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What is Whey Protein?

Whey is a by-product of the cheese or paneer production business and contains whey protein as one of its protein components. High-quality protein can be found in large quantities in whey. It is an element that milk contains. Casein (80%) and whey protein (20%) are the two main forms of protein in milk. Whey proteins are a collection of milk proteins that are present in the milk's aqueous solution, while casein is the substance that causes curd to develop. Whey protein is a high-quality protein that contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and essential amino acids (EAAs), which are crucial for the growth and repair of human tissues. [2]

Main types of whey protein

There are three main types of whey protein:

1. Whey protein concentrate (WPC) – WPC contains 70-80% of protein and some amount of lactose and fat. It has the best flavour among the three types of whey protein.

2. Whey protein isolate (WPI) – WPI is a further processed protein that is produced after all the fat and lactose are removed and has a 90% protein content. It is deficient in many healthy nutrients that are present in WPC.

3. Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) – WPH, also known as hydrolyzed whey, is the ‘predigested’ form of whey protein. This type of whey protein is easily absorbed in the body and doesn’t require much digestion, since it has undergone partial hydrolysis.

Among the three types of whey protein, Whey protein concentrate is the most widely used protein powder because of its taste and the beneficial nutrients found in it. WPC is also the low-cost protein powder among the three types.

Benefits of Whey Protein :

Supplementation of whey protein has proven to be highly beneficial. [1]

Whey protein is an abundant and well-balanced supply of amino acids that play a strong antioxidant impact. Additionally, it has immunological stimulatory and anticancer characteristics, and it increases the body's protein metabolism, altering the body's composition. [1]

Whey protein contains antiviral and antibacterial effects. Whey has several components that can shield the body from a variety of bacteria, viruses, and poisons. Whey protein strengthens the immune system and guards against illnesses. According to research, rotaviral diarrhoea, a frequent infection in infants and kids, can be fought off with whey protein. In children with HIV, whey protein boosts the production of glutathione, which can reduce infection. It is also prescribed by physicians after surgery or burn treatment. Whey has the ability to function as an antiviral, anticancer, antibacterial, antihypertensive, antioxidant, hypolipidemic, and chelating agent. [1,2]

Whey protein has anticarcinogenic properties. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment, experience various side effects, including nausea and loss of appetite. As a result, they find it difficult to consume enough food to meet up their daily nutritional needs. Whey protein, being easily digestible and very gentle to the body, comes as a saviour in such cases. According to research, whey protein guards against the growth of colon, breast, and intestinal malignancies. [1]

Whey protein has the potential to improve cardiovascular health. It reduces the triglyceride levels in the blood. Additionally, it keeps blood pressure levels at a healthy level in overweight or obese people. [1]

Whey protein is a rich source of amino acids. These amino acids are in charge of the body's ability to rebuild and repair muscle tissue. They also encourage the synthesis of muscle protein and muscle development. Whey protein assists in nourishing muscles and promoting the growth of larger, stronger muscles as a result. [1]

Whey protein is the best protein for weight management and fat loss when paired with a balanced diet and exercise. It also reduces waist size and enhances body composition. Being highly satiating in nature, it reduces appetite and regulates the hormones which control hunger in a body. [1]

Whey protein plays a key role in bone formation and also decreases bone breakdown. It has the potential to heal bone disorders and physiologically regulates bone growth. [1]

Whey protein is highly beneficial to infants and pregnant women. It contains numerous ingredients that are likewise present in breast milk and thus, is an important ingredient in a variety of infant formula milk powders. Being an excellent protein source, whey protein proves to be highly beneficial for pregnant women. Whey protein in newborn formulae has also been reported to lessen colic-affected babies' weeping and crankiness. [1,2]

Whey protein raises the body's glutathione levels, which promotes immunity in athletes and other sportspeople. The antioxidant glutathione is a crucial component of a strong immune system. Exercise and physical training may cause a person’s glutathione levels to drop. Whey protein controls glutathione levels, assisting athletes in maintaining a fit and powerful body.[2]

Whey protein contains lactoferrin, which has antitoxin and antibacterial properties and has immunomodulating activity. It also has the ability to protect the body against various diseases such as influenza, cytomegalovirus and hepatitis. [2]

Whey protein is a fantastic dietary supplement for diabetics who must watch their food intake. Whey protein offers people with diabetes more protein and other nutrients than other low-quality proteins, which can contain high fat and cholesterol levels. Additionally, it aids in maintaining healthy body weight and blood glucose levels [2]. Whey protein also helps to lower blood pressure as well as stress and depressive symptoms.

Whey protein aids in the body's tissue repair process and can guard against ulcers and psoriasis. [3]. Whey protein may aid in the prevention of asthma, allergies, and bacterial respiratory infections, according to research. Additionally, it combats colitis, and fatty liver, and guards against DNA deterioration. [4]

Whey protein may also aid in reducing inflammation in the body.

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