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Whey protein - all the secrets of whey protein

With the term whey protein is meant a set of proteins which are extracted from what remains of cheese processing. These proteins, also commonly known by the English term WP (Whey protein), are very popular in the field of food supplementation thanks to the beneficial qualities they possess and, treated according to different processing methods, can be declined in different types:

  • Whey proteins concentrated;

  • whey protein isolate;

  • hydrolyzed whey proteins.

For the purposes of this discussion, each of these points will be considered individually. Before analyzing them, however, it is advisable to provide some information regarding the milk's proteins in their more general conception.

Whey proteins - what they are and what they do

It is commonly called whey all that remains of the coagulation of the milk that derives as a consequence of the production of cheeses, starting from cow's milk (or cow's). This is subsequently processed in order to isolate the protein components, removing lipids (fats), lactose and other unnecessary substances. What remains from this process are the whey protein.

A milk protein however, it does not constitute a single protein, but is in turn composed of protein fractions:

  • B-lactoglobulins

  • a-lactalbumin

  • serum albumin

  • lactoferrins

  • immunoglobulins

  • glimacropeptides

  • lactoperrosidase

  • lysozyme

And this is precisely one of the factors that makes the whey protein among the best in terms of energy. B-lactoglobulin, a-lactalbumin, serum albumin and immunoglobulin are, in fact, among the proteins richest in essential amino acids, i.e. those amino acids that our body cannot synthesize naturally and must therefore be integrated through food.

Furthermore, whey is the main source of protein which named lactoferrin, which performs important antimicrobial and antiviral functions and naturally stimulates the immune defenses.

Products based on whey protein, which usually come in the form of powder, can therefore represent a valid source of protein both for athletes with the aim of increasing muscle mass, and for individuals who need to integrate a deficient daily protein intake.

Whey protein - benefits

Although some benefits have already been mentioned above, now let's see in more detail the beneficial properties of milk's proteins:

  1. The whey protein they are made up of almost 50% of essential amino acids, which are all present, albeit in different quantities. This also implies the presence of the three very important ones branched chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. Taking on whey protein we ensure a massive supply of all these important building blocks that our body absolutely needs.

    (For more information on essential and non-essential amino acids, we refer to these two articles dedicated to the topic: Branched chain amino acids: what they are for and when to take them is Proteins or amino acids? Quick guide to the gym).

  2. Like all proteins, Even the whey protein they perform fundamental tasks for the body, such as promoting protein synthesis, helping muscle recovery and facilitating the weight loss process. To this are added other peculiar characteristics compared to the others proteins: the presence of enzymes, hormones and growth factors, the ability to promote the rapid release of insulin, the high biological value and the high concentration of BCAA are just some of them.

  3. They are absorbed very quickly, so much so that they are also called "fast proteins", proteins fast. This is particularly true with regard to hydrolyzed whey proteins, while the whey protein isolate and concentrated have a longer assimilation time.

  4. Numerous researches on the properties of these are still ongoing proteins but the beneficial effects have been demonstrated beyond doubt on animal models and on humans. Many studies (available by clicking the link) have shown that the whey protein contribute to reduced risk of contracting some forms of cancer, to the improvement of the immune defenses and of blood pressure.

Whey proteins - types

From the whey, which occurs naturally in the liquid state, the proteins they are separated from the other elements through numerous steps, the number of which can vary according to the protein concentration to be obtained in the powder of the finished product. The greater the number of steps, the greater the purity of the protein the final.

In addition, the final product also changes by virtue of the processing method:

The whey protein concentrated, or more simply whey protein, represent the most basic type of Whey Protein and generally have a percentage of proteins between 35% and 85% They are obtained through a filtering process called ultrafiltration, a method that allows you to filter and separate the protein from the other components by pressure on a porous membrane.

The whey protein isolate, compared to the previous ones have a higher percentage of concentration: between 85% and 95%. This is because they are almost completely "isolated" from lipids and lactose through more complexes than before: cross-flow microfiltration and ion exchange, just to name a few. They are the purest proteins and therefore more suitable for diets with a high protein content and low fat and carbohydrate content.

To conclude, the hydrolyzed whey proteins they are obtained through hydrolysis, a chemical process that uses water to break down an element into its primary components.

Although they are commonly called proteins, it would be more appropriate to define them as peptides, as hydrolysis produces small molecules, with fewer amino acids than common proteins. They can be derived from either isolated proteins that concentrated, even if the former are generally preferred because they bring with them some advantages over the others: they are the fastest to assimilate, are absorbed in a higher percentage and have the highest insulin index.

Whey protein - Conclusions

After clarifying the subject, we invite you to visit the shop page with our whey protein products to find the solution that best suits your needs.

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