The need for immune-boosting foods and nutrients has never been higher. People all around the world are looking for goods that are high in chemicals that are known to strengthen their immune systems as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. For example, a temporary orange juice scarcity occurred in March due to rising demand for vitamin C-rich goods and disrupted supply networks. While other nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, iron, bioflavonoids, and carotenoids have gotten a lot of attention, whey protein is rarely mentioned when it comes to immunity.
What Is Whey Protein And How Is It Made?
Whey is the liquid that remains after the curdling and straining of milk. It’s a by-product of the dairy industry that’s created during the cheese-making process. When the liquid is dried, filtered, and processed, it produces a powder known as ‘whey protein.’ Whey protein can be consumed if you can drink milk. Because western nations’ usual diets are sufficient in protein, multinational dairy companies began marketing whey protein supplements to bodybuilders who wished to create gigantic muscles and compete professionally.
Whey Protein: A Powerhouse For Immunity
Whey protein is a rich source of important macro- and micronutrients that boost immunity:
These active ingredients are resistant to digestion and make up roughly 10% of the protein in whey. They have a role in a variety of immunological functions, including activating immune cells and neutralizing viruses and bacteria, which makes them especially important in the current scenario. One important part of their mode of action is to prevent bacteria from adhering to the mucosa, which is a need for viruses to induce infection. Immunoglobulins aid in the quarantining of viruses outside of the cell, lowering their possibilities of colonization and illness.
Whey protein is a good source of amino acid molecules that help the immune system. Glutamine, which makes up around 30% of whey protein’s total amino acid composition, is used to feed the immune system and cells. A study of long-distance runners revealed that ingesting glutamine soon after exercise lowered the risk of sickness in the days after the workout (Castell et al. 1996, Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 73; 488-490). Triathletes were given branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are also found in high concentration in whey protein, as part of a study to lower infection risk (Walzem et al. 2002, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 42, 353-375). Infections were reduced by 34%, immunological function was enhanced, and plasma glutamine levels were better maintained with this method. These results were obtained by taking 6-9 grams of BCAAs per day, which may be readily obtained by eating roughly 30 grams of whey protein.
Whey protein is an excellent source of lactoferrin, a molecule that helps with iron absorption and binding. It also guarantees that hazardous germs do not get access to the iron, preventing their proliferation. While many athletes are iron deficient as a result of their exercise, this is also a problem in the general population. For example, around 20% of premenopausal women and 3% of males are iron deficient. Although iron is poorly absorbed from many meals, particularly vegetables, the presence of lactoferrin in whey may aid to improve iron absorption and treat iron insufficiency.
Sialic acid inhibits E. coli and Helicobacter pylori attachment to intestinal cells. As a result, the risk of various forms of gastrointestinal infections is reduced. Sialic acid has been demonstrated to have prebiotic effects, encouraging the development of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, in addition to potentially lowering infection risk.
Casein-Macropeptide makes up around 15-20% of the protein in whey. It possesses antibacterial characteristics comparable to lactoferrin and has been found to inhibit Streptococcus growth.
This protein-binding peptide makes up roughly half of the total protein in whey, and it may help enhance immunity. Rather than having direct immunological effects, beta-lactoglobulin might be used to supply amino acids to the immune system.
Last but not least, whey protein is a good source of selenium, a mineral that has been shown to help with a variety of immune functions, including virus management. In reality, there is an increasing amount of discussion about the difficulties that European communities experience in obtaining enough selenium intakes. Some of the earliest studies on the effects of whey protein on selenium levels in healthy people were undertaken by us in the late 1990s (Child et al. 2003 Med Sci Sports Exerc. 35, S270). The addition of 40 grams of whey protein to the diet of healthy males resulted in higher selenium levels and more durable red blood cells. While no studies on immune system function were performed, the results were favorable, suggesting that selenium may play a role in some of the advantages of whey proteins.
How Does Whey Protein Help Boost Your Immunity?
Whey protein is a complete protein that contains all of the necessary amino acids that the body need. Individual proteins with immune-enhancing bioactivity, such as lactoferrin and immunoglobulins, are also included in the supplement. Proteins are required to construct and repair human tissue as well as to combat viral and bacterial infections, as previously indicated. Protein is required for the efficient functioning of antibodies and immune system cells. Your genes, nutrition, lifestyle, and behaviors all have a role in your immunity. There is no single substance that can quickly enhance immunity.
