Of all the things people debate about in the world of nutrition, there may be nothing more “controversial” than protein. How much protein do you need? What type of protein is best? Which is better, animal protein vs plant protein? Even if we narrow down our conversation to plant protein only, there are still plenty of choices to sift through—including a relatively new option, pea protein. But is pea protein healthy? Continue reading to learn the top benefits of pea protein, including the benefits for weight gain, bodybuilding, gut health and much more.
If you’re going to spend money on supplements to enhance your diet and support your lifestyle, you want to make sure the supplements actually work. After all, you’re making an investment in your health—of course, you want a good ROI!
There are many benefits of pea protein, which makes it a great option for just about anyone looking to maximize their health and performance. Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, any other plate-based lifestyles—you’re all welcome here. Keep reading to find out the top benefits of pea protein.
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Pea Protein for Weight Gain
If you’re confused, we understand. On the one hand, we just told you pea protein has been shown to support weight loss. Now we’re saying it can support weight gain, too?
Turns out these two benefits of pea protein are not mutually exclusive, and pea protein can seamlessly fit into either approach.
Consider older adults. Research shows we need significantly more protein in our diets as we age because it protects against frailty and age-related muscle loss that is known as sarcopenia.1 But for many seniors, getting all the protein they need through food can be next to impossible.
For the aging adults in our lives—or anyone who has recently lost weight and muscle due to illness, injury, or bedrest—supplementing with a high-quality pea protein powder is an easy way to provide the extra calories and amino acids needed to gain weight.2 And because pea protein is lower in calories than whey protein or those sugar-filled “protein shakes,” pea protein will may help a person gain lean body mass, a much healthier type of weight re-gain.2
Pea Protein for Bodybuilding
Bodybuilders need strong muscles. To be more exact, they need big, strong, and well-defined muscles—which means their diet needs to support muscle growth (hypertrophy). Clean Lean Protein can fulfill this need effectively for these dedicated competitors. For one thing, pea protein powder is a complete protein source that contains all nine essential amino acids—all the building blocks needed for muscle health following a grueling lifting session.
Plus (and as we’ve mentioned), pea protein is lower in calories compared to traditional whey protein, even though it still contains a great source of protein (usually about 18 to 25 grams per serving). For serious bodybuilders counting their macros, those fewer calories really matter.
Lastly, because Clean Lean Protein is highly palatable and blendable, it’s actually enjoyable to drink—which means a re-feeding bodybuilder doesn’t have to plug their nose and grimace as they chug yet another post-workout shake. Yay for another benefit of pea protein!
Pea Protein for Muscle Growth
Of course, not all of us are dedicated bodybuilders. Most of us just want to stay lean, strong and feel attractive. Is pea protein healthy and beneficial for us, too?
The research seems to think so. In fact, one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (psst: that’s a very strong study design) found that men who weight-lifted and consumed 50 grams of pea protein per day achieved the same amount of muscle gain in a 12-week period as people consuming whey protein, and significantly more muscle gain compared to people taking a placebo.3
A lot of people are surprised to hear that pea protein is just as effective at muscle building as whey protein—the so-called “gold-standard” for muscle growth. But as a complete protein source with high levels of gainz-friendly branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)4, pea protein powder may be your newest gym bro, especially if you’re looking for a high-quality protein that suits a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Pea protein also is rich in the amino acid glutamine. Glutamine is abundant in skeletal muscles and has been shown to help replenish glycogen stores (aka muscle cell fuel) and increase human growth hormone production post-workout.5,6
To be clear, simply consuming pea protein isn’t going to promote muscle building—you have to workout, too! But the same is true for any kind of protein you decide to add to your diet.
Pea Protein for Gut Health
The health of your gut—and the trillions of friendly bacteria living inside it—is so important that the entire “microbiome” in your digestive tract has now been called “the forgotten organ.” A growing body of literature links gut dysfunction to everything from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer and heart disease.7
How does pea protein promote a healthy gut? For one thing, pea protein is dairy-free, so it won’t irritate your delicate gut lining if you have a sensitivity to dairy and lactose, which at least 65% of us do.8,9
Because pea protein is highly bioavailable, the nutrients and antioxidants it contains quickly and easily get into your system without stressing your digestion.
