By Joe Stout B.Sc. M.S.
Stop by any major health food store and you’ll be sure to find an abundance of protein supplements littering the shelves. As the consumer, you will observe that the majority of protein containers exhibit brightly-colored labels featuring sweaty bodybuilders in revealing clothing. (they also seem to have one or two token close-up shots of biceps) These are whey protein isolate supplements that promise “fast digestion.” Surface reasoning seems to agree that a protein which is quickly absorbed is a better protein than one which is slowly absorbed. After all, we live in an age of instant gratification where even our protein supplements are “fast acting.” However, a deeper look into the metabolic actions of protein digestion reveals a different conclusion. New scientific findings are paving the way toward a new school of thought called “whole protein supplementation.” What exactly is a whole protein? Simply stated, a whole protein contains both the proteins found in milk – casein protein and whey protein. To explain, if you poured a glass of milk and were able to extract every protein molecule from the glass, that would be a whole protein because the glass of milk contains both whey protein and casein protein.
This leads to the natural question “Why exactly would a whole protein supplement be better than a whey protein supplement?” There are several reasons for the superiority of whole protein to isolated whey protein that were discussed in the previous issue of The High Road to Heath™. For example, a huge benefit lies in the ability of casein protein to suppress proteolysis which is the breakdown of protein. To expand on this point, both whey protein and casein protein stimulate protein synthesis which is the building of proteins but only casein actually suppresses proteolysis. If there’s no casein protein in your supplement, proteolysis will slow your protein gain.
Another aspect of protein supplementation that must be considered is the potential between casein protein and whey protein for aminoacidemia, or high levels of amino acids in the blood. As you may know, amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are made up an amine group and a carboxylic acid group (see right) hence the term amino acid. Each amino acid is absorbed through the small intestine and either integrated into a new protein or used as energy. Either way, ammonia (NH3) is the toxic byproduct of amino acid digestion and absorption. The body must eliminate this byproduct via a process called the urea cycle. The urea cycle is extraordinarily effective at eliminating ammonia through the urine. Nevertheless, high levels of amino acids dumped into the small intestine for a short period of time (as is seen in whey protein isolate intake) causes the urea cycle to work harder than ever to eliminate the ammonia. The benefit to having both whey protein and casein protein together is that amino acids are released into the small intestine in a slower/steadier fashion. This is accomplished due to the casein protein which helps coagulation to occur in the stomach and leads to slower release.
However, the whey protein contained still achieves the necessary protein synthesis while the casein protein suppresses proteolysis. When the protein is slowly released into the small intestine, it is absorbed in a gentle, complete, and superior manner.
Should you decide to invest in a whole protein supplement, I highly recommend Caprotein™ which is an all natural full spectrum whole goat protein. It is suitable for anyone wishing to maintain or increase healthy protein levels. Caprotein™ comes from healthy, free range, antibiotic free goats. If you aren’t supplementing with a complete whole protein then you aren’t getting your money’s worth so give Mt. Capra Products a call today.