Nutrition research has long shown the benefits of whey protein intake. Its complete amino acid profile supports muscle strength, endurance and recovery, immune health, joint health, and energy levels. The balanced compilation of essential amino acids also supports a healthy metabolism, giving the body the energy it needs to use food and burn fat for energy. Plant protein powders may contain the full spectrum of amino acids, but they typically are not optimal for muscle building. Whey protein is higher in three particular amino acids, called branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), which are beneficial for muscle growth and recovery.
Grass fed whey concentrate takes these benefits two steps further by providing higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an essential fatty acid that promotes strong immunity and healthy cell function, than traditional whey protein. It may also provide a boost in naturally-occurring protein fractions, called immunoglobulins and lactoferrins. These fractions support the immune system and boost the body's internal production of its most powerful antioxidant, glutathione. The reason that grass fed whey concentrate may contain higher amounts of these nutrients is because of the quality of the cow's food source (grass), which supports a healthy fatty acid profile in the cow, and the preservation of those fatty acids in concentrating the whey protein.
Grass-fed cows typically consume fewer GMOs and antibiotics since their consumption of conventional feed is reduced or altogether eliminated. So while we're waiting for more research to outline all of the specifics about the health of a grass-fed cow, the available literature supporting increased levels of CLA and immune-boosting protein fractions in grass-fed whey concentrate (not to mention the environmental sustainability of grazing!) is a promising start to what we predict will be more good news in the future! And honestly, there's just something great about consuming a food that's clean of GMOs and antibiotics, and environmentally sustainable. We're all for that.
Want to include grass-fed whey in your routine? Try our Cacao Almond and Hint of Peppermint bars (sample packs available), rich in grass fed whey protein concentrate!