Whey Isolate or Whey Concentrate? Best Whey Protein Guide.
September 17 2018
Back to the Basics
When you think of protein, what comes to mind? How would you define it?
Proteins are large and complex molecules that are composed of tiny, bead-like molecules known as amino acids (1) They are essential to build, maintain, and replace the tissues in our body.
What is whey?
Whey protein contains a mixture of essential amino acids that are easily absorbed by our body. It is a “complete” protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids and the highest branched chain amino acid content found in nature (2).
Whey (20%) and casein (80%) are the two major proteins found in milk. In fact, whey is the liquid part of milk that is separated during cheese production. As a byproduct, whey can enhance your daily intake by adding 25-50 grams of protein (1).
“To date, dairy proteins seem to be superior to other tested proteins, largely due to leucine content and the digestion and absorptive kinetics of branched-chain amino acids in fluid-based dairy foods,” (3). As a high-quality dietary protein, whey is effective for the maintenance, repair, and synthesis of skeletal muscle proteins. Additionally, whey has the ability to act as an antioxidant, antihypertensive, antitumor, hypolipidemic, antiviral, antibacterial, and chelating agent (4).
What are the benefits?
Increased Strength & Muscle Gain (1)
- A meta-analysis found whey protein, alone or as a part of a multi-ingredient, to increase upper and lower body strength and promote lean body mass or fat-free mass gain in resistance-trained individuals. This enhancement was even more evident when whey protein was consumed with the addition of creatine (5).
Aside from its studied benefits in strength and resistance training, whey protein has also been found to be beneficial in aerobic exercise and training (6).
Total Body Fat Mass (1)
- A 2018 randomized controlled trial found 16 weeks of moderate to high dosed whey protein supplementation, especially in combination with electromyostimulation, to be a feasible choice in addressing obesity and cardiometabolic risk in older men with sarcopenic obesity who are unable or unmotivated to exercise conventionally. Total body fat mass and waist circumference were significantly reduced, and total-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratio was significantly improved, in men supplementing with whey protein alone, and in combination with electromyostimulation (7).
Improve Nutritional Status (8) & Boost Protein Intake (1)
- Results indicate that whey protein isolate consumption improves active B12 and folate status and may prevent an increase in homocysteine, methylmalonic acid, and genome instability in older Australians with low vitamin B12 status (9).
- An additional randomized controlled trial from the Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics found that whey protein supplementation improved protein nutritional status and rehabilitation outcomes in an elderly population (10).
- 12 weeks of whey protein supplementation in hypoalbuminemic peritoneal dialysis patients resulted in significantly higher serum albumin, total nitrogen appearance (nPNA), and lean tissue mass index, compared to the control group. These findings demonstrate that oral supplementation with whey protein improves nutritional status and is well tolerated in this population (11).
Allergy Diseases (2)
- There is evidence to consider use of partially hydrolyzed 100% whey formula as an option for reducing the risk of any allergic diseases, particularly eczema. However, the certainty of the evidence is low which warrants further investigation (12).
- A meta-analysis of clinical trials and intervention studies found a statistically significant 44% reduced risk of atopic manifestations, including atopic dermatitis, in infants who received 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formula, compared with infants who received intact protein cow’s milk formula. Furthermore, a subanalysis of deemed high quality studies found that the incidence of atopic dermatitis was reduced by 55%. The authors of this study concluded that “regardless of study design, infant population, follow-up time, or study location, individual study findings were consistent because a reduced incidence of atopic dermatitis was reported in all of the reviewed studies,” (13). For infants who are not exclusively breast-fed, the authors recommend feeding with 100% whey protein partially hydrolyzed formula instead of intact protein cow’s milk formula because of its evidential reduction in the risk of atopic dermatitis in infants, particularly in infants with a family history of allergy (13).
How much Whey Protein Should I Take?
If you are looking for an extra boost of whey protein through supplementation, try our very own ProMix grass-fed whey protein with superior bioavailability and unsurpassed purity.
(1) What are proteins and what do they do? National Institutes of Health Web site. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/howgeneswork/protein Published August 7, 2018. Accessed August 7, 2018.
(2) Product Reviews: Protein Powders, Shakes, and Drinks Review. Consumer Lab Web site. https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Protein_Powders_Shakes_Drinks_Sports/NutritionDrinks/ Published June 10, 2016. Updated May 17, 2018. Accessed August 7, 2018.
(3) Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016; 116(3):501-528.
(4) Marshall K. Therapeutic applications of whey protein. Altern Med Rev. 2004; 9(2):136-56.
(5) Naclerio F, Larumbe-Zabala E. Effects of Whey Protein Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Formulation on Strength, Fat-Free Mass, or Lean Body Mass in Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2016; 46(1):125-37.
(6) Huang WC, Chang YC, Chen YM, Hsu YJ, Huang CC, Kan NW, Chen SS. Whey Protein Improves Marathon-Induced Injury and Exercise Performance in Elite Track Runners. Int J Med Sci. 2017; 14(7):648-654.
(7) Kemmler W, Kohl M, Freiberger E, Sieber C, von Stengel S. Effect of whole-body electromyostimulation and / or protein supplementation on obesity and cardiometabolic risk in older men with sarcopenic obesity: the randomized controlled FranSO trial. BMC Geriatr. 2018; 18(1):70.
(8) Whey protein. Mayo Clinic Web site. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-whey-protein/art-20363344 Published October 19, 2017. Accessed August 7, 2018.
(9) Dhillon VS, Zabaras D, Almond T, Cavuoto P, James-Martin G, Fenech M. Whey protein isolate improves vitamin B12 and folate status in elderly Australians with subclinical deficiency of vitamin B12. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017; 61(5).
(10) Niccoli S, Kolobov A, Bon T, Rafilovich S, Munro H, Tanner K, Pearson T, Lees SJ. Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Rehabilitation Outcomes in Hospitalized Geriatric Patients: A Double Blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics. 2017; 36(4): 149-165.
(11) Hassan K. Does Whey Protein Supplementation Improve the Nutritional Status in Hypoalbuminemic Peritoneal Dialysis Patients? Ther Apher Dial. 2017; 21(5):485-492.
(12) Szajewska H, Horvath A. A partially hydrolyzed 100% whey formula and the risk of eczema and any allergy: an updated meta-analysis. World Allergy Organization Journal. 2017; 10.
(13) Alexander DD, Cabana MD. Partially Hydrolyzed 100% Whey Protein Infant Formula and Reduced Risk of Atopic Dermatitis: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2010; 50(4):422–430.