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For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
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Pea protein may help reduce blood pressure.
Pea protein is high in arginine, an amino acid that keeps blood vessels healthy and can reduce high blood pressure.6 In addition, there is evidence that enzymes produced in the purification of pea protein could help lower blood pressure.7 , 8 , 9 A combination protein isolate supplement made from pea, soy, egg, and milk was found to lower high blood pressure more than the placebo in people with high blood pressure taking 20 grams three times per day for four weeks.10 In a three-week preliminary trial, hydrolyzed pea protein alone reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.11
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Pea protein may help build muscle and help athletes recover after exercise.
Pea protein is a good source of branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine),12 which are needed for muscle building and repair.13 Researchers have found that the amino acids in hydrolyzed protein supplements are highly available for muscle repair after muscle fiber damaging exercise and other causes of muscle injury.14 Some, but not all, studies show that protein supplements may help athletes by reducing soreness and speeding recovery after exercise, and increasing muscle mass gains.15 Whether pea protein has advantages over other protein supplements for athletes has not yet been determined.
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Pea protein might help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A pea protein supplement lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels more than casein protein in rats.16 Whether pea protein has the same effect in humans is not yet known.
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Pea protein can be part of a high-protein diet. High-protein diets have been shown to help prevent and treat obesity.17, 18
Pea protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids that have specifically been found to aid in weight loss and improve body composition.19 Pea protein may also affect weight loss by reducing appetite. Compared to whey protein and milk protein, 15 grams of pea protein was found to be better at inducing satiety (a sense of fullness) in overweight people.20 In a study looking at protein supplements and food consumption in healthy weight men, 20 grams of pea protein was as effective as casein protein and better than whey and egg protein at increasing fullness and reducing calorie intake when taken 30 minutes before a meal. None of the protein supplements reduced appetite or calorie intake when taken immediately before a meal.21
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People with peanut, soybean, or other legume allergies should be careful when adding pea protein to the diet. Even though peas are not a major cause of allergies, pea allergies are more common in people who have other legume allergies.26
Carbohydrate molecules called oligosaccharides may be present in varying amounts in pea protein extracts. These molecules can cause intestinal discomfort and gas in some people. A processing technique called ultrafiltration reduces the amount of oligosaccharides remaining in pea protein and reduces this side effect.27
1. Bernhisel-Bradbent J, Taylor S, Sampson H. Cross-allergenicity in the legume botanical family in children with food hypersensitivity. II. Laboratory correlates. J Allergy Clin Immunol1989;84:701-9.
2. Hasan M, Mannan A, Alam R, et al. A Computational analysis on Lectin and Histone H1 protein of different pulse species as well as comparative study with rice for balanced diet. Bioinformation 2012;8:196-200. doi: 10.6026/97320630008196. Epub 2012 Feb 28.
3. Tomoskozi S, Lasztity R, Haraszi R, et al. Isolation and study of the functional properties of pea proteins. Nahrung 2001;45, 399–401.
4. Murata K, Nishikaze M, Tanaka M. Nutritional quality of rice protein compared with whole egg protein. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1977;23:125-31.
5. Hasan M, Mannan A, Alam R, et al. A Computational analysis on Lectin and Histone H1 protein of different pulse species as well as comparative study with rice for balanced diet. Bioinformation 2012;8:196-200. doi: 10.6026/97320630008196. Epub 2012 Feb 28.
6. Dong J, Qin L, Zhang Z, et al. Effect of oral L-arginine supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Am Heart J 2011;162:959-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2011.09.012. Epub 2011 Nov 8. [review]
7. Aluko R. Determination of nutritional and bioactive properties of peptides in enzymatic pea, chickpea, and mung bean protein hydrolysates. J AOAC Int2008;91:947-56.
8. Li H, Aluko R. Identification and inhibitory properties of multifunctional peptides from pea protein hydrolysate. J Agric Food Chem 2010;58:11471-6. doi: 10.1021/jf102538g. Epub 2010 Oct 7.
