As one of the two major groups of protein found in milk, whey protein is used in a wide variety of foods such as ice cream, bread and infant formula. As a popular dietary supplement, whey protein is used for improving muscle strength and body composition as well as for preventing heart disease, diabetes and age-related bone loss. Whey protein is also used as an appetite suppressant and as an aid to controlling blood sugar. While more research is needed, whey protein may help reduce blood pressure.
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Blood pressure is the force exerted by your blood on the walls of your arteries and is measured when your heart contracts and then when your heart relaxes. The first measurement is called your systolic pressure, and the second is called your diastolic pressure. Your blood pressure is normal when your systolic pressure is less than 120 and your diastolic pressure is less than 80. High blood pressure is called hypertension, and you are considered pre-hypertensive when your systolic pressure is from 120 to 139 and your diastolic measurement is from 80 to 89. You have stage 1 hypertension if your blood pressure is from 140/90 to 159/99, and you have stage 2 if it is 160/100 or higher.
Reducing Blood Pressure
Young adults with elevated systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure who consumed 28 g of a whey beverage each day for six weeks found that their blood pressure significantly decreased, according to the November 2010 issue of the "International Dairy Journal." Individuals who had normal systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure did not show any change in their blood pressure readings. In the case of individuals who had only elevated systolic pressure, taking whey daily for six weeks reduced only their systolic blood pressure.
Subjects who wanted to use whey protein to improve their blood pressure took a 125-mL milk drink that was supplemented with whey peptides every morning for 12 weeks, MayoClinic.com states. Alternatively, another group took 20 g of whey protein by mouth every day for six weeks. Whether the whey protein was processed or unprocessed made no difference.
Avoid whey protein if you are allergic or hypersensitive to milk or milk products. Because certain drugs may bind to milk whey proteins, use whey protein cautiously when you are on medication, as the whey protein may alter the level of medication in your blood. If you have diabetes, taking whey protein may cause you to experience hypoglycemia, because it may lower blood sugar levels. You may need to have a knowledgeable healthcare professional monitor your blood glucose level and adjust your medication. Whey protein may also increase the risk of bleeding.