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Nutritional Supplement

Whey Protein

  • Fitness

    Athletic Performance

    Animal studies suggest that whey protein can increase gains in lean body mass resulting from exercise. One study found that people taking whey protein improved their performance on a test of short-term intense cycling exercise.
    Athletic Performance
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    Animal studies suggest that whey protein can increase gains in lean body mass resulting from exercise.2 A controlled trial found that six weeks of strength training while taking 1.2 grams of whey protein per 2.2 of pounds body weight per day resulted in greater gains in lean body mass, but improved only one out of four strength tests.3 Another controlled study found that people taking 20 grams per day of whey protein for three months performed better on a test of short-term intense cycling exercise than people taking a similar amount of milk protein (casein).4 However, a double-blind trial found that men taking 1.5 grams per 2.2 lbs of body weight per day of predigested whey protein for 12 weeks along with a strength training exercise program gained only half as much lean body mass and had significantly smaller increases in strength compared with men using a similar amount of predigested casein along with strength training.5 A controlled study of HIV-infected women found that adding whey protein to strength training exercise was no more effective than exercise alone for increasing strength or improving body composition.6

  • Immune System Support

    Immune Function

    Whey protein appears to improve some aspects of immune function. One trial showed that whey protein increased blood glutathione levels in a group of HIV-infected people.
    Immune Function
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    A double-blind trial showed that 45 grams per day of whey protein increased blood glutathione levels in a group of HIV-infected people.7 Test tube8,9 and animal10 studies suggest that whey protein may improve some aspects of immune function.

    HIV and AIDS Support

    Whey protein is rich in the amino acid cysteine, which the body uses to make glutathione, an important antioxidant. Supplementing with it may improve immune function.
    HIV and AIDS Support
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    Whey protein is rich in the amino acid cysteine, which the body uses to make glutathione, an important antioxidant. A double-blind trial showed that 45 grams per day of whey protein increased blood glutathione levels in a group of HIV-infected people.11 Test tube12 and animal13 studies suggest that whey protein may improve some aspects of immune function.

  • Bone Support

    Osteoporosis

    Some whey proteins may reduce bone loss. Milk basic protein (MBP) is a mixture of some of the proteins found in whey protein and has been shown to promote bone density
    Osteoporosis
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    Some whey proteins may reduce bone loss.14 Milk basic protein (MBP) is a mixture of some of the proteins found in whey protein. A preliminary trial found that 300 mg per day of MBP improved blood measures of bone metabolism in men, suggesting more bone formation was occurring than bone loss.15 A double-blind trial found that women taking 40 mg per day of MBP for six months had greater gains in bone density compared with those taking a placebo.16 No osteoporosis-related research has been done using complete whey protein mixtures.

  • Weight Management

    Obesity

    Whey protein may aid weight loss due to its appetite-suppressing effect.
    Obesity
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    Whey protein may aid weight loss due to its effect on appetite. In a preliminary study, people were given 48 grams of either whey protein or milk protein (casein). Whey consumption resulted in more hunger satisfaction and reduced the amount of food eaten 90 minutes later compared with casein consumption.17 However, a double-blind study found that men taking 1.5 grams per 2.2 lbs body weight per day of whey protein for 12 weeks along with a low-calorie diet and a strength training exercise program lost the same amount of weight and body fat as did a control group that followed a similar program, but took a casein supplement instead of whey protein.18

What Are Star Ratings?
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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References

1. Dangin M, Boirie Y, Guillet C, Beaufrere B. Influence of the protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects. J Nutr 2002;132:3228S-33S [review].

2. Bouthegourd JC, Roseau SM, Makarios-Lahham L, et al. A preexercise alpha-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and decreases adiposity in rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2002;283:E565-72.

3. Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Davidson KS, et al. The effect of whey protein supplementation with and without creatine monohydrate combined with resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscle strength. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2001;11:349-64.

4. Lands LC, Grey VL, Smountas AA. Effect of supplementation with a cysteine donor on muscular performance. J Appl Physiol 1999;87:1381-5.

5. Demling RH, DeSanti L. Effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers. Ann Nutr Metab 2000;44:21-9.

6. Agin D, Gallagher D, Wang J, et al. Effects of whey protein and resistance exercise on body cell mass, muscle strength, and quality of life in women with HIV. AIDS 2001;15:2431-40.

7. Micke P, Beeh KM, Buhl R. Effects of long-term supplementation with whey proteins on plasma glutathione levels of HIV-infected patients. Eur J Nutr 2002;41:12-8.

8. Wong KF, Middleton N, Montgomery M, et al. Immunostimulation of murine spleen cells by materials associated with bovine milk protein fractions. J Dairy Sci 1998;81:1825-32.

9. Cross ML, Gill HS. Modulation of immune function by a modified bovine whey protein concentrate. Immunol Cell Biol 1999;77:345-50.

10. Minehira K, Inoue S, Nonaka M, et al. Effects of dietary protein type on oxidized cholesterol-induced alteration in age-related modulation of lipid metabolism and indices of immune function in rats. Biochim Biophys Acta 2000;1483:141-53.

11. Micke P, Beeh KM, Buhl R. Effects of long-term supplementation with whey proteins on plasma glutathione levels of HIV-infected patients. Eur J Nutr 2002;41:12-8.

12. Wong KF, Middleton N, Montgomery M, et al. Immunostimulation of murine spleen cells by materials associated with bovine milk protein fractions. J Dairy Sci 1998;81:1825-32.

13. Minehira K, Inoue S, Nonaka M, et al. Effects of dietary protein type on oxidized cholesterol-induced alteration in age-related modulation of lipid metabolism and indices of immune function in rats. Biochim Biophys Acta 2000;1483:141-53.

14. Toba Y, Takada Y, Yamamura J, et al. Milk basic protein: a novel protective function of milk against osteoporosis. Bone 2000;27:403-8.

15. Toba Y, Takada Y, Matsuoka Y, et al. Milk basic protein promotes bone formation and suppresses bone resorption in healthy adult men. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2001;65:1353-7.

16. Aoe S, Toba Y, Yamamura J, et al. Controlled trial of the effects of milk basic protein (MBP) supplementation on bone metabolism in healthy adult women. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2001;65:913-8.

17. Hall WL, Millward DJ, Long SJ, Morgan LM. Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite. Br J Nutr 2003;89:239-48.

18. Demling RH, DeSanti L. Effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers. Ann Nutr Metab 2000;44:21-9.

19. Wal JM. Cow's milk proteins/allergens. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2002;89(6 Suppl 1):3-10.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.