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Whey Protein Isolate

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is a rich source of essential, conditionally-essential and non-essential amino acids. It is one of two proteins found in cow's milk, along with casein. Unflavoured whey protein isolate is typically 90% protein, also also low in fat and carbohydrates, with around 0.5-1% in the form of lactose. This form of protein is referred to as rapid absorption, which is simply due to the fact that the protein is in a form that can be quickly digested and absorbed.

 

 

Whey protein naturally has a high biological value of 104, and is the only protein yet discovered to have a higher figure than egg, which is rated at 100. In nutrition medicine, the protein and amino acid quality of all foods and supplements are generally compared to egg.  This high biological value of whey protein indicates that the amino acids contained within the natural protein structure are in a composition that the human body can uptake readily into the cell. Manufacturing of whey protein isolate uses different processes including ion exchange and microfiltration, and even hydrolysis.


 

Whey protein isolate typically contains around 22-24% branched chain amino acids—you might know them as BCAAs—which are naturally occurring within the complex protein structure. Given that one of the BCAAs is leucine, this means that WPI is an excellent stimulator of mTOR, one of the triggers for protein synthesis. This mean it triggers protein synthesis, which is an anabolic state, not just in muscle, but other areas of the body too, such as the organs. 


 

Given the low level of lactose in WPI, most lactose intolerant individuals are usually fine using this product. One 30 gram serve of WPI typically contains approximately 200mg (0.2g) of lactose. However, this should be determined on the packaging of each product. The sugar content found in the nutritional table is often 100% lactose when it comes to WPI, unless they have added sugar to the formula, which should show up on the ingredients list. 


 

Whey protein isolate is for recovery, repair and lean muscle gains, or to supplement a diet that is low in quality protein, as a source of the all-important essential amino acids (EAAs). It may also be taken as a snack alternative.


There have been countless clinical trials conducted over the past few decades that have looked into the benefits of whey protein isolate for various health conditions, as well as to support sports and exercise performance. Due to the fact that whey protein isolate has such an excellent EAA profile, it is able to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is an important pathway required for adaptation to exercise.

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