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|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
If your blood flow is reduced due to impaired arteries, your risk of suffering a cardiovascular problem increases. Recent research suggests that consuming whey protein may increase blood flow and help reduce that risk.
For this study, University of Connecticut researchers recruited 21 adults who were 55 years old, on average, and slightly overweight. To record blood flow at the start of the study, the scientists measured the flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of all of the participants. FMD measures the ability of an artery to contract as blood flows through it – the higher your FMD, the better.
On average, the FMD of the study group at the start was 3.7%. Half of the study group consumed a 5 gram dose of whey protein and half of the group consumed a placebo.
Half an hour after consumption, the researchers again measured the FMD of all of the participants. They found that FMD in the supplement group increased to 4.6%. Two hours later, FMD in the supplement group had increased to 5.1%, compared to an increase to only 4.3% in the placebo group.
The researchers believe this study shows that whey protein may increase blood flow, which helps reduce the risk of unwanted cardiovascular events. For reference, every 1% decrease in FMD has been associated with a 12% increase in the risk of a future adverse cardiovascular event.
The study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition on June 13, 2012.
Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk, but it is only about 1% of the composition of milk. It is obtained as a byproduct of cheese making and can be purchased in powder forms from health food stores. Additionally, it can be found in ricotta cheese, which is one of the only cheeses that do not have the whey removed.
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