Don't Skip Your Post-Workout Shake

The importance of whey protein and glutamine after you train


The benefits of a high-quality whey protein hydrolysate supplement has an ever-growing list of health benefits such as: weight loss, increases in muscle mass and strength, increase in glutathione levels (your body’s main water-based antioxidant), increase inimmune system function, decreased recovery time, and symptoms of overtraining.

One of the lesser-known properties of whey protein hydrolysate is its ability to increase muscle glycogen stores and cellular glucose transporters (i.e., GLUT4) in the muscle. In sum, whey protein has anti-diabetic properties. In essence, GLUT4 acts like a cellular sponge so that muscle can soak up glucose after exercise. Initially, there is a rapid, insulin-independent increase in the muscle glycogen stores, which is caused by activation of GLUT4. So you may be asking, what are the advantages of having increased GLUT4 activity? Your muscles will feel full when they’re full of glycogen, plus GLUT4 can maximize the anabolic effects of insulin while minimizing body fat storage. Researchers wanted to examine how whey protein impacted GLUT4 activity both at rest and after exercise. They divided rats into six groups, treating and feeding them with experimental diets for nine days as follows: a) CAS (control casein); b) WP (whey protein); c) WPH (whey protein hydrolysate); d) CAS exercised; e) WP exercised; and f) WPH exercised. After the experimental period, muscle GLUT4 were analyzed. The researchers found that consumption of WPH significantly increased the concentrations of GLUT4 and glycogen. The physical exercise associated with consumption of WPH had favorable effects on glucose transport into muscle. These results should encourage new studies dealing with the potential of both WP and WPH for the treatment or prevention of type-2 diabetes, a disease in which there is reduced translocation of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane. The important finding for bodybuilders is that the consumption of whey protein has anti-diabetic properties even without exercise. Also, taking whey after exercise seems to encourage muscle glucose uptake and enhanced muscle recovery.

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