For years, athletes have been using whey protein to improve their performance and aid in their recovery. Although many have traditionally regarded whey protein in the context of sports nutrition, a lesser-known function is its remarkable immune and antimicrobial benefits.
Although most of us think of whey as a powder, all whey begins its life as a liquid. You may recall the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey...". When you make cheese, the solid portion is known as the curd (i.e. the cheese), and the liquid that separates from the curd is called whey.
Whey was discovered approximately 5000 years ago and has had a long and fascinating history. Hippocrates, the so-called "father of medicine," first wrote about whey's medicinal properties around 460 BC and prescribed it to patients for gastrointestinal and skin conditions (1). Between the 17th and 19th centuries, "whey houses," akin to today's juice bars, started to appear throughout Europe, serving liquid whey and promoting its health benefits. Most of us are familiar with the old English proverb, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Two lesser-known Italian proverbs from the 17th century highlight the importance of whey in that culture; "if everyone were raised on whey, doctors would be bankrupt" and "if you want to live a healthy and active life, drink whey."
The rich history surrounding whey is impressive, but the research is even more so. As of today (Feb 2021), you'll find almost 1000 published studies looking at the benefits of whey protein in general and 160 of those looking at immunity in specific (2). Although protein in general is essential for healthy immune function, in the world of proteins, whey has some exciting properties. Whey not only provides a highly bioavail- able source of protein, but it is also unique in that it contains specific compounds, known as bioactive peptides, that have remarkable immune modulating (balancing) and antimicrobial properties (3). These naturally occurring immune-supportive peptides are glycomacropetide, immu- noglobulins, lactoferrin, and lactoperoxidase. It's important to recognize that not all whey proteins contain these valuable peptides. How the whey has been handled and turned into a whey protein powder will determine whether these compounds are present or not.
Some methods of filtration preserve these naturally occurring peptides and other methods do not. Of the various filtration methods, whey protein concentrates provide the richest source of these peptides, and in turn, the greatest immune and antimicrobial support. Whey protein isolates that are made using a process called cross-flow microfiltration provide some of these peptides, albeit less than a whey concentrate. Ion exchange is another method used to make whey protein isolate and it is void of these peptides altogether. Whey isolates have their place and offer some unique benefits; very low in fat/carbs/lactose/cholesterol and rapidly absorbed. Consider using a protein blend that's primarily whey concentrate with some cross-flow microfiltered whey isolate for the best of both worlds.
Although whey alone can support immunity, adding some additional immune-supportive compounds should make it all the more effective! From this idea was born, Boosted Immuno Whey+. This product not only provides a grass-fed whey protein blend that's rich in these immune-supportive peptides, but it's also fortified with immune supportive and antimicrobial nutrients:
6 Organic Medicinal Mushrooms (PEAKO2®) — Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shitake, Lion's
Mane, & Turkey Tail
- Numerous studies have shown that these medicinal mushrooms support immunity, are adaptogenic, enhance power & endurance (4,5,6)
Probiotic — Bacillus subtilis DE111
- Research using this specific strain has shown that it has immunomodulatory effects (balances immunity) (7)
Vitamins & Minerals — Vitamin C, Vitamin A (beta carotene), Magnesium & Aquamin (source of 74
macro and trace minerals)
- Key vitamins & minerals that can support immunity (10)
Superfoods — Turmeric, Panax Ginseng Root, Tart Cherry, Cinnamon, & Spirulina
- These superfoods have been shown in studies to possess anti-inflammatory & immune-supportive benefits (11, 12, 13, 14)
With immunity being front of mind these days, shouldn't your protein shake provide more than just whey protein? Boosted Immuno Whey+ delivers the best of both worlds – A High Quality Protein + The Immune Support We All Want! Consider giving your morning smoothie or oatmeal an IMMUNE BOOST by adding a scoop of Boosted Immuno Whey+. Whey proteins' ease of use and great taste make it a simple, convenient and healthy option!
1Smithers et al., Whey-ing Up The Options – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. International Dairy Journal, 2015
3Brandelli et al., Whey As A Source Of Peptides With Remarkable Biological Activities. Food Research International, 2015
4Hirsch et al., Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. The Journal of Dietary Supplements, 2017.
5Hirsch et al., Chronic supplementation of a mushroom blend on oxygen kinetics, peak power, and time to exhaustion. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2015
6Wasser SP., Medicinal Mushrooms in Human Clinical Studies. Part I. Anticancer, Oncoimmunological, and Immunomodulatory Activities: A Review. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2017
7Freedman et al., Examining the Gastrointestinal and Immunomodulatory Effects of the Novel Probiotic Bacillus subtilis DE111. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2020
8Medical News Today. What To Know About Inulin, A Healthful Prebiotic. 2020 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318593
9Erin et al., Dietary Supplementation with a Magnesium-Rich Marine Mineral Blend Enhances the Diversity of Gastrointestinal Microbiota. Marine Drugs, 2018
10Wintergerst et al., Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2007
11Finamore et al., Antioxidant, Immunomodulating, and Microbial-Modulating Activities of the Sustainable and Ecofriendly Spirulina. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017
12Ratan, et al., Adaptogenic effects of Panax ginseng on modulation of immune functions. Journal of Ginseng Research, 2021
13Kahkhaie et al., Curcumin: A Modulator of Inflammatory Signaling Pathways In The Immune System. Inflammopharmacology, 2019
14Rao et al., Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014