Protein- A Necessary Building Block
Protein forms the building blocks of all muscles. Adequate protein is crucial not only for maintaining muscle but also for building many immune complexes and chemical messengers in the body.
There are many high-protein foods available today. And you may be consuming plenty of high-protein foods. But, are you actually assimilating the protein you need?
After the age of 35 your digestive enzyme secretions start diminishing. Without adequate enzymes, your body simply cannot digest a big chunk of protein very well (particularly A Blood Types). That partially digested protein begins to putrefy in the intestines, causing discomfort and leaching toxins into the system. Therefore, little of its valuable proteins can be assimilated by your body!
This means that even if you're eating a protein-rich diet, you may actually be protein starved!
Needless to say, this ineffective digestion doesn't do much for your health!
Among those few family-operated cheesemaking plants still in existence, stories occasionally circulate on how grandma drank a glass of whey a day to stay strong and healthy. Her energy level and physical well-being provided testimonial to the benefits of whey.
Through the years, whey's negative disposition as a sub-component or by-product of cheesemaking overwhelmed its positive attributes, making it virtually impossible for whey-drinking grandmas to convince their offspring to drink this wonder food.
Whey proteins are complete proteins, supplying the body with essential amino acids required for good health. This is why whey proteins provide excellent nutrition for active teens, healthy adults and the elderly.
Whey protein, once thought to be a useless by-product of cheese production, has recently become one of the most popular protein supplements. This is due, in part, to the development of several methods for distilling whey into a high-quality powder that is pratically fat- and lactose-free. Although it's the most expensive of the three protein powders (whey, casein and soy), whey has a number of advantages over other protein supplements.
It is reported that whey Proteins are digested much faster than less advanced proteins. Increased rate of digestion has been shown to result in increased plasma amino acid and protein synthesis attributes, which makes it particularly attractive in the fields of clinical nutrition.
Whey proteins are comprised of high-biological-value proteins and proteins that have different functions. A wealth of scientific research has proven that whey protein has the highest biological value (BV) of any protein. Biological value measures protein power and efficiency with which your body uses protein. The Whey Protein Institute's website gives a biological value of 100 to whey protein, 80 to casein and 74 to soy protein concentrate.
The main whey proteins are beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactoglobulin, two small globular proteins that account for about 70 to 80% of total whey protein. Proteins present in lesser amounts include the immunoglobulins IgG, IgA and IgM, but especially IgG, glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumin, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and lysozyme. Whey proteins also contain smaller peptides derived from various proteins which are called biopeptides.
Whey Proteins have been studied by various nutritionists and it is of great interest that whey proteins have been shown to be useful in post operative care of patients as most digestible proteins. It is highly recommended in body cell repairing & growth as well as provides all essential Amino Acids in sufficient amount to provide the best possible solution for formulation of clinical foods. Whey Proteins consist of various minor proteins like L-lactoalbumin, Lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, serum albumin, Lactoperxidase etc. Having high therapeutic values. These constituents have special medical application in products to treat & prevent a large number of clinical problems such as :
- Special formulation for diabetic patients
- For cardiac ailments
- For high cholesterol patients
- For liver, arthritis patients
- For burn patients
- To deal with situations like renal failure, gout, trauma etc.
Processing method (i.e., filtration, hydrolysis, ion-exchange, microfiltration, etc.) influences the availability and concentration of the variety of biologically active amino acids, peptides and fractions (i.e., alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, glycomacropeptides, immunoglobulins and lactoferrin) within whey proteins. These differences may influence the physiological function of whey proteins.
Antimicrobial, Passive Immunity and Other Actions of Whey Proteins
The mechanism of the possible antimicrobial actions of whey proteins may be accounted for by examining the activities of some of the whey proteins. Lactoferrin binds iron very tightly. Iron is a nutrient essential to support microbial growth, especially the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Lactoferrin may also inhibit the adsorption and/or penetration of bacteria and viruses in the intestinal wall. Lactoperoxidase may inactivate or kill microorganisms via an enzymatic activity producing reactive oxygen species. The immunoglobulins may also play a passive immunity role.
The possible immunomodulatory activity of whey proteins may also be due, in part, to the immunoglobulins playing a role in passive immunity. Whey proteins are rich in L-cysteine and L-glutamate, two amino acids that are precursors to the tripeptide glutathione. Some are also abundant in the dipeptide sequence of glutamylcysteine. This dipeptide is also a precursor to glutathione. There is some indication that intake of whey proteins enhance monocyte glutathione levels. Enhanced glutathione levels may also contribute to a possible immunomodulatory role of whey proteins, as well as to the possible antioxidant activity of these proteins. In addition, lactoferrin may modulate immune function.
The pharmacokinetics of whey proteins should be similar to those for dietary proteins. There is indication that lactoferrin and some of the immunoglobulins in whey proteins may be more resistant to proteolytic degradation than are other types of proteins. Some proteins may be digested to peptides that may be absorbed and may have various activities (bioactive peptides). Some (e.g., bovine serum albumin, beta-lactoglobulin) may yield glutamylcysteine during their digestion, which may be absorbed and serve as a precursor to glutathione in some tissues.
