Whey is big news and is always in the literature. The Icelandic consider it a cure-all and it is known as "Syra". Its benefits seem to be far reaching and has been shown to be beneficial through clinical trials in: Satiety, Treatment of cancer, HIV, Osteoporosis, Hepatitis, Cardiovascular Disease and Exercise Performance and Enhancement. Immunocal is a product that actually exploits these properties through the Glutathione antioxidant benefits (5). Whey has physical and chemical properties that allow its Amino Acids to enter the bloodstream faster than most other proteins. Contrast to Casein Protein that enters bloodstream slow but allows a more prolonged increase in blood amino acids. Ideal post-workout protein with a focus on muscle and strength gains seem to be whey coupled with fast acting carbohydrates (high glycemic) as protein synthesis requires insulin (6). Several Processing Technologies Discussed:
Isolate--Lactose Sugar and Fat Removed, Concentrations of Protein raised.
* Micro-filtered whey protein isolates- This processing can raise Protein Concentrations.
* Ion-exchange whey protein isolates- Processing that removes Fat and Lactose
Hydrolysates-- Hydrolyzed into smaller peptide chains, Less Allergenic, Enzymatically Pre-Digested for super fast Absorption. Can benefit those who have stomach/ allergic issues with other types of Proteins. May have stronger insulin effect (3).
Concentrate-- More Bioactive, Possibly Immune stimulating Effects with Stimulation and Stores of Glutathione Precursors. Glutathione is a three amino protein (cysteine-SH, glycine, glutamic acid) and natural occurring Antioxidant enzyme produced in the body. Glutathione is a Sulfhydryl electron donor active in organ detoxification processes thereby preventing oxidative damage to cells. Oxidative stress and toxicity are measured in the body by the Oxidized amount of glutathione. Cysteine-Rich Foods benefit this balance. Think of Whey and SAMe (S-adenylmethionine) as providing Cysteine to Support your bodies most prolific natural Antioxidant Process and Free Radical Scavenger while also having qualities such as chelation that can remove heavy metals. Recent research suggests positive results in Sarcopenia patients fed Whey Protein Concentrate (4.)
Summary of the Ohio State OSU method of manufacturing whey protein powder: Milk is high-temperature yet short-time pasteurized (163 degrees fahrenheit for 30 seconds) and held overnight at 40 degrees celsius. The next morning this mix is cooled to 30 degrees celsius and injected with a lactic acid culture then incubated for 30 minutes. Rennet extract is added and the mixture is stirred. The result is a coagulation of curd. Rennet is derived from the abomasum (4th stomach) of newborn calves. Chymosin (active enzyme ingredient of rennet) aids in the coagulation of milk by separating it into curds/ whey. In a newborn calf, chymosin supports the absorption and digestion of milk (adult cows do not have this enzyme). The liquid whey is drained through a stainless screen and the left-over curd is cooked at 30 degrees celsius. The whey liquid is then filtered at 45 degrees celsius and brought to a pH of 3 by adding citric acid. The liquid is filtered to 1/5th of its original volume, resulting in whey concentrate that is approximately 80% protein. This can then be micro-filtered to increase protein concentration to upwards of 95 percent (5).
I would Recommend an Organic Whey Protein Concentrate like this Jarrow Brand or Tera's Whey that I linked to above as my "Best Researched" to avoid association with Whey derived from Milk with Growth Hormone (rbst) and Antibiotics. A question to consider when using Whey is what else is in Whey? By definition Whey Protein includes all besides Casein. To this end there are the potential for the following in Whey Protein as well: Immunoglobulins, aka, antibodies, serum albumins, growth factors, enzymes, etc... On the surface this seems eerie but research in Immunology actually suggest they may confer immunity on us by their ingestion. This has been shown in H. Pylori (14, 15). I would conversely argue that ingesting non-organic could confer antibiotic resistance to us via plasmids. Always shop Organic.
While seemingly only humans tend to drink milk beyond infancy, there is a logical reason. Milk is packed with protein! And it should be if an infant is to grow. Roughly 80% of Milk Protein is Casein Protein and the remaining proteins are found in the Whey and are Whey Proteins. Milk in general is a good source of CLA, Conjugated Linoleic Acid which has elicited very promising anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects possibly acting directly with carcinogens. Milk is one of the highest sources of CLA and Organic Grass-Fed Cows encourage the most CLA (17). The PDR for Nutritional Supplements suggests researchers assert that CLA makes big fat cells get little and an innate ability for CLA to normalize glucose intolerance (1, 2). Casein has been shown very beneficial at muscle sparing. A 2011 study suggested possible relationship between schizophrenia and Casein proteins showing an 18% increase based on a restrospective analysis of military men (16). Clearly many relationships can be found but I find this alarming as I eat cottage cheese daily for its casein. This is early in the research and it could be that these men were genetically pre-disposed already but it is something to take note of. In addition to Casein considerations HORMONES should also be considered with milk protein. Consuming Organic Grass-Fed Milk products is the clear choice. This assures zero added rBST Bovine hormone. But there is another concern, and that is ESTROGEN! Milk in general houses many estrogens and other hormones in the milk FAT. When choosing your Organic Milk protein source, choose low to no-fat and be conscious of the humanity with which the animals are treated. I have read on this and have found that Stonyfield for example, may treat their animals more humanely than Horizon.
