The Supplements Section
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Whey Protein Supplements
Whey protein is a natural protein made from cow’s milk, highly valued by nutritionists and serious athletes alike because it provides an excellent source of the essential amino acids needed to fuel the body and maintain muscle mass. It naturally low in fat and cholesterol, and contains little to no lactose.
Whey protein comes in three forms: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey protein. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein, although all three types provide significant health benefits to people of all ages due to their high amino acid content. An adequate supply of amino acids is essential to the growth and maintenance of all bodily tissues, including bone, muscle, skin, and nails.
Whey protein is one of the best sources of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) known today. BCAAs are especially important for the preservation of muscle mass—unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are absorbed directly into muscle tissue, where they are quickly converted to glucose and burned during intense physical activity. Increasing BCAA levels can prevent the cannibalization of muscle tissue that occurs when the body needs more energy than it can produce. Athletes in particular must ensure that they have enough protein in their diet, and whey protein has a solid, longstanding reputation among sports nutritionists as a supreme nutritional supplement.
There are three BCAAs: valine, isoleucine and leucine. Leucine is thought to be the most effective at preventing tissue damage, and whey protein contains a lot of it. In fact, whey protein contains more leucine than protein found in milk, eggs, or soy. Leucine not only helps promote the healing of bones, skin, and muscle tissue after traumatic injury, but it also helps to regulate blood sugar and reduce body fat. Research indicates that people with diets high in leucine have a higher ratio of muscle to body fat than those with diets low in this nutrient. Whey protein also promotes weight loss by stimulating the release of two hormones that act as natural appetite suppressants in the body, cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
In addition, whey protein protects against free radical damage and strengthens the immune system by increasing levels of glutathione, the body’s most abundant antioxidant. Preliminary research indicates that whey protein inhibits the growth of many types of cancerous tumors, and may also help lower blood pressure in individuals diagnosed with borderline hypertension.
Whey protein is easily digested. It contains many of the same components found in human breast milk, and is included in most infant formulas, even those specially formulated for premature and colicky infants. Because it is so gentle to the digestive system and prevents muscle and bone loss, it is also an excellent source of protein for the elderly and those with chronic wasting conditions, such as AIDS or cancer.
Whey protein supplements available at grocery stores, health food stores, pharmacies, and at numerous online distributorships. It comes in powder, capsule, and tablet forms, and is a key ingredient in protein shakes. If you’re a serious athlete, seeking to lose weight, or have a compromised immune system, then this supplement is definitely worth a try. In fact, anyone that concerned with the muscle- and bone-depleting effects of the natural aging process should strongly consider supplementing with whey protein. It’s an easy and convenient way to ensure a healthy, high-protein diet.
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