Grab your cheat sheet
If you've been going to the gym for a little while, you will likely have come across someone taking whey protein, a powdered supplement that can be added to protein shakes.
Many people trying to build mass swear by the product and will consume it before or after their workout - maybe even both.
It's one of the most common supplements that gymgoers and bodybuilders can use and is rampant among a particular type of trainer. It's widely available and sold virtually everywhere, online or in your local supermarket.
So, what are the benefits of whey protein, why do people take it, and how does it affect your body and workouts?
Most crucially, you may wonder whether whey protein plays a part in your testosterone levels, a vital hormone that helps regulate your bodily functions – including muscle gain and recovery.
So, without further ado, let’s dig into whey protein and its properties and answer the most pressing question: does whey protein increase testosterone?
What is Whey Protein?
So, let’s take it back to basics.
Whey protein is derived from cow's milk and is a by-product of the cheese-making process. It’s a complete protein containing up to nine amino acid variants– vital for muscle growth. Amino acids are left over when your body digests protein and can be used to repair tissue damage, grow more substantial muscles, break down food and even give you more energy - they are essential to the foundations of life itself.
However, it's not the only protein found in milk, with casein being another. Whey's unique characteristic is that its amino acids are quickly absorbed into your body. This means that its effects are almost instant, which is why many people who use it feel more energized and ready to work out. Casein comparatively is released slowly in the body, meaning it takes more time to feel its effects.
Whey protein is a supplement, usually provided in powder form, that can be combined with water or milk to make protein shakes. It is typically consumed either before or after a workout. Whey protein is a specific type of protein that has unique properties.
Whey is a fantastic way of boosting the amount of protein (and therefore amino acids) you digest, aiding muscle development and helping you rebuild torn muscle fibers faster.
There are three main types of whey protein:
Whey protein concentrate
This version contains low levels of fat and carbohydrates and is very dense in protein. The percentage of protein in a scoop of whey concentrate will depend on its concentration. Think of it like concentrated fruit juice, where the less water you mix it with, the stronger the taste.
Low-end whey protein concentrate usually has around 30% protein, whereas it can have up to 90% in higher-end versions.
Whey protein isolate
This type of whey is further processed to remove all the fat and lactose usually present. Whey is typically a by-product when milk is turned into cheese, so it usually has a high lactose content
Removing this makes it better for your body and benefits those who may have trouble digesting lactose. Whey protein concentrate is super strong, containing at least 90% protein.
Whey protein hydrolysate
Whey Protein Hydrolysate is a pre-digested form of whey protein that has already undergone partial hydrolysis. This process is usually performed in your body when you digest whey protein; however, already doing this process makes it easier on your gut and, therefore, faster to absorb and more comfortable to ingest regularly.
When people consume a lot of whey, it's not uncommon for them to get stomach problems. This type of whey reduces that effect.
What is whey protein powder used for?
People primarily use whey to boost their daily protein intake. For example, whey can be a great way to reach your recommended intake if you're bulking and struggling to get the high amount of protein you need through your diet.
In addition, whey is typically very low in carbs and calories. This can be important if you're being cautious about your diet and macros, as it means you can get all the protein you need without the added fat or carbs, which can be detrimental to those looking to build impressive physiques.
Increasing your protein intake via whey can provide various benefits.
One of the most compelling is that it can help you build muscle mass and obtain the amino acids to help with muscle fiber repair, triggering muscle growth immediately after working out.
That said, it's debated whether whey makes you stronger. It can help you improve your appearance; however, your functional strength may not match your looks.
Aside from being great at building muscle, whey may also be good at helping you lose weight. This is because the protein in whey is by far the most satiating macronutrient.
In layperson's terms, this means that you will stay fuller for longer and be less tempted to snack and overeat, reducing your calorie intake and helping you lose fat.
Plus, it's also believed that whey protein has many other positive side effects, making it more than just a gym-focused supplement.
Some of the other lesser-known benefits of whey protein are that:
It's important to note that whey is most beneficial if you can't get your protein intake through diet alone. If you already consume enough protein through foods like fish, meats, and even some plant-based dishes, adding in whey is said to be minimal help.
