Learn More About Whey Protein Concentrate

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1. What Is Whey Protein Concentrate And Where Does It Come From?

Whey protein concentrate is a high quality protein that comes from cow's milk and contains a low level of fat and and cholesterol but generally has higher levels of bioactive compounds, which are extranutritional constituents that typically occur in small quantities in foods.

Whey protein concentrate also has higher levels of carbohydrates in the form of lactose.

2. What Does Whey Protein Concentrate Do And What Scientific Studies Give Evidence To Support This?

Whey protein concentrate is widely considered the highest-quality natural protein, with all the essential amino acids that helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue. It is also the richest known source of naturally occurring branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine).

These are important for active individuals, individuals who exercise, and professional athletes. The body requires higher amounts of branched chain amino acids during and following exercise as they are taken up directly by the skeletal muscles versus first being metabolized through the liver, like other amino acids.

Low BCAA levels contribute to fatigue and they should be replaced in one-hour or less following exercise or participation in a competitive event. Many athletes consume a protein beverage both before and immediately after exercise or an event to help repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue.

Whey protein concentrate contains other critical components with proven health benefits. Its low molecular weight peptides are natural antioxidants that protect body tissues from aging and certain cancers.

In particular, three whey peptides are known to boost the immune system by increasing production of glutathione, the most important antioxidant in the body. Finally, growth factors known as IGF-I and IGF-II promote gut health and wound healing. Below are studies that have been done to see what kinds of benefits whey protein really can provide:

Improved Body Composition

Effects Of Supplemental Protein On Body Composition And Muscular Strength In Healthy Athletic Male Adults.

Colker C, Swain MA, Fabrucini B, Shi Q, and Kalman DS. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp, 2000;61:19-28.

This study investigated whether supplementation with whey protein combined with glutamine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) can enhance muscular performance and improve body composition. The diets of 16 male athletes were supplemented with 40g of whey protein alone or 40g of whey protein plus 5g of glutamine and 3g of branched chain amino acids daily for 10 weeks while engaging in resistance training.

The whey protein, BCAA, glutamine group achieved significant gains in lean muscle mass and improved exercise performance (as assessed by leg-press repetition) compared to the whey protein group. However, both groups achieved significant decreases in percent body fat.

Conclusion: This study suggests that whey protein combined with BCAA and glutamine leads to improved body composition (increase lean muscle mass) and resistance exercise performance. Whey protein supplementation may help decrease body fat.

Increased Strength And Muscle Mass

Effect Of An Amino Acid, Protein, And Carbohydrate Mixture On Net Muscle Protein Balance After Resistance Exercise.

Borsheim E, Aarsland A, Wolfe R, 2004. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 14:255-271.

This study tested the hypotheses that a mixture of whey protein, amino acids, and carbohydrates would stimulate net muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent than carbohydrate alone after resistance exercise. Eight subjects participated in two trials. In one, they ingested 77.4g of carbohydrate, 17.5g of whey protein, and 4.9g of amino acids one hour after resistance exercise. In the other, 100g of carbohydrate was ingested instead. The net protein balance response to the mixture consisted of two components, one rapid immediate response, and a smaller delayed response about 90 minutes after drinking, whereas in the second trial only a small delayed response was seen.

Conclusion: After resistance exercise, a mixture of whey protein, amino acids, and carbohydrate stimulated muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent than carbohydrate alone.

Better Exercise Performance

Effect Of Supplementation With A Cysteine Donor On Muscular Performance.

Lands L, Grey V, Smountas A, 1999. J Appl Physiol, 87:1381-1385.

Oxidative stress (i.e. tissue damage caused by oxygen free radicals) contributes to muscular fatigue during exercise. Glutathione is the major intracellular antioxidant, the biosynthesis of which is dependent on the availability of the amino acid cysteine. This study investigated whether supplementation with a whey-based cysteine donor designed to augment intracellular glutathione would enhance performance.

