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Q&A: Is PROGENEX better than other sources of protein?

April 29, 2013

You can also find this article on my other website HTFU.dk

Finally somebody emailed me with a question. To sum it up, this person had seen me rant about PROGENEX (They insist on using caps) on Facebook and asks for my opinion on the product regarding its self-claimed superiority over other protein products. The question is quite relevant since PROGENEX is up to 8 times more expensive than my favorite protein supplement, which is generic whey isolate and such a difference in price should certainly be the result of a far better product. While I’m no expert on the subject, I do possess a good amount of common sense and excellent Google skills. I shall apply both to this matter.

To quote PROGENEX’s own website:

PROGENEX uses high-quality whey protein hydrolysates in the Recovery and More Muscle products. These proteins have a high degree of hydrolysis and a high percentage of di- and tripeptides. This gives PROGENEX products unparalleled bioavailability compared to other products. Hydrolysis of whey protein decreases the bioactivity of whey on the immune system, boosts amino acid absorption, reduces lactose in the product and provides nutrients that otherwise would not be available.

So the claim here is that since PROGENEX uses hydrolyzed whey protein it’s better than other products that use seemingly inferior sources of protein and not just a bit better but unparalleled. When the protein is hydrolyzed, it means that it has been broken down and “pre-digested” which in theory could allow for faster and better absorption, but such hypotheses should of course be investigated further to support claims as those made by PROGENEX.

Hydrolyzed protein is like having somebody chew your food for you

To take a look at the unparalleled bioavalability I turned to Wikipedia and found the page regarding biological value:

Biological value (BV) is a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. It summarizes how readily the broken down protein can be used in protein synthesis in the cells of the organism.

The BV of whey protein is 96 which means that 96% of the nitrogen is absorbed by the body. In my opinion 96% is pretty good and according to Wikipedia that’s about as good as it gets for protein sources. Even if hydrolyzed whey protein were to have a BV of 100, it still wouldn’t be unparalleled to 96, it would be insignificantly better. But it isn’t enough to look at how much of the protein is absorbed, the rate at which this happens is also a factor since we want the protein to be available to be turned in to muscle immediately after our strenuous workouts. To my knowledge this is a simplified view and protein synthesis takes place a looong time after the workout so one would probably benefit more from a steady intake of protein, but that’s besides the point I’m trying to make here and frankly I know too little about it. I am however capable of reading and I came across an interesting study in which it is concluded that hydrolyzed whey protein is in fact inferior to whey isolate:

[…] The objective of the present study was to examine the blood amino acid response to whey protein isolate (WPI), β-lactoglobulin-enriched WPI, hydrolysed WPI and a flavour-identical control. […] Results Ingesting the β-lactoglobulin-enriched WPI drink resulted in significantly greater plasma leucine concentrations at 45-120 min and significantly greater branched-chain amino acid concentrations at 60-105 min post ingestion compared with hydrolysed WPI. No differences were observed between WPI and β-lactoglobulin-enriched WPI, and all protein drinks resulted in elevated blood amino acids compared with flavour-identical control. Conclusions In conclusion, whole proteins resulted in a more rapid absorption of leucine and branched-chain amino acid into the blood compared with the hydrolysed molecular form of whey protein.

This immediately debunks the aforementioned hypothesis, that the already partially broken down protein  is absorbed more readily by the human organism. It should be noted that this is of course just one small study but that’s usually enough when it comes to falsification, provided that the study is sound, can be reproduced etc. From my point of view, this is the nail in the coffin for PROGENEX, at least regarding being a better protein source than the much much cheaper whey isolate.

Pretty cool looking molecule, huh?

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From → Q&A

2 Comments
  1. Mulecule.
    En slags ret med æsler.

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