By: Dr. Andrew Krause ND CSCS CISSN
Ontario Regional Representative
Quick Summary: Provitalex is an unflavoured protein powder that is made from milk of North America grass fed cows. It’s minimally processed with cold water, which maintains the proteins in their natural undenatured since it is treated without heat. We use cross flow microfiltration which maintains larger amounts of beneficial immune components, antioxidants, essential amino acids, and minerals as opposed to lower quality protein powders that lose these beneficial ingredients during processing. Provitalex mixes well without the need of a blender and doesn’t sit heavy in the stomach, which makes it easy for someone on the go. At 20.24g of protein per 22g scoop, and 5g of BCAAs per scoop, Provitalex is an excellent choice of protein for you and your patients.
I’ve used or prescribed each and everyone one of the Cyto-Matrix products at one point or another, and if there’s one product that I’m confident that almost every patient could use regardless of their health concerns or health goals, it’s Provitalex.
Protein powder is an ingredient that blends the line between medical food and supplement. Regardless of the kind of protein powder (vegetarian, vegan, milk based, beef based, or cricket based), it’s an ingredient that supplements a MACRO nutrient (carbohydrate, protein, or fat), which is unlike 90% of the natural health products on the market, which typically supplement MICRO nutrients. I qualify it as a medical food in my practice, just like I would a greens powder product or fish oil.
As a macronutrient, protein is something that is necessary for many different processes in the body, from immune function, to hair growth, to muscular health. The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of protein is 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Both men and women have the same protein requirement; pregnant and lactating women do have a slightly increased need though (1.1g/kg and 1.3g/kg respectively) (1)
Now, the thing to know about the 0.8g/kg number is that this level is necessary to only meet adequacy for basic body functions. This doesn’t take into account the increased need for protein when you’re stressed (which is frequent), when you’re under slept (often), or when you’re exercising (hopefully 30 minutes per day!). Athletes can require between 1.2 and 1.7g protein kg body weight because of their increased muscular damage and stress on the body. (1)
For simplicity, I tell patients to eat 1g of protein per kilogram of body weight if they are inactive, and 1.5g/kg if they exercise over 3 days a week. This amounts to 64 g for someone who is 150lbs and inactive, and around 85g of protein for someone who is 200lbs and inactive. For active individuals, 96g for a 150lb individual and 127g protein for a 200lb individual.
Going overboard on protein isn’t a problem- there are large amounts of research that show that excess protein is not bad for the body, not even for the kidneys. This is especially true when you are eating enough vegetables as well. In research that showed that excess protein is a bad thing, patient’s diets were devoid in vegetables as well; if you get both protein and vegetables in adequate levels, you’re in the clear and on the way to optimal nutrition. However, going over 2g/kg bodyweight also hasn’t shown any benefit. (2)
What is Whey Protein Isolate anyways?
• Whey protein isolate is actually a molecule formed by several smaller proteins: beta lactoglobulin, alpha lactalbumin, glycomacropeptides, immunoglobulins, bovine serum albumin, and lactoferrin
What about dairy intolerance?
• When someone experiences non-allergic symptoms from dairy, there can be a few explanations for those symptoms
o Lactose intolerance- ~15% of the adult population is lactose intolerant in Canada. Patients typically experience bloating, indigestion, and flatulence as main symptoms (3)
o IgG mediated milk protein intolerance- not very conclusively tied to symptoms, since IgG to milk protein rises regardless of the presence of symptoms in adults (4). This occurs in 3-5% of the childhood and adult population (5) This is predominantly an intolerance to casein, not whey.
o Therefore, even if someone is lactose intolerant or casein intolerant, a cross flow micro filtered whey protein isolate would most likely be suitable to consume.