Instead, turning to legal steroid alternatives is the best option to maximize your gains and boost your potential while still getting protein from your food.
Does whey protein affect testosterone?
So, does whey protein impact the amount of testosterone in your body?
The answer isn’t all that clear - and it’s still hotly debated amongst scientists.
Some research has suggested that whey protein can increase testosterone levels by up to 90.5%. However, other scientific journals and publications are adamant that it has no effect.
What's less disputed is that whey protein can influence your uptake of testosterone. This doesn't mean that the amounts in your body are increased - it just means that it can be carried from your blood to your exhausted muscles faster, helping them to recover.
Over time, this increased uptake may help stimulate the creation of more androgen receptors, which makes your muscles more sensitive to androgens, meaning that they need less protein and, thus, testosterone to recover and heal.
So, what should you believe?
Well, although it's still disputed whether whey directly affects your testosterone levels, it can have a noticeable effect based on what whey does to the rest of your body.
Simply put, the amount of muscle you have in your body will influence how much testosterone you produce.
This is because this sex hormone is vital in repairing and growing these muscles, meaning the more mass you have, the more testosterone you need. Whey protein contains amino acids that help build and improve your muscles while facilitating better recovery between sessions.
This means that because whey protein can help you build bigger muscles, it indirectly helps your body create more testosterone.
That said, if you're an aging male experiencing a natural drop in testosterone levels, it's unlikely that adding whey protein to your diet will help you recover those levels and get them back to normal. You will likely need to include a natural testosterone booster in order to increase testosterone levels and muscle mass. This option is entirely safe, as it has no known side effects and uses natural ingredients to help your body create more testosterone.
Why should you increase your testosterone?
If you're a male who's working out and concerned about your appearance and health, you should do what you can to boost your testosterone levels. This is because T-levels play a massive part in how your body works and how you grow.
Increasing testosterone levels will help you build more muscles, as it helps recover and repair muscle fibers between your sessions.
An increased testosterone level can also help you gain more energy. This allows you to work out and stress your muscles more frequently, which can accelerate muscle growth - helping you get more muscular much quicker than usual.
However, the effects of high testosterone go beyond the confinements of fitness and bodybuilding. It’s also essential for sexual health. Those with high testosterone will have a higher sperm count than those with low levels. This makes you far more fertile, which is crucial if you want to produce children.
Conversely, those with low testosterone may struggle with erectile dysfunction and even become infertile, so working hard to boost your hormone levels is crucial.
Furthermore, a high testosterone level will also improve your libido, meaning you'll be keener to get intimate, which can help you build healthier sexual relationships.
Finally, high testosterone levels will prevent you from suffering from a hormone imbalance in the future.
Men may naturally produce testosterone (the male sex hormone) but also create estrogen, the female equivalent.
Suppose you have a low testosterone level, to the point where your estrogen levels overpower them. In that case, you may develop some feminine features, mainly swelling of the breast tissue around your chest, which could create the appearance of man boobs. This can cause you to become self-conscious of your body and find your energy levels plummeting. For example, if you have ever felt lethargic, vulnerable or sleepy after experiencing an orgasm, this is due to the rapid production of estrogen – designed to make men feel more docile.
A higher level of estrogen will also cause you to lose muscle mass, instead becoming flabby and less dense.
Whey does a lot, but not to your testosterone levels.
Whey protein is a fantastic product many athletes, bodybuilders, and gymgoers use. It can help you achieve a high intake of protein, which is essential for building muscle and recovering between sets. It also provides other benefits like aiding fat loss and helping reduce your blood pressure.
However, there are better ways to boost your testosterone levels than whey protein. In fact, whey has little to no direct effect on your testosterone production.
Although it can increase your intake of testosterone - meaning that you absorb it quicker - the overall levels usually stay consistent. However, because muscle mass dictates how much testosterone you produce, increasing your muscle size by using whey can indirectly affect the testosterone levels in your body.
If you want to build up your testosterone levels, it's best to use a more reliable route, such as using legal steroid alternatives like TestoPrime. These supplements naturally increase testosterone levels in your body by using various ingredients that elicit a response.
Whey protein, no matter which types to consume, can help you build muscle, but it's ineffective at improving your testosterone levels.