Many men are fed up with the ridiculous cost-saving manufacturing techniques of most protein supplement makers and want something more natural instead. The issue is that the lion's shares of the proteins out there are raised to very high heat temperatures just to save a few pennies, and this negatively alters many aspects of the original molecule. Many manufacturers simply do not wish to go through the slower, but much more gentle processing methodologies such as cross flow microfiltration (CFM). Proteins that are not overheated and are left in their original state are called undenatured.
The advantages can be huge and let me just quickly summarize a few of them:
1. Glutathione Boosting. One of the Holy Grails of anti-aging practitioners is to raise the body's natural glutathione production. Glutathione is a powerful internal antioxidant that, among many things, boosts immunity and detoxifies. One of the strengths of the supplement alpha lipoic acid, for example, is that it raises our glutathione levels. Whey, assuming you don't overheat it, does the same thing and is a strong glutathione booster. Undenature
2. Free Glutamine ("MSG"). All proteins are composed of a variety of amino acids and, if you purchase one for body or muscle building purposes, you can usually read the breakdown on the site. One of the aminos that you will see is glutamic acid, regardless of whether it is animal or plant protein. What most men do not realize is that when you raise glutamic acid to a high enough temperature, you end up with a very significant percentage of it converted to the free glutamine form. Essentially, free glutamine is "MSG" and is an excitotoxin. Excitotoxins were banned in baby food, because there is little doubt from the research that they can negatively impact brain and reproductive health in the little ones. (Read my link on Wheys and Excitotoxins for more information.) Can they injure an adult male? Time will tell, but, regardless, it is inexcusable in my opinion for protein manufacturers to risk your neurons just to save a manufacturing nickel, especially when they charge such high prices.
So how can you get the "good stuff?" How can you get a protein that has not been overheated? Fortunately, in the last five to ten years, many excellent and more natural proteins have come out. Remember that manufacturers do not have to list free gluatmine and, therefore, only put glutamic acid on their label, so you have no way of no knowing by looking at the amino acid profile. Instead, you have to look for words such as "undenatured," "cross flow microfiltered," or CFM. Below I give some examples:
1. Undenatured Whey Protein. Again, if you treat whey right, it is an incredible protein that really should be termed a superfood. Most men know that whey is a very bioavaialbe, easily absorbed protein that is excellent for bodybuilding purposes. Now think if you that same protein boosted your immunity to help you recover better from those killer workouts. Well, of course, this is exactly what undenatured, CFM whey does! This makes it an ideal protein in my opinion for men doing rather serious athletics or bodybuilding.
One other nice property of whey in my opinion, is that it is relatively low in methionine compared to most animal proteins. Proteins higher in methionine, one of the essential amino acids, tend to raise IGF-1 and create greater oxidative loads within mitochondria. This is the reason that lowering IGF-1 is ground zero for a lot of anti-aging research. Of course, many of the younger guys reading this will probably not be overly concerned with this. But for those of you over 40, who don't really want to put their foot on the age-quickly accelerator any more, whey should be a good alternative from this standpoint.
The whey that I have used - and in my opinion it has a pretty good taste - is this one: Biochem Whey Protein. (I still see it in Vitamin Shoppe for those of you who use Vitamin Shoppe.)
2. Undenatured Hemp Protein. Yes, this is the same plant as marijuana, but, of course, the low THC version. Hemp was used for years as a food and many other applications for centuries but fell out of favor with modern farming practices. However, just 3 tablespoons provides 15 grams of protein and, best of all for some guys, 2400 mg of Arginine, 60% of their Magnesium, 25% of their zinc and 11% of their potassium. Therefore, this protein should help boost nitric oxide while it's building muscle as well. My favorite hemp protein is currently Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein: it is finely ground which is important to make it taste good. Some of the hemp proteins I have tried are in larger pieces and it is every bit as chewy as sunflower seeds shower and also have a grassy taste. However, the Nutiva has a nice flavor and easy-to-swallow texture.
3. Rice Protein. Another fantastic new undenatured protein protein to come out on the market is rice protein. Just two tablespoons provides 24 grams of protein with only 4 grams of carbohydrate ad 0 grams of fat. Also, nice is the fact that it has about 2200 mg of Arginine and 800 mg of Lysine. (Again, herpes sensitive individuals should be careful and discuss with a physician.) Again, this should bolster nitric oxide levels as well. While hemp is about 50% protein, rice is about 80% protein. The rice protein that I am currently using is NUTRIBIOTIC VEGAN RICE PROTEIN 3 lb., which is completely undenatured. The labels says chemical free and "is produced by means of a unique enzyme process", i.e. not by boiling it to shreds. (Combining this with beans will increase its bioavialability.)
NOTE: Herpes sensitive men may need to watch their arginine-to-lysine ratio, as high arginine levels can trigger outbreaks.