Most bodybuilders take a nitric oxide (NO) product before exercise to increase muscle pumps and build muscle, but taking a new and novel whey protein powder may also help with getting better pumps.
- Whey protein may not only be useful for muscle gain but may also be the best muscle pump supplement not being taken.
- Whey Protein seems to be more beneficial than casein for muscle pumps and vasodilation.
- Consuming a homemade whey protein powder (i.e., milk with greek yogurt) daily may lead to lower blood pressure responses.
- Whey protein can reduce blood pressure through mechanisms related to the inhibition of angiotensin II, increasing nitric oxide, or increasing flow-mediated dilation.
Whey protein and resistance exercise go together like peanut butter and jelly (i.e., whey protein and mass). The newest research shows it’s not just weight lifters that should be consuming whey protein powders but endurance athletes as well. The original whey protein powder was consumed with milk or water. Whey protein with milk has a higher protein content for those looking to maximize protein synthesis after exercise. Whey protein with milk or water after a workout is considered the best post-workout supplement an athlete can consume. Gymgoers looking for a more advanced whey protein powder, such as mass gainers, consume creatine and whey protein together.
Muscle pumps may even contribute to muscle growth.
Some new supplement companies allow you to make your own whey protein blends. You can choose which ratios of whey protein you want to include (i.e., whey protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysates). Whey protien is not only a muscle builder but is may be a good muscle pump supplement as well.
Some may question the difference between mass gainers vs. whey protein powders. Protein and mass gainers usually contain a whey/ casein blend protein with added calories from carbohydrates and fats. Mass gainers with whey protein/casein or weight gainers are designed to increase weight by increasing calories.
A high-quality whey protein powder has traditionally been used post-workout to lose weight, build muscle, increase protein synthesis, and reduce appetite. I don’t want to bore you with another article that has been posted a million times about the benefits of whey protein for improving body composition. Still, I want to discuss a lesser-known benefit of whey and dairy protein, whey protein’s ability to increase blood flow and improve cardiovascular health.
HIGH QUALITY DAIRY PROTEINS MAY IMPROVE VASCULAR RESPONSES
Epidemiological studies have shown an inverse association between milk consumption and blood pressure.(1) Milk contains several potentially bioactive compounds, but scientists have yet to confirm which bioactive constituents in milk may be responsible for the beneficial effects. Thus, lower blood pressure makes why a good muscle pump supplement.
The antihypertensive (i.e., reduce blood pressure) properties of dairy protein-derived bioactive peptides are thought to act primarily via the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), a major regulator of blood pressure control. RAS activates the hormone angiotensin I, which is converted to angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor, by the action of ACE on the surface of vascular endothelial cells.
Whey and Angiotensin II
An increase in angiotensin II will constrict blood vessels, resulting in increased blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are often prescribed ACE inhibitors to reduce blood pressure by inhibiting the angiotensin II pathway. Interestingly, some people have greater increases in blood pressure during strength training than others due to a genetic predisposition of genes related to increased angiotensin II.(2) Most studies have shown that whey protein has the most beneficial effects on those with raised blood pressure, whereas the results are mixed in people with normal blood pressure. Consuming a homemade whey protein powder (i.e., milk with greek yogurt) daily can lead to lower blood pressure responses. Whey protein with greek yogurt also has more protein than whey protein alone.
CASEIN VS WHEY FOR MUSCLE PUMPS
How long your muscles stay pumped after a workout can depend on your salt intake, carbohydrates, exercise intensity, and exercise selection (i.e., compound exercises vs. isolation exercises). Despite different protein sources, casein and whey protein are rich in essential amino acids and are part of the dairy family; whey protein has an edge in enhancing blood flow. Whey protein seems more effective muscle pump supplement in physiological systems than casein due to faster digestion and absorption kinetics, in addition to the presence of bioactive components.
A previous study compared whey protein to casein and reported a decrease in blood pressure after both whey-protein concentrate and isolate and sodium-caseinate supplementation for 12 weeks; however, they showed improvements in arterial stiffness (i.e., arterial stiffness means there is a decrease in the elasticity of the arteries resulting in a greater risk of cardiovascular disease) only after whey-protein consumption.(3) This suggests that whey protein has an advantage over casein in improving blood flow to muscle fibers making it a good muscle pump supplement.
Health Benefits of Whey Protein
The protein beta-lactoglobulin in whey protein contains anti-hypertensive peptides, which lower blood pressure as significantly as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
Recent research has shown that bioactive whey peptides may be involved in these functions:
• ACE inhibitory activity, Anti-thrombotic activity (i.e., Reducing the formation of clots), and Cholesterol-reducing activity
One study administered a high-fat meal at breakfast and lunch, and the subjects consumed either 28 grams of casein, whey, or a placebo. Both casein and whey proteins improved blood pressure responses, vascular function, glucose, and lipid metabolism.
Whey protein resulted in greater blood pressure responses compared to casein. The reductions in blood pressure were WHEY PROTEIN>CASEIN>MALTODEXTRIN. Whey protein also improved flow-mediated dilation (i.e., flow-mediated dilation measures the widening of the arteries and blood flow) compared to casein or maltodextrin.(4)
Another study compared subjects who consumed a control drink (i.e., maltodextrin), whey protein (i.e., 28 grams twice a day), or casein (i.e., 28 grams twice a day). Compared with the control, whey protein and casein improved cardiovascular health by improving blood flow and markers of endothelial function; the whey protein group had a slight advantage, significantly lowering 24-hour blood pressure.
The whey protein and casein groups decreased total cholesterol, but only whey protein reduced triglycerides.(5) A recent meta-analysis found that whey protein significantly improved endothelial function by improving flow-mediated dilation.(6) All the research seems to point to whey as an effective muscle pump supplement.
Whey Protein and Inflammation
Whey proteins may also enhance blood flow by reducing inflammation. It has several potential antioxidant properties, including antioxidant peptides and enhancing glutathione production. Glutathione is a major antioxidant produced by our cells, protecting them from “free radicals,” and it is also known as a very important cell-detoxifying agent.
Whey protein can improve blood flow and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as increased nitric oxide, reduced inflammation, and inhibiting angiotensin II responses.(7) In a 2021 study, 27 grams of whey protein was able to improve blood flow and vascular function in patients with heart failure after 12 weeks.(8)
Whey Protein and Blood Pressure Results
“A previous study compared whey protein to casein and reported a decrease in blood pressure after both whey-protein and sodium-caseinate supplementation for 12 weeks; however, they showed improvements in arterial stiffness (i.e., arterial stiffness means there is a decrease in the elasticity of the arteries resulting in a greater risk of cardiovascular disease) only after whey-protein consumption.(3) This suggests that whey protein has an advantage over casein in improving vascular health. ”