Warning – Don’t Over-Pay for Whey Protein & Why Proprietary Ingredients Should be Avoided

Whey protein is an excellent source of cysteine, the amino acid that is necessary for glutathione (an important anti-oxidant) production and encourages increased tissue levels of glutathione.

Some supplement manufacturers sell their whey protein supplements at a very high mark-up and claim their product is special in some way and backed by clinical research.  They claim that their whey protein is an effective cysteine delivery system.

So, I took a closer look at one.  After reviewing several research studies they provided, I was not able to see any evidence that their product has benefits beyond other forms of whey protein.  When asked further questions, they were not willing to divulge the amount of cysteine in their whey protein, claiming this information is proprietary.  Maybe they don’t know.  Maybe they just add cysteine to plain old whey protein.  Maybe their product contains more than other whey proteins.  Perhaps it contains less.  Who knows?  We sure don’t.

I also asked about pesticides and hormones.  They do not test to ensure that their whey protein is pesticide and hormone free and it is not obtained from organically raised dairy cows.

Based upon the information provided, here is what we know:

  • their supplement is expensive
  • it works like other whey protein powders and cysteine containing supplements
Here is what we don’t know:
  • How much cysteine it contains
  • If cysteine levels vary substantially from one batch to the next
  • How it compares to other cysteine supplements
  • How it compares to other whey protein supplements
  • If it contains pesticides & antibiotics 
When products contain proprietary ingredients, some consumers think this is sign of quality or specialness.  To me, it is a sign that the company is hiding what its products contain so that comparison is not possible and they cannot be undersold.  Convenient if you are charging a premium.
I always use natural medicines that clearly label their ingredients and active constituents.  This allows me to compare product potency and value – an important service to my patients.
Be Well,
Richard
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