Whey Protein Powder and the Glutathione Connection
Whey protein powder has become the most popular protein powder in the market. This is not surprising as it is the best-known food source at present for building muscles. It is the highest scoring protein on the BV (biologically value) chart, a system that ranks protein according to how well it is digested and absorbed into the blood stream to be used for essential functions like building muscle. This is the fundamental reason whey protein is the protein powder of choice for many athletes and bodybuilders. However, there is another less known and amazing health benefit of whey protein powder.
The Glutathione Connection
The ability of whey protein to raise glutathione levels in the body is one of the best health benefits of whey protein powder next to muscle building. Glutathione is itself a protein that has some very important functions for maintaining the health of the body. First of all it is the most powerful of antioxidants and for that reason is often referred to as the ‘master antioxidant’. Provided we are not deficient in glutathione it should exist within all of our hundreds of trillions of cells where it protects them from the oxidative damage of free radicals.
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What is unique about glutathione as an antioxidant is that it lives and is created within our cells. Other antioxidants (although very important too) like vitamin C and E are achieved directly from eating food sources that contain them and do not work as antioxidants deep within a cell. This inner cell protection is the sole responsibility of glutathione. So important is this role of glutathione that its levels in the body is by far the best indicator of how long we will live!
The other main function of glutathione is to maintain cell homeostasis. This basically means that glutathione is the ‘door man’ of our cells. It evicts harmful chemicals out of the cells that should not be there such as toxic heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury and other toxins like drug residues (legal or otherwise). So glutathione is effectively the main detoxifying agent of our cells.
So how does whey protein powder raise glutathione levels in the body? Whey protein powder contains an important amino acid that is essential for the creation of glutathione in the cell. This amino acid is called cysteine and it is not usually present to a great deal in the average diet and whey protein doesn’t just contain cysteine it is abundant in it! For this reason studies clearly show that whey protein powder does indeed raise glutathione levels. However for this effect to take place it has to be a specific kind of pure whey protein powder – it must not be hydrolysed. When buying a whey protein powder supplement check carefully for this if you wish to improve the glutathione levels in your cells.