Whey is the best protein to build muscle. That’s a fairly universal point-of-view.
But you need to use caution when looking for a specific brand. Muscle building supplements are a huge business that is largely unregulated by the government. Many supplements are snake oil scams and not worth your money. Some are downright dangerous.
Let’s Look at Whey Protein
Whey is a milk protein that has a high level of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Bottom line: Whey is best because it digests fast and gets to your muscles rapidly to start building muscle. Whey also contains peptides (small proteins) that increase blood flow to the muscles.
It is a complete, high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. It is very digestible, absorbed from the gut quickly compared to other types of protein. It is one of the best dietary sources of protein available.
Whey is rich in a branched-chain amino acid called leucine. Among all the amino acids, leucine is the most growth promoting.
Combined with resistance training, whey can also help older adults reverse the effects of aging on muscle loss (sarcopenia). Combined with training, it helps promote a stronger, better-looking body.
You can check out a nicely organized list of benefits compiled by the Mayo Clinic here. Whey may have a number of additional benefits in addition to muscle growth, according to various studies:
- Help control Type 2 diabetes by moderating blood sugar levels
- Reduce inflammation in the body. (Soreness comes with training)
- May help promote weight loss
- Raise the body’s anti-oxidant defenses
- And it’s filling, low calorie, nutrition
I use and recommend Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey. It is a good tasting, quality powder drink. It has thousands of strongly positive reviews on both GNC’s website and Amazon. It’s also rated #1 on Bodybuilding.com’s top 10 list.
Whey protein isolates are the purest form of whey and the main ingredient in Gold Standard 100% Whey. Each serving provides 24 grams of rapidly digesting whey protein with low levels of fat, cholesterol, lactose and other stuff you can do without.
- 5.5 Grams of Naturally Occurring BCAAs
- 4 Grams of Naturally Occurring Glutamine and Glutamic Acid
- Instantized to Mix Easily Using Just a Glass & Spoon
- Over 20 Different Flavors to Choose From
New: Whey for the Gluten & Lactose Intolerant
If you have severe lactose intolerance or gluten issues, you could consider this alternative by Nature’s Best.
There are also thousands of reviews on GNC and Amazon about this product, most of them highly positive in the 4-5 star range. About the Product:
Pack in powerfully pure Whey protein, without packing on the carbs.
100% whey protein isolate powders amp you up, without any unwanted weight. Just pick your level: Zero Carb or Low-Carb (which also has Zero sugar), both with a whopping 50 grams of protein.
It’s 100% whey protein isolate loaded with vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep you going strong—and without gluten, lactose, or any impurities. Made with Nature’s Best complete microfiltration process to be the only completely clear milk protein when dissolved in water.
Available in a range of flavors and sizes.
- 50 grams of 100% ion exchange whey protein isolate per serving
- Zero Sugar
- Lactose and Gluten Free
- Glutamine enriched loaded with BCAAs
- Aspartame Free
Avoid these supplements if you have kidney issues. High levels of creatinine, the waste product of creatine, are a sign of kidney problems. Check with your doctor.
Read the ingredients list carefully with any supplement. In some, you might be getting additional ingredients you don’t necessarily want. Sometimes the labels are confusing and use different measuring scales. Here’s a cheat sheet on converting the units of measurement:
- 1 microgram (mcg or µg) = 0.001 milligrams (mg)
- 1 microgram (mcg) = 1000 nanograms (ng)
- 1 milligram (mg) = 1000 micrograms (mcg)
- 1 gram (g) = 1000 milligrams (mg)