Undenatured whey protein powder is on the rise as a popular option, and there’s a reason why.
Producing this kind of protein requires special attention on the process, source, and absorption. Everyone wants to know that their protein is made with an appropriate process, made in a safe place, and ready for the body to use. Thus, making this an attractive option.
In this article, you’re going to be learning more about protein. You’ll also be learning about undenatured protein and how it could be right for you.
What is Undenatured Whey Protein?
Whey protein is made from milk. However, most commercial processing of whey protein comes as a byproduct of making cheese. Yes, most of the protein you purchase was made during the cheese process.
The whey is separated out and left to dry at high temperatures before it’s used to make a supplement. This all sounds fairly simple, but it can often be the less-than-optimal way of making whey protein. While it creates a use for the whey being cast off, this doesn’t always make the best protein supplement.
Undenatured whey is created with a more fine-tuned process. This protein process takes the milk from cows with the intent on solely using it for whey protein production. These cows are also grass-fed to ensure that they have the best nutrient profile available. They also aren’t given a ton of antibiotics or other drugs in their lifetime. Due to their diet and lack of pharmaceuticals, the milk is rich in vitamins, minerals, and even healthy fats. While it may sound a little crazy, those nutrients transfer from the animal into your shake. What a source of food eats or absorbs can just as easily be consumed by you. Thus, the milk coming from these cows is very native and organic. Their milk is then isolated down to extract the whey, which is then gently dried instead of using high temperatures. In the end, you have a very focused, clean, and absorbable protein powder.
While that’s great, you’re probably wondering why the cheese process is bad and the undenatured process is good. Let’s move deeper into this.
How is Protein Denatured?
Proteins naturally denature or unravel from their structures when exposed to more extreme stimuli. Proteins are wound up into different configurations so that they can execute on a specific function. When they lose this shape, they in turn can become less effective at doing their job. This can sometimes completely eliminate a protein’s ability to perform a specific task.
Things like heat, acidity, UV rays, and too much movement can cause a protein to breakdown and lose its shape. This process is called denaturing. A great way to think of this, would be cooking an egg. Now, the egg doesn’t completely become useless when cooked, but the proteins do unwind and lose function. The egg whites, when exposed to heat, turn white and become more solid. This is the denaturing of proteins in that egg. While the total form change may not happen with your powder, as it goes through the process a lot can happen to the proteins and denaturing does happen.
Even when care is taken on a product, it can denature some during the shipping process. Yes, those boxes of supplements showing up to your door could’ve been exposed to heat or movement that broke down some of the proteins in that product.
Most of these agitators for whey protein are happening during that commercial cheese process. Thus, that process is less than ideal for the creation of a protein powder supplement. You’re getting a much more denatured product by the end of the process than you would with an undenatured protein powder.
Now, if something denatures, is it rendered useless? Absolutely not! Your body can do a lot with a little in most cases, so long as you’ve been taking care of yourself. So, even if a protein has been denatured, it can be of use to you and your body.
Is Undenatured Whey Better for You?
There’s a high chance that you’ve heard or seen the term, bioavailability. This is a pretty large buzzword in the world of nutrition right now, but it is legit. Bioavailability typically refers to a food or nutrient’s ability to be absorbed by the body. If something had a low bioavailability, then your body wouldn’t even use all of it and it would be a waste. Now, if it had a high level of bioavailability, then your body would have a high chance of making use of it. Now, this can come down to two things when considering bioavailability.
A food’s absorption and your body’s ability to absorb.
Real quick, let’s circle back to undenatured whey protein powder. What is so good about it? It’s a great option because this kind of whey has a high rate of absorption. The proteins aren’t broken down and can be used for their proper functions. The care that’s given to the process allows the nutrients to be in their most native form and make it to their destination. Point blank, your body is going to have a much easier time taking this kind of protein powder in.
On the other hand, some of this won’t matter if your ability to absorb nutrients is low. So, what can make this happen?
Your gut health is a big player in the absorption of protein and other nutrients. If you have poor gut health, it really won’t matter how high of quality the protein is. Poor gut health comes from neglecting the microscopic bacteria that reside in your GI tract. They help to breakdown food and release helpful chemicals when they’re happy, but when they aren’t you run into trouble.
Gut health can be super simple, so long as you follow a few steps. Consume plenty of veggies and eat some fermented foods, and you ought to be just fine. It should be noted, however, that long term consumption of processed foods does a ton of damage to the gut itself. Try to stay away from these and your gut will thank you.
So, undenatured protein is more readily absorbed, but your body needs to be primed and ready. If a quarterback throws the perfect pass, you still need someone there to catch it.
To conclude, whey protein is great for building muscle. However, undenatured whey is even better for building muscle.
Undenatured whey is made straight from the source. It isn’t made as a byproduct of cheese production, and there is special care taken to ensure that the protein doesn’t denature. The unraveling of proteins or denaturing can lead to a less than ideal product. The proteins become less bioavailable or readily absorbed by your system. This can lower the amount of protein that can be used for building muscle.
Undenatured whey is also great as it comes from grass-fed cows, which allows for a much higher nutrient profile. These cows consume all the vitamins and minerals from the land versus nutrient deficient feed. What they eat transfers some into what you’re getting from the protein powder itself.
When it comes to the breaking down of these proteins. Protein can be denatured via many different stimuli such as heat, acidity, force, and more. Anything that can disrupt the structures of these nutrients has a chance of breaking them down. Yes, even over shaking your shaker bottle can denature some of those proteins.
While undenatured protein is the healthier and easier form of protein to absorb, you must be able to actually uptake the protein. If your gut health is sub-par, you may have issues absorbing protein in general. Therefore, you need to look here first before you target the kind of protein you’re consuming.
All in all, it’s the better option when it comes to looking for a protein powder. Think twice next time you want to buy a run-of-the-mill whey protein from the store. Most commercial powders will take the cheap and affordable route and use a whey byproduct, whereas you can get a clean, grass-fed, absorbable, and healthy supplement from undenatured whey protein.