|Do you have to replace your whey protein concentrate with "native whey" product to avoid missing out on massive gains? The study to answer this question has not yet been, done, but the study at hand certainly does not warrant this conclusion.|
Fortunately (for your wallet), Hamarsland's study does not provide evidence that the accelerated amino acid absorption would translate into real-world muscle gains in a long-term study.
|Figure 1: Graphical illustration of the events on the five testing days (Hamarsland. 2017).|
"[t]hey received a standardized breakfast consisting of oatmeal and a glass of orange juice (1855 kJ: 9.2 g fat, 69.3 g carbohydrates and 16.6 g protein). [...] Two hours after breakfast, the participants performed the standardized resistance exercise session in 40 min and consumed one of the five protein supplements within 6 min after the end of the session. Blood serum and plasma samples were collected at 0, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 min after ingestion of the protein supplement. Additional blood samples were collected at 22 and 30 h on the study days when milk and native whey were ingested. During the study days with milk and native whey, recovery of muscle function was measured as changes in maximal isometric voluntary contraction knee extensions (MVC), counter movement jump (CMJ) 30 min prior to, and 0, 6, 22 and 30 h after the exercise session. The 0 h time point was immediately after the workout and about 20 min after the last set of leg exercise" (Hamarsland. 2017).Unlike some of you would probably have expected before reading (about) the paper, hydro whey, which is often advertised as the "fastest whey protein your money can buy", did not rank first in the authors' analysis of the blood samples (see Figure 2).
Previous acute response studies say: speed doesn't determine protein synthesis
If we rely on the often-heard claim that faster protein absorption would translate into increased gains, this would imply that the fractionate protein synthetic response to native whey should be higher than that we'd see in response to any other of the five tested proteins. Now, unfortunately, this response was not measured in the study at hand.
|Figure 3: The faster absorption and increased aminoacidemia of whey vs. milk protein in Mitchell et al. (2015) did not translate to (A) significantly increased acute (A) and aggregate (B) myofibrillar protein synthesis.|
Previous "real world" (=longitudinal) studies say: speed doesn't build extra muscle
Now, the acute protein synthetic response can be misleading. A similar, but longitudinal, comparison of the effects of whey protein concentrate and hydrolysate supplementation on lean mass gains in 56 resistance-trained men by Lockwood et al. (2016) found no increase in the skeletal muscle hypertrophy response to 8 weeks of resistance training either.
|Figure 4: Total lean mass (kg) before and after 8 weeks of standardized resistance training and supplementation with whey protein concentrate (WPC), WPC + lactoferrin and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) in Lockwood et al. (2016).|
- Hamarsland, Håvard, et al. "Native whey induces higher and faster leucinemia than other whey protein supplements and milk: a randomized controlled trial." BMC Nutrition 3.1 (2017): 10.
- Lockwood, Christopher M., et al. "Effects of Hydrolyzed Whey versus Other Whey Protein Supplements on the Physiological Response to 8 Weeks of Resistance Exercise in College-Aged Males." Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2016): 1-12.
- Mitchell, Cameron J., et al. "Consumption of milk protein or whey protein results in a similar increase in muscle protein synthesis in middle aged men." Nutrients 7.10 (2015): 8685-8699.