Whey Protein Supplements – What Are the Whey Protein Benefits?
Protein supplementation is the most essential supplement to athletes and weightlifters, and has become probably the most widely used supplement on the market as a result.
These groups of people work out hard and tear down muscle tissue more than other people and so need to supplement their diet with extra protein to repair it.
In addition to this, there are a number of other reasons for protein supplementation in general:
- The extra repair helps to generate more lean muscle mass
- Because protein is thermogenic, it can help you to lose fat
- Protein supplements feature complete proteins, rather than assorted amino acids like some foods
- Complete proteins are used to make growth hormones
- Protein supplementing makes your body more anabolic
The most popular variety today is probably whey protein. The reason for its popularity is its complete amino acid profile, featuring a wider range of highly bioavailable amino acids than other popular sources such as casein.
The high bioavailability, rapid digestion, and complete amino acid profile is what has made whey the #1 source for protein supplements, especially as a post workout supplement to take advantage of the anabolic window.
Additionally, there has been recent evidence to support that supplementation with whey protein may have an antioxidant effect by increasing level of glutathione, as well as many other general health-improving effects.
As with other proteins, there are three basic forms of whey protein:
- whey protein concentrate
- whey isolate protein
- hydrolyzed whey protein
The cheapest form on the market is concentrated, because these supplements are only between 25% and 89% protein. As opposed to other forms, the concentrates include significant amounts of fat, lactose, and minerals.
Also, while more expensive ion-exchanged whey protein isolates don’t include some of the elements that lead to health-benefits outside of the gym (like the antioxidant effect), these are all present in the supplement concentrates.
The mid-level form is isolated. These protein supplements are more pure forms of whey protein, being between 90% and 95% protein.
The extra protein itself has advantages, but the main idea behind buying whey protein isolate is to cut out the extra calories, fat, and lactose.
For this reason, people whose bodies don’t respond well to lactose may choose an isolate over a concentrate, although it still is not totally lactose-free.
There are two forms of isolated protein, ion-exchanged and micro-filtered. Whereas with the ion-exchanged variety, you lose many of the health benefits related to whey protein consumption, with the micro-filtered variety you still get all of the health promoting subfractions.
The most expensive variety of whey, and well worth the extra cost, is hydrolyzed. This variety is highly pure like the isolated variety, has no lactose, has the healthy subfraction elements, and is also broken up into smaller amino acid chains (this is why it’s called pre-digested) so that it’s absorbed much more rapidly.
For these reasons, hydrolyzed whey protein supplements are the very best kinds of whey protein supplements that you can buy.