Those who know supplements almost certainly know about whey protein supplements. If there is a standard for supplements that help with resistance and endurance sports workouts it is whey protein. Even people who are new to supplementation have heard of whey protein supplements.
Whey protein has gotten the status as a standard for athletes in training because it works. People can see results when they supplement their workouts with whey protein. Whey protein can help you achieve the results you are after for fitness and health.
Whey protein is also one of the most studied athletic training supplements you are likely to find. Because whey protein has been around for so long and with proven results, it now comes with an abundance of science behind the benefits of whey protein. It simply does the job of putting on muscle and repairing the damage to the muscle you can incur form serious workouts.
Like anything that is surrounded by so much talk, there can be misinformation out there on whey protein. What exactly is whey protein? How best to use it as a supplement for your training regimen? While you will probably not find a shortage of people who will tell you about their experience with whey protein, getting the facts can sometimes be a challenge.
This guide will help you sort through the talk and get to the facts about whey protein.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is the short-hand term for the different proteins that can be isolated from whey. Whey is the liquid fraction of milk when it is separated during the process of making cheese. The protein found in milk consists of about 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey. In the process of making cheese, the fatty solids are coagulated leaving the protein-rich liquid in the form of whey.
Whey protein can be easily separated into a powder and used to enrich exercise and training supplements. Whey protein contains all 9 essential amino acids, the amino acids we must get from a food source. It also contains high levels of what is called Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). The BCAAs in whey protein can be metabolized by our bodies to form muscle tissue.
Whey proteins are called globular proteins. This means the protein is folded on the molecular level and contains large quantities of energy that are easily released. For this reason, whey protein makes an ideal supplement for people who engage in intense physical exercise. The specific nature of whey protein makes it easily accessible to the body to assist in protein synthesis. The globular proteins in whey build muscle.
Why Do People Supplement with Whey Protein
One of the primary reasons people supplement with whey protein is to help build muscle. Athletes who need serious strength and endurance to perform at competitive levels generally supplement their diet with whey protein to pack on muscle mass and build strength.
The baseline levels of protein we get from a balanced healthy diet provide enough protein to sustain fitness and good health. But exercise that vastly exceeds normal exertions will deplete your body of these baseline levels of proteins and amino acids. There is only so much you can consume through dietary sources of protein. Supplements add the extra protein required to pack on the muscle necessary for competitive sports.
Whey protein will also help repair the micro-tears and other damage that comes with high-intensity workouts. Anyone who has ever lifted weights knows the soreness that comes soon after lifting. Whey protein supplements give your body the protein and amino acids necessary to synthesize new muscle tissue and heal damage.
How does Whey Protein work?
Since whey protein is a rich source of all essential amino acids, it contains everything necessary to maximize protein synthesis in the body which results in muscle development. These same amino acids also rebuild muscle damaged from intense exercise.
Consumed in the correct doses, whey protein is readily metabolized in the body immediately made available for synthesis. The protein we consume form a steak, for example, must be digested and broken into component parts before it can be made available for metabolic protein synthesis. In other words, steak has to be converted into amino acids that the body can then synthesized into complex proteins like muscle tissue. For a normal level of health and fitness, this is fine.
For advanced athletes engaged in intense resistance training, dietary protein cannot keep up with the physical energy output. Whey protein supplements contain high levels of essential amino acids, including the BCAAs which are immediately converted into muscle protein. Whey protein effectively skips the digestive medium and allows amino acids to directly become muscle.
Studies have shown that supplementing with whey protein results in a net increase in available amino acids for building muscle. This means that even after intense workouts, whey protein provides the added protein required to continue building muscle and to repair muscle hypertrophy, the damage incurred from intense workouts.
Types of Whey Protein: Concentrate vs Isolate vs Hydrolysate
Whey protein supplements come in three main forms. What distinguishes each whey protein type is the method by which it is processed.
Often called hydrolyzed whey, this type of whey protein is digested first and gets absorbed into the body faster than the others. Named because the proteins are freed through the process of hydrolysis, hydrolysate whey protein contains free amino acids readily available for muscle development.
Concentrate Whey Protein
This type contains about 70-80 percent protein. It also has some fat and lactose content that makes it taste a little better than the others. Concentrate whey protein is made through a process of ultrafiltration. This removes all non-nutritional nitrogen, leaving only the useful proteins.
Contains more than 90 percent protein. It is low in fat and lactose. Isolate typically does not contain much nutrient value beyond the protein. Isolates are made by a complex biochemical process that can effectively purify (isolate) the proteins we are after for supplements.
Whey Protein Benefits
Whey protein supplements come in three main forms.What distinguishes each whey protein type is the method by which it is processed.
Often called hydrolyzed whey,this type of whey protein is digested first and gets absorbed into the body faster than the others.Named because the proteins are freed through the process of hydrolysis,hydrolysate whey protein contains free amino acids readily available for muscle development.
Concentrate Whey Protein
This type contains about 70-80 percent protein.It also has some fat and lactose content that makes it taste a little better than the others.Concentrate whey protein is made through a process of ultrafiltration.This removes all non-nutritional nitrogen,leaving only the useful proteins.
Contains more than 90 percent protein.It is low in fat and lactose.Isolate typically does not contain much nutrient value beyond the protein.Isolates are made by a complez biochemical process that can effectively purify(isolate)the proteins we are after for supplements.