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Whey helps build muscle, but its peptides may also improve recovery and metabolic health

Whey protein is a component of milk, but whey itself consists of several bioactive components that may positively impact health and performance.

A recent scientific review notes that a distinguishing feature of whey is its rapid absorption and high prevalence of essential amino acids—particularly branched-chain amino acids—that rapidly stimulate skeletal muscle protein synthesis.

In combination with resistance training, whey protein supplementation has been shown to contribute to greater fat loss and greater muscle mass accumulation compared to carbohydrate supplements and other protein sources.

Whey also contains high concentrations of amino acids like cysteine, methionine, and glutamine, as well as specific peptides derived from beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins that may act to positively impact recovery by affecting inflammatory, immune, oxidative stress, hormonal and vascular responses to exercise.

The practical use of whey protein may therefore extend beyond its role in building muscle mass to improving recovery and metabolic health.

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