Whey Protein Isolates: What's The Difference?
By Steve O'Reilly | Thursday, February 22, 2007 3:02:42 PM America/New_York
That has been well established by scientific research. Dietary protein is essential for a wide variety of metabolic functions in our bodies, one of them being the repair and maintenance of muscle tissue. Every time we exercise, namely lift weights, muscle tissue is broken down and damaged. This muscle tissue needs to be repaired and built back up in a timely manner for proper recovery to take place.
In order for gains in size and strength to be made, there needs to be an adequate amount of protein (amino acids) present in the bloodstream, supplied by the diet, to feed the damaged muscles.
There are several foods and dietary supplements that provide high quality protein. Only animal-derived protein provides all of the essential amino acids (amino acids that our bodies cannot make) and are therefore considered the highest quality sources of protein. Some of these animal sources include steak, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, and dairy products. Dairy products contain several different types of protein, one of which is whey protein.
Whey protein is a very high-quality protein and is highly regarded by bodybuilders and strength-trained athletes. The main reason for this is because it gives them the results they are looking for. However, not all whey protein is the same. There are several areas in which whey proteins differ, but one major area is in how they are manufactured. Sweet whey is a low concentrated form of whey protein that is separated from the curd of various cheeses during the cheese making process. Sweet whey is then pasteurized and separated from the remaining fat. At this point in the manufacturing process, whey is in liquid form and ready to undergo further manufacturing based on the desired end product; 25-80% whey protein concentrates (WPC), reduced lactose whey, and most importantly whey protein isolate (WPI). WPI itself is manufactured primarily by one of two different ways. One technique is called ion exchange (IE) and the other is cross-flow microfiltration (CFM). These two types of techniques used to manufacture WPI contribute to end products having very different nutritional values. Many consumers are under the misconception that all protein is the same. Some consumers have a bit more understanding of protein and realize there are fundamental differences between the different sources of protein, but few consumers realize that there are very significant differences amongst the oft lumped-together WPIs. "WPI is WPI, right?" Wrong, and the differences could make a big difference in how effective the finished protein product actually is in assisting you in making your body composition or strength gains. All major proteins possess very different compositions with regards to amino acid profiles and the protein fractions that they contain. The same can be said for the WPIs prepared via IE and CFM as notable differences are found in their respective compositions. Some protein fractions are not recovered in WPI produced by the IE process resulting in the loss of up to one-fifth of the major protein fractions. The loss of these fractions has significant nutritional implications that should be taken into consideration when choosing protein sources. There are several important protein fractions in whey protein, some of which are present at high levels regardless of which manufacturing process is used. These fractions include various immunoglobulins, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactalbumin, and bovine serum albumin. All of which have a high biological value. However, there are also specific protein fractions that exist at very different levels depending on which manufacturing process is used. Of these fractions, the most important ones are lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, and glycomacropeptide.
All three of these fractions serve very important functions. Lactoferrin has a strong affinity for iron and actually binds to it in the gut making iron unavailable to support detrimental microbial growth. On top of that, lactoferrin has an antibacterial effect on certain strains of bacteria and in some cases actually inhibits adherence of bacteria to the intestines. By inhibiting bacteria in the gut, the chances for infection are significantly reduced. Not only does lactoferrin have antibacterial effects, it also has anti-viral effects. These anti-viral effects have been exhibited against several types of viruses. Lactoferrin also has shown promise as an antioxidant by proving its ability to scavenge the aforementioned iron that exists in the gut. Iron speeds up the formation of free radicals in the gastrointestinal tract. High levels of free radicals and the oxidation that they cause are closely linked to a number of diseases including heart disease and cancer. Much like lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase also has strong anti-microbial activity but it is completely different than that of lactoferrin. Lactoperoxidase actually kills several types of microorganisms through an enzymatic action in the gut which results in less chance for microbial damage. Glycomacropeptide possesses structural properties that actually assist casein in being able to go into aqueous solution (i.e. in milk). This means the protein will shake up more easily and have less clumps! Glycomacropeptide is the first protein fraction that empties from the stomach during digestion. The significance of this is that it stimulates the synthesis and release of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK serves several important functions during digestion. CCK actually triggers the release of certain enzymes and the emptying of the gall bladder. The pancreatic enzymes released are critical for proper digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates making the complete utilization of nutrients possible. Also, CCK has the effect of slowing the overall digestive process by reducing the rate of intestinal contractions, thus giving the digestive enzymes more time to work on the digestion of the aforementioned fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, resulting in more complete absorption of all macronutrients. Glycomacropeptide is so successful at slowing digestion and thus keeping foods in the digestive tract longer that it causes a feeling of fullness or "satiety." For that reason, it has been researched as an appetite suppressant potentially worthy of inclusion in various diet products.
There are also peptide fragments present in WPI manufactured by the CFM process that are not present in IE WPI. These peptide fragments are important because they are very rapidly absorbed by the body. This rapid absorption is of particular significance to athletes who want the most rapid source of protein before, during, and after exercise. This functionality has made CFM WPI the most vital protein to take around your workout. In addition to all of this, CFM WPI also has a more balanced electrolyte profile supplying potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and calcium. These differences are often overlooked and are sometimes inaccurately referred to as minor differences. However, as thoroughly explained above these differences all add up to an overwhelming benefit of CFM WPI over IE WPI. Just like with every other facet of proper training and nutrition, any way to gain a competitive advantage needs to be leveraged, and consuming the best available protein is a way to do just that. Consuming adequate amounts CFM WPI at the right times can contribute significantly to overall health, wellness, recovery and ultimately performance.
Whether your goal is to increase size, strength, improve body composition or performance, CFM WPI should be the cornerstone of your supplemental nutrition program.
The bottom line is that CFM WPI is the best type of protein available today. It has a more complete protein profile than its otherwise seemingly closely related IE WPI counterpart. This protein profile contributes to improved digestion and increased immune function. Dietary supplement companies that care about the quality of their products and want to provide the best protein available to their customers know the value of CFM whey protein and use it as the main source of protein in their formulas. One of the only products on the market today that contains 100% whey protein manufactured using CFM is NytroWhey by ProSource.
NytroWhey provides protein with a higher bioavailability than its competition, which means more of the protein is actually absorbed and delivered to muscle tissue.
Ultimately, NytroWhey will result in more efficient protein synthesis and will likely cause a stronger anabolic response. In addition to all of the physiological advantages that NytroWhey provides, it also tastes the best! When it come to flavors, ProSource didn't stop with the simple traditional flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, they went the extra mile--and then some. With one-of-a-kind mouth-watering flavors like Banana Split, Caramel, Blueberry Cream, Apple Pie a la Mode, and Cookies and Cream, ProSource has made protein shakes more desirable than ever!