Whey Protein and Gut Health

Whey Protein and Gut Health: Discover The Many Health Benefits It Offers To The Gut

whey protein powder

Proteins help to build, repair and maintain muscles. That’s a very elementary knowledge right? But some proteins are more popular than the other. When it comes to eating right, staying fit and bodybuilding in general, some proteins are high ranking due to their nutritional background and seem to be the fancy of most athletes. This is especially because of their rich amino acid content (which of course is necessary for attaining a lean physique, increasing speed and muscular endurance).

Whey is just one among these proteins. If you enjoy taking milk regularly, you’re actually taking any of these proteins- casein and whey. Studies show that whey protein is actually a complete protein in that it contains all the essential amino acids and is even beneficial to lactose intolerant individuals particularly because of its low lactose content.

Because it is easily digested compared to its casein counterpart, the body has a way of quickly making use of it ensuring that the nutrients are transported to the muscles for rapid anabolic effects (something bodybuilders crave with admiration).

It also contains threonine and Branched chain amino acids making it one of the most effective health supplements on the market. It also wields awesome anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties which equally help prevent bowel infections as well as enhance safe and easy digestion.

Some Major Causes Of Leaky Gut Syndrome

Due to what is known as intestinal tight junction malfunction (a condition in which there is an intestinal barrier that causes your gut not to function properly), leaky gut syndrome occurs bringing along all sorts of discomforts including poor digestion and gastrointestinal problems.

Picture it more like a situation in which your house or store has been ambushed and broken down allowing the forceful passage of some unexpected harmful guests. In the case of leaky gut syndrome, once that barrier is broken making a freeway for unwanted substances to get through.

The fact is that these conditions are usually caused by bacterial imbalance, poor dietary choices, stressful lifestyle patterns, and increased toxicity in the body.

So, How Can Whey Protein Help?

Fortunately, whey protein has some vital elements which include immunoglobulin and lactoferrin that helps in combating intestinal infections. These make it possible for a stronger resistance to be built up thus impeding the onset of some nasty bowel disorder of infection.

Your guts are typically those organs that aid in the process of digestion- the intestines and stomach for instance.

The small intestine is responsible for absorption of minerals and other nutrients from foods, drinks and it is responsible for at least 90% of the task, the remaining 10% being reserved for the large intestine and the stomach respectively. Technically, the primary functions of your guts are basically absorption and digestion respectively.

Few Benefits Of Whey Protein To Gut Health

Whey protein has quite a lot to offer. Bodybuilders find it useful for revolutionizing their workout routine. Scientists are beginning to come to the terms with the fact that whey has other health benefits which includes its ability to reduce inflammation, enhance muscle recovery, abate blood pressure and even treat type 2 diabetes.

But more specifically, it also has some qualities that make it quite beneficial for your digestive health. These benefits are explained below.

  • Prebiotic Properties of Whey Protein

In a bid to bypass the ambiguous technical details as well as medical jargons, a prebiotic is simply specialized substances, specifically fiber that tends to “take good care” of the good bacteria in your gut by keeping it healthy.

The two many types of bacteria that benefits the most from these prebiotics are Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

As a matter of fact, there are some food components of whey which include specific-type carbohydrates, non-carbohydrates (glycomacropeptide (GMP, lactoferrin and minerals), and of course proteins too.

Minerals such as calcium phosphate have also been shown to have the ability to enhance the development and growth of intestinal lactobacilli which is not a bad thing in itself since it also exhibits antimicrobial effects actively defending against pathogenic bacteria especially those that tend to adversely affect your intestinal health.

  • Antimicrobial and Antiviral Properties of Whey Protein

Whey protein improves gut health by virtue of its antiviral properties. Although some bacteria are harmful, there are these other ones- the good guys that are often attached to the epithelial cells of the intestines making them quite functional in the digestive process.

Suffice to say, they form an integral part of our digestive mechanisms. These microorganisms supply the intestinal cells with vital sources of energy. The presence of immunoglobulins also contributes to the reason whey has a huge antimicrobial impact on intestinal health.

