What is whey isolate?
Whey isolate, otherwise known as whey protein isolate, is natural byproduct from the cheese production process. It is typically a dry, powdery substance that may be used in the making of various products that range from meats to candies and certain types of beverages. Because of its unique health benefits, whey isolate is also widely used as a health supplement. Through the whey isolate manufacturing process, this powder provides you with one of the most pure forms of complete protein available. It generally has a higher concentration of protein than other forms of whey, such as concentrated whey protein. Further, the manufacturing process removes excess fats and lactose from the powder. Some types of whey isolate on the market are also cholesterol free and carb free.
A Closer Look At Its Benefits
After learning that whey isolate is a complete form of protein that is also rich in amino acids, leucine and cysteine, the question arises of what results you might expect to enjoy when you take a whey isolate supplement on a regular basis. The benefits are varied, and they include the promotion of muscle growth, the loss of body fat, a boost to the body's immune function, a reduction in the risk for breast cancer in women, an improvement in the control of blood glucose levels and prevention for muscle and bone loss in aging adults. Through a review of the benefits whey isolate can provide, you can see that this substance is ideal for use as a health supplement to enhance workouts as well as for the general health and well-being it provides.
How to Get the Best Results
There are several different types of whey isolate available on the market, and the supplement can be found both online and in numerous local and chain stores. The most common type is a powder that is designed to be added to water or milk to prepare a health drink. You may also find whey isolate in an already prepared drink that is ready for immediate consumption. Both the powder mixes and prepared drinks may be found in a variety of flavors like chocolate, vanilla and more. The best results for muscle growth are usually enjoyed when the whey isolate enters your body either immediately before or immediately after a workout. Instructions and recommendations may vary, so the manufacturer's dosage and intake instructions should be carefully read and followed.
Athletes may use whey protein isolate in their training regimen to enhance their performance and increase lean muscle mass. When the body is exposed to physical stress, such as exercise, muscle is naturally broken down and repaired. Whey protein optimizes muscle repair by speeding the time it takes to regenerate tissue. The production of glutathione is increased, assisting the process of muscle building and repair. Fat oxidation is improved to produce greater energy and oxidative cell damage that may occur from training is reduced.
Muscle Wasting Diseases
Whey protein isolate may benefit those with cachexia because it helps to prevent muscle wasting. Cachexia occurs in patients with certain diseases such as the AIDS virus or those with cancer. Consuming whey protein may also benefit senior citizens and others who may be losing muscle mass due to natural aging. A healthy musculoskeletal system increases strength, benefits immune function and improves health.
Whey protein isolate may improve digestion. It can help to regulate bowel movements and in certain forms, may be consumed by those who are lactose intolerant. It is often used in milk-based formulas for infants.
Good Source of Amino Acids
Whey protein isolate is a good source of amino acids such as glutamine, leucine, and cystine. The high concentration of branched chain amino acids are specifically responsible for the whey protein's optimal maintenance and repair of muscle tissue. Glutamine and leucine stimulate protein synthesis after exercise and are responsible for reducing tissue damage and improving endurance. Cysteine helps to produce glutathione, an antioxidant which helps to maintain muscle mass. (See also our article on N-Acetyl Cysteine/NAC
Whey protein isolate, concentrate and hydrolysate
Whey protein may be consumed as a protein concentrate, an isolate (as above) or in a hydrolyzed form. Whey protein concentrate is usually found in protein powder supplements and is approximately 80% protein. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein and is approximately 90-95% protein. The isolate form contains minimal lactose, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Hydrolyzed whey protein is the most easily absorbed because they protein has already been broken down into peptides. Because of its ease on the digestive tract, hydrolyzed whey protein is used in infant formulas and products for medical and specialized sports nutrition.
Whey protein is available in snack and energy bars, pre-made shakes and sports drinks. It can be consumed in powders and be added to smoothies or mixed with food. Whey protein can also be taken in capsules.
Side Effects and Warnings
Before taking whey isolate, it is important to familiarize yourself with the side effects and warnings. As beneficial as this protein source can be for you, it should be used with care. Taking more than the recommended dosage can yield symptoms like fatigue, a reduction in appetite, headache, increased bowel movements and other symptoms. This substance should be avoided if you have an allergy to cow's milk as well as if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It also is contraindicated for use with certain medications. If you are taking any prescription medications, it is advisable to speak with your doctor first before taking whey isolate.