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Unlocking the Benefits: Protein Shakes for Women

by Mara Welty July 28, 2023 6 min read

 woman drinking invigor8 protein shake

Women’s bodies are entirely unique. Each month, the body cycles through hormones that influence mood, affect fat distribution and make childbirth possible. That said, women’s health and fitness goals — and how they can be achieved — are just as unique.

To cross the finish line victoriously, women may need some protein supplementation, which is exactly where protein shakes come in. Protein shakes, particularly those packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, can effectively support full-body health and help facilitate various bodily processes, including digestion, cognition, metabolism and muscle synthesis. 

The benefits of protein shakes for women are bountiful, and just begging to be explored.

The Physiology of Women and People AFAB

Women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) undergo a hormone-driven process known as the menstrual cycle every month. It’s cyclical and orchestrated by a complex interplay of hormones — most predominantly estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen plays a role in the regulation of the:

  • Reproductive tract
  • Urinary tract
  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Bone, skin and hair health
  • Brain function

Progesterone, on the other hand, helps prepare the uterine lining for the growth of a fertilized egg (i.e. pregnancy). 

Throughout the cycle, these hormones rise and fall, resulting in physiological changes throughout the female body that can significantly affect mood and physical health.

Hormones also play a crucial role in the distribution of body fat in women and people AFAB. More specifically, estrogen can facilitate fat deposit patterns, which are more commonly called “curves.”

Where there are more estrogen receptors, there are typically more fat deposits. For this reason, women typically have a higher percentage of body fat compared to most men, since men have lower levels of estrogen in their bodies. In women and people with AFAB, fat will most commonly accumulate in areas like the:

  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Breasts

The Importance of Protein in Women’s Health

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a significant role in the overall health of both men and women. Within proteins are essential amino acids, which act as the building blocks of:

  • Tissues
  • Enzymes
  • Hormones
  • Immune cells

As such, protein is involved in numerous biological processes, such as tissue repair, which plays a large role during puberty, pregnancy and postpartum recovery — all instances in which tissue repair and wound healing are critical. During pregnancy, specifically, women and people with AFAB require higher amounts of protein to support the growth of the fetus, such as the healthy formation of its organs, bones and muscles. Protein also plays a role in the production of breast milk.

An adequate protein amount also helps build antibodies, which are composed of protein. These antibodies work within the immune system to defend the body against harmful pathogens.

Lastly, protein can help facilitate enzyme production, which plays a role in many chemical reactions throughout the body, such as:

  • Digestion
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrient absorption

Benefits of Protein Shakes For Women

So, should women drink protein shakes? The answer is yes. Outside of menstruation and childbirth, protein is critical to women’s everyday biological processes. And protein shakes are often a convenient source of protein and nutrients. 

It’s recommended that adults consume 50 grams of protein a day, and if you find it difficult to consume enough steaks, chicken tenders, or nuts to meet that daily recommendation, protein shakes can certainly help to get you there. Most types of Protein powders typically contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving. 

As such,  protein shakes can serve as a snack or a meal, depending on their unique compositions. 

Typically, protein isolate powders will only contain a filtered-down version of protein, meaning it will not contain the essential vitamins, minerals, fibers and carbs your body needs to function properly. Protein powder concentrates, on the other hand, are concentrated sources of protein, but they’ll also contain additional protein powder ingredientsto make them a more well-rounded option. 

Some protein shakes, like the INVIGOR8 organic superfoods powder, incorporate a number of natural ingredients and nutrients to support full-body health, including:

  • Leafy greens
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Digestive enzymes

By providing a source of high-quality protein, they can support various functions throughout the body and offer nutritional support during various life stages. Let’s explore these benefits below.

#1 Muscle Recovery and Growth

After a session of intense exercise, the body undergoes muscle damage and tissues can begin to tear or break down. Protein shakes, particularly when consumed shortly after working out, deliver readily available amino acids to the body. In effect, these amino acids work to repair and rebuild damaged muscle fibers to assist in muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness.

