(587) 805-1520

The Whey to Go for Athletes

SMS for information (587) 805-1520

Athletes should consume whey protein because it’s an excellent source for muscle recovery 1-3. Whey protein typically falls into two types: whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Whey protein concentrate consists of: protein that varies from 25-80%, lactose from 4-8%, and fat content from 1-7%4. This is the supplement form commonly found in health and nutrition stores5. In contrast, whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein, containing anywhere from 90-95% protein with virtually no lactose or fat. The additional process of cross-flow micro-filtration removes the impurities, yielding 8% more denatured protein while excluding remaining fats6. The next step of adding whey protein hydrolysate  allows for rapid utilization and excellent absorption7.

What is whey protein?
Whey proteins are high quality protein naturally found in cow’s milk. Milk contains 2 major proteins: casein and whey. Whey proteins comprise of about 20% of the total milk protein, which is more soluble than casein and has higher protein quality rating8-9. They are also a rich source of branched-chain amino-acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine. These proteins contain all of the essential and non-essential amino acids needed by the body. Whey proteins are complete proteins10.

Which Whey?
The process of creating whey protein starts as cheese making. All milk should be from organic, grass-fed cows (high in omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio.) Corn-fed cows produce high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory. Unfortunately, for most of the nutritional supplement industry, corn fed cows are the source of whey protein. Beware!
This is the reason I only recommend third-party certified companies (GMP, NSF, TGA) that validated this grass-fed process.

Whey Protein for Sports Nutrition
The amino acid profile of whey protein is almost identical to that of skeletal muscle11. Its high concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) help to maintain and repair lean muscle tissue following exercise and prevent muscle breakdown. These BCSS’s help to prevent fatigue during intense, long duration sports events. Leucine, which is found in abundance in whey protein, helps to stimulate protein synthesis and maintain a positive nitrogen balance to enhance muscle repair and recovery12-15.

Whey protein can be effective when combined appropriately with exercise. Whey protein consumption for post-workout may be one of the most beneficial things that one can do to maximize lean body mass16,17. It is low-glycemic but insulinogenic at the same time18,19. This creates a unique opportunity for muscle growth without fat gain, especially is a post-workout setting.

The addition of an appropriate amount of carbohydrates with whey is beneficial in terms of muscle gains. In studies analyzing post-workout intake of protein alone, carbohydrates alone, or  combination of both, protein and carbohydrates together generates the greatest insulin response. This enhances muscle glycogen synthesis, glucose uptake, and increase in protein synthesis20,21.

Whey Protein Post-Workout Ratios
Research indicates the consumption of 20 grams of whey protein post-workout:

  1. For a power workout (eg. weight-lifting) the appropriate ratio is 2:1 carbs to protein
  2. For a team sport (eg. lacrosse) the appropriate ratio is 3:1 carbs to protein
  3. For an endurance workout (eg. cross-country distance running) the appropriate ratio is 4:1 carbs to protein

The optimal window of opportunity for absorption of all the carbs/protein is within 30 minutes of an athletic endeavor completion.

Further Benefits of Whey
Whey protein provides an excellent source of cysteine, enhancing glutathione status, which optimizes immune function. Additionally, it aids in recovery from eccentric exercise.

Whey protein provides an excellent source of muscle recovery from athletic activity. This occurs as a result of whey protein yielding high levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) and aiding in protein synthesis. The purest form is whey protein isolate from organic grass-fed cows (third-party certified). The consumption of proper ratios of whey protein and carbohydrates remains critical to ensure muscle recovery and performance. It’s the whey to go for athletes.


Written by:
Dr. Robert Silverman
280 Dobbs Ferry Rd. Ste. 204
White Plains, NY 10607


  1. Clarkson PM. “Antioxidants and physical performance”. Crit rev Food Sci Nutr. 1995;35:131-41
  2. Shephard RJ, Shek PN. “Heavy exercise, nutrition and immune function: is there a connection?” Int J Sports Med. 1995;16:491-97
  3. J Diary Sci. 2011 Aug;94(8):3739-46
  4. Foegeding, EA; Davis, JP; Doucet, D; McGuffey, MK. 2002. “Advances in modifying and understanding whey protein functionality”. Trends in Food Science & Technology 13(5):151-9
  5. Marshall, K (2004). “Therapeutic applications of whey protein”. Alternative Medicine Review 9(2): 136-156
  6. Belfort, G., Davis, R. and Zydney, A. 1994. “The behavior of suspensions and macromolecular solutions in crossflow microfiltration”. A review for the North American Membrane Society’s Annual Reviews and for the  Membrane Sci., 96, 1-58.
  7. Lee YH. November 1992. “Food-processing approaches to altering allergenic potential of milk-based formula.” Pediatr. 121 (5 Pt 2): S47-50
  8. Jay R. Hoffman and Michael J. Falvo, 2004. “Protein – Which is best?”. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (3):118-130
  9. Luhovvy BL, Akhavan T, Anderson GH, 2007. “Whey proteings in regulation of food intake and satiety”. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26 (6): 704S-712S
  10. Rieu I, Balage M, Sornet C, et al. April 2007. “Increased availability of leucine with leucine-rich whey proteins improves postprandial muscle protein synthesis in aging rats”. Nutrition 23 (4): 323-31
  11.  Hulmi, C. Lockwood, et al. “Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein”. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010; 7:51
  12. Kimball Scott; Jefferson, LS, 2006. “Signalling Pathways and Molecular Machanisms through which Branched-Chain Amino Acids Mediate Translational Control of Protein Synthesis”. The Journal of Nutrition 136 (1): 227S-31S
  13. Cooper MB, et al. “The effect of marathon running on carnitine metabolism and on some aspects of muscle mitochondrial activities and antioxidant mechanisms”. J Sports Sci. 1986;4:79-87
  14. Kashyap S, et al. “Protein quality in feeding low birthweight infants: a comparison of whey-predominant versus casein-predominant formulas. 1987;79:748-755
  15. Wong CW, Watson DL. Immunomodulatory effects on dietary whey proteins in mice. IJ Dairy Res. 1995;62:359-68
  16. European Journal of Applied Physiology,  114:935-742
  17. Matthew S, Judith L, et al. “Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:54
  18. Akhavan T, et al. “Effect of premeal consumption of whey proteins and its hydrolysate on food intake and postmeal glycemia and insulin responses in young adults.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(4):966-75
  19. Gunnerud UJ, et al. “Effects of whey proteins on glycaemia and insulinaemia to an oral glucose load in healthy adults: a dose-response sudy.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;67(7):749-53
  20. Zawadzki KM, Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Ivy JL. “Carbohydrate-protein complex increases the rate of muscle glycogen storage after exercise.” J Appl Physiol. 1992;72:1857-59
  21. Ivy JL, Goforth HW Jr, Damon BM, et al. “Early postexercise muscle glycogen recovery is enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement. J Apply Physiol. 2002;93:1337-44

About Firstline Nutrition

Health practitioners who have years of experience in the natural medicine field. We provide health supplements and vitamins to support healthy living. Our articles are researched and talk about the products we carry.

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter

Any newsletter subscription can be cancelled with a one-click unsubscribe button included at the bottom of all emails.