Protein powders have gained popularity over the past couple of years for a good reason. It is a well-liked diet supplement meant for people of all ages. Protein powders are included in nutrition shakes, baby formulas while some weight loss supplements are formulated using the powder as a supplement. Young men on the other hand prefer to use whey protein powder for building muscle. However, the big question is: Does protein powder pose a health risk for users? Is it safe? Well, it depends on a lot of factors. It is worth noting that consuming excessive amounts of protein powder has long-term effects that may be damaging.

picture of a scoop of protein powder

Early studies indicate that protein powder supplements make the immune system stronger and provide users with athletic endurance. Furthermore, whey protein is attributed to increasing energy, fighting stress and improving mental focus. The earlier studies prove that select protein powders play a major role particularly with regard to the body’s ability to fight cancer. Whey protein also helps lower cholesterol, reduces blood sugar, treats asthma, and prevents allergies.

Studies conducted so far indicate that consuming protein powder as a supplement before and after exercising significantly improves muscle strength, promotes lean muscle growth and enhances body immunity. A study done in the US took 387 Marines as test subjects for a basic training exercise. After 54 days had elapsed, the Marines who took protein powder supplements showed greater improvement in their immune systems. As a result, their medical visits were fewer by 33% compared to the group that was given placebos. The Marines taking protein powder also experienced very minimal to no muscle soreness.

When a protein supplement is digested immediately after an exercise routine, the body is supplied with sufficient amounts of amino acids necessary for repairing the body and building new muscles. For this reason, consuming whey protein powder is highly recommended especially right after an exercise routine mostly because it contains a large amount of leucine. According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, Leucine is absorbed quicker and easier.

picture of a bodybuilder with whey protein powder

Whey protein powder is famously regarded as a high quality protein powder. In fact, scientists and nutrition specialists consider it a complete protein. This means it contains the nine Amino Acids. This protein supplement is highly beneficial and convenient for most people. Nevertheless it is possible to have too much protein. Just because this is a complete protein doesn’t mean you can consume multiple servings a day.

Most of the benefits of protein powder can be linked to its powerful antioxidant features. The antioxidant features can be attributed to glutathione. People with liver disease, HIV and different types of cancers are all likely to develop extremely low levels of glutathione. Studies confirm that consuming whey protein significantly boosts glutathione levels in the body. Whey protein also has a positive effect on inflammation and asthma symptoms as it indirectly increases glutathione levels.

Although protein powder is a perfectly safe supplement for almost anyone, some added benefits can also be provided by real foods. For real and long-term benefits, protein powder should ideally be used as a supplement. It should not be used as a replacement for whole foods.

Learn about other muscle building supplements here