The fact that pea protein is good for the gut is consistent with other research showing that pea protein is also good for your cardiovascular health, with animal studies showing that pea protein supplementation can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.10,11
Of course, not all pea protein powders are created equal. Clean Lean Protein is made with premium European golden peas, free from common allergens, and easily digestible, making it easier on your gut. For more tips to promote a healthy-gut, read more here.
Pea Protein for Better Training
Your exact protein needs vary and depend on factors like lifestyle, age, health status, gender, and activity level. But the generally accepted “minimum” for optimal muscle building is about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.12
With as much as 21 grams of complete protein per serving, Clean Lean Protein offers a simple l solution to make sure you get plenty of the protein you need for effective training.
Pea protein stays toe-to-toe with whey protein when it comes to providing a sufficient amount of BCAAs, especially leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are essential for getting the most out of your workouts because they help build muscle, reduce muscle damage and inflammation, reduce fatigue, and may even act as natural performance enhancers.4,13 But compared to whey, pea protein actually offers more of an amino acid called arginine, which is essential for synthesizing a signaling molecule called nitric oxide.
Why does this matter to you as an active person? Because the physiological systems involved in nitric oxide synthesis support blood vessel dilation, blood pressure regulation, and inflammation mediation, all of which are essential components of exercise adaptation.4,14
Lastly, pea protein is easy to digest and it mixes well into water and other liquids. So, you won’t have to worry about being bogged down during your workout by gas or an upset stomach that other protein powders could cause.
Pea Protein for Hair Loss
Hair loss doesn’t discriminate—it can affect men and women of all ages and health backgrounds. And while there haven’t been any specific studies done investigating the effects of pea protein for hair loss, some people find that supplementing their diet with pea protein can help their locks stay stronger and healthier.
To understand why, consider the fact that hair is made of a specific protein called keratin.15 Like all tissues in the body, hair follicles need an ample supply of amino acids to rebuild keratin. By supplementing with high-quality pea protein powder that offers a complete source of essential amino acids, a person facing hair loss may be able to slow or stop their frustrating issue because their body will get more of the raw material needed to create and preserve healthy hair.
Clean Lean Protein may aid in slowing hair loss by reducing inflammation and supporting immune and hormonal health. Why? Because hormonal and immune dysfunction have both been shown to cause hair loss in some people.16 If you deal with frustrating hair loss, have you ever considered that your diet could be playing a role?
Pea Protein for IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common (not to mention uncomfortable) syndrome that affects primarily the large intestines. It causes frequent and chronic symptoms like stomach pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and bloating.17
While the exact cause of IBS isn’t known, theories include abnormal muscle contractions in the intestines, systemic inflammation, and gut dysfunction.
For people with IBS, finding foods that won’t exacerbate or trigger their symptoms can be a stressful and slow-going process. And because they may be reluctant to eat due to discomfort or embarrassment (or both), some people with IBS may experience malnourishment, muscle wasting, and overall lower quality of life.18
If you or someone you know is living with IBS, pea protein may be a valuable supplement to explore (along with a physician’s input). This is because pea protein is easy to digest and provides a complete source of essential amino acids that are necessary for building a healthier gut wall. And unlike many other types of protein, pea protein powder is free from the top food allergens including wheat, dairy, gluten, and soy.
Clean Lean Protein is gentle on the digestive tract. It’s third-party tested for pesticides and heavy metals, and is free from common allergens, fillers, and other chemicals that act could irritate the gut lining.