HEMP PROTEIN (THE PALEO CHOICE )
EGG PROTEIN ( THE PALEO CHOICE )
First let me say that Soy is a known GMO product so be forewarned. Soy from Soybeans is a complete protein with controversial properties. First, Soy has known hypothyroid effects (8).I would stay away from Soy during pregnancy as there is some research that suggests Soy's known hypothyroid effects could lower thyroid hormone at critical development stages possibly leading to autism (9). The same study points to many other foods and environmental factors that could also affect the thyroid, e.g., cabbage, cauliflower, kale, rutabaga, kohlrabi, cassava, lima beans, linseed, sweet potatoes, and bamboo shoots.
Another area of great research is in Breast Cancer Patients who are ER+ or estrogen receptor positive--about 75% of breast cancer patients. Research has suggested mixed results here with the most recent suggesting benefits. The Soy Isoflavone Genistein, which is in most Soy, has estrogenic effects and ER+ tumors grow with estrogen. At low levels it seems there is tumor growth (important for menopause individuals) and at high levels tumor suppression (10). Another recent study proved that Phytoestrogens like Soy can Epigenetically affect our genes to demethylate hypermethylated genes that present with breast cancer (11). The research is growing for Soy as tool to fight Prostate and Breast Cancer. Should you load up on it in your diet? Everything in moderation. I always think of Soy and Genestein which is also found in lignans like flax and beans as estrogenic and act accordingly. Growing research does suggest that the Asia diet high in Soy may account for lower Breast and Prostate Cancer in Asia (12, 13).
Vegetable protein with some notable exceptions, i, e., Hemp and Soy, lack all of the essential Amino Acids. A strict vegetarian "without dietary variety" could be missing key amino acids required to make their bodies essential proteins. A diet rife with veggie variety should allow the body to fabricate any amino acids it needs for protein. It is true to eat the rainbow on many levels. Antioxidants and Complete Proteins are examples. It has been said by many to "Eat The Rainbow" and this is true on many levels. Antioxidants and Complete Proteins are good examples. Do they have to always be eaten together? No. Variety in general will provide your "amino acid pool" with all of the aminos it needs. So you don't have to eat corn and rice with your beans but you do need this variety overall. Active Vegetarians may want to include lots of legumes, seeds, and nuts as these are more complete than grains and veggies alone.
WHEAT GLUTEN AND PALEO
PALEOlithic diets are in and are here to stay. Why? They are founded in evolution and strong science literally analyzing molecular isotopes of our ancestors to find out what they ate. And our ancestors ate a lot of PROTEIN! And what they ate, makes up about 90 % of our "evolutionary diet". What I mean is that if you look on a timeline, the grains, GMOs, and processed foods that we have fabricated since the industrial revolution are entirely "new" to our bodies. We have not evolved the necessary genes and respective enzymes and processes to deal with these biological insults and therefore we will find ourselves in a constant state of inflammation when ingesting them.
WHAT IS PALEO?
Think of Paleo as the hunter-gatherer diet. If you could hunt it and gather it (meats, fruits, veggies....) then that is what our bodies have evolved to handle and digest. The ANTI-PALEO: GLUTEN!!! As you Ponder Paleo, ponder Wheat... Could you hunt and gather wheat? Perhaps... But what if I plucked a true hunter-gatherer from our ancestry and gave him "today's wheat"? He would likely convulse or realize dramatic dysentary. Think of today's wheat as a highly processed food that has been so genetically altered by man, in such a relatively short time, (from an evolutionary standpoint) that you have not evolved the proper enzymes and proteins to digest and utilize it. Eikorn and Kamut wheat is more of a primitive/ ancient grain- before many, many modifications. While they still contain genes to make gluten proteins, you are likely exposing your body to upwards of 60 less "fabricated glutens".
TAKE AWAY on PALEO: Are protein powders Paleo? No.... Are Protein Powders for children, athletes, and the elderly beneficial in addition to real foods? ABSOLUTELY. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in a different world. They were not soccer moms, kids surrounded by Mcdonalds and candies, or busy business owners. Think of these Protein Powders as Supplements to your real food. Ideally use them with your Whole Organic Real Food! Go to my Protein Bar page to Make your own Protein and Real Food Bars!