Whey protein is derived from milk sources. It is high in branched-chain amino acids, which makes protein an essential nutrient for maintaining muscle mass. Whey protein has a high biological value, and supplies more usable grams of protein to the body for muscle repair, as well as enhancing the immune system. Individuals with high protein needs, such as athletes, find whey protein as an excellent alternate or extra source of protein to compensate for the extreme demand that their bodies require to build and maintain muscle. These protein comprise nearly every tissue and organ in the body, therefore any supplementation of the diet with proteins may be beneficial to injury repair, metabolism, and general health.

A precisely formulated whey protein contains 18 amino acids. These essential muscle building blocks include L-Alanine, L-Arginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Cysteine, L-Glutamic Acid, L-Glycine, L-Histidine, L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Proline, L-Serine, L-Threonine, L-Trytophan, L-Tyrosine and L-Valine.

Alanine, arginine, and aspartic acid are three common amino acids found in numerous whey proteins. Alanine aids in the metabolism of glucose, whereas arginine causes retardation of tumors and assists in the release of growth hormones and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. It also provides an environment for an increase in muscle mass and body fat reduction, in addition to being an essential ingredient for protein synthesis. Aspartic acid increases stamina; therefore it is good for fatigue. It also aids in RNA/DNA synthesis.

Cysteine is perhaps one of the more important amino acids found in WPC. The are helpful in detoxifying toxins and are precursors to the body's most potent antioxidant, glutathione. They promote the burning of fat and are useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and bronchitis.

Glutamic acid and glutamine are essential to nervous tissue function. Glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter for retinal neurons and is commonly referred to as "brain fuel" since the brain converts it to a compound that regulates brain cell activity. It is also a precursor to glutathione. Glutamine is important to cellular nitrogen retention and is important in alcoholism, mental ability, impotence and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.

Glutathione, a potent antioxidant, is important for the safe metabolism of the hydrogen peroxide free radical. It helps protect against radiation and oxidative damage and is the body's best defense against the formation of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), cancer, and immunity.

Read Part 2: The Protein of the Future