Acid Whey: Healthy Super Food NOT Supervillain
Acid whey has been villainized as the bad boy of Greek yogurt production. Sadly acid whey suffers from an image problem due to its name. Far from being toxic, acid acid is a valuable and nutritious food with many health benefits.
Acid whey contains many healthy compounds:
- Lactoferrin: this important component of acid whey is a valuable immune booster. Lactoferrin has antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties (Rodrigues et al. 2009, Kanwar and Kanwar 2013).
- Lactic acid: the lactic acid in acid whey provides quick energy, restores glycogen and prevents muscle soreness (Bergman et al. 2000, Brooks 2002, Gladden 2008, Cruz et al. 2012). For more on the health benefits and history of lactate see lactic acid myths.
- Whey mineral mix: calcium, magnesium and potassium are whey minerals vital for strong bones and maintaining electrolyte balance. Check out our chart on vital electrolytes found in dairy products.
- Beta-lactoglobulin and alpha-lactalbumin: these two whey proteins may help prevent cancer (Sternhagen and Allen 2001, Thompson et al. 1992) and boost glutathione (antioxidant) concentrations.
- Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM): these acid whey immune factors that support disease control through passive immunity (Hurley and Theil 2011).
- Bovine serum albumin (BSA): a whey protein that inhibits tumour growth (Laursen et al. 1990) and increases antioxidant activity.
- Lysozyme and lactoperoxidase: these acid whey enzymes act as mild antiseptic and antibacterial agents which combat plaque, cavities and gingivitis. Lysozyme and lactoferrin work together in the stomach to kill both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria (Sherman 2013). Lactoperoxidase is a natural bio-preservative which can extend the shelf life of foods such as fresh fish (Jasour et al. 2014).
Fun Fact: Acid whey contains approximately twice as much calcium as sweet whey (Carvalho et al. 2013). Acid whey is also a very good source of riboflavin, calcium, phosphorous, thiamin, B12, pantothenic acid, zinc, potassium, magnesium and selenium.
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