Whey Protein: Benefits and Risks
What is Whey Protein?
People usually treat Whey protein as supplementation, which can help the mass muscle protein's growth after high-load weight training. But people always follow the trend of using such supplements. Do you know the effects and risks of whey protein and the correct way to use it?
The milk we normally consume comprises two proteins, 80% casein, and 20% whey. Casein is also known as the "slow protein," and whey is also known as the "fast protein ."Because it contains essential branched-chain amino acids, physiologically active peptides, and all nine essential amino acids and is low in lactose, whey protein is the most important and essential protein in milk.
There are many benefits to consuming whey protein. As more bovine milk genes are sequenced, more variants are being discovered. In this article, we explain the possible benefits of whey protein and look at some of the benefits, side effects, and potential risks.
Types Of Whey Protein
1. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
After drying whey directly, whey powder can be obtained. The whey protein is extremely low, generally a few ten percent, not more than thirty percent. The product obtained after clarification, ultrafiltration, and drying of whey is whey protein concentrate. Different degrees of filtration can yield products with protein concentrations ranging from 34-80%.
2. Whey protein isolate (WPI)
Whey protein isolate is a high-purity whey protein obtained through further processing based on whey protein concentrate, the purity of which can be more than 90%. It is 2-3 times more expensive than whey protein concentrate, but it is also more easily digested and absorbed. The real beauty of whey protein isolate lies in its nutritional value, as it has a high content of high-quality protein, which can provide high-quality protein for certain groups of people with specific needs, such as infants and hospitalized patients. In addition, isolated whey protein contains bioactive compounds such as α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins, all of which inject fresh energy into the market.
3. Whey Protein Peptides
Whey protein peptide is the hydrolysis product, which is the essence of whey protein. It can participate in the process of muscle synthesis faster in the organism.
During prolonged exercise, the body replenishes the energy stored in muscle cells. This tends to damage muscle cells, which is why people feel stiff, weak, and sore after exercise (especially in people who do not exercise regularly).
Many amino acids need to be metabolized in the liver. In contrast, branched-chain amino acids can be metabolized directly in muscle cells, so supplementing with a mixture of branched-chain amino acids can protect muscles from damage or shorten recovery.
Controls appetite and helps to lose weight.
Lose fat and improve body proportions with whey protein. Studies have shown that eating whey protein can reduce cravings and lower energy intake. The real benefits of whey supplementation come from eating a weight-loss diet with animal protein and low carbohydrates. Start eating meat and nuts for breakfast as a practice to activate energy and fat-burning pathways in the body. In contrast, nuts provide "good" fats that can set the stage for appetite control.
Also, eat protein and greens every few hours and drink a 40-gram whey protein shake once a day, either after exercise or when you are most likely to have food cravings. Whey paired with a regular meat protein diet will improve protein synthesis and maintain muscle mass while eliminating fat.
Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Numerous studies have shown that consuming dairy products can lower blood pressure. This effect has been attributed to a class of bioactive peptides in dairy products known as "angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors" (ace inhibitors)
In whey proteins, acetylase inhibitors are known as milk protein kinases. Several animal studies have demonstrated their beneficial effects on blood pressure.
Improves brain power and mood
Among the various proteins contained in milk, tryptophan has the highest content of alpha-lactalbumin, which is the raw material for the synthesis of melatonin by the pineal gland. Clinical studies have proven that taking alpha-lactalbumin at night can increase the use of tryptophan in the blood, improving sleep and mood and one's concentration, memory, and thinking ability.
Promotes muscle growth
Whey protein contains high levels of leucine, which is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at the molecular and genetic levels. And it releases more anabolic hormones, such as insulin, which stimulates muscle growth. Whey protein is quickly absorbed and utilized compared to other types of proteins.
Side-effect and Risks
Bloating is the most common side effect of whey protein. In addition to overdose, people with lactose intolerance may also experience bloating from drinking whey protein. According to research, more than half of the people in Taiwan are lactose intolerant due to their genes, and many people never even know they are lactose intolerant. People with lactose intolerance cannot digest lactose and therefore have gastrointestinal discomfort with all dairy products. Whey protein is made from milk and is unsuitable for people with lactose intolerance.
2. Diarrhea or constipation
Whey protein can cause diarrhea or constipation in much the same way as flatulence, either because of overconsumption or lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant and want to take protein supplements are advised to eat vegetable proteins such as pea protein and soy protein to avoid the side effects caused by whey protein.
3. Allergy symptoms
A small number of people are allergic to milk. Whenever milk or milk products are consumed, allergic symptoms such as rashes, redness, swelling, and runny nose may occur. If you are allergic to milk, you may experience the same reaction if you take whey protein.
4. Impaired kidney function
When more protein is consumed, the amino in the blood is higher, and the osmotic pressure of the blood in the kidneys is higher, but this does not mean that a high-protein diet will harm kidney function. There is no evidence of an association between a high-protein diet and kidney disease in healthy people. Still, suppose you already have kidney disease. In that case, it is recommended that you ask your doctor if you need to watch your intake before eating whey protein or a high-protein diet.
5. Impaired liver function
The liver is the body's detoxification organ. Most of the nutrient metabolism surplus material will be broken down by the liver to eliminate, including protein metabolism produced by ammonia. Suppose excessive protein is consumed over a long period. In that case, it may indeed increase the burden on the liver. Still, there is no medical evidence of a link between a high-protein diet and liver disease in healthy people. However, suppose your liver function is already impaired, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and other liver diseases. In that case, it is recommended that you consult your doctor before trying whey protein.
6. Allergic symptoms
Some early studies have pointed out that excessive protein intake can cause bone calcium loss, which may lead to osteoporosis over time. However, newer studies have found that the body has a calcium-regulating mechanism activated when calcium is lost from the bones to a certain level, helping the bones reabsorb calcium. Therefore, a high-protein diet is not necessarily directly related to osteoporosis. In fact, the body's calcium regulation mechanism is still controversial. The only thing that can be confirmed is that if you already have signs of osteoporosis, it is recommended not to overconsume protein.
The casein in whey protein is thought to be a trigger for headaches. Suppose headaches occur every time you drink whey protein. In that case, it is likely caused by whey protein, which can then be replaced by pea protein. It is less likely to cause allergies and supplement the same high-quality protein without causing side effects.
Suggestions for Using Whey Protein
In general, whey protein can be drunk at any time. Still, it is not recommended to replace regular meals with whey protein because whey contains only protein and lacks carbohydrates and other important vitamins and minerals. But if there is a demand for weight loss, consider replacing sugary drinks with high-protein drinks, which feel more satiated and have a higher nutritional value. For fitness groups, drinking a cup of high protein within 30 minutes after exercise is recommended to help quickly provide protein for muscle growth. Because the flavored whey protein on the market is unacceptable to a portion of the population, you may want to DIY your own or use your whey protein with other products, such as coffee, tea, soy milk, chocolate, etc.