Amino acids and Whey protein both promote muscle growth, recovery and repair, but how do we choose, and which is best as compared to others? Let’s find out!
Whey protein is the most extensively used supplement worldwide in sports and bodybuilding field. Whey is made from milk and is one of the two proteins present in milk, the other being casein (80% casein and 20% whey). Whey protein is formed from the liquid whey which is left over in the cheese making process and casein protein separate out as cheese. This whey liquid is then concentrated by removing water and other impurities and become whey protein concentrate. It is furthermore processed, filtered and refined to remove the impurities, ashes, fats and lactose to give a purer whey protein called Whey protein isolate.
Three primary types of whey protein are as follows:
1.Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
It is the least expensive of the three because it is less refined and contains 32-80% of actual whey protein. Purity is lesser than other two and contains some amount of lactose.
2. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
It is most frequently used and is 90% pure whey protein. Might contain traces or no lactose at all. Thus, its expensive too.
3. Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH)
It is whey isolate only but in pre-digested form means it whey protein longer chain has been broken down (peptide bond in broken down) into smaller chains for fat digestion and absorption hence it is fastest absorbed protein as compared to the other two. It is the most expensive one as found in purest and predigested form hence preferred and used by professionals’ athletes, bodybuilders, hard trainers, keto dieters, LCHF dieters.
❝ Whey protein is a complete protein with the highest biological value (HBV) ranging from 104 to 157 and is highly effective in protein synthesis in the body. ❞
Benefits of whey
- It is a complete protein with the highest biological value (HBV) ranging from 104 to 157 and is highly effective in protein synthesis in the body.
- It is quickly absorbed into the body thus promotes quick muscle repair and growth and maintenance.
- It contains all 22 amino acids including the essential amino acids - ones that cannot be made by the body and so have to be taken from an outside source, that help in sparing muscle glycogen and thus supporting muscle repair and growth while optimizing performance
- It also contains BCAA (Branched chain amino acids) Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, which is essential for muscle protein synthesis. In fact, whey protein is the richest source of BCAA.
- It also contains glutamine which is conditionally essential amino acid and has an anti-catabolic effect on muscles and speed up the recovery post workout.
- It also Contains immunoglobulins that help fight against infections thereby improving immune function.
- It Provides Calcium which is critical to bone health
- It May contain other vitamins and minerals too.
Amino acids are basically pre-digested protein that do not require further breakdown unlike whole proteins or whey protein. They bypass the need for digestion and are instantly absorbed into the blood stream to exert beneficial effects. They are then utilized to make new proteins in the body.
Benefits of amino acids
- They do not require digestion and are quickly absorbed into the blood stream.
- Better tolerated by the digestive system and there is no load on the system.
- Full spectrum amino acids have all 22 essential and non-essential amino acids that can helps in achieving the benefits of all amino acids.
- Certain Amino acids has a specific function in the body. Eg: Leucine for muscle protein synthesis, Tyrosine to produce thyroid hormone for regulating metabolism, Cysteine to produce glutathione which is a potent anti-oxidant too.
- Amino acids are best to be taken as pre, intra and post-workout for faster amino acid absorption leading to muscle building.
whey VS amino acids
- Whey and amino acids are equally important and pretty similar considering the crucial timings of their supplementation.
- Whey protein provides enough calories around 100 to 130 Kcal per serving, close to recover after an activity whereas Amino acids don’t.
- Amino acid supplements are often a little expensive as compared to whey because of processing needs.
- Whey protein shakes can replace a meal, but amino acids cannot.
❝ For a hard-core athlete, bodybuilder, hard trainers who need fast recovery, there is no choice, opt for both for optimal performance. ❞
So what's better?
- Also consider how much protein, getting from diet and how much is your daily protein requirements.
- However, if you are allowed to choose only one option, then protein will be the best choice. This is because it is more economical, offerers all amino acids for muscle building.
Whey protein and amino acids are equally important and quite similar considering the crucial timings of their absorption. For those who difficulty in digesting the whey protein can opt for full spectrum amino acids and combine it with a high protein meal with paneer, eggs and meat.