Pea Protein for Sleep
There’s a reason we spend a third of our lives asleep: sleep is a highly biologically active state that is essential for whole-body health, healing, and repair!19
Many people have heard that consuming slow-digesting proteins before bed such as collagen or casein gives your body sufficient nutrients to do all the necessary repair and rebuilding work during the “night shift.” These animal-based proteins aren’t ideal for some people, especially those with sensitivities, and they aren’t conducive to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Clean Lean Protein is suitable for most lifestyles and is an ideal protein to consume before bedtime since it provides you with all nine essential amino acids. This means your body will have what it needs to repair from a long day. Clean Lean Protein is also made without any added sugars so it won’t spike your blood sugar like many other protein powders out there. In fact, research has found that a high-quality pea protein can actually lower your blood sugar.20
Why does this matter for sleep? Because fluctuating blood sugar levels at nighttime may disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, making it harder for you to fall and stay asleep.21
A final note for any of you late-night snackers out there: enjoying a “nightcap” in the form of a nutritious and filling pea protein shake can reduce food cravings and late-night eating, which some research has linked with weight gain.22
Pea Protein for Acne
Do you ever get pimples or breakouts? If you regularly consume dairy, sugar, wheat, and other common allergens, you may notice an improvement if you cut these substances out of your diet.
Our pea protein powder is formulated with premium European peas and is completely free of allergens including lectin (an “anti-nutrient” that is is usually the problematic protein for people who are intolerant to legumes). Plus, Clean Lean Protein is rich in amino acids like glutamine and other nutrients that support healthy skin and reduce inflammation, a problem strongly linked with acne.23
Dairy can be especially problematic for acne-prone people because it can promote inflammation in certain individuals.24 And since the majority of people are lactose intolerant, whey protein supplements may contribute to breakouts, too.8
Maybe the best thing about Clean Lean Protein is that it’s delicious enough without the need for tons of added sugars. Sugar is a major pro-inflammatory molecule that has been shown to trigger inflammation in the body and may contribute to acne flare-ups.25
With less than a quarter gram of naturally occurring sugar per serving, you may find that your skin starts to look better when you switch out your sugar-rich protein powder for our high-quality pea protein product instead.
Pea Protein for Hair
Anyone who works out regularly knows how hard exercise can be on your hair. Tight elastic bands, sweat, and dirt, frequent washing—all of these things can damage your delicate hair and cause breakage, split ends, and loss of strength and sheen.
Adding a protein shake to your diet may also help keep your hair in top shape, too. This is because sufficient levels of protein give your body all the building blocks (amino acids) it needs to rebuild and repair damaged tissue. This includes your hair, which is made primarily of a type of protein called keratin.15
As a natural plant protein, Clean Lean Protein may also support healthy hair by promoting better hydration and a healthier overall appearance. And because hair health is also closely related to scalp health, a high-quality protein that’s free of allergens and irritants could be exactly what the hairdresser ordered.
Pea Protein for Better Skin
Like your hair and nails, your skin contains a protein called keratin. It also is abundant in another type of protein called collagen, which helps keep your skin looking smooth and supple.27
Both collagen and keratin (along with the other compounds that make up your skin) require an ample supply of amino acids to repair and rebuild themselves.
Pea protein is a complete source of essential amino acids, giving your skin all the basic materials it needs for better health. Unlike whey, casein, soy, egg, and certain other types of protein, pea protein is non-allergenic, meaning it is unlikely to trigger underlying autoimmune reactions that can often lead to skin irritation, including redness, dryness, oiliness, and breakouts.
By the way, Clean Lean Protein is especially appealing for people who are sensitive to other legumes, because it doesn’t contain lectin, an “anti-nutrient” that can stress your immune system.
One of the most important building blocks for your skin is the amino acid glutamine. Pea protein provides a great source of glutamine, which has been shown in clinical studies to help fight off infections and promote wound healing.4,26 Another skin-boosting benefit of pea protein? This type of plant protein is one of the highest sources of the amino acid arginine, which supports healthy circulation.14
Pea Protein for Nails
It’s not vain to care about your appearance. And for a lot of people, having healthy strong nails adds a great boost of confidence!
There haven’t been any scientific studies yet to examine the benefits of pea protein for nail health. But the possible positive effects aren’t hard to imagine. Research suggests that many of the nutrients which support strong healthy nails—including iron and amino acids—are abundant in pea protein.2,28 Pea protein also contains glutamine and other amino acids that help fight off infections and improve wound healing.4,26
Pea Protein for Energy
As one of the three major macronutrients, protein is an essential part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.29
Dietary protein ensures your tissues and organs (including those related to your metabolism) have the building blocks they need to repair themselves and function efficiently. And when complemented with regular exercise, protein also helps you build strong muscles and bones that will keep you moving and help you avoid age-related debility and frailty.
