Grass-Fed Whey Protein Versus Regular Whey Powder: Which is Better?
Most people know the importance of getting enough protein into their diet. It’s even more valuable for good health though to get high quality undamaged proteins.
Poor sources, such as the processed meat in ready meals or hydrolyzed soy protein isolate in many packaged goods, can do far more damage to your body than good.
By comparison, whey powder from grass-fed cows is one the best source of undenatured essential amino acids. It also provides many potent nutrients for natural weight loss, increased immunity and better overall health.
These include omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and high levels of cysteine for glutathione production. All of this nutrition is found in far higher levels in grass-fed versus standard protein powders.
Keep reading to understand just why grass-fed whey is so good for you compared to regular whey protein, simple ways to add it to your diet and the best brand of powdered whey from pastured cows on the market.
The Importance of Protein for Good Health
It’s actually difficult to overstate the importance of protein to good health and disease prevention. Undamaged protein and its amino acids are used by your body to build your muscles, organs, bones, skin and hair and to power thousands of processes that keep you alive each day.
Proteins run through your blood as hormones and oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. All enzymes and neurotransmitters are made of it, as are the DNA and RNA at the heart of every cell in your body.
In one way or another, proteins are responsible for all the systems that power digestion, nutrient distribution, cellular communication, your body’s immunity to disease, and many more life-giving functions every moment of every day.
Despite all this, an excess of low quality processed protein is known to cause many digestive problems and increase the risk of serious diseases like colon cancer.
If you value your health then go for quality not quantity. Free range eggs are great, but for sheer bio-availability nothing beats whey powder, and the best kind is grass-fed whey. Here’s why.
Regular Whey Protein Vs Grass-Fed
There are a lot of whey powders available, but the vast majority come from feedlot cattle fed with GMO grains, often corn mash, a waste product of ethanol manufacturing.
Grain-fed cattle ingest pesticide residues from their feed which passes into their milk. They are also routinely given hormones to boost lactate production and antibiotics to combat diseases in the cramped conditions they are forced to live in. Both of these can be detected in the resulting milk.
By comparison, milk from dairy cows that graze on grass is free of antibiotic, pesticide and hormone residue. It has also been measured as up to 4 times higher in important omega-3 fatty acids when compared to grain-fed cattle.
This superior fatty acid profile is just the start of the many beneficial properties of milk from pasture grazing cows vs commercial feedlot dairy though.
Even more important are the much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and the amino acid cysteine for glutathione production.
4 Nutritional Benefits of Grass-Fed Whey
1. Conjugated Linoleic Acid for Weight Management
Grass-fed whey is a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid. CLA is a potent nutrient clinically shown to increase fat metabolism within your body and enhance weight loss.
Milk from cows grazing on grass will usually contain 3 to 5 times the amount of conjugated linoleic acid compared to the same amount from cows that are fed grain.
Recent research has shown conjugated linoleic acid increases basal metabolic rates, allowing your body to convert the food you eat more efficiently into energy, rather than store it as fat.
2. Immunoglobulins to Boost Immunity
Found in significant quantities only in raw milk and grass-fed whey powders like this high quality organic brand I use, immunoglobulins are special proteins that transport antibodies within your body to combat viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders.
Immunoglobulins have been used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia, hepatitis A, arthritis and many other diseases and can help build up your immunity against damaging microorganisms and toxins.
3. Lactoferrin for Energy
Found in some of the highest levels in whey protein concentrate from grass grazing dairy, lactoferrin is a bioactive molecule that helps regulate iron homeostasis within your body. This means that it provides iron to cells in need of it and limits it to those that have an excess.
Iron deficiency is common in America, particularly for women, and can lead to fatigue, lethargy, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and anemia. Grass-fed powdered protein is an excellent source of bioactive lactoferrin and can help maintain healthy iron levels within your blood.
4. Cysteine for Glutathione Production
Glutathione is your body’s master antioxidant and a vital component of good health. It provides your primary intracellular defense against oxidative stress from harmful free radicals.
Quite literally, glutathione protects your cells from DNA damage and potentially cancerous changes every day. It’s that important.