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is my preferred protein for personal use and for my patients for 5 main reasons:
• WPI is well researched for muscle health
o Increases muscle protein synthesis related to exercise (6), prevents muscle loss in old age (7)
• WPI is a high quality protein powder
o Highest PDCAAS, BV, and PER of any protein powders (vegan or otherwise) on the market. These 3 scores measure the body’s ability to breakdown, process, and make amino acids available in the body. (8)
• WPI has a high BCAA content
o Around 22% of the proteins in whey protein isolate are branched chain amino acids, which have been shown to be helpful with exercise endurance and in stimulating recovery after exercise. (8)
• WPI increases glutathione levels (9)
o This boosts antioxidant status in the body and recovery from exercise (10) and can benefit psoriasis (11)
• It has a lower allergen content that casein and whey protein concentrate
o A decrease amount of lactose, casein, and beta lactaglobulin makes whey protein isolate much more tolerable for patients than other dairy-based protein options
There are two ways to make a whey protein isolate (WPI):
Ion Exchange- This method is a chemical method that requires a low pH environment (by the addition of sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid) to separate the protein from the carbohydrate and fat that is native to dairy. Through this process, many of the beneficial fractions of whey protein are lost, as are the antioxidants, calcium, some essential amino acids, and naturally occurring proteases in milk. There is also heat involved in this process, which denatures some of the remaining proteins as well. This inevitably changes the taste of the protein as well- leaving it tasting somewhat salty and more processed.
Ion Exchange Whey has beta-lactoglobulin as the main protein fraction (70%) which is the most allergenic of the proteins in WPI, and the one without positive immune effects. (12)
Cross Flow Microfiltered- This is the method used to make Provitalex. This method uses cold water and pressure gradients, so there are no solvents involved to purify the whey protein. The milk is passed through ceramic filters in order to filter the whey, leaving an undenatured end product. Membrane filtration leaves whey protein isolate tasting similar to milk.
Beta-lactoglobulin is present to a lower degree in Provitalex, only 48% of total protein content, and has alphalactalbumin, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins that are present to a much lower degree in Ion Exchange Whey. These bioactive protein fractions provide an important immune benefit to whey protein isolate and render cross flow microfiltration an overall superior product. (12)
Lastly, we chose not to flavor Provitalex so it can be used in any and all situations, from smoothies, to baking, to savory recipes if you would like. No sweet flavours here!
All in all, if you are having trouble reaching your protein levels based on your needs, you want to use whey protein isolate for it’s specific benefits, or you just need a more convenient way to ingest your daily protein, Provitalex protein is a great way to do so.
1. Canadian Sociey of Exercise Professionals. Protein for Active Canadians. CSEP. http://csep.ca/CMFiles/publications/dfc/Protein_booklet_e.pdf
2. American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Nutrition and athletic performance. http://journals. lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2009/03000/ Nutrition_and_Athletic_Performance.27.aspx
3. Barr SI. Perceived lactose intolerance in adult Canadians: a national survey. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab2013;38:830-835.
4. Anthoni S, Savilahti E, Rautelin H, Kolho KL. Milk protein IgG and IgA: The association with milk-induced gastrointestinal symptoms in adults. World J Gastroenterol 2009 October 21; 15(39): 4915-4918
5. Peltoi L, Impivaara O, Salminen S, Poussa P, SeppaÈnen R, Lilius E-M. Milk hypersensitivity in young adults. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999) 53, 620±624
6. Elliot, T.A., M. G. Cree, A. P. Sanford, R. R. Wolfe, and K. D. Tipton (2006). Milk ingestion stimulates net muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 38: 667-674.
7. Pennings, B., Y. Boirie, J. M. Senden, A. P. Gijsen, H. Kuipers, and L. J. van Loon (2011). Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate in older men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 93: 997-1005.
8. Campbell, B, Kreider, R, Ziegenfuss, T, La Bounty, P, Roberts, M, Burke, D, Landis, J, Lopez, H, Antonio, J. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2007, 4:8
9. Zavorsky GS1, Kubow S, Grey V, Riverin V, Lands LC. An open-label dose-response study of lymphocyte glutathione levels in healthy men and women receiving pressurized whey protein isolate supplements. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2007 Sep;58(6):429-36.
10. Sheikholeslami Vatani D1, Ahmadi Kani Golzar F.Changes in antioxidant status and cardiovascular risk factors of overweight young men after six weeks supplementation of whey protein isolate and resistance training. Appetite. 2012 Dec;59(3):673-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.08.005. Epub 2012 Aug 10
11. Prussick R1, Prussick L, Gutman J.Psoriasis Improvement in Patients Using Glutathione-enhancing, Nondenatured Whey Protein Isolate: A Pilot Study. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013 Oct;6(10):23-6.
12. Sutherland J. Membrane vs. Ion Exchange – Which Process is Best for Whey Protein Powder?. Milk Specialties. http://www.milkspecialties.com/news/membrane-vs-ion-exchange-which-process-is-best-for-whey-protein-powder/