Benefits and Risks of Protein Shakes

General Introduction

If you go to a gym, you’ve probably heard the guys talking about the protein shakes they drink after a workout. People commonly use protein supplements to help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean muscle mass. Protein powders are getting more and more popular as a nutritional supplement nowadays. You can buy them either from a nutrition store or online. The three common types of Protein are Whey Protein, Soy Protein, and Casein protein. Whey protein is water-soluble and is the most commonly used. Soy protein is not water-soluble and most of the vegan people prefer soy protein. Casein protein is often taken before you hit the sack as it releases amino acid slowly to stop the muscles from breaking down when you sleep.

Composition of Protein Shakes

Protein supplements are a mixture of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and immunoglobins. These are independent of pH and are water-soluble in their native forms.

Types of Protein Supplements

There are several different types of protein powder, some of them include:

  • Whey Protein– Water-soluble milk protein, Contains all of the essential amino acids required for our body requires, Absorption by our body is very quick and easy.
  • Casein Protein– Rich in glutamine – an amino acid, absorption by our body is slow, best to take it at night.
  • Soy Protein An excellent alternate to whey or casein, contains all the essential amino acids.

Protein needs according to Age

  • Average adult – 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
  • Athletics need – 1.1 to 1.4 per kilogram of body weight.
  • Athletes building muscle mass – 1.5 to 2.0 per kilogram of body weight.

Benefits of Protein Shakes

The body needs proteins to produce hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals and Protein is one of the building blocks of bone, muscle, and skin. The possible health benefits of protein shakes include the following –

  • Good source of High-Quality Protein – It is a high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids, very digestible, absorbed by the gut quickly and is one of the best dietary sources of protein.
  • Improves Athletic Performance – Protein supplements in combination with strength training increase lean body mass, body strength, muscle size in healthy young adults, improve running speed and recovery from exercise in untrained adults and is good for increasing muscle strength.

Helps Lose Weight – Increased consumption of protein is very helpful in losing weight in the following aspects-

  • Suppresses the appetite, leading to reduced calorie intake.
  • Boosts metabolism, helps to burn more calories.
  • It helps to maintain muscle mass.

Promotes Muscle Growth – Muscle mass naturally declines with age leading to fat gain and raises the risk of many chronic diseases. Regular workout along with the consumption of protein supplements has been shown to be an effective remedy for this. Leucine is an anabolic amino acid. These supplements are effective for the prevention of age-related muscle loss, as well as for improved strength.

Helps Lower Blood Pressure – Hypertension is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. Protein supplements contain the ACE-inhibitors or the lactokinins, which have beneficial effects on blood pressure.

Helps Reduce Inflammation – Inflammation is the body’s response which leads to damage. Acute or short term inflammation can be beneficial but chronic inflammation can be harmful and can result in getting various diseases.

Useful in Type-II Diabetes –Type-2 Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels and impaired insulin function. Protein supplements have been found to be effective in keeping the blood sugar levels normal, helps in increasing both the levels of insulin and the sensitivity, so these can be effectively used as a supplementary treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Useful in Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by chronic inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. Protein supplementation has been found to have beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel disease.

Useful in Asthma – Protein supplements could improve the immune response in children with asthma and helps to improve immune response.

Useful in Cardiovascular Disease – Protein supplements significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension, thus helpful in reducing the risk of developing stroke or heart disease.

Risks of Protein Shakes

In the above content, I have written about the benefits of protein shakes but protein shakes can result in various side effects to our body, which I am going to discuss below –

Cause Unhealthy Weight Gain – If taken in excess quantities, protein supplements can cause you to gain weight and can result in the accumulation of unhealthy fats in your body. This fat gets piled up day by day, causing you to gain unhealthy weight rapidly.

Upset Digestive System – Most of the protein shakes results in various digestive problems, which can be –

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence

Risk of Damaging the Kidneys – Protein supplements can result in various kidney problems as they contain steroids, which are very harmful to our kidneys. Protein supplements can raise kidney pressure and can cause them to filter more blood than usual. They can also result in Kidney damage.

Can Damage your Liver – Protein supplements can result in various Liver problems as they contain steroids, which are very harmful to our Liver too. These can result in Liver cirrhosis because a high protein diet may increase ammonia levels in the blood, which may damage the brain also and can also cause permanent Liver damage.

Makes you prone to Develop Osteoporosis – Too much protein may cause more calcium to leach from the bones and may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become porous and hollow. A higher protein intake results in more acidic urine, which in turn causes the body to release more calcium from bones to neutralize the acidic effects.

Conclusion -

Protein is the building block of life and is very important for us. But taking it in excess is not advisable as it may harm your body. So, keep a check on your protein intake and ensure you get adequate of it. Neither too more, nor too less.

Author Bio:

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