Should You Be Taking Whey Protein?

I have boycotted whey protein for years now. I am discovering this might be the wrong thing to do. Back in the day I used to use whey protein isolate. Isolate means they took almost all the fat out of the milk and it has a higher percentage of protein. Whey was the way to go for bodybuilding because it was a complete protein and had all 9 or I think in those days it was only 8 essential amino acids. Essential meaning our bodies will not produce them and we have to take them with diet.


Over the years I learned why dairy was not good for my health and stopped taking whey protein. I will go over some of these reasons in a bit but first I’ll tell you why I am going to try a version of whey protein to see how my body handles it. First, as I mentioned, whey protein is a complete protein meaning it has all the amino acids needed to build muscle and sustain human life and it does have all 9 essential amino acids.


Whey protein is easily absorbed and used by the body. The manufacturers usually use what they call a biological value to score how well a protein is absorbed and used by the body. Whey protein scores very high.


Another way to score protein is the PDCAAS. The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score. This is a method to score how well a protein will meet human needs. Again, whey protein scores very high on this scale. So, whey protein is highly absorbed and used by the human body and meets human needs very well.


A few more bonuses of whey protein are they contain bioactive milk peptides. You can buy them separately as a supplement to help reduce stress and sleep better but they come in whey protein if you get the right stuff. Whey also contains lactoferrin, which helps reverse atherosclerosis. The right kind of whey protein also increases glutathione production in the liver which is the body’s Chuck-Norris-powerful antioxidant. Again, you can supplement glutathione but then you produce less which tends to lead to less capability of your own production. Whey sounds pretty fawesome; doesn’t it? So here is why I avoided it for so long.


Most people will have a problem with lactose. As a baby we produce lots of lactase which is the enzyme that digests lactose but we produce less and less as we get older. We become more and more lactose intolerant. Lactose is the sugar in milk by the way.


Then there is the casein which is the main protein found in milk. You can buy casein protein powder if you like. It is popular in the fitness industry. It’s a complete protein and shows positive results in athletes. It’s a slower absorbing protein. I have avoided it because 20% of the population has a food sensitivity to casein. Whey is the other protein in milk and I can’t find the percentage of the population that has a food sensitivity to whey but it’s out there. If you find it let me know.


Then there is the hormones and antibiotics. I don’t know what our local dairy farmers are up to but the antibiotics are used because it’s way cheaper to feed an animal when they are taking antibiotics; it fattens them right up. Same with estrogen. They estimate it takes 30% less feed to fatten a cow up when they are on estrogen. The problem is the antibiotics and estrogen gets in the milk and when we drink it, it makes us fat and imbalances our hormones.


Pasteurization. This is the process all milk producers have to do by law to make milk products safe. They heat up the milk to kill all the bacteria in it. It also destroys anything that was good for you in the milk. They fortify it (add stuff to it) like vitamin A and D and calcium and market it as good for you. Got milk? Wait. I already wrote an article like this. Read it.


Ok, so that’s why I boycotted whey protein for the last couple of decades. I have discovered I may not need to boycott whey protein anymore. I am going to try the experiment. First let’s go over the things to avoid and how to avoid them and then I’ll explain how I’m going to do the experiment.


1.       Pasteurization. 2. Hormones and antibiotics. 3. I forgot to mention they feed animals GMO grains and glyphosate and that gets in the milk. 4. I also forgot to mention all the other toxins found in milk. Eg. Aflatoxins. 5. Casein and lactose.


The way to avoid all the above problems with milk products is to first find a very reliable and reputable source for your supplements. I personally use Dr. Mercola but he isn’t the only one I recommend. Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Coffee and Dr. Mark Hyman are great as well. Also get grass fed whey protein that’s from cows that are antibiotic free and hormone free. Grass fed means they are full of nutrients we need but also that there are no GMOs or glyphosate in the animal or milk.


Lots of companies including Dr. Mercola will use cows from New Zealand because they are grass fed or pasture raised and there is very little toxin exposure. They are organically grown without GMOs or glyphosate; no hormones or antibiotics either.


Undenatured whey protein. Denatured means to alter something from its natural state. Processing will denature a product. Usually heating in the case of food products or maybe pressurized like what they do for homogenization. If a product is undenatured it is in its natural form instead of processed. In the case of whey protein all they do is drain the liquid whey off of the cheese curds, filter it from impurities, then dry it out. Of course, they are using unpasteurized milk. When using undenatured whey protein, do not heat it or put it in a blender; this will denature it.


If you use undenatured or non-denatured whey protein you will get the benefits of glutathione production, bioactive milk peptides, lactoferrin, and a high PDCAAS. If you choose to cheap out and go with processed whey you won’t get these massive health benefits and you will get large amounts of D-glutamate which will bind to a sodium molecule in your body and form mono sodium glutamate. MSG is highly toxic. Whey protein isolate is heated and refined; avoid this stuff.


The experiment I am about to try is to reintroduce undenatured whey protein into my diet and see how my body reacts to it. I am going to go all in too. I am going to try Dr. Mercola’s Miracle Whey which also has bovine colostrum in it. The down side is colostrum has small amounts of lactose and casein in it. Oh, I forgot to mention what bovine colostrum is. It is the first milk a mother will produce right after birth. It is loaded with growth factors and high in immune boosting properties along with probiotics to naturally get a baby’s flora up and protect the newborn. Studies have shown improvements in strength and muscle mass when taking colostrum verses whey protein.


If I take the Miracle Whey and my body has a reaction or I get any kind of GI problems I will know not to take it anymore. If I do react in any way I will try plain undenatured whey protein. If I still react I will cut out the whey protein. Hopefully my body will take to the protein powder very well and I will see you at the championship bench press competitions.


One last thing. Be careful how much protein you take. Studies show increased protein intake improves fat loss but too much protein leads to inflammation and decreased longevity. Another study shows increased longevity with non-denatured whey protein. For us that workout, about 1 gram per pound of body mass is about right and for people that don’t workout about half of that is good. Were talking total protein intake for the day. There are lots of studies that show a higher dose of protein is more beneficial but these studies were done by protein powder manufactures and most bodybuilders will follow the recommendations of these manufacturers.


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