10 Health Benefits Of Whey Protein For Teenagers

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Most teenagers are attracted to consuming pre-workout supplements such as whey protein under the belief that these supplements can aid in improving their physical appearance. However, parents are often worried about the safety of whey protein for teenagers. Although good quality whey protein may have certain benefits, such as increasing muscle mass, strengthening bones, and improving memory, taking them in excess may lead to issues such as increased acne. Hence, it is better to consult a doctor before consuming whey protein. Read the post to know in detail about the safety of whey protein for teens, its benefits, and side effects.

In This Article

What Is Whey Protein?

Whey protein, derived from milk, is a protein powerhouse containing all essential amino acids crucial for muscle growth and repair. Derived from dairy products, especially milk, it is extracted during cheese-making and then concentrated into a versatile powder. Whether as a conventional food or supplement, it’s incorporated into various products such as gels, bars, and shakes (1).

Whey protein is believed to enhance athletic performance and strength, and people also explore its potential benefits for conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and weight loss. However, scientific evidence supporting these applications remains inconclusive (2). Nonetheless, whey protein is a convenient and effective dietary supplement, providing a comprehensive amino acid profile essential for optimal muscle function and recovery. It also enhances the nutritional content of the diet and may have a positive impact on a teen’s metabolism.

Is Whey Protein Safe For Teenagers?

Whey is a milk-derived protein. Many foods contain it, and it is pretty popular among people looking to build their muscles or under strength training. If your teenager is taking whey protein while lifting weights, whey is not what you should worry about. It is weightlifting that can pose serious dangers to your teen. Here are some other points you should know about whey protein:

  • Many believe consuming whey protein post-workout sessions can cause stunted growth. But there is no evidence to support this claim.
  • The one problem that may bother your teen about whey protein, is that it can lead to acne flare-ups (3)! For teens already struggling with acne, this can be bad news!
Whey protein for teenagers can lead to acne flare ups

Image: Shutterstock

  • The problem with whey protein arises if it becomes more than just a supplement. If your teen sips on it all through the day, it can lead to adverse effects.
  • To make sure that your teen is getting the best of whey protein, avoid most commercially packed fitness supplements containing this healthy protein. Most of these supplements are below par and can cause more harm than good. That is why it is important to buy whey protein derived from raw, pasture-fed milk.

protip_icon Quick fact
Use supplements with good ratings from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) or Clean Label Project to ensure they are safe and pure (13).

Benefits Of Whey Protein For Teenagers

Should your teen consume whey protein? There is no reason she shouldn’t. If you are still skeptical, check out the amazing benefits it has to offer:

1. Builds muscle mass

Whey protein can help your teen build lean muscle mass (4). Yes, all those bodybuilding websites were telling the truth! But a teen must combine whey protein consumption with healthy eating habits, a well-balanced meal, and a good exercise routine to get the best results. Furthermore, incorporating nutritional supplements, such as protein, into an endurance training regimen might increase muscle protein synthesis.

protip_icon Quick tip
The amount of whey protein a teen consumes is irrelevant without anabolic hormonesiHormones responsible for the growth and repair of tissues and muscles and physical activity. Only a complete regimen can help them gain strength, size, and muscle mass (13).

2. Helps lose weight

Whey protein can help lose weight in teens

Image: Shutterstock

Obesity today is a big problem among teens. If your young lady is trying to lose weight, whey protein can help her. It is known to suppress appetite while providing the body with high-quality protein (5). This can help to lose weight, in a healthy manner.

3. Keeps bones healthy

Teenagers may feel like they have grown old enough, but the fact is different. The teen body is still growing. And with whey protein, they can help their bones stay healthy and strong (6).

4. Improves memory

Is your teen struggling at school? Try including whey protein to her diet. Whey protein is known to improve mental capacity and memory (7).

5. Reduces stress and depression

Teenage is a difficult time. Many teens suffer from stress and depression due to their changing hormones as well as pressure at home and school. If your teen too is struggling with a case of the ‘blues’, include some whey protein in her diet. Whey protein is known to help calm the mind and provide relief from stress and anxiety. (8)

6. Balances blood sugar levels

Diabetes is on the rise, even among the young. To keep your teen protected try whey protein! This amazing protein is known to control blood sugar levels in the body (9). It can even help people with type 2 diabetesiA long-term condition characterized by insulin resistance in the body, leading to high blood sugar levels .

7. May help treat dental plaque

Whey protein toothpaste may help treat dental plaque

Image: Shutterstock

Is your teen suffering from dental plaquei A thin, sticky bacterial coating developing on the teeth that may cause tooth decay and gum problems ? Try toothpaste enriched with whey protein!

8. Reduces risk of heart diseases

Whey protein is known to lower cholesterol and triglycerideiGroup of fats derived from various foods that help store and provide energy levels in the body (10). This can help keep your teen safe from cardiovascular diseases.

9. Treats psoriasis

Teenagers suffering from psoriasisiA skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and scaly patches on the scalp and the body can benefit from whey protein (11). Symptoms like itchy, flaky skin can be taken care of with this amazing ingredient.

10. Controls blood pressure

High blood pressure is still thought to be an ‘adult’ problem. But teens too can fall prey to this deadly disease. With whey protein in her diet, you can ensure that your teen stays safe from high BP (12).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it necessary for teenagers to take whey protein as part of their diet?

No, teenagers don’t need to take whey protein or other protein supplements, even if they are athletes. The protein requirements of teenagers may be met with diet alone. Moreover, protein supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contain sweeteners and additives that may not be suitable for teenagers (13).

