Even athletes who visit the gym daily and eat healthy might need some help to build their muscle mass. When you do an intense amount of training, you may need extra protein in your diet to get that muscle mass up. Curious how whey protein could help you obtain that muscle mass? Read on to find out more about whey and how it contributes to more muscle mass.
What Is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a specific type of protein made from small protein particles and peptides; this includes substances such as beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins, lactoperoxidases and similar chemical compounds. Each of these proteins and peptides have their own biological functions, which may contribute to a growing muscle mass.
Why Should I Choose Whey Protein Over Other Supplements?
Whey protein powder is the favourite supplement of many athletes for a reason. It is used by bodybuilders, runners, cyclists, rugby players and other professional sports players, simply because it is a high quality protein, which delivers benefits such as muscle growth, muscle repair, increased endurance and much more. That being said, whey does have some additional benefits not all athletes are aware of.
Scientists have been incredibly interested in the functions of whey over the past few years, because it is believed that this powerful supplement could reduce the risks of developing certain illnesses such as cancer and HIV. Whey has also shown promise in the field of stress reduction, serotonin production and cortisol reduction. Because of these additional health benefits, whey has not only sports-related applications, but also some medical purposes.
Another great benefit of whey supplements is their high bioavailability, which means it takes less effort for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients inside the supplement over a shorter period of time. Most whey supplements contain high levels of branched chain amino acids as well, which are known to have numerous health benefits.
Recent studies have also backed up the claim of many supplement manufacturers that whey supplements have the ability to increase performance and muscle mass. These findings have been published in medical journals across the globe, so there is plenty of scientific evidence backing up the physical benefits of whey consumption.
What Are the Different Types of Whey?
When athletes decide to use whey for the first time, they are often confronted with too much choice. Considering whey supplements are so popular with athletes, supplement manufacturers are flooding the market with many different choices. However, when it comes down to it, you can divide whey supplements into four main categories: concentrates, isolates, ion-exchanged and micro-filtered isolates.
Concentrates used to have the lowest protein content out of all whey supplements on the market, approximately 30 to 40%. However, modern filtering and processing techniques have enabled manufacturers to increase that percentage to 80% in high quality concentrates.
Compared to the variant isolate, whey concentrate still has less protein, although this does not mean that concentrate is inferior to isolate. High quality whey concentrates can contain other useful substances not present in isolate, which includes growth factors. They can also contain higher levels of phospholipids, immunoglobulins and lactoferrin.
Whey Isolate tends to be the supplement with the highest amount of protein, which could go all the way to 96%. Despite the processing that is required to get this concentrated percentage, whey isolate maintains its high bioavailability.
When whey isolate is processed, manufacturers are able to remove some substances without it having a negative impact on bioavailability as well; this includes lactose and fats. These processes are also used to obtain a natural undenatured state for protein, which has been shown beneficial for the prevention of illnesses such as cancer.
The whole idea of ion-exchanged whey is quite an interesting one. The supplement is created by taking a whey concentrate and subject it to an ion exchange procedure; this enables manufacturers to create the final product called ion-exchanged whey.
An ion exchange process is used when manufacturers want to increase the amount of protein in their whey protein concentrate supplements, but in order to do that, some important compounds are removed and depleted. With the disappearance of these additional compounds, some of the benefits disappear as well.
Some companies will still have this type of whey concentrate available, but athletes do need to take into consideration that this supplement will have a lower bioavailability than regular whey concentrate, as well as less health promoting compounds. If you are looking for a higher protein content, Whey Isolate will be a much better choice.
The world of supplement manufacturing is constantly evolving to make supplements more effective, which is how micro-filtered isolates were invented. Micro-filtered variants of whey isolate are considered to be protein supplements obtained through processes such as cross flow micro-filtration, ultra-filtration, micro-filtration, reverse osmosis, dynamic membrane filtration, ion exchange chromatography, electro-ultrafiltration, radial flow chromatography and nano filtration.
One of the most popular processes to create micro-filtered isolates is the process called cross flow micro-filtering, where the isolate is filtered under a low temperature. The result is a protein supplement with approximately 90% of protein, which has maintained all the important compounds that contribute to better health.
Choosing a whey supplement may be a little difficult in the beginning, but benefit can be obtained from any high quality whey supplement on the market. However, it can be a good idea to read some of the manufacturer recommendations before you purchase, just to make sure that the supplement you want is the right supplement for you.