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Whey protein: a supportive tool in recovery from cancer

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is frightening and intimidating news. Yet with treatment and determination, the battle can be won. It’s been shown that proper nutrition is an important element toward successfully navigating the journey back to health. Experts recommend a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains and limited consumption of red meats. They’re also cognizant of the challenges that arrive with cancer treatment, which include a reduced appetite.

That’s where whey protein can help. Research has shown that it can be a valuable part of a cancer patient’s recovery efforts. It’s condensed nutrition that can help patients maintain muscle mass. More, whey protein has proven benefits toward immunity as well as anticancer properties.

Cancer patients face significant risk of declining muscle mass during chemotherapy. Muscle loss sets forth a host of potential dangers. Declines could lead to an increased rate of postoperative infections, delayed recovery after surgery and higher risk of treatment toxicity. Ultimately, it could negatively impact quality of life and lessen the chances of survival.

Whey protein supplementation can reduce the risk of muscle decline among those undergoing treatment. Protein is the foundation of muscle. Whey protein is high in leucine, a branched chain amino acid that’s key to initiating muscle protein synthesis. A study found that malnourished, advanced cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy had improved body composition, strength weight and lesser chemotherapy toxicity after three months of whey protein supplementation.

Muscle health is only one concern associated with cancer recovery. Evidence has shown that immune suppression associated with cancer contributes to the progression of the disease. Whey protein has been proven to support immunity, and by way of the same processes, appears to have a cancer-fighting role.

It’s rich in cysteine and methionine, which are converted to glutathione (GSH) at the cellular level. The GSH antioxidant system is the foremost protective mechanism of the cell and crucial to the immune response. Whey protein has been shown to be an effective and safe cysteine source for GSH replenishment during depletion in immune deficiency. Animal experiments showed that whey proteins exhibited anticancer activity by increasing GSH concentration in relevant tissues.

BiPro RENEW™ is recommended by dietitians and was created to support health and healing among those with special nutritional needs. It’s a cold-filtered, 100% whey protein isolate and free of fillers and hormones. Each serving provides 23 grams of protein and optimal leucine content for muscle repair. Easy to digest and absorb, RENEW is an ideal whey protein option for those on therapeutic diets.

Resources:
Doyle C, Kushi LH, Byers T, Courneya KS, Demark-Wahnefried W, Grant B, McTiernan A, Rock CL, Thompson C, Gansler T, Andrews KS; 2006 Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer Survivorship Advisory Committee; American Cancer Society. Nutrition and physical activity during and after cancer treatment: an American Cancer Society guide for informed choices. CA Cancer J Clin. 2006 Nov-Dec;56(6):323-53. doi: 10.3322/canjclin.56.6.323. PMID: 17135691.

Mazzuca F, Roberto M, Arrivi G, Sarfati E, Schipilliti FM, Crimini E, Botticelli A, Di Girolamo M, Muscaritoli M, Marchetti P. Clinical Impact of Highly Purified, Whey Proteins in Patients Affected With Colorectal Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy: Preliminary Results of a Placebo-Controlled Study. Integr Cancer Ther. 2019 Jan-Dec;18:1534735419866920. doi: 10.1177/1534735419866920. PMID: 31370717; PMCID: PMC6681246.

Zanetti M, Gortan Cappellari G, Barazzoni R, Sanson G. The Impact of Protein Supplementation Targeted at Improving Muscle Mass on Strength in Cancer Patients: A Scoping Review. Nutrients. 2020 Jul 16;12(7):2099. doi: 10.3390/nu12072099. PMID: 32708527; PMCID: PMC7400018.

Teixeira FJ, Santos HO, Howell SL, Pimentel GD. Whey protein in cancer therapy: A narrative review. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Jun;144:245-256. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2019.04.019. Epub 2019 Apr 18. PMID: 31005617.

Cereda E, Turri A, Klersy C, Cappello S, Ferrari A, Filippi AR, Brugnatelli S, Caraccia M, Chiellino S, Borioli V, Monaco T, Stella GM, Arcaini L, Benazzo M, Grugnetti G, Pedrazzoli P, Caccialanza R. Whey protein isolate supplementation improves body composition, muscle strength, and treatment tolerance in malnourished advanced cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Cancer Med. 2019 Nov;8(16):6923-6932. doi: 10.1002/cam4.2517. Epub 2019 Sep 30. PMID: 31568698; PMCID: PMC6853834.

Whiteside TL. Immune suppression in cancer: effects on immune cells, mechanisms and future therapeutic intervention. Semin Cancer Biol. 2006 Feb;16(1):3-15. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2005.07.008. Epub 2005 Sep 8. PMID: 16153857.

Cribb, Paul. Whey Proteins and Immunity. U.S. Dairy Export Council. 2004.

Bounous G. Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment. Anticancer Res. 2000 Nov-Dec;20(6C):4785-92. PMID: 11205219.



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