The amino acids in protein aren’t the only thing that helps give you great energy, however. Compared to other proteins, pea protein is considered a good source of iron.2 Iron helps your blood shuttle oxygen around the body, so it’s essential to staying well-energized throughout the day.30Amazingly, as much as 10% of all American women are deficient in iron.31
Are you? Common symptoms weakness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, pale skin, unusual cravings for things non-nutritive substances (like ice or starch), cold hands and feet, and brittle nails.30
Just one serving of Clean Lean Protein contains about 20% of your recommended daily intake of iron. This is hard to beat for people who don’t eat red meat (another major source of iron). And since poor appetite is another common symptom of iron deficiency, the ability to get more protein and iron in your diet through a simple and delicious shake can make a big impact on your health.
An important caveat: research indicates that iron found in plants may be less absorbable than iron found in animal products.32
So for people who choose not to eat meat, getting enough from their plant-based diet is a must.
Choosing a highly bioavailable and easily-digestible product like Clean Lean Protein can boost your body’s iron absorption rate sufficiently. Research also suggests that you can enhance iron absorption if you consume it with vitamin C. To cover all your bases, you may want to try consuming vitamin C rich foods like citrus or broccoli along with your pea protein shake. Or better yet, toss some vitamin C rich foods into the blender with some pea protein and enjoy a satisfying smoothie.
Pea Protein for Better Sense of Self
There are plenty of benefits of pea protein that support health and physical well-being—this powerful little plant protein has been shown to support lean body mass, better heart health, and more.
But maybe that’s not all you care about. Maybe you also care about the impact your food choices have on the world. In this case, pea protein may come ahead in many ways.
For one thing, growing peas and rendering pea protein products is much more sustainable than raising animals for consumption and has a significantly smaller carbon footprint.33
Going well beyond environmentally friendly, pea protein is more ethically-friendly, too. Conventionally-raised animals (the most readily available sources of animal-based protein supplements) are subjected to inhumane environments.34
If environmental impact and the ethical treatment of animals matter to you in your daily decision-making, then choosing to go with pea protein can be a great way to support your dietary needs while also sticking true to your values. Even if you eat some meat, mixing in plant protein more often can help you decrease your impact while also giving you a great blend of amino acids. Clean Lean Protein is made with non-GMO premium European peas. The product is free from processing aids, fillers, artificial ingredients, and other chemicals that can be harsh on the environment (and you). It also undergoes rigorous testing for pesticides and heavy metals to ensure you and your loved ones aren’t increasing your exposure to these environmental toxins.
Pea Protein vs Whey For Bodybuilding
Word is slowly spreading in the bodybuilding world that whey protein is no longer the “be all and end all” for mass. For one thing, there are people in the bodybuilding world who choose to live animal-free (e.g., vegan or vegetarian), so their preferred lifestyle has forced them to look elsewhere for protein.
Additionally, research doesn’t support the idea that whey is the “best” type of protein for muscle building. In fact, studies have found that exercising individuals who supplement with pea protein can gain as much muscle mass and strength as people who supplement with whey.3
Pea protein is high in amino acids like glutamine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which your muscles use to help repair and rebuild themselves following a training session. For serious bodybuilders who want to make sure they’re getting these nutrients but want to reduce or eliminate their whey protein intake, pea protein is a great choice.
Clean Lean Protein contains up to 90% protein content—no fillers or added sugars.
Pea protein is a suitable protein choice for just about anyone. It doesn’t matter what type of lifestyle you follow, what your specific health goals are, or which philosophies influence your food choices.
If you’ve been thinking about switching up your protein routine—or if you’re looking to start one—now’s a great time to consider trying pea protein. Never before has such high quality, sustainable, and tasty pea protein product been so easy to get… and the health of your body, your loved ones, and even your planet stand to benefit.