of skeletal muscle mass in older people.
Whey protein may also have benefits for the immune system. It contains a number of components with immune-enhancing properties, including lactoferrin, glycomacreopeptide, beta-lactoglobulin, and immunoglobulins. Glutamine also helps boost immunity, making whey protein an immune system supporter.
Individuals trying to lose weight may also benefit from whey protein. It increases feelings of fullness, and studies find whey protein may help regulate appetite. Research also suggests that it may promote better weight loss when compared to lower-protein diets.
Whey protein may also benefit the heart. In addition to promoting weight loss, which is critical for heart health, whey protein shows promise for lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension. Numerous studies link dairy products with reduced blood pressure and in one study, overweight individuals experienced reduced systolic blood pressure after 12 weeks of supplementing with whey protein.
The scientific evidence on whey protein is growing, and studies continue to find new benefits to good health. For example, whey protein has been found to reduce blood sugar in both healthy people and those with type 2 diabetes. Limited research suggests that it may be helpful for acne and allergic skin symptoms. It may even be beneficial for people with cancer.
Whether you're trying to prevent muscle loss or support overall health, consider adding whey protein to your supplement regimen. Look for grass-fed whey that’s free of hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs at your local natural market.
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