Protein via Ion-Exchange

Great care has been taken to ensure ElementGold contains the best protein source available for use in an elemental food. The potein used in ElementGold has been purified using the ion-exchange method resulting in a premium whey protein isolate that is different to many other Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) products. Since WPI is a major ingredient in ElementGold and many sufferers of gastrointestinal conditions are wary of milk related products, this page details the Ion-Exchange method of purifying protein that has been chosen for ElementGold.

Find out more about the proteins and other ingredients by reading the Ingredients Overview.

What is Whey Protein Isolate?

When milk is curdled, such as in the manufacture of many cheeses, the milk is seperated into the solid curds and the liquid whey. Both the curds and the whey contain protein (amongst other things) but whey proteins are those extracted from the liquid whey and are the type used in ElementGold.

There are various ways extract the proteins and other elements from whey. When dried, Whey protein concentrate contains around 70-80% protein and a more protein conctrated form aiming to provide just the protein, called whey protein isolate (WPI) contains at least 90% protein. The paticular whey protein isolate used in ElementGold, using the ion-exchange method is specified to contain at least 95% protein but typically has 97.7±0.7% protein.

Whey protein concentrate is the cheaper form and can have a richer taste but also contains the most impurites making it the least suitable for ElementGold. Whey protein isolate is a much better fit for an elemental food where we are looking to minimise anything other than pure protein. In the case of ElementGold, the goal is to totally isolate the pure protein leaving out all other components which is why ion-exchange is used.

Ion-Exchange vs Membrane Filtration

Both ion-exchange and membrane filtration methods can be used to create high quality proteins but there is a difference to the make-up or profile of the proteins and the overall purity depending on the method used.

Membrane filtration is an established and cost effective technology used in the food industry. High pressure is used to push the whey through very fine filters with the aim of using the size of particles to isolate the whey.

Ion-exchange takes advantage of the charge present at the surface of protein molecues to precisely isolate them. The ion-exchange vessel contains small resin beads that have a charge matched to the proteins. This charge affinity adheres the proteins to the beads and the remaining components can be washed away. A small, revisible change to ph is used to release the proteins from the beads and then a final diafiltration takes place.

The features that make the ion-exchange process desirable for use in ElementGold are:

  • Ion-exchange allows for more precise targeting of the proteins resulting less impurity.
  • Almost all lactose and fat removed. Lower than any other method [see below].
  • The proteins are of better quality because there is less denaturing of proteins. Ion-exchange is a gentle process without the friction (heat) and pressure stresses of membrane filtration.
  • Lower glycomacropeptide (GMP) means a higher concentration of proteins such as leucone, the trigger for muscle protein synthesis.
  • Ion-exchange produces a very clean flavour suitable as a base for creating a flavours of ElementGold.

Contains Milk?

The ElementGold label contains the phrase "CONTAINS MILK" in compliance with Australia/New Zealand Food Standards Code. This is required because the proteins added were isolated from milk whey. There are many ways to extract proteins from milk and many of them still contain lactose, casein or fats which suffers may be sensitive to.

In ElementGold, the purity of the protein, extracted using the ion-exchange method, means that the components of milk that typically trigger digestive symptoms are removed or are at such low levels that they are extremely unlikely to cause problems. If your healthcare professional has directed you to avoid milk try to confirm the element of milk they are looking for you to avoid (such as lactose, casein, fats or minerals) and compare to the levels found in ElementGold.

One of the most common ingredients sufferers are looking to avoid is lactose. Lactose is the sugar found naturally in milk (just as fructose is the sugar found in fruit) and lactose sensitivity at some level not uncommon. A typical 325ml glass of regular milk (the same volume as a serve of ElementGold), contains 20.5g of lactose. A 325ml serve of ElementGold contains just 0.07g of lactose, meaning you would need to drink over 290 glasses of ElementGold to consume the same amount of lactose as a single glass of milk.

As your digestive system adjusts to food in an elemental form it is not uncommon to experience bloating or loose motion (remembering there is no fibrous material in ElementGold). People who are sensitive to lactose may experience similar symptoms when exposed to milk products and assume there must me lactose or other milk related products in ElementGold, which is almost always the case. If you are unsure, please consult a healthcare professional.