|Health benefits of Whey Protein|
by: Robbie Durand
Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of whey protein to play a vital role in muscle growth and maintenance, increased satiety and appetite control, and reduction of body fat (specifically visceral fat— the fat the bathes your vital organs), but there is limited data on the effect of whey protein consumption on antioxidant status. The discovery that whey protein may boost antioxidant defenses is significant in that it provides an additional explanation for the positive impact of whey protein on overall health and longevity. Glutathione is a combination of three building blocks of amino acids — cysteine, glycine and glutamine. You can also increase your exercise as glutathione production increases when you exercise, but whey protein also has been shown to raise glutathione levels. A study published in the journal Appetite shows that combining whey protein supplementation with resistance training in overweight men improves antioxidant defenses more than placebo or exercise alone.
Researchers randomly assigned 30 healthy overweight men to three groups of 10 subjects each, consisting of a whey plus resistance training group (RW), a placebo plus resistance training group (RP), and a control group (C). Subjects in the whey plus resistance training group and placebo plus resistance training group groups underwent three resistance training sessions per week for six weeks and received either a whey supplement or placebo supplement directly following workouts and at lunch and dinner. Although components of the antioxidant defense system including total antioxidant capacity (TAC), glutathione, and vitamin C increased following the intervention in both the whey plus resistance training group and placebo plus resistance training group groups in comparison to C group, greater improvements were seen in the whey plus resistance training group group than the placebo plus resistance training group group, demonstrating that whey protein can increase exercise-induced antioxidant adaptations.
Whey protein does a whole lot more than just enhance protein synthesis. In a new study performed, rats were administered whey protein or casein and put thru a muscle overload protocol. They strapped tiny weights on their backs and executed the floor, which made the rats jump up, similar to if a person was doing weighted jump squats. At the end of the study, it was found that whey protein reduced muscle damage but also enhanced liver antioxidant levels. Interestingly, levels of TBARS, a well-known biomarker of oxidative damage, are known to increase in plasma after weight-lifting training was lowered after whey protein consumption. Additionally, whey protein increased total liver glutathione levels. Thus, whey protein has potent antioxidant properties both in muscle and in liver. Another interesting finding was that the rats that were administered the exact same amount of protein, yet the whey protein group had larger increases in muscle mass. These results suggest that the potent biochemical anti-oxidant actions of whey protein mediated a reduction in cellular damage to both liver and muscle resulted in enhanced muscle and body weight.
Haraguchi FK, Silva ME, Neves LX, Dos Santos RC, Pedrosa ML. Whey protein precludes lipid and protein oxidation and improves body weight gain in resistance-exercised rats. Eur J Nutr. 2010 Nov 3.
Sheikholeslami Vatani D, Ahmadi Kani Golzar F. Changes in antioxidant status and cardiovascular risk factors of overweight young men after six weeks supplementation of whey protein isolate and resistance training. Appetite. 2012 Dec;59(3):673-8.
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