Twenty healthy young adults (10 men, 10 women) were studied before supplementation and three months after supplementation with either a whey protein supplement or casein placebo. Muscular performance was assessed by whole leg isokinetic cycle testing, measuring peak power and 30-second work capacity. Both peak power and 30-second work capacity increased significantly in the whey protein group, with no change in the placebo group. Lymphocyte glutathione also increased significantly in the whey protein group with no change in the placebo group.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that prolonged supplementation with a whey protein product designed to augment antioxidant defenses resulted in improved muscular performance.

Faster Post-Exercise Muscle Recovery

Dietary Whey Protein Increases Liver And Skeletal Muscle Glycogen Levels In Exercise-Trained Rats.

Morifuji M, Sakai K, Sanbongi C, Sugiura H. British Journal of Nutrition, 2005 Apr;93(4):439-45.

This study investigated the effect of different types of dietary protein on glycogen content in the liver and skeletal muscles of exercise-trained rats. Twenty-four male rats were divided into sedentary or exercise-trained groups with each group being fed either casein or whey protein as the source of dietary protein. Rats in the exercised groups were trained during two weeks using swimming exercise for 120 minutes per day, six days per week.

Exercise training resulted in an increase in the skeletal muscle glycogen content. Furthermore, the whey protein group significantly increased the skeletal muscle glycogen content compared with the casein group. The increase in glycogen content in the liver was significantly greater in rats fed the whey protein diet compared with those fed the casein diet.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a diet based on whey protein may increase glycogen content in the liver and skeletal muscles of exercise-trained rats.

Effects Of A Carbohydrate-Protein Beverage On Cycling Endurance And Muscle Damage

Saunders MJ, Kane MD, Todd MK. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2004 Jul;36(7):1233-8.

This study compared the effects of a conventional carbohydrate sports drink and a carbohydrate-whey protein drink on exercise performance and muscle damage in cyclists. Fifteen male cyclists rode stationary bicycles to exhaustion while drinking either a carbohydrate-whey protein sports drink or a conventional carbohydrate sports drink. The following day, the cyclists completed a second ride to exhaustion at a higher intensity.

The athletes were able to ride 29% longer in the first workout and 40% longer in the second workout when given the carbohydrate-whey protein drink. The researchers also took blood samples from the cyclists and tested them for signs of muscle damage. They found that the carbohydrate-whey protein sports drink reduced muscle damage by 83% compared to the conventional carbohydrate sports drink.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that “A carbohydrate beverage with additional protein calories produced significant improvements in time to fatigue and reductions in muscle damage in endurance athletes” compared to a carbohydrate-only beverage.

Slowing/Reversal Of Muscle Aging

Differential Stimulation Of Muscle Protein Synthesis In Elderly Humans Following Isocaloric Ingestion Of Amino Acids Or Whey Protein.

Paddon-Jones D, Sheffield-Moore M, Katsanos CS, Zhang XJ, Wolffe RR. Exp Gerontol, 2006 Feb;41(2):215-9. Epub 2005 Nov 23.

This study investigated the effects of amino acids and whey protein on muscle synthesis in elderly individuals. Net muscle protein synthesis in healthy elderly individuals (65-79 years) was measured following ingestion of a whey protein supplement or an essential amino acid supplement. Both the essential amino acid and whey protein supplements stimulated muscle protein synthesis.

Conclusion: Essential amino acids and whey protein are equally effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis in elderly individuals.

Whey Protein Supplementation And Resistance Training To Enhance Muscle Growth In Young And Older Adults

Farnfield MM, Carey KA, Cameron-Smith D. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 14 Suppl:S69, 2005.

This study investigated whether a whey protein isolate consumed immediately after supervised strength-training exercise in younger and older men increases strength and genetic changes related to muscle growth. Skeletal muscle biopsy samples were taken from the thighs of untrained young and older men after a single bout of exercise and again following 12 weeks of supervised resistance training with repeated whey protein or placebo supplementation.

The anabolic response was measured by the increase in knee extensor strength, the activation of key translation initiation proteins and the expression of genes regulating muscle hypertrophy/atrophy. Older participants consuming the whey protein supplement demonstrated greater synthesis of a translational factor related to muscle growth after 12 weeks of training compared to the placebo group. In addition, older adults consuming whey protein showed a seven times greater increase in a gene related to muscle growth compared to the placebo group.

