Whey Protein Concentrate vs Isolate Comparison

When choosing a protein powder you might come across a few different types- concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Before you make your choice it is important to understand the difference between these protein powders, as they all have slightly different benefits. In this article, we will focus on whey protein vs isolate. Each has its own health benefits, but we think that whey protein concentrate is definitely the winner.

What is Whey Protein Concentrate?

Whey protein concentrate is simply the liquid part of whole milk with the solids removed. When dried whey contains at most about 80% protein. Whey protein concentrate also has special bioactive proteins that cannot be found in whey protein isolate. This makes it particularly beneficial for supporting immune health These delicate proteins, called bioactive peptides, help strengthen the immune system. When protein powder is processed to create whey isolate, these proteins are destroyed. This may be why, if you are looking for immune support, a whey protein concentrate might be a better choice.  In addition, a report published in the Journal of Immunology on the importance of glutathione for the immune system states: “The bioactive components of whey protein concentrate help replenish glutathione levels within the cell, thus supporting an optimal immune response. It is accomplished via continuous provision of glutathione precursors, especially cysteine, during splenic lymphocyte proliferation. These precursors allow for intracellular concentrations of glutathione to be increased, especially within the mitochondria, which in turn increase lymphocyte activation and proliferation.  The effects of glutathione precursor supplementation can be seen for significant lengths of time after introduction to the cells. This can be helpful in chronic inflammatory conditions or aging that tend to deplete levels of intracellular glutathione and reduce immune function.” This research indicates that taking whey protein concentrate can support increased glutathione levels in the blood, particularly impacting the immune system. This is one of the primary benefits of concentrated whey protein vs isolate.

What is Whey Protein Isolate?

Whey protein isolate is also made from cow’s milk. But it is different from whey concentrate in that it is more processed.  Whey isolate is made from the same liquid part of milk that a concentrate is but undergoes additional processing to remove as much of the fat and carbohydrates as possible, which artificially elevates the protein content to 90% by weight. It also tends to contain less lactose than a concentrate since the carbohydrates have been significantly reduced.  In general, whey isolate is more expensive than whey concentrate because there are additional manufacturing steps to produce it.  Isolate and concentrate are both great sources of protein and contain all nine essential amino acids. But, in the comparison of whey protein isolate vs concentrate, we think concentrate has some major advantages. 

Whey Protein Isolate vs. Concentrate for Weight Loss

All types of whey protein can help promote weight loss by increasing satiety and supporting lean muscle mass. But, whey protein concentrate may be better than isolate in terms of weight loss for one special reason- glutathione. Whey Protein Concentrate vs Isolates Glutathione may also play a role in weight management. A 2018 study found that for obese participants on a weight loss diet, those with higher GSH levels at the start of the diet lost significantly more weight and body fat over a 6-month period. Knowing the glutathione levels of those that desire weight loss may help tailor individualized plans to help them achieve their goals. Whey protein concentrate due to the high cysteine levels may help people achieve weight loss with less effort. When comparing whey protein isolate vs concentrate for weight loss, whey concentrate is best. As we mentioned, any protein is great for fueling your metabolism and helping you eat less overall, but concentrate has that additional boost from the high cysteine content that may help make shedding those pounds just a little easier.

Here’s Why We Use Proserum

Proserum® is a whey protein concentrate that utilizes a proprietary filtration and drying method that involves a minimal amount of processing. The result is a microbially safe product that exceeds all standards and makes it the optimum nutrition whey protein powder.  We DO NOT use cross-flow filtration, microfiltration, isolate filtration, hydrolyzation, or ion exchange because these methods denature (damage) the original protein components. After the use of these commercial methods, the damaged proteins are then filtered out and what remains is a narrow range of “undenatured” proteins that have survived the whey manufacturing process.  Additionally, vital protein-bound fats have been removed. Some of these whey protein products are then referred to as undenatured/cold processed. It is not possible to un-denature or restore the full biological activity of a protein after it has been damaged. When considering a whey product ask for a lab analysis of the whey showing actual percentages of components present from the distributor/manufacturer. You should not receive a range of percentages as that denotes it is not from an actual test. Test results on our products are from an independent lab that performs SDS PAGE Gel method testing Milk from grass-fed cows has up to 3 times the amount of omega 3 fatty acids when compared to grain-fed cows, and it is also a rich source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). When cows are allowed to graze on fresh pastures alone their milk contains over twice more CLA than products from cows fed grain. Proserum whey protein is derived from cows that graze year-round on chemical and pesticide-free natural pastures. Proserum whey protein contains exceptional levels of naturally occurring cysteine (covalent bonded cysteine). It is the main precursor for the intracellular production of glutathione (GSH). Glutathione has several roles within the body including antioxidant activity, supporting metabolism, and contributing to the regulation of cell production.The Importance of Cysteine Cysteine is an amino acid naturally found in lean protein, eggs, nuts, legumes, flax seeds, cruciferous vegetables, and whey. The highest concentrations are found in raw or rare meat, unprocessed dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables. However, because cooking and pasteurization are so common in today’s world, this processing significantly depletes the amount of cysteine present in food. This limited availability of cysteine in our foods can contribute to the depletion of glutathione in our bodies. Glutathione can also be depleted in the body by a number of other lifestyle factors, including poor nutrition, environmental pollution, and toxin exposure, aging, insomnia, and stress.  Glutathione deficiency is associated with decreased immunity, increased susceptibility to cancer and a number of chronic diseases affecting all systems of the body. Because our methods limit the amount of processing done to our Proserum whey protein concentrate, it is able to retain its high concentration of cysteine. This makes Proserum one of the best whey protein products available on the market today.

Which is Better Whey Protein vs Isolate?

In the battle of concentrated whey vs isolate, we think concentrate wins hands down.  Our entire whey line is based on our Proserum, since, as a concentrate, it has been shown to retain components that strengthen the immune system when compared to whey protein isolate.  Specifically, it contains the full range and highest levels of the most important bioactive protein components: Lactoferrin, Immunoglobulins, Serum Albumin, Active Peptides and Growth Factors.  The bioactive peptides and nutrient composition make products like our Vital Whey the optimum protein powder to support proper immune function. So, when you perform a whey protein comparison, there are good reasons to select Well Wisdom’s Vital Whey® and ImmunoPro® products.
Kade Brittain