Protein shakes can also play a critical role in muscle growth and muscle strength. By consuming whey protein shakes as a part of a well-rounded diet and exercise routine that includes resistance training, women can provide their muscles with the essential amino acids to facilitate muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to build lean muscle and support athletic performance.

#2 Weight Management

It’s believed that the whey protein in protein shakes can control appetite and reduce late-night cravings, thus decreasing daily caloric intake. In effect, women may experience feelings of fullness for longer periods of time, which can reduce the likelihood of overeating. 

Protein shakes may also increase calorie burning, since protein has a higher thermic effect in comparison to carbohydrates and fats. The thermic effect refers to the amount of energy it takes for the body to digest, absorb and metabolize nutrients. In effect, digesting complete protein may burn more calories and may also help boost women’s metabolisms, which can assist in weight loss support.

#3 Hormonal Balance

Protein also supports the synthesis of certain hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which facilitates bone and muscle tissue growth. In addition, these hormones play a role in:

  • Regulating menstrual cycles
  • Supporting reproductive function
  • Regulating metabolism
  • Facilitating muscle tissue growth

That said, hormonal imbalances can also occur in women as a result of stress, inadequate nutrition, or medical conditions. Protein shakes with high-quality protein and high nutritional value can help women meet their nutritional needs and support their hormonal health. 

#4 Bone Health

Women are at a higher risk of developing bone issues.  Some bone conditions are characterized by low bone density and susceptibility to fractures. Fortunately, adequate protein intake through daily protein shakes can help women maintain optimal bone health. 

Women who have eaten higher amounts of protein tend to maintain bone mass as they age, putting them at a lower risk.

Likewise, protein is a critical part of the bone matrix and plays a significant role in bone remodeling. This process involves continuously breaking down and rebuilding bone tissue, which can help repair fractures and maintain bone integrity.

#5 Cognitive Support

A study conducted by Harvard Health found a link between higher protein intake and reduced cognitive decline in older adults. Essentially, a diet rich in complete protein may help maintain cognitive function and prevent age-related cognitive decline.

While your diet should include plenty of protein-dense fish and vegetables, protein shakes can also support cognitive function

#6 Convenience

Whether you’re on the go or on the treadmill, protein shakes offer an easy and portable option for women who are looking to meet their protein needs. In fact, preparation is quick and simple: Add a serving size of the powder to an eight-ounce glass of water, milk, or another favorite beverage. Then, stir it, shake it, or blend it and you have ready-to-go nutritional support at your fingertips. 

That said, it’s important to note that protein shakes should be used as a dietary supplement to a balanced diet and not as a replacement for whole foods. It’s recommended that women and men alike consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine individual protein needs and ensure the appropriate incorporation of protein shakes into an overall dietary plan.

Tips to Incorporate Protein Shakes into a Balanced Diet

While nutrient-dense protein shakes can act as a meal replacement, they should not be used to replace a balanced diet of whole foods. In addition to protein, whole foods provide essential nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals that can support women’s overall health. Whole foods include:

  • Lean meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dairy products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Add a few of these healthy additions to the side or mix them into your protein shake for the ultimate superfood blend.

Additionally, recommended protein intake will vary based on several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Health goals

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for most adults. However, women who are active or looking to build muscle may require higher levels of protein to meet their health goals.

I Am Woman, Hear Me Pour

So, what do protein shakes do for women? A lot. Overall, protein intake can support muscle synthesis, weight management, hormonal balance, bone health and cognitive function. Adding a protein shake to your day is an easy way to support full-body health — and drum up a delicious treat in the process.

The INVIGOR8 Superfood Shake is a protein-rich meal replacement shake that delivers all-in-one nutrition for women. It’s crafted with a unique blend of proteins, vitamins and minerals, and it comes in mouth-watering flavors like Triple Chocolate Brownie, French Vanilla and Himalayan Salted Caramel. 

Pour yourself a glass today.

Sources:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. Estrogen's Effects on the Female Body

Cleveland Clinic. Progesterone

Harvard Health Publishing. How much protein do you need every day?

Harvard Health Publishing. Protein intake associated with less cognitive decline

Healthline. 10 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat More Protein

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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