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6 Best Ways to Digest Whey Protein Faster

How to digest whey protein?

Whey protein digestion can be difficult for a beginner athlete or a regular person trying to lose or gain weight (muscle mass). Furthermore, many of us have difficulty digesting whey proteins, which can result in loose stools, constipation, or gas. While some people who have been consuming whey for a long time may experience digestive issues, before we discuss the symptoms and treatments for whey protein digestion, let’s first understand “what whey protein is made of and the types of whey protein.”

How is whey protein powder made?

Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese production process. The first step is to pasteurize cow’s milk since it contains bacteria that are dangerous to humans. After that, enzymes were added to the pasteurized milk to separate the curd from the liquid whey. The whey is next concentrated and purified, which can be accomplished using ion exchange chromatography or membrane filtration.

The type of whey protein will be determined at this point; the more times it is filtered, the purer the whey protein will be. Because of this, whey protein is further broken down into three types based on how it is filtered.

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Types of Whey Protein

  • Whey protein concentrate or blend has a protein content of 70–80%. In addition, it has fat and lactose.
  • Whey protein isolate is the richest and purest kind of protein, with 90% protein and less fat, lactose, and other impurities.
  • Hydrolyzed whey protein: 90–94% of whey protein hydrolysate is protein. It claims to be the best digesting whey protein. We’ll get into why hydrolyzed whey protein claims to be the most digestible whey protein later.

6 best ways to digest whey protein

To build or grow muscle mass, you must fully absorb the protein you consume from your food or from protein supplements. whereas some individuals have trouble digesting whey protein supplements and cannot enjoy the full benefits of whey protein despite spending a lot of money on it. 

Yes, protein breakdown and absorption decrease with age, but aging affects the entire digestion process. So, what steps can someone take if they are experiencing trouble to digest whey protein or protein from other sources?

Avoid overconsuming protein

Even for those who need to gain muscle mass, 20 to 24 g of protein per meal is more than enough; anything above this will be used for other purposes. However, too much consumption of whey protein can have a negative impact on one’s gut health and cause a variety of other health problems, like acne, kidney, or liver damage.

To learn more about the negative effects of whey protein, read our article, → “7 Undeniable Long-Term Effects of Whey Protein.”

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Include acidic foods in your diet

Adding more acidic foods to your diet, like lemon juice, grapes, and berries, can help you digest whey protein better. This is because the acid in the foods can help break down proteins. Hydrochloric acid (HCL), which is found in the stomach, also activates the enzymes that help break down macronutrients.

Choose whey protein wisely

Choosing your whey protein carefully can also help with digestion. A person with digestion issues must choose whey proteins that have digestive enzymes present in them. They are worthwhile to purchase because they can significantly aid digestion and protein absorption.

Furthermore, you can ask a doctor or a certified nutritionist to suggest the best type of whey protein for you!

Digestive enzyme supplements may help

You can also try taking digestive enzyme supplements. These supplements have all the enzymes you need to break down proteins, carbohydrates, fats, etc., and you can get them at any supplement or pharmaceutical store. If you have a long-term illness, talk to your doctor first.

Complex carbohydrates will help

Protein cannot be digested on its own; however, combining whey protein with carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, will significantly speed up the process of digesting protein. Some foods that go well with protein shakes are peanut butter sandwiches, oats, fruits like bananas and apples, and salads.

Consume foods high in vitamin B-6

If vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine, is added, it can aid in the digestion of protein and the transport of amino acids to the bloodstream.

You’ll be surprised to learn that this vitamin B-6 is found in protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, legumes, seeds, nuts, and so on.

How long does it take to digest whey protein?

Studies have shown that it takes around one hour to digest 10 grams of whey protein. Simply put, we can estimate that it will take between 2.3 to 2.5 hours to digest one serving of whey protein, which contains 24 grams of protein on average.

There are many ways to get protein into our diet. Different sources of protein digest at different rates, but whey is considered a fast-acting protein, which means it digests faster than other sources of protein.

Which whey protein is the fastest and easiest to digest?

People who have trouble digesting whey protein supplements should always go for the hydrolysate or hydrolyzed form, in that form of protein enzymes are used to break down or “pre-digest” the protein chains into smaller parts. This creates peptides, which are very small pieces of protein that are easy for the body to absorb.

Although hydrolyzed whey protein is the most easy to digest whey protein, it may not be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. For those who are lactose sensitive, we recommend whey protein isolate.

Furthermore, studies claim that animal-based proteins are much easier to digest than plant-based proteins. Animal-based proteins have more anabolic properties than plant-based proteins, which have less anabolic properties, resulting in less muscle growth. Whey protein supplements, on the other hand, outperform plant-based protein supplements.

Common Problems with whey protein digestion

People who can’t digest whey protein powder are usually the ones who are lactose intolerant (the ones who can’t digest the sugar lactose present in milk), and they will have many of the above symptoms if they don’t know what kind of whey protein they are consuming.

A lactose intolerant individual should choose isolate whey protein because it contains 90% protein and only around 1% lactose, making it easier for that person to digest whey protein.

Your protein indigestion may potentially be caused by an enzyme deficiency. Protein digestion occurs in the stomach, and the enzyme pepsin found there is responsible for protein breakdown.

Furthermore, a fiber-deficient diet may be a significant contributor to protein indigestion (lack of eating green vegetables, salad, fruits, nuts, and seeds).

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Symptoms of poor whey protein digestion

The most common signs of whey protein indigestion include

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach aches
  • Bloating
  • Gas


Ultimately, persons who are experiencing whey protein digestion problems may use the methods listed above to digest whey protein faster and better. The hydrolyzed form of whey protein is the quickest and easiest to digest. Lactose intolerant people should try whey protein isolate, which contains only about 1% lactose.

Frequently Asked Questions

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“How Whey Protein Is Made.” Agropur, www.agropur.com/us/news/how-whey-protein-is-made. Accessed 18 Jan. 2023.

“3 Different Types of Whey Protein, Which One Is Right for You? – Drug Research.” Drug Research, 23 Dec. 2022, drugresearch.in/types-of-whey-protein.

“Can I Consume Whey Protein if I’m Lactose Intolerant?” Agropur, www.agropur.com/us/news/Can-I-consume-whey-protein-if-Im-lactose-intolerant. Accessed 18 Jan. 2023.

“8 Signs You Have an Enzyme Deficiency.” Sunwarrior, 22 Sept. 2020, sunwarrior.com/blogs/health-hub/signs-you-have-an-enzyme-deficiency.

Schoenfeld, Brad Jon, and Alan Albert Aragon. “How Much Protein Can the Body Use in a Single Meal for Muscle-building? Implications for Daily Protein Distribution.” PubMed Central (PMC), 27 Feb. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828430.

admin. “How to Help Your Body Absorb Protein – Golden Gate Obstetrics and Gynecology.” Golden Gate Obstetrics & Gynecology, 26 Sept. 2013, goldengateobgyn.org/how-to-help-your-body-absorb-protein.

Fischer, Maria. “Gainful.” What Is the Easiest Protein to Digest? | Gainful, gainful.com/blog/what-is-the-easiest-protein-to-digest. Accessed 18 Jan. 2023.

tpwnutritionist, by, and by Anna Sward. “What Is Hydrolysed Whey Protein? | the Protein Works.” The Locker Room, 1 Aug. 2013, www.theproteinworks.com/thelockerroom/what-is-hydrolysed-whey-protein.

I have over 3 years of experience as an ACE and Ereps certified personal trainer. Furthermore, I work with Sigma Fitness and create fitness-related articles.

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