The human body needs protein to build muscles, repair tissues, produce enzymes and hormones, and aid other normal bodily functions. It is essential to the diet, especially if you exercise regularly. That is why gym goers turn to protein powder supplements as an additional source of the macronutrient. It offers many health benefits, some of which are discussed below:
- Helps Build the Muscles
Protein powders like whey are excellent sources of high-quality protein. They contain all essential amino acids needed to promote muscle growth. What is more, they are easy to digest and absorb. This is important for those who perform heavy exercises that cause minor damages to their muscles.
The amino acids in protein powders help regenerate muscle fibres damaged during an intense workout. They also help relieve the ensuing muscular pain. Casein, in particular, is essential in repairing muscle tissues. Branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs such as leucine can stimulate the growth of skeletal muscles.
- Helps in Losing Weight
Most protein powder supplements have fat-burning compounds, usually in the form of L-Carnitine and green tea extract. These substances can boost your metabolism, increasing the number of calories that your body burns. They also make up for the reduced muscle mass that may come with the loss of weight. This makes it easier for fitness enthusiasts to lose weight without losing strength or muscle mass.
Aside from accelerating the burning of fat, protein can also help curb food cravings. Protein is the most saturated macronutrient and can make you feel fuller for a longer period. This allows you to go for a long time without consuming foods and reduces your calorie intake.
- Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension is one of the leading risk factors in heart diseases. Its effects can be alleviated by bioactive peptides called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or ACE inhibitors, which are present on most protein powder supplements. Whey protein is particularly known as an excellent source of ‘lactokinins’, a highly effective form of ACE inhibitor.
Several studies have shown that whey protein supplementation lowers systolic blood pressure by 4%. However, this benefit was observed in subjects that have a high or slightly elevated blood pressure, to begin with. Still, they are the most important targets for blood pressure reduction.
- Helps Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Aside from helping gym enthusiasts achieve their fitness goals, protein powder supplements like whey can help people with type 2 diabetes. This chronic disease is characterized by high blood sugar and impaired insulin function. Both conditions can be alleviated by regular intake of whey protein, especially before or along with meals containing carbohydrates.
- Enhances the Antioxidant Defenses of the Body
Antioxidants are essential in battling the effects of oxidation in the body. They help prevent oxidative stress and the health risks that come with it.
The human body naturally produces antioxidants such as glutathione, which is dependent on cysteine and other amino acids. However, most people have a limited supply of these substances. This is where protein powder supplements like whey come in.
Whey protein is an excellent source of cysteine and can enhance the body’s natural antioxidant defences. This is backed not only by scientific theory but also by numerous clinical studies. Research done on both humans and rodents has shown that regular intake of whey protein reduces oxidative stress and increases glutathione levels.