Whey Protein Isolate – Supplement Profile
Protein contributed to muscle growth and recovery. Whey protein, a milk derivative, is by far the most popular protein on the market. Whey protein comes in various forms like concentrate and the better isolate form. Whey protein concentrate is a lower grade whey protein that does not provide the benefits of microfractions and is usually higher in fat and lactose. Whey protein has a very high biological value which means it’s most readily utilized by human muscle tissue thus making it a very fast absorbed protein (hence anabolic).
There are some advanced procedures (like cross flow microfiltration) that lead to a higher quality whey with added benefits over ion-exchange whey isolate in preserving key microfractions which are essential to it’s benefits. Whey protein isolate that is not heat treated contains these key microfractions like alpha lactalbumin and glycomacropeptides which can both positively support immune function. Some of the microfractions or growth factors found in whey protein can even enhance IGF-1 levels which can increase lean muscle mass—good news for hard training athletes! Most of the whey protein on the market is usually found as ion-exchange (a process where electric charges are used to extract the protein). Some users of whey protein concentrate may experience bloating or gas due to its lower quality but it is very cost effective.
BENEFITS: Quality whey protein isolate provides key microfractions discussed previously, has a very high concentration of BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) which can positively effect lean muscle mass and lower muscle breakdown (whey protein contains about 25% BCAA’s—the highest of any protein source), enhances glutathione levels in the body (glutathione is the body’s most powerful natural anti-oxidant and is a key part of the immune system), features high digestibility and absorption rate, contains virtually no lactose and very low fat, and provides about 50% of the essential amino acids.
DOWNSIDE: Whey protein is lower in natural glutamine and arginine content, is less filling than other more slower absorbed proteins, and quality whey protein isolate with preserved microfractions is a bit pricier than other proteins.
BEST USES: Due to its quick absorption, whey protein is excellent to take before or even right after a hard workout. It also works as a between meal snack for a protein boost in the middle of the day.