Benefits of Whey Protein
Whey protein is claimed to have several benefits, such as increasing muscle mass in bodybuilders, treating cancer, and helping people who have HIV and AIDS to gain weight. Other whey protein benefits include preventing food allergies (especially milk allergies) in high-risk infants. Whey protein is often used in infant formulas and is sometimes used as a source of protein for people with lactose intolerance.
Possible Whey Protein BenefitsWhey protein is claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different, seemingly unrelated uses. Some of the benefits of whey protein may include:
- Increasing muscle mass in bodybuilders
- Treating high cholesterol
- Helping with weight loss (as part of a high-protein diet)
- Treating cancer
- Helping people with HIV and AIDS to gain weight and increase levels of glutathione (an antioxidant)
- Treating asthma
- Preventing food allergies (especially milk allergy) in high-risk infants.
Whey protein is often used in infant formulas and is sometimes used as a source of protein for people with lactose intolerance. There is little evidence to suggest that whey protein really works for many of these uses (see Does Whey Protein Work?).
How Does Whey Protein Work?Whey protein contains a mixture of different compounds, depending on the purity of the whey protein. Some types of whey protein are minimally processed and filtered, leaving some carbohydrates (including lactose) in with the protein. Other forms are highly filtered and refined, leaving just the protein.
There are numerous different proteins in whey protein, including some immunoglobulins (antibodies), which might help prevent infections or have other effects on the immune system. Whey protein also contains a compound that the body uses to make glutathione, an important antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage due to a variety of different stresses. This activity might also provide some benefit for cancer prevention.
Some researchers think that whey protein might be beneficial for heart disease, as some forms of whey protein might work like a class of blood pressure medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors).
Lastly, there is some interest in using whey protein as part of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate weight loss diet.