There are two main components of milk protein:

1. Casein
2. Whey Protein

During the processing of whey protein, fat and lactose (milk sugar) are filtered out to make a lower fat, lower carbohydrate, and higher protein powder. The higher the protein content per gram basis, the more processing (filtering) is needed. When a whey protein count is greater than 85% in protein concentration, it is considered to be a WPI (whey protein isolate). Less than 85% and it is considered to be a WPC (whey protein concentrate).

The two main methods used to process whey protein into whey protein isolate are:

1. Ion Exchange/Cation Exchange
2. Micro-filtration/Ultra-Filtration

Ion Exchange/Cation Exchange

This process is based on separating proteins on their electrical charge. The chemicals hydrochloric acid (battery acid) and sodium hydroxide (salt water) are used in this process. Ion exchange processing only costs ¼ as much as micro and ultra-filtration processing; this is why so many supplement brands choose to use ion exchange WPI in their formulas. Unfortunately through the process of Ion exchange, many of the protein fractions essential for digestion and absorption are damaged. Ion exchange proteins are marketed well due to their higher protein and lower fat content.


The other type of processing method is called micro-filtration and or ultra-filtration. During this process whey protein is flowed over membranes which contain ceramic filters. This is where the whey protein is separated from the raw protein solution. Undesirable components are also filtered out including fat & lactose. No heat or electricity is used so no harm is done to the protein on a sub molecular level.

The advantages of using a micro/ultra-filtration method:

1. Minimal denaturing of protein
2. Improved protein fractions for improved digestion & absorption
3. Better amino acid profile
4. High in immune system boosting components
5. More calcium and less sodium

In summery micro-filtered or ultra-filtered whey protein is the best quality but comes at a more expensive price. Unfortunately price these days seems to dictate many manufacturers choice of ingredients in pursuit for larger profits. Quality is given a second seat.

TSN use micro/ultra-filtered whey protein isolate where required. No ion exchange WPI is ever used in TSN’S formulas for reasons self explainable to you all.

A high quality protein powder should have a sodium count of at least 1/8 or less of the potassium count. Check out any of TSN’s protein and nutritional labels and do the sodium Vs potassium test for yourself.
Think twice before buying your next tub of protein. A good price does not always reflect a good quality product.

Adam Bryant

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