Does Whey Protein Cause Heart Attack?

You hear it in the news every other day about another bodybuilder getting a heart attack. And these bodybuilders consume large quantities of whey protein to grow their muscles. So by extension, many people think that taking too much whey protein consumption will increase the risk of getting heart attack.

But how true is that? After all, among the bodybuilding circle, the use of steroid stacking, HGH, DNP, insulin and other chemicals are also common, something that most people are not even familiar with. What happens if there’s a proper research on the effects of whey protein consumption among the general population and see the effect on the main markers of cardio vascular disease?

The Premise

Researchers at University of Reading in UK conducted an experiment in 2016, precisely regarding the effect of whey protein consumption on the general population. Unlike the typical research done by supplement manufacturers, this is a high quality research that was double-blinded, randomized, 3-way-crossover using cassein and placebo in the form of maltodextrin with controlled intervention. The study was done over 8 weeks separated by 4 week washout.

All the test subject would reduce their protein intake from other sources such that the total amount of protein consumed still reflect the average person’s normal protein intake. This is to ensure that any changes observed would be based on the type of protein consumed, not the total amount of protein.

Every test subject will consume 2 scoops of supplement per day. A typical value among bodybuilders but higher than the average population.

The Result

Unhydrolized milk proteins (56 g/d) consumption for 8 wk improved vascular reactivity, including biomarkers of endothelial function, and lipid risk factors. Whey-protein supplementation also lowered 24-h ambulatory SBP and DBP. Although both whey protein and calcium caseinate significantly lowered total cholesterol [−0.26 mmol/L (P = 0.013) and −0.20 mmol/L (P = 0.042), respectively], only whey protein decreased triacylglycerol (−0.23 mmol/L; P = 0.025) compared with the effect of the control.

The Conclusion

The next time your girlfriend / wife / mom complains that you are taking too much whey protein, feel free to show them how this study proves that not only would whey protein not cause heart disease, it will actually lower your risk of getting one. The only caveat is that the total protein consumption on all research subjects remains the same. If you are a potato couch thinking that you can maintain your current diet and lifestyle and simply chug some whey protein to help you lower your cholesterol, you might ended up with a kidney failure instead.

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