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Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

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About Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

Hydrolyzed whey protein is a protein powder that has undergone the process of hydrolysis, which may involve treatment with acids, heat and/or enzymes. This can be compared to the human body’s normal digestive process, which involves hydrochloric acid, released in the stomach, body heat (we run at 37 degree celsius) and the proteolytic enzymes pepsin and protease.


The process of hydrolysis breaks some of the peptide bonds that holds together amino acids, which make up protein. Essentially, this means larger protein molecules become smaller units, some of which may even be broken down into free amino acids, depending on the processing method and degree of hydrolysis. This processing technique creates a predigested protein powder, composed mostly of dipeptides, tripeptides and free form amino acids. In this form, these nutrients are ready for absorption and require no further digestion.


Interestingly, some amino acids actually absorb more efficiently in dipeptide (two amino acids joined together) and tripeptide (three amino acids) form than they do as free form amino acids, though the branched chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine do absorb very well in free form. This slight absorption preferences for di and tripeptides makes some biological sense, given that our absorption processes have likely adapted over time to less than complete protein digestion end-products. If protein molecules larger than tripeptides were absorbed, there is a greater risk for an allergic immunological response.


Hydrolysed whey protein has three major advantages over standard whey protein isolates:

  1. Beneficial for anyone with digestive weakness

  2. Less likely to cause nausea or gastric upset when taken during or immediately before intense exercise

  3. Rapid absorption


Hydrolysed whey protein is naturally quite bitter, as the closer we get to free form aminos, the more bitter a protein becomes. If you’ve tasted unflavoured and unsweetened free form amino acids you will know all about it! Except for those with tough palates, flavoured hydrolysed protein powder is usually best. Hydrolysed whey protein still has all of the anabolic advantages of regular whey protein isolate, naturally containing a high percentage of essential amino acids, a high proportion of which are branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).


Hydrolysed Whey Protein is considered by some to be the finest quality protein powder available, due to the fact that it is a more readily assimilated form of whey protein, which naturally has an exceptionally high biological value. This is the ideal protein powder for use around exercise time, bearing in mind that due to its rapidity of absorption, the biological effect will likely wear off faster than any other form of protein powder. To clarify, this means that if you are chasing a constant anabolic state, refeeding with quality protein food may need to happen after approximately 45 minutes.