Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Whey Protein Hydrolysates are the Past! Salmon Protein Hydrolysate Can Deliver Protein Even Faster, But Does This Also Mean They Are More "Anabolic"?

That's salmon, yes, but it's not processed enough to compete with any hydrolysate. Well, unless you decide to eat and regurgitate it - after some time, obviously, 'cause "hydrolyzed" proteins are in the end only pre-digested proteins.
As a SuppVersity reader you know that the amount of protein is not the only determinant of the potential muscle building effects of a given protein source. The digestion time and thus the amount of protein that is released into the bloodstream on a "per minute"-basis, as well as the amino acid profile (preferably all essential amino acids (EAAs) and a high amount of leucine) are also important determinants of the "anabolic" qualities of a given protein source.

Using a quite unique multi-compartmental dynamic model that closely simulates in vivo gastrointestinal tract digestion in humans scientists from the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF) at the Université Laval in Quebec, did now determine that salmon not whey protein hydrolysates are the "numero uno", when it comes to digestion speed.
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If you take a closer look at the data in Figure 2 at the bottom of the article, you will notice that salmon and whey hydrolysates were not the only products the scientists tested (I would love to help you along with the amino acid compositions, but unfortunately the full text does not provide any details and Hofseth  Biocare the producer of the salmon protein hydrolysate does not disclose if it's made from fish heads or salmon filets... I am not kidding, scientists have been investigating methods to produce salmon protein hydrolysates from the waste material for years; cf. Gbogour. 2004).

In view of the fact that we don't really know if salmon has similar real-world pro-anabolic effects, it may thus be at least as interesting to compare the digestion speed of whey hydrolysates and isolates.
Figure 1: Nitrogen distribution throughout the TIM-1 compartments at the end of the 2 hour digestion. SHP, salmon protein hydrolysate; WPH-High, whey protein hydrolysate extensively hydrolysed; WPH-Low, whey protein hydrolysate weakly hydrolysed; WPI, whey protein isolate (Framroze. 2014)
The latter is, as you can see in Figure 1, only significant if the hydro-whey is "extensively hydrolyzed". The difference between regular hydro-whey and the two whey isolates, on the other hand, is too to assume that it may - by any means - be relevant.
Figure 2: Data shows how much of the protein content is released in the course of a 120min digestion period (Framoze. 2014).
Let's not jump tp conclusions, here: In spite of the fact that the nitrogen digestibility data in Figure 2 supports the notion that salmon is not just the faster digesting, but also the more bioaccessible protein source. The currently available evidence on the effects of salmon protein hydrolysates on skeletal muscle hypertrophy, fat loss, blood pressure and inflammation - all things where we have plenty of evidence for beneficial effects of whey protein - is non-existent. Considering the fact that salmon protein hydrolysates are probably even more disgusting than their whey counterparts, I would thus not go and buy the next best product you can possibly find on the Internet.
Reference: 
  • Framroze, Bomi, et al. "Comparison of Nitrogen Bioaccessibility from Salmon and Whey Protein Hydrolysates using a Human Gastrointestinal Model (TIM-1)." Functional Foods in Health and Disease 2014; 4(5):222-231  
  • Gbogouri, G. A., et al. "Influence of hydrolysis degree on the functional properties of salmon byproducts hydrolysates." Journal of food science 69.8 (2004): C615-C622.