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Whey Protein Facts and Application, Dr. Lawrence Sosna

by: Dr. Lawrence Sosna

The word Protein means “first substance”. Our first protein food was found in our mother’s milk. Milk

is the only food designed specifically to optimally sustain the life of a mammal. In fact, the root word

for nutrition means to suckle.  As a species, we would not have survived if not for the nutrition and

protection mother’s milk offers.

Whey is one of the two protein groups found in milk. It is a liquid complex consisting of a wide range

of proteins. The other protein group is casein, which curds are made from and then processed into

cheese.

Whey is an original complete protein food and is considered number one for building and

regenerating our bodies and maintaining a strong immune system.  Our entire metabolic process

relies on the intake of complete protein.  We cycle proteins into amino acids constantly.

Even Hippocrates, the Greek physician of the 5th century B.C., the “father of medicine”, knew the

benefits of whey protein. He stated that the body has an inner adaptive or healing power, and that to

strengthen this healing power, he prescribed serum (liquid whey) to his patients. It was true non-

denatured, native whey. It provided full biological activity and numerous health benefits. All

commercial whey proteins available now are derived from extensively processed milk and

incomparable to the vitality in that 2500 year-old prescription.

It is appropriate to review some important definitions of terms used:

Native Protein: The naturally occurring conformation of a protein. Unaltered by heat, chemicals,

enzyme action or processing. (Native is the same structure and proportion as in the original

substance.)

Denatured: To cause the tertiary structure of (a protein) to unfold, as with heat, alkali, or acid, so

that some of its original properties, especially its biological activity, are diminished or eliminated. (It

means damaged.)

Undenatured: To undamage. (A term that is used without discretion in the industry and is

misleading. It is not possible for a protein to be undenatured.)

Non-denatured: The same structure and proportion as in the original substance with full biological

activity. (Never damaged.)

Presently, the various commercial methods of processing whey do not improve or even maintain the

fragile immune modulating and regenerative components or the biological activity that was originally

in the milk. Most are overly processed and damaged during the manufacturing process.

There are three commercial production methods, which comprise the majority of available whey

proteins. They are 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

(often multiple times) and drastic acidification of the whey to produce curds for manufacturing

cheese. These steps denature (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 (immunoglobulins, lactoferring, serum albumin,

etc), which determine the biological activity of the protein, are not retained. The terms undenatured

and cold-processed are prevalent with these commercial products, but once a protein is denatured it

is not possible to undenature it.

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 that is minimally processed and maintained can achieve that goal. Additionally,

the health of the milking cows and quality of the milk is the foundation of this type of product.

Non-denatured whey protein 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. There are many whey products available; therefore it is highly advisable to

have in writing from the manufacturer, the treatment of the cows and the processing the milk

undergoes.

Covalent Bonded Cysteine (the non-denatured form), is the critical amino acid required for the all-

important intracellular production of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Glutathione is our body’s

master antioxidant and is responsible for numerous defense and repair functions and is an effective

anti-aging substance. Glutathione is best utilized when we produce it internally. Cysteine is very

scarce in our modern diet and therefore glutathione production is limited and deficiency is prevalent.

If cysteine undergoes extreme heating or processing, as most commercial whey products do, it is

denatured and converted to cystine. Covalent-bonded cysteine, active peptides, anabolic growth

factors and enzymes are also present in non-denatured whey protein.

The public is now becoming more aware of the value of quality protein and is choosing whey protein

for many good reasons. Whey protein benefits are numerous, and can yield a wide range of

immune-enhancing properties. It also has the ability to act as an antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-

tumor, antiviral and antibacterial. A number of clinical trials have successfully been performed using

whey as an antimicrobial agent and in the treatment of cancer, HIV, hepatitis B & C, cardiovascular

disease and osteoporosis. It 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 is used by populations that have

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Hepatitis, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Respiratory disease,

cognitive disorder from nutritional compromise and for any sports performance improvement.

Dr. Lawrence Sosna

Dr. Lawrence Sosna Graduated first in his class from the Fairfield College of Myopractics and

Naturopathic Medicine. He is a N.D. and has a PhD in Myology with an emphasis in Orthomolecular

Biochemistry. He strictly practices Integrative Medicine – his research field being cellular

regeneration, Anti-Aging and bio-identical comprehensive hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Sosna

lectures on these topics at symposiums all over the world.

Copyright © January 2005

Whey Protein Facts and Applications

References

Bonang G, Monintja HE, Sujudi, van der Waaij D. Influence of breastmilk on the development of

resistance to intestinal colonization in infants born at the Atma Jaya Hospital, Jakarta. Scand J Infect

Dis 2000;32:189-196.

Bounous G. Whey Protein concentrate and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment, Anticancer

Res. 2000;20:4785-92

Bounous G, Kongshavn PA. Influence of dietary proteins on the immune system of mice. J

Nutr 1982;112:1747-1755.

