According to researchers:
“We found that whey protein beverages lowered BP only in individuals with previously high BP, but not in those with normal blood pressure …
These findings suggest that whey protein beverages had a normalizing effect on elevated BP and did not cause hypotension. This is important since hypotension can be a health concern in certain population groups, such as young women and the elderly.”
The beneficial effects of whey protein may be related to its influence on nitric oxide production, which plays a role in blood pressure regulation.
Clearly it is best to eat whole unprocessed foods. However, for many of us that just simply isn’t possible at all times. In many circumstances using a high-quality protein powder will be far superior to the other options that might be available to you.
After careful review it is very clear that whey is one of the highest quality protein powders.
Whey, a byproduct of milk and cheese, has been recommended since ancient times -- as early as 420 B.C. by Hippocrates -- and its sterling reputation continues to be further proven to this day.
Whey Protein is Beneficial for Your Heart and Blood Pressure
This latest study revealed that whey protein has a normalizing effect on blood pressure levels, reducing levels significantly in those at risk of hypertension. This may be due to whey’s impact on nitric oxide production, as nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity and its suppression leads to increases in blood pressure.
This benefit extends not only to those with, or at risk of, high blood pressure; it’s important to maintain healthy blood pressure levels too.
One recent study found, for instance, that supplementation with the whey-derived peptide NOP-47 had a positive impact on vascular function in healthy people. Blood flow in the arm improved by 2.7 percent per minute following whey protein supplementation, but did not change for those in the control group who took a placebo.
So in choosing a protein powder as a meal replacement, protein source or exercise recovery drink, you’ll support healthy blood pressure levels just by choosing whey.
What Else Can Whey do for You?
There are numerous reasons to choose whey over other protein powders, even beyond its influence on your blood pressure. For instance, whey protein may:
- Help your pancreas-produced insulin work more effectively, which helps maintain your blood sugar level after a meal
- Promote healthy insulin secretion
- Help to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for your overall wellness
- Support your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins
- Help you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine
Whey proteins are complex in and of themselves and each can provide you with even more distinct benefits, such as:
- Beta-Lactoglobulin -- may help your body better react to foods
- Alpha-Lactalbumin -- supports your immune system and may improve morning alertness
- Glycomacropeptide -- provides support against occasional digestive discomfort and stress
- Lactoferrin -- helps regulate your intestinal iron absorption and promotes healthy cell growth
- Immunoglobulins -- promotes your immune system and helps support your body's natural detoxification processes
- Bovine Serum Albumin -- provides a source of essential amino acids
- Lactoperoxidase --provides protective benefits for your system
- Natural Growth Factors in Whey -- aids your system in cell rejuvenation, muscle recovery after exercise, and energy function
Whey protein can also help optimize your production of glutathione, which is considered by many to be your body’s most powerful antioxidant.
Glutathione has the unique ability of maximizing the activity of all other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, and the fresh veggies and fruits you eat. It also removes toxins from your cells and protects you from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.
The optimal food source for maximizing your glutathione production is high-quality grass-fed whey protein.
Be Choosy When Choosing Whey
As with many food products and supplements on the market, all whey protein powders are not created equal.
When Consumer Reports recently tested 15 protein powders and drinks, they found three of them contained very worrisome levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead.
Clearly, getting a potentially toxic dose of heavy metals with your daily protein drink is not what you had in mind, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to the quality of your whey protein.
I cannot recommend using nearly any of the commercial whey protein shakes on the market, even if they’re not contaminated, however, because most contain whey protein derived from pasteurized, commercial dairy sources.
Unfortunately, pasteurized milk is almost entirely devoid of glutathione-producing compounds, so you’ll be missing out on this significant health benefit. Many commercial whey products are also artificially sweetened, making them useless from a health perspective.
So when selecting a whey product I strongly recommend making sure it has the following features:
- Whey is derived from grass-fed cows that are not treated with pesticides or hormones
- Cold processed, since heat destroys whey's fragile molecular structure
- Whey protein concentrate, not protein isolates
- Sweetened naturally, not artificially, and low in carbohydrates
- Highly digestible -- look for medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long chain fatty acids
As part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, I strongly believe that whey protein powder that meets the above criteria is a very healthful supplement to your diet, an excellent source of protein, and a powerful supporter of optimal health.
In fact, it’s been my daily breakfast for well over a year. It's an excellent post-workout meal, and it keeps me going all morning long. Plus, I find it absolutely delicious!