Sunflower Lecithin - What is it ?
To understand the function lecithin serves in AGN Roots Grassfed Whey protein, it’s important to view protein as simply a chain of amino acids (polypeptides). To go deeper, take a look at the back of our package and you’ll notice a tabular Amino Acid Profile which contains the names and quantities of these polypeptides.
Each of these peptide structures contain both hydrophilic (soluble in water) & hydrophobic (not water soluble) side chains. This is why single ingredient whey protein doesn’t readily dissolve in water. The hydrophobic components of the whey protein (oil-based solute) will not naturally dissolve into a water-based solvent to form a homogeneous solution. As a result, intact whey protein that hasn’t been denatured through processing (exposure to heat, hydrolysis, or acids) would need some sort of catalyst to support the dispersion into water. This “support” that is applied to many dairy products is known as the emulsification process and can be applied both mechanically, and or molecularly.
Emulsifiers are everywhere and used in many industries to allow fats (oils) to be uniformly dispersed in water (i.e. milk) and likewise for water to be uniformly dispersed in fats (i.e. butter). This is also why we use “soap and water” to wash our hands. If there is any oil on your hands, water alone would take a while to remove it.
If the first thing you can do after opening a milk carton is to skim the cream and fat off the top, chances are your milk has NOT undergone a homogenization process (emulsification). This process involves flowing high quantities of pasteurized milk through a very small area that is no wider than the width of a hair. The pressures and velocities of this process disrupt the fat globules within the milk, forcing them to disperse into much smaller ones. This emulsion method is considered mechanical and has an expiration date; when you see old milk start to separate, this is the emulsion breaking down over time and the fats rejoining other fats and floating to the surface.
You can safely consume milk that has not been homogenized, however consuming “raw” milk that has not been pasteurized can be extremely dangerous. Too often whey protein brands will make a claim such as "un-denatured" which often gets misinterpreted to mean "not pasteurized ". In reality, whether the brand is simply printing buzz-words on their marketing material or not, it's important to know that this "un-denatured" adjective points to the process of isolating out proteins from a concentrate solution without the use of extreme temperatures (cold pressed through micro filters) and is much further downstream of the pasteurization step. Of course this assumes the milk underwent low temp pasteurization methods to begin with; this is in contrast to the more common ultra-high-temperature-short-time methods used in modern milk parlors today.
Below you will see a link to a pasteurization article; in it we discuss further pasteurization methods that sacrifice nutrition bio-availability (cold processing) for an extended shelf life and stability profile. Global dairy export companies like Fonterra responsible for supplying China's dairy demand from New Zealand will use flash processing methods to ensure stability and shelf life during export transit. This is why, we highly recommend being skeptical when seeing advertisements for "New Zealand Grassfed Whey", it's harmless macro nutrition and is very stable, but nutritionally, the micro nutrients and minor protein fractions are denatured beyond the point of being bio-available.
Learn More about Milk Pasteurization
Learn More about Undenatured Whey Protein Processing
In nature there are several organic amphiphilic agents (capable of attracting both oil and water-based components) that essentially serve as universal adaptors, capable of bringing together oil and water without the brute force of a homogenizer. “Lecithin” happens to be one of these natural agents and exists in abundance in both animal and plant tissues. It’s considered critical for the healthy function the brain, blood, nerves, and digestive system. Our bodies use lecithin to support critical processes such as metabolism and the creation of specific neurotransmitters. It is also used in general to protect the integrity of our cell membranes and thus lecithin can be found present in every single cell of our bodies.
What Does Sunflower Lecithin Do ?
The very small amount of non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin within AGN Roots Grassfed Whey allows our community of health enthusiasts access to nutrition-on-the-go without the clumps and chunks associated with mixing protein in a water-based solution without electric agitation. With an unwavering commitment to the integrity of our product while optimizing the functionality and sensitivities of mixing; the addition of sunflower lecithin couldn't have been more of a clear choice.
Keep in mind, AGN Roots Grassfed Whey does not have a stance on whether there is an advantageous recovery window to consume protein throughout your day to optimize recovery benefits (our product as amazing as it is, does not quite have the consciousness to form an opinion). This mentioned, when presented with opportunity to afford our consumers the convenience of a superior Grassfed whey product that was also available for immediate consumption at any time while maintaining the absolute integrity of our product, we seized it.
As a result, AGN roots Grassfed Whey can be mixed with a spoon or a shaker bottle on the go. Although It is an unflavored and just about as naked / raw as it gets, we do encourage a blender or magic bullet be used at home with all kinds of your favorite fruits and natural or organic flavors to make every serving count. We highly recommend you spice it up and have fun with your nutrition!