  • Anticancer Properties of Whey Protein

As research on the impact of whey supplementation grows deeper, it becomes clear that its benefits are numerous and one which stands out is its ability to work against cancer.

This goes to show that the benefits of whey protein are whey beyond (pun intended) sports and performance enhancing supplements. It has become popular as an active agent that inhibits the growth rate of cancerous cells.

Glutathione synthesis is widely known to resist cancer growth and deflate tumor. The fact is that whey protein is very rich in a number of components such as lactoferrin and gluthione. However, your choice of whey would determine to what extent you can harness these great benefits. Make sure your protein powder is sourced form grass fed cows.

For all you know, your body will have all the amino acids (including cysteine and glycine) necessary for gluthione production. Just a cup of protein shake will not only work your body towards a healthy fit but would help you fight against chronic illnesses too.

  • Immune-Enhancing Properties of Whey Protein

Lactoferrin in whey protein is useful for a lot of health reasons; the most common being its ability to boost the body’s immune system. Once this is broken down, the “will power” of the body to attack alien microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites begins to wane and different diseases hacks down our health. Whey protein is known to help build the body’s defense against such an attack.

Less adequate protein intake would suppress the body’s immune defenses.  Since whey has all the essential amino acids, it is one of the best ways of getting in a healthy dose of your favorite protein source.

Gluthione in the tissues is enhanced by whey protein making it quite versatile for strengthening the immune system.

Digestive Problems Commonly Associated With Whey Protein

In as much as whey supplementation holds a solid reputation for itself in terms of the vast potential it possesses, it still has its drawbacks too. These include digestive problems and other side effects.

  • Indigestion Problems

Because the digestive system is built to handle food at varying quantities, simply neglecting healthy eating patterns or even consuming excessively may put undue pressure on your gastrointestinal tract forcing it to “misbehave” in a way that is rather unbearable short-term.

Therefore, the ability of your body to make adequate use of the nutrients from whey protein largely depends on its bioavailability. To foster a seamless digestive process, the body has to find a way to break the food components into smaller particles.

What does this all mean? In clear terms, the amount of whey protein you consume should directly proportional to the exact capacity your gastrointestinal tract is willing to hold up. The aftermath of going overboard on excessive dosage often leads to abdominal pain, vomitting and bloating.

  • Lactose Intolerance

Whey protein concentrates are known to contain some amount of lactose which is capable of causing digestive upset.

The condition of lactose intolerance is common with people who find it difficult to digest dairy product such as milk which whey equally contains. However, you start to witness this unusual gut sensation (abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas) when your digestive system particularly your small intestine fails to produce any lactase (an enzyme that fails to break down lactose for easy absorption) finds it difficult to digest lactose (milk sugar).

  • Constipation Problems

High protein diets are great for supporting your weight loss strategies particularly because of its ability to control your cravings for junk foods.

Speaking of nutrition, it is a well-known fact that most fiber-rich diet enhances gastrointestinal health. Since whey contains no fiber, taking it in excessive amounts could cause constipation (a digestive condition in which bowel movements are difficult to pass).

As a preventive measure, whey is better taken with foods that are high in fiber. This ensures your food is easily digested and the chances on being constipated eliminated.

Conclusion

A lot of people who use whey protein are quite familiar with the potential side effects it brings which tend to be mild anyway.

When you compare the pros and the cons of whey, there’s no gainsaying that it has become a budding supplement and still stands the chance of captivating more users through its innumerable health benefits.

Gym-goers, strength trainers and various athletes find it very useful in boosting their performance levels while providing them with the right amount of amino acids and other nutrients necessary to keep a lean physique.

Generally, a healthy diet that is rich in protein is sufficient to give the added boost you crave. However, an occasional use of these supplements is one sure way of getting these benefits either way. In any case, it is better to speak with a qualified healthcare professional prior to starting any supplement routine.

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