Whey protein is basically a mixture of globular proteins that are extracted from whey, which in turn is a liquid extracted during the process of cheese production. This write-up provides information on what makes whey protein hydrolysate different from other forms of whey protein.
Proteins are macromolecules that facilitate proper growth and development of our body. They help in building and repairing the cells and tissues of the human body. If our diet doesn’t include proteins, our muscles will take much longer to heal from an injury. Proteins also act as catalysts for various metabolic processes and boost our immune system. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and hence facilitate their synthesis.
While non-essential amino acids are synthesized by our body, the body’s requirement for the essential amino acids can be met through dietary sources. This is why consuming foods rich in essential amino acids is important. Whey protein is a great source of essential and non essential amino acids, which is why it is increasingly being used in the form of protein powder or supplements by fitness enthusiasts for building up muscle mass.
Forms of Whey Protein
Whey is a by-product that’s obtained while making cheese. When cow’s milk is curdled, the watery part that is left behind is separated and passed through fine filters. The watery part is referred to as whey. The globular proteins are extracted from whey through the process of filtration. The proteins are then processed in an ion exchange tower.
The final product, which is the protein powder, is obtained only when the process of purification, concentration, and dehydration of the isolated whey is complete. These days, many different processes such as micro-filtration, ultra-filtration, or cross flow filtration are being used for extraction of protein from whey. The aim of these processes is to provide a better amino acid profile and minimize the denaturing of proteins.
These supplements are generally sold in the form of whey protein isolate (WPI) and whey protein concentrate (WPC). At times, it may be hydrolyzed so as to make it more digestible. Such a form is referred to as whey protein hydrolysate (WPH). WPI and WPC vary in terms of the composition of protein and fat content. While WPI has more than 90% protein, the protein content of WPC may lie anywhere between 29% to 89%. Fat and lactose content also differs in these two forms. The hydrolyzed form (WPH) is easier to digest, as amino acid peptide bonds are fragmented into shorter chains of amino acids. This process also lowers the risk of an allergic reaction. This is the reason why WPH is used in infant milk formula. However, the process of breaking down the amino acid peptide bonds does impart a bitter taste.
Due to the complete amino acid profile, these protein powders can be of great use to those affected by a protein deficiency. Since proteins are needed for repairing muscles and enhancing bone strength, it is beneficial for those who wish to build muscle mass.
Due to its digestible nature and great absorption rate, the partially hydrolyzed whey protein is easily absorbed by the body. Those who perform endurance training or energy-consuming workouts greatly benefit from the use of these supplements. It helps in healing the injured or tired muscles. Due to the presence of an antioxidant called glutathione, the supplements can also help in reversing damage caused by free radicals.
Those who are planning to use these supplements must buy the form with a low content of fat and lactose. Hydrolyzed WPI is a good option for those who wish to lose weight or those who are lactose intolerant. If you find it unpalatable, you can look for a supplement that offers a mix of WPH with other forms. Though the health benefits of whey seem to be numerous, these supplements should not be taken in large doses, as that can lead to undesirable side effects such as kidney or liver damage. So, before you start taking these protein supplements, consult your doctor.
If you are using WPH to build a muscular body, make sure that you take it as per the prescribed dosage. Though WPH is highly digestible, it is bitter and expensive as well. Before you buy one, make sure that you go through the reviews and purchase a protein powder by a reputed brand known for offering good quality protein supplements.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.