"Ready to Mix" - Proven Benefit of Sunflower Lecithin
AGN Grassfed Whey is a diary powder that's ready to mix; once reconstituted with a liquid phase, it's wise to treat the solution exactly like you would a cold diary product rather than a citrus soft-drink or can of pop.
After making a whey protein powder shake, if you plan to save it for later, a rule of thumb by the FDA is to do so at 40°F (refrigerator temperature) with the recommendation of NOT letting it sit out longer than 2 hours unrefrigerated.
Sunflower Lecithin vs Soy Lecithin -
Naturally, AGN Roots Grass Grassfed Whey would only be satisfied with the highest quality lecithin available. Without a doubt the healthiest lecithin comes from sunflower seeds. Our Sunflower Lecithin is Non-GMO and naturally extracted (mechanically) from sunflower seeds in a 100% chemical free process. This is in stark contrast to many other lecithin sources, including the more commonly used soy-lecithin which requires chemical use (alcohols and petroleum based) to extract from their respective sources. Soy lecithin is often associated negatively with the common allergen (Soy Allergy) and also carries within it properties that may impact your hormones (estrogen levels) although at these quantities, that is highly unlikely and was massively hyperbolized years ago by the weight lifting supplement side of the industry.
Additionally, there is a whole other facet of uncertainty around GMOs and the impacts of consuming soy. Soy lecithin is a double hitter with 75% of soy lecithin made by GMO. Another benefit of Sunflower Lecithin is that it provides a valuable source of phosphatidylcholine, which is linked to improved digestion and cognitive health. Speaking of benefits…
What are the Benefits of Sunflower Lecithin ?
As a standalone supplement, Lecithin can be bought your local pharmacy. While soybean lecithin tends to come in granulated capsule form, you can buy sunflower lecithin in both powder and liquid form as well. Sunflower lecithin isn’t as common, but many prefer it, especially if trying to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as mentioned earlier.
Although there is no substitute for performing your own research; below you’ll find a summary and consensus from the many sources we’ve found over the years to be credible. If you have more research or have personal experiences to add value to our community around this topic, we would love to hear from you. We will continue to pursue the latest research to only include ingredients that are irrefutably health-affirming in our Grassfed whey. These benefits and common claims include -
- Heart Health – Lecithin has a natural proclivity to help balance the fat levels in your bloodstream. This in theory has potential to reduce risks around cardiac issues such as atherosclerosis.
- Brain Protection – Phospholipids (the building blocks of lecithin) have been connected to brain health and the repair processes utilized by neural cells. *Lipid substances that contain choline, like lecithin, may improve the brain’s functional pathways. Conflicting data exists on whether lecithin could be used to benefit populations that suffer from neurological & nervous system conditions, but research into this benefit of lecithin is promising and moving forward. One day soon, regular use of a lecithin supplement may be proven to result in faster neural regeneration thus protecting the nervous system.
- Connected to battling Dementia Symptoms - Lecithin contains choline (precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine), which is a chemical your brain uses to communicate. **Clinical Research suggests that a diet rich in choline may support memory function thus benefit those battling Alzheimer’s disease.
- Liver Integrity – Lecithin supports the liver’s fat-processing functions. If you’ve ever stepped outside your normal diet and indulged in a very fatty meal, Lecithin can greatly reduce the amount of work your liver needs to do to handle the excess fat.
- Blood Pressure – You’ve probably noticed a theme, but when it comes to excess fat in your blood stream, there is no shortage of potential health risks. Less fat in your blood, the less likely your blood pressure puts strain on your cardiovascular system.
- Boost the Immune System - Research has found that this phospholipid substance speeds the healing process and stimulates the immune system. Largely due to its antioxidant effects, thanks to phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylethanolamine.
In closing, we strive for pure transparency and hope we’ve provided you enough information to be comfortable with our decision to include ingredient Sunflower Lecithin in our Grass-fed Whey. The small ( < 1% ) non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin addition to our Grass-fed Whey allows for incredible practicality, via ease of mixing without needing a portable blender, for the-the-go enthusiast. Although the amount of Sunflower Lecithin per serving in AGN Roots Grassfed Whey is minuscule compared to the suggested serving sizes expected from a supplement standpoint, the benefits start even at this low intake threshold. As far as what type Lecithin is preferred, it is obvious that a non-GMO, naturally extracted Sunflower Lecithin is the best decision, and one we stand by and support whole heartedly!