Undenatured whey protein is the only type of whey powder that retains the benefits of raw whey. It is made by special manufacturing processes that use no heat.
It's important to understand the damage done by heat and industrial processing to raw whey. Whey is a food not meant to be heated.
Raw whey is a component of raw milk, which separates naturally into "curds and whey." Whey is also a byproduct of cheese manufacture, which is the source of typical commercial "denatured" whey.
The vast majority of whey powders are manufactured with heat processes, such as:
These processes "denature" the fragile whey protein—deforming it and breaking it down. This damage creates an unhealthy product:
Hydrolyzed whey protein in particular contains processed free glutamic acid, which is the harmful component of monosodium glutamate (MSG). The free glutamic acid is created as part of the hydrolysis process.
Undenatured whey retains the natural proteins and enzymes of food, and thus contains in food form the building blocks of glutathione.
Glutathione is a protein made and used in every cell of the body. It's an antioxidant and a detoxifier; it's also an essential element of important antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes. It is essential to immune function.
Glutathione levels have been found to be low in degenerative diseases, other illnesses, and aging.
A variety of methods have been tried to raise glutathione levels. Taking glutathione as a supplement has been found ineffective. Injections and intravenous delivery have questionable effectiveness and safety.
Undenatured whey, however, has been shown to raise glutathione levels. It contains a natural form of the bonded cysteine necessary for glutathione creation. The body then builds its own glutathione as needed inside the cells.
Denatured whey cannot offer this. The cysteine, no longer bonded, is ineffective or even toxic.
There are significant differences between brands of undenatured whey.
An outstanding undenatured whey protein is Immunocal, manufactured by Immunotec. It is listed in the Physician's Desk Reference as a non-prescription medical food, generally regarded as safe.
Immunocal is the brand used by the clinical and research studies on whey. The Physician's Desk Reference states that Immunocal is "clinically proven to raise glutathione values."