Whey protein, insulin, immune system, skin firmness and cellulite

Whey, insulin, weight training and cellulite

Whey protein is the best whey protein you can use after weight training or even cardiovascular training. It is the highest biological quality protein you can have, as it contains all the essential aminoacids in a very absorbable form. In addition, because whey significantly boosts insulin, it further boosts its own absorption by muscle cells (insulin boosts the absorption of protein by muscle cells).

Most women today do not have enough protein and this is the reason why so many women suffer from loose skin these days: skin is made of protein and with a low protein diet the body uses up the protein stores in the skin and never replaces them.

So, of most women, the addition of whey protein in the diet is recommended after training, at a daily dosage of about 20-30 grams. This will ensure that both muscles and skin are replenished with all the necessary aminoacids they need for tissue repair, muscle growth and skin firming.


Whey, insulin and sedentary living

However, although whey's insulin production stimulation is a blessing after training, it may prove a curse if you are sedentary. This is because when you are sedentary and eat carbs or fat, excessive insulin stimulates the absorption of carbs and fat by fat cells, leading to obesity and cellulite.

On the other hand, if you are sedentary and on a low carb/low fat diet, excessive insulin will lead to hypoglycaemia, low energy and dizziness.

n general, excessive insulin production at any other time except after exercise is not a good thing for health, as it leads to obesity and is a risk factor for diabetes and cancer.

You may reduce the insulin-stimulating effect of whey by mixing it with fibre (such as chia seeds, flax seeds, oat fibre etc) and healthy fat (such as medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil), which will slow down it's digestion and the consequent insulin release, but the total amount of excess insulin secreted will still remain the same, so this is not a perfect solution.

So, in summary, a high quality whey protein is ideal as a muscle-building, skin firming supplement, immediately after real vigorous exercise (gentle Pilates and Yoga do not qualify as vigorous exercise), together with some carbs (immediately after exercise is the best time to have carbs). And whey protein is detrimental to your health, your fat stores and cellulite if it is taken when sedentary.


Whey and immune system stimulation

Whey protein is a great way to boost your protein intake and thereby ensure muscle tissue repair and growth and skin repair and firming (muscle and skin is made of protein). However, whey is also a strong immune-stimulating food, which may be either beneficial or detrimental to health, depending on the quality of the product and how it is used.

Whey protein is an immune-stimulating protein as it contains many immune compounds. Most whey proteins that you can buy in "health food" and bodybuilding stores (probably 95% of the market) contain denatured (damaged) immune compounds, due to their harsh processing, such as cross-flow filtration, microfiltration, isolate filtration, hydrolysation and ion exchange.

Denatured immune compounds may irritate the immune system, causing intolerance reactions on sensitive people, which although mild in most cases, in the long run are detrimental for the immune system.


Whey protein itself is not always innocent - what to look for when you buy a whey protein powder

For the reasons described above, it is essential to ensure that you buy pure, "native", non-denatured whey which is as close as to the original component of milk, as possible. Of course, whey produced from organic or grass fed cows is preferred to that produced with industrial farming methods that include hormones, pesticides and other pollutants.

A real, pure whey protein provides immunoglobulins / IgG (including among others bovine serum albumin, alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulins), lactoferrin (which ensures proper iron supply into the cells that needs it) and cysteine which is a precursor of glutathione, the most important antioxidant and detoxification factor in the human body.


Even the best whey protein in the world should be used in moderation

Because of it's powerful immune-stimulating effect, whey should not be used excessively or continuously without breaks. But even more importantly, denatured whey should not be used at all, as it can gradually lead to unwanted immune stimulation (intolerances, allergies, auto-immunity etc).

Personally I use 10g of whey every morning mixed with 40g of vegan protein, as I have found whey to be too "heavy" on my system, most probably due to insulin secretion and possibly also due to immune stimulation.


In summary

Pure, native, non-denatured protein is great as a protein supplement:

  • especially if used right after exercise
  • if it is not used in excessive amounts or without breaks
  • if it is not used while sedentary

On the other hand, denatured whey should not be consumed at all due to the damage of immunoglobulins contained in it during the manufacturing process.