Since last year I have been supplementing my workouts with protein powder. I believe that the gains I have obtained while supplementing my workouts with protein powder were achieved at a faster rate than when I worked out and received all my nutrients from the food I ingested. Getting my protein powder at first was really difficult because my father was seriously against me putting “unnatural” supplements into my body. It took a little convincing but I manage to buy my first protein powder 1 year and a half ago. Without truly looking into the details of protein powders, I based my purchase off of the supplement store manager’s recommendation, and bought myself an “All Natural Whey Isolate” Protein Powder! This protein powder was more expensive than all of the other powders in the store (should have rang some bells), but the manager assured me that it’s because this protein powder is all “natural”. I know from a light research done in the past that whey protein powder is derived from milk, therefore I wonder if the production of protein powder involved anyother materials (other than milk) , and if so are they also naturally occurring or manufactured in some lab.
Whey is a bi-product of cheese and casein manufacture. When 100 L of milk is used to produce cheese and casein, generally 12 kg of cheese is made, along with 3kg of casein, and 87 L of whey. This bi product named whey is definitely not the same Whey protein powder, which I put in my protein shake. This whey is 6% solid, and is a greenish liquid, which looks and tastes unimaginably horrible. This is why in the past whey was used as pig food and fertilizer and sometimes the whey was simply discarded into the ocean.
Whey Protein Concentrate is produced using ultrafiltration. Ultrafiltration keeps in a liquid product retentate, which consists of any insoluble material or solutes greater than 20000 Da molecular weight. The rest of the whey (greenish liquid) passes through the membrane and is called the permeate. The permeate consists of most of the lactose and H2O originally found in the whey. The retentate, which consists of only 1-4% of the original whey inserted into the ultrafiltration, is then spray dried into a powder that consists of 35-85% protein depending on the intending customer.
Digestive enzymes in a controlled environment manufacture whey Protein Hydrolysates, where the temperature and pH levels are controlled. Raw materials from Whey Protein Concentrate are used. The WPC raw materials are filtered and spray dried in the same way regular WPC are made, after which they are subjected to the digestive enzymes. A regular protein is a chain of amino acids in which the amine group of one amino acid is bound to the carboxylic group of a neighboring amino acid via a amide bond. Proteolytic enzymes catalyst the hydrolysis of these bonds. Chains of 2 to 5 amino acids are called peptides. In a hydrolysate, all the proteins are broken up into peptides and free amino acids no greater than the peptides.
Figure 1 Protein Hydrolysis
The research I performed has shed a new light on the substance I drink almost three times a day. This research has not only proven to me that chemistry is truly everywhere but has also shed some light onto the economical side of protein powder production. In conclusion the production of whey protein concentrate is “all natural” by that I mean that it involves only milk, which has been ultrafiltrated. The production of protein powder hydrolysate in my opinion is also “natural” because large amino acid chains are broken up using digestive enzymes, which are naturally occurring. The economical perspective of protein production comes from the fact that from 87 liters 3.48 liters of protein powder.
“The Chemistry of Whey Protein – www.ChemistryIsLife.com.”www.ChemistryIsLife.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. <http://www.chemistryislife.com/the-chemistry-of-whey-protein>.
“Minimal whey protein with carbohydra… [Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007] – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18059587>.