Whey protein battles age-related muscle loss

Forget the legendary Fountain of Youth. Recent research points to whey, once virtually given away by processing plants as a nuisance by-product of cheese, as an important player in preventing muscle loss, keeping middle-aged consumers fit and mobile as they age.

According to the Daily Mail, whey powder is quickly becoming a supplement favorite for people of all ages. The easily digestible product has been linked to healthy weight loss, immune system boost and cancer prevention. The product, once marketed for body-builders, is now promoted as part of a healthy diet.

For middle-aged whey protein drinkers, that means curbing age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia.  Most people begin to experience sarcopenia around the age of 45, losing 1 percent of muscle mass annually. Whey protein won't do it alone, however. Exercise is also needed. Read more from the Daily Mail here.

"Exercise is crucial for creating and maintaining muscle," promotional material from the Good Whey Company says. "But feeding our muscles through a healthy diet is just as important."

Dairy Herd Management discussed the growing popularity of whey protein in an article available here. The benefits of whey protein show just how the dairy by-product, when combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime, can give any person a healthier body.  

"Whey protein contains essential amino acids that are needed to build new muscle and reduce muscle breakdown," Matt Pikosky, director of research transfer for Dairy Management, Inc., told Dairy Herd Management. "Researchers have found that adding just 10 grams of whey protein to an isotonic beverage following resistance exercise can improve muscle protein synthesis, leading to improved building of lean muscle."

In addition to weight loss and muscle-building capabilities, whey could also help prevent major health issues. A 2010 Washington State University study also found that whey protein played a role in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Click here to view the study.



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