Conclusion: These findings provide molecular evidence of enhanced activation of genetic factors related to muscle growth when whey protein intake and chronic resistance training are combined in older individuals.

Fewer Injuries

Post Exercise Protein Supplementation Improves Health And Muscle Soreness During Basic Military Training In Marine Recruits.

Flakoll PJ, Judy T, Flinn K, Carr C, Flinn S. J Appl Physiol, 2004 Mar;96(3):951-6. Epub 2003 Dec 2.

This study investigated the long-term impact of post-exercise protein supplementation on health, muscle soreness, and muscle function. Healthy male U.S. Marine recruits from six platoons were randomly assigned to three treatments within each platoon. They received a carbohydrate supplement, a carbohydrate-whey protein supplement, or a placebo each morning after physical training.

Compared to the placebo and carbohydrate groups, the carbohydrate and whey protein-supplemented group had an average of 33% fewer total medical visits, 28% fewer visits due to bacterial/viral infections, 37% fewer visits due to muscle/joint problems, and 83% fewer visits due to heat exhaustion. Muscle soreness immediately post-exercise was reduced by protein supplementation versus placebo and control groups.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that post-exercise protein supplementation has significant potential to positively impact health, muscle soreness, and tissue hydration during prolonged intense exercise training, suggesting a potential therapeutic approach for the prevention of health problems in severely stressed exercising populations.

Better Immune System Function

Whole Blood And Mononuclear Cell Glutathione Response To Dietary Whey Protein Supplementation In Sedentary And Trained Male Human Subjects.

Middleton N, Jelen P, Bell G, 2004. Inter J Food Sci Nutr, 55(2):131-141.

Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant. It protects the cells against free radical damage during exercise. The effects of a whey protein supplemented diet on glutathione concentrations were investigated over a six-week period in male subjects involved in arduous aerobic training. Blood was collected prior to and following a 40 km simulated cycling trial. The aerobic training period resulted in significantly lower glutathione concentrations in whole blood, an effect that was mitigated by whey protein supplementation. A significant increase in mononuclear cell glutathione was also observed in subjects receiving the whey protein supplement following the 40 km simulated cycling trial.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that whey protein supplementation attenuates decreases in glutathione caused by prolonged exercise.

Some additional benefits of whey protein concentrate include, but are not limited to:

  • Helps Repair Body Cells
  • Build And Repair Muscles And Bones
  • Provide A Source Of Energy
  • Control Many Of The Important Processes In The Body Related To Metabolism
  • Key Ingredient In Weight Loss Products
  • Safe For Pregnant Women And Children
  • Faster Absorption Into Bloodstream And Intestines
  • Healthy Snack

So as you can see, whey protein concentrate plays an important and vital role in not only your exercise and bodybuilding goals, but also in your everyday pursuit of healthy living!

3. Who needs whey protein concentrate and how much should be taken? Are there any side effects or symptoms of deficiency?

Whey protein is very important for bodybuilders, people dieting, and just about anybody! Since athletes and bodybuilders work out quite often, protein levels become depleted. By being a direct precursor to building muscle and providing essential amino acids, such as glutamine, the content from high quality whey protein concentrate will help one's muscles recover and grow faster by bringing up the levels of protein.

With dieting and those wishing to lose some extra fat, whey protein concentrate can be very useful because a good intake of protein balances blood sugar levels, while carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. When the blood sugar levels stay balanced, one is not as prone to rampant eating and has more energy and will see greater fat loss.

Training athletes often consume 25 grams of whey protein per day. Bodybuilders who want serious gains and are thus burning more calories, generally consume 150 grams per day. Extremely high doses of whey protein is not recommended, as this will cause the body's liver to be overloaded and you won't get the same benefits as with a consistent lower amount taken three to five times per day.

Whey protein concentrate allows a person to control his or her diet effectively. Most people who want to change their body for the better could benefit from whey protein supplementation. However, since protein is naturally found in many food items deficiency is usually not a problem.



These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

High-Quality Whey Protein Concentrate Supplements Are Available From A1Supplements.com. Go To The Full Whey Protein Concentrate Product Listing!

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