This is the most common protein supplement ingredient. Whey is a fast-digesting milk protein that works well as a post-workout or as a protein boost throughout the day. There are several different types of whey including whey concentrate, whey isolate, and hydrolyzed whey.
Casein is whey's milk protein counterpart, but it digests much more slowly. This makes it an ideal pre-bedtime ingredient.
Whey Protein Concentrate vs. Isolate
Concentrates and isolates are both types of whey protein, but they undergo different types of processing. Concentrates generally have less protein content with more fats and carbohydrates, while isolates have more protein content with fewer fats and carbohydrates. The amino acid content is similar, but isolates contain less lactose which may make them a better choice for whey-sensitive people.
Whey Protein Blend
It's common to find protein supplements that use a blend of multiple types of protein. If you see this on a nutritional label, it'll be followed by a list of the proteins included in the blend.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 in total and nine of them are essential, meaning they need to be obtained from outside sources since the body can't produce them. They play an important role in muscle repair, muscle growth, and other key bodily functions.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
This subset of amino acids, also known as BCAAs, includes Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. They're essential amino acids with a different chemical structure that allows them to be metabolised by your muscles instead of your liver. This allows them to act faster, making them especially valuable as intra-workout nutrients.
Some protein powders include a digestive enzyme complex. These enzymes help with digestion and nutrient absorption.