By Priyanka Kataria


As proper body exertion practice is predominant for athletes, similarly requisite nutrition helps them to stay at their maximal performance level before, during and after activity. Sports Nutrition is a growing sector of research and application.Nourishing the body with the right foods is essential for boosting sports performance, notably fats, protein and carbohydrates which sustain the body’s energy. Along with that, some macro and micro nutrients are also essential to fuel the body cells. When dehydration increases, work capacity decreases, so to heighten the aerobic power, hydration is of great consequence for the body.

For the time being, supplements are in great demand among the sportspersons  for enhancing their strength, performance and recovery process. They are accessible in diverse forms ranging from multivitamins and minerals to protein, creatine and various other ‘ergogenic’ aids.

Alpha- lactalbumin

Can a protein which has an assurance for sleep improvement and humanization of infant formula be a marvel for escalating exercise performance? Yes, this wonder protein is Alpha- Lactalbuminwhich isproved in a study of researchers from Chinese University of Hong Kong. It is a major protein comprising approx. 22% of total protein and around 36% of whey protein in human breast milk.α-LA contains a high amount of tryptophan, nearly twice as much as whey and 4 times as much as other protein sources like turkey or egg.

Our bodies utilize tryptophan to generate serotonin which not only regulates sleep cycle but also has a role in reducing sensation of pain. Pain can be a limiting factor during strenuous exercise, so by consuming a tryptophan- rich protein before exercise would rise the formation of serotonin, minimizing the pain sensation felt by muscles and permitting the athletes to exercise more profoundly. α – LA is acceptable for a number of applications,including clear UHT beverages and bars.

When α- LA is hydrolysed by the body, it releases Cysteine which is the precursor to Glutathione (GSH), a key internal antioxidant. α – LA is a natural whey protein containing the most crucial amino acids – tryptophan and cysteine, jointly with the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)- leucine, isoleucine and valine. Due to the elevated content of BCAA ~26%, principally leucine, α – LA functionally stimulates muscle protein synthesis, hence enhancing muscle health.

A survey manifested approximately 70% of adults in the U.S. consume dietary supplements on a regular basis, which led to rising demand for alpha lactalbumin. The global α – LA market expanded at a CAGR of 5.5% over the past 5 years, and is forecasted to surge at a CAGR close to 8% via 2030.

Whey Protein

Whey is naturally occurring protein obtained when milk is curdled during cheesemaking process and is separated out as remaining liquid. Whey protein is a mixture of beta- lactoglobulin, alpha- lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin and immunoglobulins. There are three fundamental types of whey protein- Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC), Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) and Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH). Due to enhanced digestibility and decreased allergen potential, WPH is used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey Protein Concentrate contains low levels of fat & carbohydrates, and about 70-80% protein. Contains lactose (milk sugar) which is a common gut irritant which slower digestion. It is cost-effective as liquid whey protein is pressurized through a micro-mesh screen a single time thus high in calories, fat and sugar. Contains less BCAAs i.e., low amino acid profile per volume.

WPC have many applications in nutritional supplements for athletes, bakery & meat industry, soups and dessert preparation, soft drinks.

They are extracted by the removal of non-protein elements of the whey, so to obtain a powder of at least 25% proteins. They are produced throughphysical separation techniqueslike precipitation, filtration or electrolysis. For the precipitation of seroproteins, thermocoagulation procedure is done by heating in an acidic medium, which denatures some of the proteins and is restored by a membrane process, thus concentrating protein by ultrafiltration. A membrane allows proteins, fats, and whey to be retained, and lets minerals, lactose and non-protein nitrogen filter through. To obtain concentrated whey proteins, whey serum is de-fatted fore by microfiltration, followed by selective extraction of chromatographic resins by ion exchange.

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey Protein Isolate have approx. 90% protein, obtained by concentration and purification of WPC. Having no lactose, they are easier to digest. It is high- priced as liquid whey protein is pressurized through a micro-mesh screen multiple times thus is low in fats, lactose and carbs. Contains more BCAAs i.e., highly rich amino acid profile per volume. No sugar is there as it is filtered out via distinct filtration passes.

Their high solubility and neutral taste make WPI a product of choice for a wide variety of applications like Enriched beverages, Sports drinks, Dry nutritional mixes and Dietary products.

These are less in healthy fat bound compounds such as immunoglobulins and polypeptides as these are lost during the additional filtration process. They are obtained by ion exchange chromatography which is completely lactose free and have a low mineral content, resulted in high purity protein separations. Whey isolate can be a good choice for those who are precisely inhibiting their fat, carb or lactose intake.


The prominent use of whey protein supplements is for the motive of increasing muscle mass growth and strength when consumed right before, after or during a workout. It is  popular among athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, and for people looking to improve their performance in the gym. Whey protein promotes muscle gain by providing essential amino acids especially leucine, increasing the release of anabolic hormones, and faster solubility.

As a consequence, whey protein is absolutely safe and a commonly recommended dose of 1-2 scoops (25-50gms) per day is enough. It’s an exceptionally healthy manner to compute more protein to the diet and  is superior to other forms of quality protein.

*Food Technology; Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women, University of Delhi