9. Boschin G, Scigliuolo G, Resta D, Arnoldi A. ACE-inhibitory activity of enzymatic protein hydrolysates from lupin and other legumes. Food Chem 2014;145:34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.07.076. Epub 2013 Jul 24.
10. Teunissen-Beekman K, Dopheide J, Geleijnse J, et al. Protein supplementation lowers blood pressure in overweight adults: effect of dietary proteins on blood pressure (PROPRES), a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr2012;95:966-71. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.029116. Epub 2012 Feb 22.
11. Li H, PrairieN, Udenigwe C, et al. Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans. J Agric Food Chem 2011;59:9854-60. doi: 10.1021/jf201911p. Epub 2011 Sep 2.
12. Rubio L, Perez A, Ruiz R, et al. Characterization of pea (Pisum sativum) seed protein fractions. J Sci Food Agric 2014;94:280-7. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6250. Epub 2013 Jul 8.
13. Phillips S, Van Loon, L. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci2011;29 Suppl 1:S29-38. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.619204. [review]
14. Thomson R, Buckley J. Protein hydrolysates and tissue repair. Nutr Res Rev2011;24:191-7. doi: 10.1017/S0954422411000084. Epub 2011 Nov 21. [review]
15. McLellan T. Protein supplementation for military personnel: a review of the mechanisms and performance outcomes. J Nutr2013;143:1820S-1833S. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.176313. Epub 2013 Sep 11. [review]
16. Rigamonti E, Parolini C, Marchesi M, et al. Hypolipidemic effect of dietary pea proteins: Impact on genes regulating hepatic lipid metabolism. Mol Nutr Food Res 2010;54 Suppl 1:S24-30. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200900251.
17. Johansson K, Neovius M, Hemmingsson E. Effects of anti-obesity drugs, diet, and exercise on weight-loss maintenance after a very-low-calorie diet or low-calorie diet: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr2014;99:14-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.070052. Epub 2013 Oct 30. [review]
18. Gilbert J, Bendsen N, Tremblay A, Astrup A. Effect of proteins from different sources on body composition. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2011;21 Suppl 2:B16-31. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.12.008. Epub 2011 May 11.
19. Bianchi G, Marzocchi R, Agostini F, Marchesini G. Update on nutritional supplementation with branched-chain amino acids. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2005;8:83-7. [review]
20. Diepvens K, Haberer D, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Different proteins and biopeptides differently affect satiety and anorexigenic/orexigenic hormones in healthy humans. Int J Obes2008;32:510-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803758. Epub 2007 Nov 27.
21. Abou-Samra R, Keersmaekers L, Brienza D, et al. Effect of different protein sources on satiation and short-term satiety when consumed as a starter. Nutr J 2011;10:139. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-139.
22. Davidsson L, Dimitriou T, Walczyk T, Hurrell R. Iron absorption from experimental infant formulas based on pea (Pisum sativum)-protein isolate: the effect of phytic acid and ascorbic acid. Br J Nutr2001;85(1):59-63.
23. Zhang M, Huang G, Jiang J. Iron binding capacity of dephytinised soy protein isolate hydrolysate as influenced by the degree of hydrolysis and enzyme type. J Food Sci Technol2014;51:994-9. doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0586-7. Epub 2011 Nov 15.
24. Perez-Llamas F, Larque E, Marin J, Zamora S. In vitro availability of minerals in infant foods with different protein source. Nutr Hosp 2001;16:157-61. [in Spanish]
25. Skorepova J, Moresoli C. Carbohydrate and mineral removal during the production of low-phytate soy protein isolate by combined electroacidification and high shear tangential flow ultrafiltration.J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:5645-52. Epub 2007 Jun 14.
26. Ibanez M, Martinez M, Sanchez J, Fernandez-Caldas E. Legme cross-reactivity. Allergol Immunopathol 2003;31:151-61. [in Spanish]
27. Fredrikson M, Biot P, Alminger M, et al. Production process for high-quality pea-protein isolate with low content of oligosaccharides and phytate. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:1208-12.
Last Review: 06-05-2015
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