Whey protein

Last updated on September 25th, 2018

Every sportsmen knows what whey protein is. It is a concentrated protein sports supplement, made of milk whey. Whey is obtained during the process of milk curdling (whey is a byproduct during cheese making). Whey is considered the best protein products, providing an excellent muscle growth and fat burning effect.


Cow milk contains 20% of whey (globular proteins) and 80% of casein. Whey protein is a mix of alpha -lactoglobulin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin, whey albumin and immunoglobulin.

Whey protein is produced for sports nutrition in three forms:

  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Hydrolyzed whey protein.

The first two forms – whey concentrate and whey isolate have nice milk taste. Whey concentrate contains cholesterol and fats (small amount), because of moderate purification. The concentrate contains about 30% – 89% of active components and lactose. Whey isolate undergoes high purification process; therefore, it contains over 90% of active substances and lactose.

Hydrolyzed whey protein is bitter to taste. Nevertheless, this type of sports protein is perfectly digested in the body; hence, the risk of allergic reaction is minimal. This sports supplement is more expensive than Whey concentrate or isolate.

Advantages and disadvantages of whey protein

Actually, scientists have studied whey protein from medical point of view. They believe whey protein can be an effective means to fight some diseases. Because whey proteins are a good source of amino acids, scientists are conducting studies involving whey protein in the therapy against some forms of cancer and heart disease.

The advantage of whey is that it stimulates the synthesis of protein, thereby accelerating and improving the recovery after heavy physical exercises. Whey protein sports supplements provide the body with an important substance – Leucine. Some studies have shown that whey protein can increase the levels of Glutathione, which is an effective anti-oxidant, fighting against toxins and free radicals. Other research has proven that whey protein provided anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects, yet these studies did not involve people.

However, whey protein is still just a dietary / sports supplement. It is mostly used in sports or in people who need to increase their body mass due to malnutrition or other eating disorders. In addition, whey protein (when used before main meals) helps to keep normal level of blood sugar in diabetic patients. It is known that whey protein (namely the lactose and casein in it) may cause allergic reaction.

Whey protein intolerance

Doctors recorded number of disorders in people, using whey protein: bloating, intestinal spasms and abdominal distension. The reason of such side effects is not fully understood yet, but doctors believe this is all about lactose intolerance.

Another thing every athlete should know is that human can digest up to 10 g of protein (maximum) per hour. So, there is no point to consume huge amounts of protein (any kind of it), since not all of it will be digested and a person will not increase his muscle mass this way. Moreover, the amount of protein that was not digested, is left in the intestines and fermented, causing dyspepsia and flatulence.

If people have these side effects, meaning this type of protein does not suit them. If these effects persist within a long time, man should try to change this protein supplement for egg or soy protein. However, these adverse reactions are not caused by whey itself, but other components that are found in a particular whey supplement. For example, some whey protein mixes contain lactose and sweeteners. Therefore, it is best to use a pure (sugar-free) whey protein mix.


  1. Cribb, Paul J.; Andrew D. Williams, Michael F. Carey, Alan Hayes. “The Effect of Whey Isolate and Resistance Training on Strength, Body Composition, and Plasma Glutamine”. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Human Kinetics, Inc. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  2. Tunick MH (2008). “Whey Protein Production and Utilization.”. In Onwulata CI, Huth PJ (abstract). Whey processing, functionality and health benefits. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing; IFT Press. pp. 1–13.
  3. Burks W, Helm R, Stanley S, Bannon GA (June 2001). “Food allergens”. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 1 (3): 243–8.
  4. Jay R. Hoffman and Michael J. Falvo (2004). “Protein – Which is best?”. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (3): 118–130.
  5. Burke, Darren G.. “The Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation With and Without Creatine Monohydrate Combined With Resistance Training on Lean Tissue Mass and Muscle Strength”. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  6. Hakkak R, Korourian S, Ronis MJ, Johnston JM, Badger TM (May 2001). “Dietary whey protein protects against azoxymethane-induced colon tumors in male rats”. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 10 (5): 555–8.
  7. Does 100% whey protein make you have bad gas?



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here