Whey Protein: Uses, Safety, Dosage

Overview

Whey protein is a by-product of milk (the watery portion of milk is called whey). It provides the body with essential amino acids. If you work out regularly, you may not be getting enough protein from your diet, and you may need a protein supplement.

As the number one selling supplement of all time, whey protein has two main advantages over other high-protein meals or supplements: whey contains fewer calories and, it is quickly absorbed.

As it contains fewer calories, it is not as fattening as other proteins. Moreover, given that the muscles in the body absorb it very quickly, it makes additional fuel immediately available before or after a workout. That means that your body will perform in a better way and will not suffer an energy lag before exercise or lethargy after exercise. Thus, you will be able to include more exercise, which will consequently help you feel much healthier.

Uses of Whey Protein

Supplementing with whey protein helps to improve athletic performance and promotes muscle strength and bulk. If there was only one supplement you were to take, it should be whey protein.

Whey protein is also widely used as a milk alternative for people who have lactose intolerance. It is preferable over milk for people who have obesity or weight issues, those with high cholesterol, and patients diagnosed with late-stage cancer. There is evidence showing that whey protein also reduces tumor size in cancer patients.

You need to understand that the way in which whey protein works is that it helps the body to have extra energy without subjecting it to excess calorific content. If you want energy, of course, you can find this in fruits or sugars, but the difference between consuming these and using whey protein is that the latter isn’t going to add bulk, and the energy factor will last longer than the sugar high, such that it would not cause unstable energy levels from excessive sugar intake.

Apart from these, whey protein:

  • Helps to relieve protein allergy
  • Reverses weight loss among people who have HIV or AIDS
  • Eases the symptoms of asthma
  • Boosts the immune system
  • May help prevent heart disease, bone loss, and diabetes. It may also help in weight loss by suppressing appetite and regulating blood sugar levels. However, these benefits are not yet confirmed, and further research needs to be conducted regarding them.

It is worthwhile to remember that this is a very safe supplement to take. It is often administered to people who are already very ill to help them to retain weight and energy. 

Thus, whey protein is recognized by professionals to be the best way to help your body sustain energy.

When you go through periods of your life in which you are ill, you lose weight, but you actually lose more than this. You lose muscle mass, and whey protein helps to correct that. It isn’t simply bulking up on something to make you feel full. It works to introduce the right kind of protein so that your body can react to it in a very positive manner. Your immune system gets stronger, such that you are able to stave off problems that stem from problems with the immune system.

Form and Dosage

The prescribed dosage for weight lifters or bodybuilders is between 1.2 and 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. For the regular person or athlete, about 20 to 30 grams per drink is recommended. Whey protein is often taken orally and mixed with water to make a protein drink. One to two drinks per day, or roughly 50 to 75 grams, is recommended for general use. The drinks are easy to make, and the whey powder is simple to measure.

The recommended times to take protein are first thing in the morning, immediately after waking, and within 30 minutes of working out. Other ideal times to take whey protein are 30 minutes before a workout or in between meals as a snack. Those who are already sick may need to talk about the appropriate dosage with their health professional, particularly in the case of wasting diseases, such as cancer and HIV.

Given that whey protein is contained in drinks given by hospitals, if you do start to take it in a hospital environment, be sure that you continue to take it at the same time intervals when you get home unless you are advised otherwise.

Safety and Precautions

Taken moderately, whey protein is safe for adults, but taking too much whey protein may lead to nausea, diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and other digestive problems. If you experience these, try drinking a lower amount of whey. You cannot make yourself build muscle more quickly than the body is accustomed to, so do not think that drinking extra will do that.

Whey protein is not recommended for people who are taking Levodopa, a drug for Parkinson’s disease. Whey protein reduces the effectiveness of Levodopa and, to a lesser extent, also that of other drugs, such as alendronate (Fosamax) and antibiotics like ciprofloxacin (Cipro), Norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), and enoxacin (Penetrex).

It is still possible to take alendronate (Fosamax) and whey protein, but allow at least two hours between drug intake and the drinking of whey protein. In the case of antibiotics, take them at least two hours after and four hours before drinking whey protein.

Whey protein may also not be good for people who have diabetes as it can lower blood sugar levels. Caution is generally advised for people who are taking any form of medicine that lowers blood pressure, glucose level, and even cholesterol level.

Can Whey Protein Promote Muscle Growth?

At Baylor University, scientists experimented to see how effective whey really was by depriving people of 500 calories per day and then substituting these calories with whey in some cases and a placebo in others.

What was interesting to note was that the tests showed that whey protein really did have an effect on muscle mass for those who were given it, whereby the placebo had little effect. Given that the placebo effect is known to show positive results in cases where there is borderline efficiency, in this case, there was a clear-cut difference between the subjects using whey and those who were not.

If you are a large eater and know that you are guilty of overdoing it at the dinner table, you may also be interested in the fact that whey protein helps to cut down your hunger and may therefore diminish your appetite. That’s got to be a boost to those who know that their overeating habits are letting them down.

For men who are worried about colon or prostate cancer, the use of whey can considerably reduce their chances of suffering from these forms of cancer. Together with regular screening – depending upon your family history and health history – you may just be able to stave off these cancers that are prevalent in men.

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