by Prof. Dr. Ir. Sedarnawati Yasni, M.Agr., LPPOM MUI Senior Auditor

Whey protein is a protein fraction found in milk and is commonly consumed by the public. To find out the benefits of whey for the body and its halal aspects, here is a brief review.

Sports lovers are familiar with whey protein, especially those who want to shape their bodies like bodybuilding athletes. Whey protein is viral among athletes since it improves the physical status of athletes and athletic training. Athletes are naturally competitive, want to be successful, and have a growing awareness of choosing nutrients that can affect performance, so they choose ergogenic nutrition. Scientific evidence of nutritional ergogenic is scant, whereas ongoing whey protein research suggests specific benefits, including promoting healthy recovery, stronger immunity, and better results from exercise training (Cribb, 2006).

In the review on, Dr. Kevin Adrian explains that bodybuilders and sports fans consume whey protein to build muscle mass. However, ordinary people who are not athletes can also consume whey protein to meet their daily protein needs.

According to the professor of IPB University, Prof. Dr. Ir. Sedarnawati Yasni, M.Agr., one of the protein supplements widely known to the public is milk protein, such as casein and whey protein. Protein supplements contain one or several essential amino acids that must be consumed to meet the body’s needs.

Strenuous sports training or competition so that the athlete’s protein intake increases. Increased protein requirements are needed to increase protein synthesis to repair and remodel damaged skeletal muscle fibres during strenuous exercise.

A gradual increase in protein synthesis can lead to muscle hypertrophy and affect body composition. Athlete performance is greatly influenced by proportional fat mass and lean body mass. What is meant by body composition is the sum of all body parts consisting of fat tissue and lean tissue mass. Lean tissue mass consists of muscle mass, bone, skin, non-fat body tissue, and other body tissues.

Body composition and body weight are important factors that affect exercise performance. Body weight can affect an athlete’s speed, endurance, and power, while body composition can affect the strength, agility, and appearance of an athlete.

From the various information and explanations above, it can be said that whey products are a type of nutrition that plays a role in increasing the strength and mass of muscle tissue, increasing body weight, increasing endurance (ability to fight germs and viruses that cause disease), and accelerating wound healing.

Although various research information states that regular consumption of whey protein can reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, as well as maintain the health of vital organs of the body, such as the brain and heart, research regarding its effectiveness and health benefits still needs to be improved.

Whey products circulating in the market

Whey products circulating in the market can be classified based on the type and method of processing, namely:

1.       Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is widely used by the food and beverage industry. Before ultra-filtration technology was discovered, WPC contained 30-40% protein and high lactose and fat content. Developing ultra-filtration technology can produce WPC with a 70-80% protein content and low lactose and fat content.

2.     Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) contains very high protein, very low lactose, and is almost fat-free. WPI is of good quality if processed at low temperatures and acidity.

3.     Ion-exchanged Whey protein (IWP) is WPC that undergoes an ionization process using electricity and reagents to filter protein. IWP contains the highest protein content compared to other processes and has several drawbacks, namely lactoferrin which is antiviral and enhances growth resistance.

4.     Cross Flow Microfiltration Whey Protein Isolate (CFM) is whey protein isolate processed at low temperatures using high-tech ceramic filtration technology. CFM is a registered trademark of Glanbia Nutritional and contains very high protein, low fat, and lactose content. In addition, CFM also contains high calcium and low sodium.

5.     Hydrolyzed Whey protein or protein that is broken down into small parts of amino acids (called peptides) using specific enzymes. This makes it easier for the peptides to be absorbed by the body and is beneficial for people (aged and young children) with digestive disorders or allergies to protein.

Whey Protein contains the main protein components, casein and whey. For example, cow’s milk contains 80% casein and 20% whey protein. Whey protein content in milk is alpha-lactalbumin (20%), beta-lactoglobulin (50%), serum albumin (10%), immunoglobulin (10%), and peptone protease (<10%). Whey protein has a protein quality score and a high proportion of Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA), making it helpful in increasing muscle mass. The growth hormone Insulin Growth Factor (IGF)-1 stimulates protein synthesis by activating mTOR signals (Mitchell et al., 2015)*. Whey is a food product with complete nutrition and is widely used in the food industry as a functional food. Whey can be found in yoghurt in the form of a transparent liquid that is above the sediment of milk.

What are the Halal Aspects of Whey?

According to Sedarnawati, the halal aspects of whey products can be observed from the ingredients used and the production process. Regarding ingredients, whey is a protein derived from milk and its derivatives. Pure cow’s milk obtained directly from the mother cow is halal for consumption, but if it comes from a haram animal, then the milk and its derivative products are also harams.

Awareness of Whey products is essential since whey protein can be made of cheese or butter, which are susceptible to the use of enzymes, including rennet and pepsin. Pepsin and rennet can come from pigs, although not all of these products come from pigs. Whey can also come from the acidification of milk and the separation of lumps, so the acid used can be critical if made from microbial products such as citric acid.

Even though whey comes from cows, milk and its processed products can become haram if processed into other products with various mixed ingredients with a critical halal point. Therefore, the halal product whey needs to be watched out for. Consumers must choose carefully, especially if whey products come from countries that have not implemented strict halal standards, such as Europe, America, or China.

Whey production can be done in various ways, including the precipitation of milk protein by acidification, heating, or adding rennet. As a food ingredient, whey can be concentrated through evaporation to obtain a thicker concentrate. Then evaporation is carried out to obtain powdered whey.

Whey can be obtained from the screening process of cow’s milk. With tec protein content in whey is beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin (BSA), immunoglobulin (IG), and lactoferrin (LF). Of these proteins, beta-lactoglobulin is the most significant component in whey.

Vario With technology, this protein can be broken down into smaller protein particles, such as lactoferrin, immunoglobulin, lysozyme, and whey products are circulating in the market, and caution in buying whey products still needs to be considered. However, there is good news currently, and several halal-certified whey products exist. The important thing is to check the halal label on the packaging before buying whey (***)


Mitchell, WK; Phillips, BE; Williams, JP; Rankin, D.; Lund, JN; Smith, K.; Atherton, PJ 2015. A dose rather than delivery profile-dependent mechanism regulates the “muscle-full” effect in response to oral essential amino acid intake in young men. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 145, Issue 2, February 2015, Pages 207–214

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