Bounous G, Gervais F, Amer V, et al. The influence of dietary whey protein on tissue glutathione and

the diseases of aging. Clin Invest Med 1989;12:343-349.

Bowen J, Noakes M, Clifton P. Whey Protein and body fat loss. Asia Pac J Clinical Nut. 2003; 12:S9

Crinnion WJ. Environmental medicine, part 2 – health effects of and protection from ubiquitous

airborne solvent exposure. Altern Med Rev 2000;5:133-143.

Guimont C, Marchall E, Girardet JM, Linden G. Biologically active factors in bovine milk and dairy

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Ha E, Zemel MB. Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids:

mechanisms underlying health benefits for active people (review). J Nutr Biochem 2003;14:251-258.

Hakkak R, Korourian S, Ronis MJ, et al. Dietary whey protein protects against azoxymethane-

induced colon tumors in male rats. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2001;10:555-558.

Jones EM, Smart A, Bloomberg G, et al. Lactoferricin, a new antimicrobial peptide. J Appl

Bacteriol 1994;77:208-214.

Kawase M, Hashimoto H, Hosoda M, et al. Effect of administration of fermented milk containing

whey protein concentrate to rats and healthy men on serum lipids and blood pressure. J Dairy

Sci 2000;83:255-263.

Kennedy RS, Konok GP, Bounous G, et al. The use of a whey protein concentrate in the treatment

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2649.

Kimball SR, Jefferson LS. Control of protein synthesis by amino acid availability. Curr Opin Clin Nutr

Metab Care2002;5:63-67.

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performance. J Appl Physiol 1999;87:1381-1385.

Laursen I, Briand P, Lykkesfeldt AE. Serum albumin as a modulator on growth of the human breast

cancer cell line MCF-7. Anticancer Res 1990;10:343-351.

Levay PF, Viljoen M. Lactoferrin: a general review. Haematologica 1995;80:252-267.

Markus CR, Olivier B, de Haan EH. Whey protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin increases the ratio of

plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids and improves cognitive

performance in stress-vulnerable subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:1051-1056.

Marshall David Jr., O.D., Ph.D. WHEY PROTEIN REPORT – Review of Various Whey Protein.

Current Concepts on Whey Protein Usage.

Micke P, Beeh KM, Buhl R. Effects of longterm supplementation with whey proteins on plasma

glutathione levels of HIV-infected patients. Eur J Nutr 2002;41:12-18.

Sawatzki G, Rich IN. Lactoferrin stimulates colony stimulating factor production in vitro and in

vivo. Blood Cells1989;15:371-385.

Smithers GW, McIntosh GH, Regester GO, et al. Anti-cancer effects of dietary whey

proteins. Proceedings of the Second International Whey Conference 1998;9804:306-309.

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man – a comparison between methylmercury and inorganic mercury. Toxicology 1999;137:169-184.

Takada Y, Aoe S, Kumegawa M. Whey protein stimulated the proliferation and differentiation of

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Whey Protein Quality As Compared to Other Available

Proteins

The quality of dietary proteins is a vital factor in determining what proteins are the most valuable in

terms of how the body assimilates and utilizes the protein as a resource.

To test these ratios in a protein source we begin with an amino acid analysis, a nitrogen analysis,

and then we proceed to the biologic testing. Measuring changes in the protein of the body is a well

accepted evaluative analysis used to determine protein quality, measured as Biologic Value (BV).

This involves the measurement of nitrogen intake from the protein and the output of nitrogen in the

feces and urine. BV is therefore a measurement of the nitrogen absorbed and utilized by the body.

  • Biologic Value (BV) of Dietary Proteins(1)
  • Protein Biologic Value
  • Whey protein 104
  • Egg 100
  • Cow’s Milk 91
  • Beef 80
  • Fish 79
  • Casein 77
  • Soy 74
  • Potato 71
  • Rice 59
  • Wheat 54
  • Beans 49

As this table shows, the animal proteins are high in BV, and are therefore complete proteins(2).

While vegetable proteins are much more incomplete and retain a lower BV rating, due as well to

their lower digestibility(1). With a mixture of these vegetable proteins the effect of a complete protein

can be produced when eaten in sufficient quantity, but this requires a great deal more total protein to

satisfy these requirements.

Whey Protein Concentrates

The benefits (as shown above) of using a whey protein concentrate (WPC) is great according to the

BV of this protein source. It fulfills the body’s amino acid intake beyond any other source of protein

listed above, as well as being a very versatile dietary food. Our Proserum® native whey protein®

concentrate contains all of the essential amino acids for the body as well as providing cysteine and

glutamine. These amino acids are precursors and are necessary for the production of glutathione, a

vital free radical neutralizer in the body.

WPC is defined as a whey protein concentrate containing approximately 80% protein. Proserum® is

a WPC.

1. Renner E. Milk Protein. In: Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition. Munich:

Volkswirtschaftlicher Verlag, 1983

2. Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Proteins. In: Krauses Food Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 9th edition,

Philidelphia: WB Saunders; 1996

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