Glutathione is a tripeptide composed of three amino acids — cysteine, glutamine and glycine. All of these amino acids are found in a higher ratio in non-denatured whey than in any other form of protein available.
The amino acid cysteine is particularly important for glutathione production as it is scarce in our modern processed diets. When dairy products undergo prolonged heating or processing, as is the case with most commercial whey, cysteine is denatured and converted to cystine.
As your body’s master antioxidant, glutathione can have wide-ranging benefits for your overall health and well-being.
Regularly consuming a high quality source of undenatured cysteine, glutamine and glycine, like pastured milk protein powder, can help increase natural glutathione levels in your body.
Lactose Side Effects
Due to its minimal processing, grass-fed products usually come as whey protein concentrates rather than isolates.
This is important to maintain the delicate conjugated linoleic acid, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins and cysteine. It does, however, mean that it also contains more lactose than whey protein isolate.
Most of us can handle small amounts of the milk sugar lactose but larger amounts can cause digestive problems like bloating and gas.
The best option would be to reduce unhealthy sources of lactose, like skim milk and processed foods, and your body should be able to handle the small amount in whey protein concentrate.
If however you know you are lactose intolerant, and even a small amount will cause problems, then unfortunately any milk based protein powder is better replaced with free range eggs instead.
How to Use for Best Results
With all of the nutrition in grass-fed whey powder it’s well worth making it part of your daily diet.
While you can mix it into milk or water the taste is a bit plain this way. It’s much better to have your whey in a shake or healthy smoothie.
Whey Protein Shakes
Shakes are very simple to make in a shaker bottle with a sealed lid. Simply add some liquid, your whey powder and any other ingredients, put on the lid tightly and shake.
While quick and simple to make, shakes are a bit limited in the ingredients you can use. Anything powdered is great, but most fruits or solid ingredients don’t work as well.
You can mash up a banana or some berries if you don’t mind a not so smooth consistency, but for anything more solid you’re going to need to make a smoothie.
High Protein Smoothies
Smoothies, like this testosterone boosting recipe, have become incredibly popular in recent years as a convenient and delicious way to get a lot of nutrition into your diet.
A good blender can blend up just about any fruit or even vegetable and, unlike juicing, you get digestive fiber in there as well.
Whey protein from pastured milk is an excellent ingredient to add to your smoothie. Not only for all the beneficial amino acids, CLA, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and other nutritional elements, but also because it naturally moderates glucose in the blood for more stable energy levels.
The Best Brand to Buy
There are several specialist grass-fed protein powder producers competing in the market. Each of them are a big step up from cheap and heavily processed whey from feedlot cattle.
Of all of them though, I think the Vital Whey brand is the best grass-fed whey protein concentrate available. You can see their full product range here with customer reviews and feedback.
Vital Whey comes from cows that graze on natural pastures without GMO feed all year round. The milk from these cows is free of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and of the highest quality and nutrition.
The parent company Well Wisdom have their own proprietary filtration and drying method that involves minimal processing and ultra low heat.
The resulting protein powder is much higher in nutrients that support a healthy immune system and branch chain amino acids for protein synthesis and promoting muscle growth.
I also like that they label all their products with the exact amount of immunoglobulins and lactoferrin backed up by independent lab tests. The positive effects of these compounds are well known and the amount provided by a single serve is significant.
With no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners this premium protein supplement is great for keto diets, as a healthy meal replacement, for people with chemical sensitivities and to aid natural weight loss.
Flavors and Taste
All of them add a delicious creamy taste to smoothies and shakes alongside all of their potent nutrition.
Recommended Dosage and Results
A single 20 gram scoop enjoyed once a day provides extra high quality protein and a range of immunity boosting nutrients for the average person.
Those involved in heavy weight training or a lot of physical activity could take two servings a day, ideally in the morning and again just after a workout or exercise
Have you tried grass-fed whey protein before and experienced its benefits for yourself?
I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who has used it long term, particularly for its often reported immune enhancing properties and for recovering from illness and lack of energy.