Whey Protein

What other names is Whey Protein known by?

Bovine Whey Protein Concentrate, Concentré de Protéine de Petit-Lait Bovin, Fraction de Lactosérum, Fraction de Petit-Lait, Goat Milk Whey, Goat Whey, Isolat de Protéine de Lactosérum, Isolat de Protéine de Petit-Lait, Lactosérum de Lait de Chèvre, MBP, Milk Protein, Milk Protein Isolate, Mineral Whey Concentrate, Proteínas del Suero de la Leche, Protéine de Lactosérum, Protéine de Lait, Protéine de Petit-Lait, Whey, Whey Fraction, Whey Peptides, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Isolate, WPC, WPI.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is the protein contained in whey, the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese.

Whey protein is used for improving athletic performance, as a food supplement, as an alternative to milk for people with lactose intolerance, for replacing or supplementing milk-based infant formulas, and for reversing weight loss and increasing glutathione (GSH) in people with HIV disease.

Whey protein is also used for protein allergy, asthma, high cholesterol, obesity and weight loss, preventing allergies in infants, late-stage cancer, and colon cancer.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Red, itchy skin (eczema). Research shows that infants who consume whey protein by mouth during the first 3-12 months of life have a lower risk of developing red, itchy skin by the age of 3 years.
  • Prone allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease). Research shows that infants who consume whey protein by mouth during the first 3-12 months of life are less likely to be prone to allergies and allergic reactions compared to infants who receive standard formula. However, taking why protein might not be helpful for treating atopic diseases once they develop.
  • Weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS. Some research shows that taking whey protein by mouth can help decrease weight loss in people with HIV.
  • Red, scaly skin (psoriasis). Some evidence shows that taking a specific whey protein extract (Dermylex Advitech Inc.) daily for 8 weeks can reduce psoriasis symptoms.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Taking a specific whey protein supplement (ImuPower) daily for 6 weeks can improve shortness of breath but not lung function or quality of life in people with COPD. Other research suggests that taking whey protein supplements does not improve lung function, muscle function, or exercise tolerance in people with COPD.
  • Osteoporosis. Research suggests that taking a drink containing whey protein daily for 2 years does not improve bone density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
  • Weight loss. Most research suggests that taking whey protein alone, along with diet modifications, or while following an exercise plan does not seem to reduce weight for overweight and obese adults. However, whey protein might improve body composition in overweight adults when used along with a modified diet. In overweight teens, drinking a whey protein beverage for 12 weeks seems to increase weight and body mass index (BMI).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Athletic performance. Some clinical research shows that taking whey protein in combination with strength training increases lean body mass, strength, and muscle size. However, other research suggests no effect of whey protein on strength or muscle mass. Taking whey protein seems to improve recovery from exercise better than carbohydrate supplements in untrained but not trained athletes.
  • Asthma. Early research suggests that taking a specific type of whey protein (HMS 90 Immunofec, Inc) daily for 30 days does not improve lung function in children with asthma.
  • Cancer. There is some evidence that taking whey protein might help reduce tumor size in some people with cancer that has spread.
  • Cystic fibrosis. Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily for 28 days improves lung function in children, but not adults with cystic fibrosis
  • Asthma caused by exercise. Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily for 10 days improves lung function in people with asthma caused by exercise.
  • Non-alcoholic liver disease (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH). Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily for 12 weeks can improve liver function in patients with NASH.
  • Hepatitis. Early research suggests that taking a specific type of whey protein (Immunocal) daily for 12 weeks can improve liver function in some people with hepatitis B. However, it does not appear to benefit people with hepatitis C.
  • HIV/AIDS. Early research suggests that taking whey protein for 4 months does not improve immune function in children with HIV.
  • High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking whey protein daily while participating in resistance training does not reduce cholesterol levels or body fat in overweight men with high cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. Early research suggests that drinking a beverage that contains whey protein daily for 12 weeks does not lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, taking hydrolyzed whey protein daily for 6 weeks can reduce blood pressure
  • Infections developed while in the hospital. Early research suggests that taking a specific whey protein supplement (Beneprotein) daily for up to 28 days has a similar effect on the rate of hospital-acquired infections as taking a combination of zinc, selenium, glutamine, and metoclopramide.
  • Inherited disorders that cause mental and developmental problems (mitochondrial myopathies). Early research suggests that taking a whey protein supplement daily for one month does not improve muscle strength or quality of life in people with mitochondrial diseases.
  • Ovarian cysts (Polycystic ovarian syndrome). Early research suggests that taking a supplement containing whey protein daily for 2 months can reduce body weight, fat mass, and cholesterol in people with ovarian cysts. However, whey protein does not improve blood sugar and seems to decrease high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol.
  • Aching and stiffness caused by inflammation (polymyalgia rheumatica). Taking whey protein in a dairy product twice daily for 8 weeks does not improve muscle function, walking speed, or other movement tests in people with polymyalgia rheumatica.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate whey protein for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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