Maintaining healthy diet, including an adequate protein intake, can help to boost immunity against illnesses. If you don’t receive enough protein from your diet, you might want to talk to your doctor about taking protein supplements.
Which Whey Protein Supplements Should You Buy?
According to a survey conducted by Assocham-RNCOS, up to 70% of dietary supplements sold in India are bogus. According to industry insiders, the proportion might be as high as 90%, with a high incidence of adulteration, fake boosters, and low-quality, soon-to-expire components.
Look for whey proteins that aren’t marketed at athletes, bodybuilders, or fitness enthusiasts. It is strongly advised that you get a brand that contains close to 25 grams of protein every 30 grams of food, as well as fewer than 3 grams of carbs and fats. Buying from someone you can trust or straight from the brand is preferable to buying via wholesalers. Try plant-based proteins if you’re having stomach discomfort, digestive difficulties, bloating, or gas. You should consult a healthcare professional, such as a nutritionist or a physician.
One Of The Body’S Most Complex Systems
Let’s take a look at the immune system before we get into the protein-immunity connection. It is made up of several organs, cells, and proteins that collaborate to defend the body against dangerous external substances and pathogens. When your immune system is confronted with these pathogens, it goes into overdrive, blocking viruses and scavenging germs to keep you safe and healthy. It boosts the need for energy and specific nutrients once triggered, making it even more critical to eat adequately.
You can aid your immune system by keeping healthy and eating a well-balanced diet, even if you can’t directly control it. Proteins in particular, such as whey protein, play an important function in the immune system since protein makes up the majority of the cells in your immune system.
The Power Of Amino Acids
Whey protein is an excellent source of protein for the immune system since it includes all of the essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and they are needed by the immune system to help us recover from infections and illnesses.
When the body doesn’t have enough amino acids, it extracts them from tissues such as muscles to feed the immune system. Muscle weakness and exhaustion can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and infections in general.
Whey Protein ” A Super Food
To keep healthy, your body need 20 distinct amino acids, 9 of which can only be obtained in food. Essential amino acids are those that are required for life. All of these amino acids, as well as many more, may be found in whey protein. That is why it is referred to as a “complete protein.”
The following is a list of the primary amino acids contained in whey protein that help to enhance our immune systems:
Essential Amino Acids
These are a group of nine amino acids that can only be obtained from food. All of these are found in whey protein.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Whey protein is the highest natural supply of these amino acids, which are needed to enhance immune cells.
Sulfur Amino Acids
These are required for the production of glutathione, the body’s principal intracellular antioxidant that protects cells against harm and infection.
Antibodies are another name for immunoglobulins, which are proteins. They let the immune system to detect and defend the body against particular sections of invading microorganisms.
Lactoferrin is a multifunctional protein that has the ability to bind iron, which is one of the ways it might limit bacterial development.
How Much Protein Should You Consume?
Proteins are frequently misunderstood and misunderstood. Proteins aren’t just for bodybuilders, according to a common myth. This could not be further from the truth. To maintain muscle mass, the ICMR recommends that we ingest 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. As a result, a 70kg adult should take 70g of protein each day. In specific instances, such as growing youngsters, pregnant women, athletes, and individuals with severe medical illnesses like as cancer, the demand rises. More than 85% of Indians are estimated to have a daily protein deficiency of roughly 25 grams, leading in lifestyle illnesses.
Here Are Some Of The Top Protein Sources
Proteins are found in almost everything we eat or drink, which is fortunate. The best approach to acquire enough protein is to consume a well-balanced diet that contains high-protein foods such as eggs, meats, pulses, milk, paneer, cheese, soy, almonds, spinach, broccoli, and so on. While it is not impossible, most individuals, especially vegetarians and vegans, find it challenging to acquire adequate protein because most of our diets are high in carbohydrates and fats. In this instance, natural protein supplements, such as whey protein and plant-based protein supplements, should be added to your diet.
Is Whey Protein Harmful To Your Health?
When ingested in reasonable amounts, whey protein does not usually produce any side effects. Some people who are allergic to milk may also be allergic to whey. High amounts of whey protein can induce a variety of side effects, including the following:
- Constipation and stomach cramps
- Appetite suppression
Whey protein is an excellent way to increase your protein consumption while also strengthening your immune system. Whey protein supplementation, when combined with an exercise program, may be incredibly advantageous for people looking to develop muscle mass and strength while shedding fat. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any kind of dietary supplement.