Indications and Usage
Whey proteins may be useful in the nutrition of some infants and others, and there is some very preliminary evidence that they may have some immune-modulating and anticancer effects. There is no credible evidence that they build muscle faster than other protein sources.
Summary of Research on Usages of Whey
Whey proteins have been used as the sole proteins in some infant formulas, and this has reportedly resulted in fewer allergies in these infants. In one study, the use of a whey protein formula in the first six months of life significantly reduced atopic disease up to one year of age. In another study, infants receiving a whey protein-hydrolysate formula during the first six months of life had a lower incidence of cow's milk protein sensitivity at age six months, less eczema during the first year of life and less diarrhea of non-infectitious origin during the first half-year of life.
There are several animal studies in which whey and whey factors are said to exert some positive effects on immunity and cancer. Observed immuno-enhancing properties are believed by some researchers to be related only partially to whey's nutritional effects. Enhancement of host humoral immune response has been associated, in some of these studies, with whey's role in increasing glutathione levels in the body.
In animal studies, whey proteins were found to be protective against colon cancer, relative to red meat and some other protein sources. A whey protein diet significantly decreased tumor burden and extended life in mice with colon cancer, compared to mice with colon cancer fed-standard diet.
Whey protein concentrate was administered to five patients with metastatic cancers (30 grams daily for six months). Two of these patients exhibited some evidence of tumor regression, normalization of hemoglobin and peripheral lymphocyte counts. In two other patients, there was stabilization of tumor growth and increased hemoglobin levels. More research is needed.
What then is needed is digestible protein. Protein that your body can assimilate - protein that does not become toxic waste. Whey is one of the most complete proteins -- and the most easily digested. But the type of whey makes all the difference in it usefulness to your body.
A few years ago, ion-exchange, cross-flow whey production became popular. Unfortunately, ion-exchange, cross-flow membrane whey proved to contain excess sodium often up to o 89 percent sodium!
This happens because the process of ion-exchange strips out calcium and magnesium ions, and replaces them with sodium ions. The result is an extremely high-sodium product that is virtually devoid of necessary and beneficial magnesium and calcium.
What happens when you eat a protein high in sodium? Most people know that sodium draws water to it. The excess sodium in ion-exchange whey draws water into the muscle. So although the muscles appears to be growing, they are really only full of fluid! And, even worse, the excess sodium throws the potassium levels out of balance. When that happens, the electrolytes go out of balance and the entire metabolism suffers. And the whole purpose has just been defeated.
Microfiltered Whey- The Whey of Choice (HealthSmart Nutrition's Hi-Pro93)
Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate (via microfiltration) is about the purest type of "whey" protein available. The isolation of whey, using a process called "cross-flow microfiltration," is the next manufacturing step after whey is concentrated. Manufacturers making Ultrafiltered or cross flow microfiltered whey use a high-tech cold manufacturing process that utilizes ceramic filters to remove the fat and lactose and isolate the protein without damaging it. Like the ion-exchange isolate, this type of isolate has a significantly higher protein per serving ratio than whey concentrates. This type of isolate typically yields over 94 grams of protein per 100 grams of whey, and often comes close to 98 or 99 grams of protein per 100 grams of whey. Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate is virtually free of fats and carbohydrates, which may appeal to people utilizing ketogenic diets like the Atkins diet. Cross-flow microfiltration gives a whey protein isolate which is greater than 90% in protein that is undenatured and that retains all important sub-fractions ( in natural ratios, with no fat or lactose).
The microfiltration isolate used to make Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate yields a higher amount of branched-chain amino acids than whey protein concentrate. Is the microfiltration version better than the ion-exchange version? Unlike the ion-exchange isolate, microfiltration isolate is not exposed to chemical degradation. Thus, the protein is left unharmed and in its original state. This leads to added benefits over ion exchange isolate. Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate is rich in important minerals (magnesium and potassium) and contains all three of the antibacterial and antiviral whey proteins not found in ion-exchange whey. In addition, Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate is very low in fat and undergoes far less processing than ion-exchange whey.
And that's not all, Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate may contain small amounts of beneficial lactoferrin, a milk protein not found in ion-exchange whey. Lactoferrin has been shown to be antibacterial and antioxidant. It inhibits the implantation of harmful E-coli bacteria in the stomach and intestines. It has even been found to have antifungal and antiviral properties against hepatitis C, cytomegalovirus, and herpes viruses. Hi-Pro 93 whey protein isolate also may contain small amounts of yet another protein: Lactoperoxidase. This whey protein has been found to be highly immune stimulating.
The microfiltration process not only filters the whey so that the sodium levels are reduced, but the lactose levels are also reduced. This allows most of those with a lactose intolerance to digest it without any trouble.
Whey proteins are contraindicated in those who are hypersensitive to milk proteins.