whey protein immune

Take Whey Protein For Immune Support

Take whey protein to support your immune system and lower your risk of disease. Best known as a body composition supplement, whey protein has many therapeutic health effects including boosting the immune system. Several studies show that taking whey protein increases levels of the health-promoting antioxidant glutathione. Having adequate levels of this antioxidant is associated with greater muscle, less body fat, and lower risk of disease.

Glutathione The "Master Antioxidant"

Glutathione is the "master antioxidant" that is made inside the body from cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. It is the workhouse of the immune system. Glutathione defends the body against free radicals that damage cells, cause cancer, and slow recovery from exercise. Whey protein provides the amino acid building blocks for the body to produce glutathione. It also supports the body's ability to recycle used glutathione.

Whey Protein Raises Antioxidant Status

A research study showed that combining whey supplementation with a strength training program may be the best way to boost the immune system. This study tested the effect of giving overweight men 22 grams of whey protein a day for six weeks in conjunction with a training program. Results showed that the whey supplement group had a large increase in glutathione levels. They also experienced much higher vitamin C levels than the training-only group or a placebo group.

Higher vitamin C and glutathione mean that taking whey protein allowed for a more protective internal antioxidant system because these two nutrients stabilize each other. Vitamin C is particularly important for speeding recovery from injury or illness because it acts very quickly in abolishing free radicals that damage cells.

Higher Glutathione = Better Body Composition

There is evidence that higher glutathione and a healthier immune system allows for better body composition. In the study mentioned above, the group that took whey protein lost more fat and gained more muscle than the men who only trained and didn’t supplement. The whey group lost 8.7 percent fat mass and the training-only group lost 7.9 percent fat.

Previous studies support the importance of glutathione for body composition—one 12-week study showed that exercise performance and fat loss were enhanced from improving the body’s glutathione levels during a training program. A second study found that obese individuals with naturally higher glutathione levels during a weight loss intervention lost more body fat than those with lower levels. Researchers identify antioxidant status as an important marker for success with weight loss.

Strategies To Support The Immune System

Aside from supplementing with whey protein, you can support your antioxidant immune system with the following strategies:

  • Add glutamine and glycine to your whey protein since they provide the other two amino acids that the body uses to produce glutathione.
  • Get lots of phytoplants in your diet: Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), dark green vegetables (kale, collards), berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), flavanol plants (green tea, cocoa, grape seeds, olives), spices and herbs (turmeric, ginger, boswellia) are all potent antioxidants that will allow the body to produce the enzymes that aid glutathione activity in the body.
  • Make sure you get enough vitamin C and zinc because they help the body recycle glutathione.

 

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