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Why protein

Fermented whey protein is a superfood (Opinion)

Thursday, September 01, 2011 by: Dr. David Jockers
Tags: why protein, superfood, health news

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(NewsTarget) Whey protein is one of the two major proteins found in dairy. Certain forms of whey protein are being studied for their ability to have a positive effect on nitrogen balance and inflammatory levels within the body. Fermented non-denatured whey produces the most bioactive form of this incredible super nutrient-rich food.

Whey is a byproduct of cheese manufacturing. The fat (curds) is pulled from the milk as is much of the casein protein. What is left is a 5% solution of lactose in water with minerals and lactalbumin. Whey is easily denatured by heat. High heat (such as the pasteurization process) denatures whey proteins. Denaturing the whey triggers hydrophobic interactions with other proteins creating a protein gel. Heat denatured whey is not healthy and can cause allergies for many.

Human mother`s milk is 60% whey and 40% casein; whereas, cow`s milk is 20% whey and 80% casein. This ratio difference suggests that humans do better on whey protein than casein. Human milk contains Beta A2 casein; whereas, the majority of cow milk has Beta A1 casein that is known to be highly inflammatory in the body.

Whey protein is a mixture of beta-lactoglobulin (around 65%), alpha-lactalbumin (25%), serum albumin (8%) and immunoglobulins. Whey protein can be found in a concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate form.

Concentrates contain some fats but have the richest source of bioactive compounds. Isolates are processed to remove all fat & lactose. Due to the processing they are lower in bioactivated compounds. Hydrolysates are whey proteins that have been processed and broken down into smaller amino acid chains. They have little to no bioactive compounds but are the least allergenic form of whey. They have a very bitter taste.

Whey is an abundant source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA`s). These BCAA`s are used to fuel, build and repair muscles. Whey protein is especially high in leucine which plays a very important role in initiating the genetic transcription pathways that boost protein synthesis. Elevated leucine consumption improves the stimulation of protein synthesis. This improves tissue healing, exercise recovery, strength production and adaptation to stress.

Whey protein is also very rich in the amino acid cysteine. Cysteine is a critical agent used to make the super intracellular anti-oxidant glutathione. A 2007 study found that ingesting large amounts of whey protein increased cellular glutathione levels. According to many researchers, non-denatured whey protein may be the single greatest whole food for boosting glutathione levels. Due to this anti-oxidant capacity, whey protein is being researched for its ability to prevent degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson`s.

Be aware that not all whey protein is the same. Consumer Reports tested several bodybuilding protein powders and found that many were contaminated with heavy metals. Many powders also use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium among others. These sweeteners are dangerous and known to damage gut flora (sucralose) and cause neurotoxic reactions (aspartame) among other things.

The highest quality whey protein comes from cows and goats fed pure 100% grass. The protein should be a non-denatured concentrate form in order to maintain the highest amount of bioactive compounds. Additionally, fermented whey provides even more bioactive compounds, immunoglobulins, active enzymes and healthy microorganisms that dramatically benefit digestion, immunity and muscle/joint repair. Fermented whey also boosts glutathione better than any other form of whey.

A 2010 study showed that fermented whey protein had lower levels of Beta-Lactoglobulin, which is the most allergenic protein found in whey. Additionally, the study showed that after the fermentation process, the whey protein concentrate had significantly higher levels of BCAA`s.


Zavorsky, Kubow, Grey, Riverin, Lands (2007). "An open-label dose-response study of lymphocyte glutathione levels in healthy men and women receiving pressurized whey protein isolate supplements". International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 58 (6): 429. doi:10.1080/09637480701253581. PMID 17710587.

"Alert: Protein drinks / You don't need the extra protein or the heavy metals our tests found" Consumer Reports, July 2010, p. 24-27.

Pescuma M, Habert EM, Mozzi F, de Valdez GF. Functional fermented whey-based beverage using lactic acid bacteria. Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jun 30;141(1-2):73-81.

About the author

Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com

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