What is Whey Protein Concentrate?
Whey is a liquid by-product which is formed during the production of cheese from milk. Whey is a 5% solution of lactose and contains a mixture of proteins with lactalbumin and some minerals. Whey protein is available in four typical forms; native whey, hydrolysate, isolate and concentrate. Whey protein concentrate (WPC) has low levels of cholesterol and fat as compared to the other forms. WPC is 29 to 89 percent protein by weight and contains lactose (a carbohydrate). WPC also has high levels of bioactive compounds; which are responsible for the different health and diet benefits of whey protein concentrate.
Benefits of Whey Protein Concentrate for Body Building
Whey protein concentrate is used by body builders and dieters alike for the following benefits:
- Stimulation of protein synthesis
- Boost in muscle hypertrophy if taken after intense exercise
- Speeds adaptation and recovery after exercise
- Increase in synthesis of muscle proteins
- Increase in muscle strength
- Reduction in body fat
- Increases muscle growth
- Preserves muscle and increases muscle mass
- Increased endurance to exercise
- Enhances exercise performance
How Does It Work?
The whey protein contains cysteine – an amino acid. Cysteine is required by the body for the production of glutathione, which is an antioxidant. It is present inside all cells of the body and is made up of three amino acids including cysteine and plays a major role in muscle growth and regulation of the immune system. Whey protein concentrate also provides an abundant supply of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which promote the synthesis of proteins. The muscles are made up of proteins and require them for increased growth, strength and repair.
Some other benefits of whey protein concentrate are as follows:
- May reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease
- Reduces hunger
- Promotes fat loss
- Fights stress
- Strengthens your immune system
- Fights eczema and other skin diseases, like psoriasis (red scaly skin)
- Can help in decreasing weight loss in people suffering from HIV
- Reduces the risk of different allergies
According to a 12-week study (www.biomedcentral.com), it was found that whey protein supplement promotes fat loss and preserves lean muscle mass. The participants consumed 500 calories a day and a whey beverage 20 minutes both before breakfast and dinner. The body fat and lean muscle was measured in all the subjects and everyone lost a minimum of 2.25 kg of body weight.
In another study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov), it was found that consumption of whey protein after a 40 km cycling trial significantly increased the cellular glutathione.
Whey protein concentrate is generally safe to use for both children and adults. But high doses can cause some side effects:
- Reduced appetite
- Increased bowel movement
A word of caution
It is recommended for pregnant and lactating women to avoid the use of whey because of lack of research on this subject. People who are allergic to milk might also be allergic to whey. Mostly, milk allergies are due to casein proteins but sometimes whey proteins may trigger a reaction as well. Consult your doctor before starting on whey protein concentrate so that you do not have any serious health complications.
The effects of whey protein concentrate on increasing muscle mass, strength, lean muscle and decreasing body fat are well documented. These facts are backed by scientific research and the great thing is that whey protein concentrate is quite safe to use. If you want to start on whey protein concentrate, first consult with your doctor and make sure that you have no milk allergies, because if you start on the supplement and then have an allergic reaction, your health can be compromised. The severity of allergic reactions can range from mild to fatal and it is better to not take such risks. After having consulted with your doctor, decide on your dosage from 1.2 to 1.5 gm/kg of whey protein with your dietitian or health advisor. Supplement whey protein concentrate with your strength training and you will begin to see the results yourself in a span of a few weeks!