2. Is whey protein suitable for vegetarian and vegan teenagers?

Whey protein may be considered a dairy product, which means it is suitable for vegetarians (those who avoid meat but not milk products). However, as vegans avoid all types of animal products, whey protein is not suitable for them.

4. What happens if I drink whey protein without working out?

General consultant and gastroenterologist Dr. M Madhan Kumar says, “Drinking whey protein without working out can still provide benefits, such as supporting overall protein intake and potentially aiding muscle recovery. However, the full benefits of whey protein, like muscle building and strength improvement, are more noticeable when combined with regular resistance training or exercise.”

Whey is a milk derivative many teenagers love to consume because it aids in muscle building. However, whey protein for teenagers has several other benefits, including keeping bones healthy, improving memory, muscle repair or recovery, and balancing sugar levels. It is a safe addition to your children’s diet. However, making whey protein a major part of their regular diet or drinking it in excess may cause adverse effects. Hence, encourage children to maintain a balanced diet when consuming this nutrient-dense, high-quality protein. Always buy whey protein made from the milk of pasture-fed cows from a reliable brand. If you have any questions regarding the safety of whey protein for your child, consult a healthcare professional.

Infographic: Benefits Of Whey Protein For Teenagers

Whey protein is a protein supplement that contains essential amino acids and supports muscle and overall growth in teenagers. The infographic below details the advantages of whey protein; however, we suggest you speak to a doctor to comprehend the correct quantity, timing, and whey protein regimen for your teen.

possible health benefits of whey protein in teenagers (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Teens often consume whey protein to build muscle, but overdoing it can make acne breakouts worse.
  • Whey protein has many benefits, including improved bone health, memory, weight loss, and muscle growth.
  • In addition to these benefits, whey protein can also help treat psoriasis and dental plaque, reduce stress and depression, and regulate blood sugar.
  • Whey protein has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Are you concerned about the potential harmful consequences of protein powder on your health? Explore this video to learn whether it can cause acne, hair loss, and kidney problems.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Whey protein: The basics.
    https://www.opss.org/article/whey-protein-basics
  2. Whey Protein: MedlinePlus Supplements.
    https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/833.html
  3. Nanette B Silverberg; (2012); Whey protein precipitating moderate to severe acne flares in 5 teenaged athletes
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22988649/
  4. Daniel W. D. West, et al.; (2017); Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537849/
  5. Paige E Miller, et al.; ((2014); Effects of whey protein and resistance exercise on body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24724774/
  6. Marlena C Kruger, et al. (2005); The effect of whey acidic protein fractions on bone loss in the ovariectomised rat
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16115359/
  7. C Rob Markus, et al.; (2002); Whey protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin increases the ratio of plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids and improves cognitive performance in stress-vulnerable subjects
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12036812/
  8. O Yu Vekovischeva, et al.; The effects of native whey and α-lactalbumin on the social and individual behaviour of C57BL/6J mice
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23507076/
  9. Daniela Jakubowicz, et al.; Incretin, insulinotropic and glucose-lowering effects of whey protein pre-load in type 2 diabetes: a randomised clinical trial
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25005331/
  10. Sonja Graf, et al.; Effects of whey protein supplements on metabolism: evidence from human intervention studies
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21912246/
  11. Ronald Prussick, et al.; Psoriasis Improvement in Patients Using Glutathione-enhancing, Nondenatured Whey Protein Isolate: A Pilot Study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805302/
  12. Sebely Pal and Vanessa Ellis, (2010); The chronic effects of whey proteins on blood pressure, vascular function, and inflammatory markers in overweight individuals
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19893505/
  13. Protein Powders and Teens: Are They Safe? Are They Necessary?
    https://health.choc.org/protein-powders-and-teens-are-they-safe/
  14. Suggested Protein Supplements.
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/-/media/bariatrics/nutrition-suggested-protein-supplements.pdf
  15. Protein.
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/
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Dr. Dur Afshar Agha is a consultant pediatrician with around 26 years of experience in various medical facilities both in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. She has headed the Department of Preventive Pediatrics at the prestigious, Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health in Pakistan and is a life member of the Pakistan Paediatric Association.

Read full bio of Dr. Dur Afshar Agha
  • Dr. M Madhan Kumar
    Dr. M Madhan KumarMS Dr. Madhan Kumar Madathupalayam Velusamy is a surgical gastroenterologist with over 23 years of experience. He graduated from Coimbatore Medical College and completed his post-graduate studies at Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai. Dr. Velusamy received his DNB in surgical gastroenterology from Gem Hospital, Coimbatore, and is a visiting surgeon and faculty member at various hospitals in Western Tamil Nadu.
    Dr. Madhan Kumar Madathupalayam Velusamy is a surgical gastroenterologist with over 23 years of experience. He graduated from Coimbatore Medical College and completed his post-graduate studies at Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai. Dr. Velusamy received his DNB in surgical gastroenterology from Gem Hospital, Coimbatore, and is a visiting surgeon and faculty member at various hospitals in Western Tamil Nadu.
Ria Saha
Ria SahaB.Tech
Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant.

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Swati Patwal
Swati PatwalM.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with more than a decade of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children.

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Dr. Joyani Das
Dr. Joyani DasM.Pharm, PhD
Dr. Joyani Das did her post-graduation from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and PhD in Pharmacology. Previously, she worked as an associate professor, faculty of Pharmacology, for two years. With her research background in preclinical studies and a zeal for scientific writing, she joined MomJunction as a health writer.

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