|Whey protein contains protein fractions
that have a variety of interesting benefits.
comprises about 65% of the protein in whey. However, no clear function has been identified for this protein fraction. Some processing methods for producing whey protein powder may result in increased levels of beta-lactalbumin, the least interesting protein fraction in whey.
Alpha-lactalbumin accounts for 15-25% of the
composition of whey protein. It is rich in the essential
amino acids lysine, leucine, threonine, tryptophan, and
cystine. It found in all mammalian milk and is easy to digest, and thus, used in some baby formulas.
are formed from casein during the cheese making-process
and account for 15-20% of whey protein. Chymosin, used in the cheese production causes casein to be hydrolyzed into two peptides.
GMP is the smaller of the two peptides, and it is soluble in whey. The other peptide makes up a part of
the cheese curd. GMP’s stimulates the hormone cholecystokinin, which regulates digestion and controls food intake. Cholecystokinin is released from the intestines and works to decrease appetite and signal satiety. Other research shows that GMP, and the peptides derived from it, also inhibit platelet aggregation, are beneficial to ‘friendly’ intestinal bacteria such as bifidobacteria, and may also inhibit dental plaque and cavities.
In terms of amino acids composition, GMP’s contain many branched chain amino acids. There is also a low quantity of the amino acid phenylalanine in GMP, thus purified sources of GMP make it an interesting nitrogen source for people with phenylketoneuria (PKU disorder), who cannot metabolize phenylalanine.
Bovine Serum Albumin is a protein fraction
making up 2-5% of whey protein. This protein fraction is
high in essential amino acids. Studies show that it
increases the white blood cell T-cells, increases
Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, are found in
whey protein at 2-3%. Immunoglobulins in breast milk
help infants build the immune system. Some studies
suggest that immunoglobulins may help adults in a
Lactoferrin is a protein fraction that binds
to iron. It makes up less than 1% of the protein found
in whey. It has antimicrobial properties by depriving
microbes in our body of iron. This can aid the immune
system, and may contribute to healing wounds, fighting
cancer, and promote anti-inflammatory activity.