The Hype Behind Hydrolysate
Hydrolysed whey protein, known as WPH (whey protein hydrolysate) to industry insiders, has all of the most important features of whey but with an important distinction, making it the ultimate protein to use before and after training. Most MUSCLE INSIDER readers will have heard proteins described as being “fast” or “slow.” Many astute readers of course know that whey protein is naturally the most quickly digested protein you can buy. Well, WPH is even faster than regular whey!
WPH was designed for people with special nutritional needs. To make this form of whey, food scientists process the whey with natural protease enzymes—many of the same ones your gut produces—to break up or “pre-digest” whey protein. These enzymes have the effect of chopping up the long protein chains into much shorter peptides. Peptides are chains of amino acids just like proteins but much shorter, and therefore their size makes them easier to break down and digest in the gut. This has the effect of cranking up amino acid levels in the blood more than just about anything else beyond hooking yourself up to an intravenous drip of amino acids! You see, the body has specific pathways to take up and absorb individual amino acids and peptides of two or three amino acids attached together. With WPH, because it releases much greater numbers of these short peptides, single amino acids, dipeptides (two amino acids joined together) and tripeptides (three amino acids joined together) are all being absorbed simultaneously, resulting in the fastest and highest possible concentrations of amino acids in the blood. A high concentration of amino acids in the blood is the key trigger that maximizes protein synthesis (the process that builds muscle).
Additionally, WPH jacks up insulin levels more than other forms of whey, or other proteins. Although only a tiny amount of insulin is required to maximize protein synthesis, higher insulin levels help with the uptake and retention of creatine, carnitine, and other important nutrients. Also, insulin has anticatabolic effects that reduce muscle breakdown, thus tilting the body’s balance of muscle tissue into more positive territory!
Another issue is that a small but significant number of people are sensitive to whey protein. It’s not an allergy, and it’s not the lactose content (as even whey concentrates have too little lactose to have this effect except in the most sensitive lactose-intolerant individuals). It may have to do with the different types of whey protein produced by different varieties of dairy cows (but that’s for another column), or it may be any one of several other potential sensitivities but WPH (if it is a highly hydrolyzed form) can often be used by those who have these sensitivities, because the specific milk proteins that cause them problems will be broken down and so won’t have those effects.
Finally, studies have shown WPH to be superior in weight-training subjects, with a few studies showing better gains in muscle and/or strength!
So there you have it: WPH is the fastest absorbing, jacks up insulin, may be the best option for those who have stomach issues with normal whey concentrate or isolate, and may be more anabolic and lead to better strength gains.
Follow Mark on social media: