Whey protein has been used by athletes, bodybuilders in particular, to gain muscle. Usually used after a workout session, whey protein shakes provide the body with the necessary protein it needs to help repair worn-out muscle fibers and facilitate the growth of new connections that lead to the formation of bigger muscles. While more research is still needed to ascertain the long term effects of whey to health, current studies show that whey has a lot of health benefits when taken at the right amounts.

Aside from building muscle mass through protein synthesis, whey protein shakes are essential to weight loss since they reduce body fat mass. When taken before a strength training workout, whey has been shown to substantially reduce body fat and increase calorie burn up to a day after the session. Obese people who exercise and include whey protein in their daily diet have been found to lose significantly more body fat compared to those who didn't. Moreover, since whey helps form muscle, it also helps increase the metabolic rate that further serve to burn away fat. More importantly, whey also slows down the process of muscle loss as a result of aging since it provides an easily digestible, ready source of protein.

Studies have also shown that whey protein works to keep the weight off since it satisfies hunger easily. As a result, appetite is curbed and intake of calories is reduced. Combined with its power in building muscle mass and reducing body fat, whey can be used as a powerful tool in any weight loss plan.

Aside from its role in keeping the body physically fit, whey protein has also been found to be beneficial in the prevention of prostate cancer, at least in preliminary research. This is because whey contains the amino acid cysteine that is essential in the formation of the antioxidant glutathione that fights cancer cells. While more studies still need to be conducted in this particular area, whey has so far shown promise as an anticancer and immune system boosting food. Whey protein shakes are also beneficial in wound healing and tissue repair. Because of its high antioxidant content, whey helps neutralize free radicals that cause disease and ill-health. It even counteracts oxidative stress that results in DNA damage and cell mutation that lead to cancers, aging and other degenerative diseases.

Another benefit of whey protein is improved heart function. Because blood vessel functions are improved, overall cardiovascular health is also enhanced. Hypertension and other heart diseases are minimized and overall circulation is improved.

While all these seem to focus on the physical benefits of whey, studies have shown that it also has immense mental and emotional benefits, particularly to those under stress. Studies have proven that when a person is under stress, his or her cognitive performance is reduced due to the lessened serotonin levels in the brain. However, with the consumption of whey protein, serotonin levels are increased that help alleviate the body's reaction to stress. Memory is enhanced as well.

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Author's Bio: 

Kylie is a full-time mother of 3 and a freelance writer for ShakeNutrition.com.