Our New Zealand Whey ONLY uses CFM – cross flow microfiltration. The reason for this is that CFM produces the highest level of undenatured protein available. It’s a delicate process which maintains the valuable protein fractions that ion exchange discards.

Instead of using destructive chemicals, CFM uses filters to separate protein from undesirable fat, cholesterol and lactose, based on molecular size and shape. The low-temperature process isolates the native protein of whey at its biologically natural pH, carefully preserving its biological activity. Glycomacropeptide’s and other immune-boosting components remain intact. Whereas ion exchange keeps only some of whey’s biologically active components, CFM sustains a more complete protein profile-one of optimal balance, as found naturally in whey. There are no denatured proteins, a superior amino acid profile, and more calcium and less sodium.

The problem with Ion-exchange processing is that they are made by running concentrates through what is called an ion exchange column, which separates proteins based on their electrical charge, which then alters the pH of the whey. Hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide are the chemical reagents normally used to achieve this. The electrical charge on the proteins attaches them to resins in the reaction vessel. Obviously, these reagents damage pH-sensitive fractions and denature some amino acids. It becomes clear that we can say goodbye to glycomacropeptides, the immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, the growth factors, and a big percentage of the alpha-lactalbumin content. Cysteine and methionine will also be denatured (lost).

If some fractions have been eliminated or reduced, the resultant shift in the balance will mean that other fractions represent a higher percentage of the material. Beta-lactoglobulin, a reasonably stable fraction, can account for up to 75% of the fractions present in ion-exchange material.

Is there a problem with this? Yes, High amounts of beta-lactoglobulin can cause severe allergic reactions in humans. This fraction, not found in human milk, has even been responsible for the deaths of several individuals over the past ten years.

Another damaging factor with this type of processing is that it is known to form lysinoalanine, a bonded amino acid compound that results in losses of the following amino acids:

Cysteine (73-77%)

Threonine (35-45%)

Serine (18-30%)

Lysine (19-20%)

High amounts of lysinoalanine can be found in ion-exchange whey and may produce adverse effects on growth, protein digestibility, protein quality, and mineral bioavailability and digestibility.

Also ion-exchange strips out calcium and magnesium ions, and replaces them with sodium ions. The excess sodium throws the potassium levels out of balance. When that happens, the electrolytes go out of balance and the entire metabolism suffers.

So why did this material ever become popular? Heavy marketing from the dairy companies is the answer, but then you have to ask yourself why they developed it in the first place. Before ionexchange came along, Cross Flow Microfiltration was the only practical operation. However, a French patent on this process meant that all companies had to pay to use it. This expensive inconvenience led them to look for alternatives.

When the ion-exchange process was developed, it provided these companies with a lot more freedom. Even when micro-filtration came along, the ion-exchange process still remained popular, as the set-up cost is around one-fifth that of microfiltration.

So the development of ion-exchange whey had little to do with any benefit to the consumer. Long after several nutrition companies became aware of the disadvantages of ion-exchange whey, dairy companies kept on promoting it, as they sat on a mountain of this material.