Diabetes Mellitus type 2 (DMT2) affects over 350 million people worldwide, being the most common variety of diabetes. And the tendency is for this number to grow. A patient suffering from DMT2 displays chronically low insulin blood levels and subsequently high glycemia levels, which increases the risk of several health problems, such as retinophaty, nephropathy, neurophaty, obesity, hypertesion and dyslipidemia. But there are some positive news coming from ground-breaking research about whey supplementation for diabetics or even for healthy individuals wishing to prevent diabetes from occurring.
Researchers found that whey protein, popular among bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes to build, develop and maintain muscle mass, stimulates the production of a gut hormone, the GLP-1. This way, studies demonstrated the potential of whey for reducing appetite, and thus for preventing the excessive sugar intake and hyperglycemia, which can lead to the development of diabetes along with its associated complications.
Studies realized in Sweden  and Australia  shown that when administered whey during lunch (or 30 minutes before), the blood insulin levels rose by 57% and the blood glucose levels dropped by 21% compared to individuals who did not take a protein supplement. And these results back up other research, making whey supplementation a relevant approach for enhancing glucose-lowering strategies in type 2 diabetes.
These are definitely good news for diabetics and for anyone trying to prevent diabetes from occurring.
But, which type of whey protein should be taken? When? And what quantity of it?
Regarding the first question, recent studies found that whey isolate was the most effective in a comparison of supplements with different whey concentrations. To produce whey isolate, common whey undergoes a special process where it is filtered, until practically all impurities, fat and carbs are removed from it. For that reason, whey isolate is the purest and most bioavailable protein available in the market, being a good option for diabetics and for those who wish to prevent diabetes from occurring.
About the best time to take it, research showed that the administration of whey protein 30 minutes before a meal increased both insulin and GLP-1, which are hormones known for their appetite-suppressing properties, thus playing a role in the prevention of diabetes.
And lastly, moderate quantities of whey protein were emphasized as clinically protective. Taking into consideration different diets and lifestyles, several studies pointed out that a moderate protein quantity represents about 50 g of whey for athletes and about 25 g for non-athletes.
We should give this research a big welcome, keeping in mind the importance of carrying out physical exercise and maintaining a healthy diet. Whey protein is a good supplement for a balance and healthy diet, and just like protein-rich food (such as fish, chicken breast, turkey, cheese, egg white and soy) it provides the same protective effect against DMT2 occurrence or progression.
In the end, if you’re considering supplementing with whey protein, it will be wise to consult your physician, who, better than anyone, will provide you customized options.