Whey Protein Facts and Applications
by Lawrence Sosna, N.D.
The word protein means "first substance." As human babies, our first protein substance comes from our mother's milk. Milk is the only food designed to optimally sustain the life of a mammal. As a species, we would not have survived if not for the nutrition and protection mother's milk offers.
Milk is composed of two protein groups: whey is a liquid complex consisting of a wide range of proteins; casein is the protein from which curds are made and the part used to make cheese. An increasingly health-conscious public is now more aware of the importance of quality protein and is choosing whey for good reason. As an original, complete protein food, whey is considered essential for maintaining a strong immune system and building and regenerating our bodies. Not only does whole complete whey have a wide range of immuneenhancing properties, it also acts as an antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-tumor, antiviral, and antibacterial. A number of clinical trials have successfully used whey as an antimicrobial agent and in the treatment of cancer, hepatitis B and C, HIV, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Whey has a major role in red blood cell production, support in chemotherapy treatment, safe binding and detoxification of heavy metals, wound healing, growth of new muscle, weight regulation, and the support of numerous immune functions. It has helped populations with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, hepatitis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, respiratory disease, cognitive disorder from nutritional compromise, and improved athletic performance.
As far back as 5th century B.C., Hippocrates, the Greek physician and the "father of medicine," prescribed serum—or liquid whey in a native, nondenatured form—to strengthen the innate healing power of his patients. Unfortunately, the commercial whey proteins available today are derived from highly processed milk and incomparable to the vitality in that 2,500-year-old prescription.
Presently, the various commercial methods of processing whey dramatically compromise the fragile immune modulating and regenerative components, as well as the biological activity that was originally in the milk. All processed whey originates from the manufacturing of cheese and are really by-products or co-products.
There are three commercial production methods that comprise the majority of available whey proteins: isolates (the most popular), ion-exchange, and hydrolyzed forms. They are all ultra-filtered, cross-flow filtered, or micro-filtered via elaborate patented methods developed by large dairies. The milk used in these three methods undergoes major processing that involves high heat (163 degrees F) and drastic acidification of the whey to produce curds for manufacturing cheese. These steps denature, or damage, the proteins. What is then required is extensive filtration to remove the many denatured proteins in order to produce the highest percentage of protein. Unfortunately, the fragile, vital protein components, which determine the biological activity of the protein, are not retained.
The key point in regard to the quality and effectiveness of whey is that the full range of biological activity and proportion of the protein components be preserved in their original native form as nature provided. Only whey not involved in cheese manufacture can achieve that goal. Another obvious quality-control factor to consider is the health of the milking cows and the type and grade of food they are fed.
Non-denatured whey protein, or covalent-bonded cysteine, has the highest biological value of any protein. It is a complete protein, unlike soy, and provides all the essential amino acids in the correct balance. The five major active proteins of whey are lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, bovine serum albumin, alpha-lactalbumin, and beta-lactoglobulin. Also present in non-denatured, native whey are active peptides, anabolic growth factors, and enzymes.
Covalent-bonded cysteine is the critical amino acid required for the allimportant intracellular production of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Glutathione, our body's master antioxidant, is responsible for numerous defense and repair functions and is an effective anti-aging substance. Glutathione is best utilized when we produce it internally. Unfortunately, cysteine is scarce in our modern diet, therefore, glutathione production is limited and deficiency is prevalent. If cysteine undergoes any heating or processing, as all commercial whey products do, it is denatured and converted to cystine.
Since there are many whey products available, it's highly advisable to get, in writing from the manufacturer, a description of how their cows and milk are treated and if cheese is part of the original production. Also, request a written laboratory analysis that lists the percentage values for each individual protein. An analysis that groups two or more proteins together with a percentage number should be questioned.
ImmunoPro is a unique, non-denatured whey protein, resulting from years of work to perfect a system that produces only the highest non-denatured whey protein. Using exacting technology, ImmunoPro is made from herds that graze on disease-, pesticide-, and chemical-free, natural grass pastures. Milking cows are not subject to any chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, hyper-immunization, or injected pathogens. There is no cheese produced, chemical modification, or pH regulation in any part of production, and its full range of the original biologically active native protein is intact.
So when finding a healthful protein source is a priority, ImmunoPro offers a complete package of full-range, native, biologically active whey proteins on par with the nutrients and protection of mother's milk.
Relevant Terms Defined
UNDENATURED— To undamage. A term prevalent with commercial products, used without discretion in the industry and is misleading. Once a protein is denatured, however, it is impossible to undenature it.
DENATURED— To cause the tertiary structure of a complete substance to unfold with heat, alkali, or acid, causing some of its original properties, especially its biological activity, to be diminished or eliminated. To damage.
NON-DENATURED— Never damaged. The same structure and proportion as in the original substance with full biological activity.