Whey Protein Isolate vs. Aminos

Whey Protein Isolate vs. Aminos

Learn the difference between these two products, and how to decide which is best for you.

By Justin Klein, RD CSSD LD, Performance Dietician for EXOS at Mercy Fitness Center


Lean protein plays a key role in stabilizing our energy levels, providing nutrients to our bodies for recovery and repair, and protecting our immune function. A 2005 review published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that people who get the protein they need throughout the day maintain muscle mass and are leaner than people who don’t.* Whether you’re trying to lean out, gain lean mass, improve energy, or simply looking for a convenient way to fill some gaps in your diet, Whey Protein Isolate and Aminos would work great.* Here we explain the difference, and how to know which one to take and when.

What’s the difference between Whey Protein Isolate and Aminos?

Whey is one of two proteins found in milk. Whey Protein Isolate helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue after exercise while also supporting digestion and immune function.* Whey is a complete protein source, containing bioactive peptides from dairy proteins as well as all essential amino acids necessary for protein demands. Whey protein boosts total protein and, with 100 calories per serving, it can fill the gaps in your diet throughout the day. Compared to other forms of protein, whey protein is thought to be superior due to its combination of branched-chain amino acid content and higher rate of utilization and absorption.* Amino acids are the building blocks of protein responsible for initiating the key pathways in the body that are required for maintenance, growth, and immunity.* Aminos provides easily digestible amino acid substrates for energy production while also supporting metabolism and improving performance and recovery by promoting and maintaining lean muscle mass.*

Which product should I take before or during my workouts?

Whey protein has not only been shown to repair and rebuild after a workout, it has been shown to decrease muscle breakdown and spare muscle fuel stores before and during a workout.* So taking 15-20 grams of Whey Protein Isolate one hour before a training session would be beneficial. Among all amino acids, the branched-chain amino acids play a greater role in the stimulation of protein synthesis and include leucine, isoleucine, and valine.* Aminos contains the branched-chain amino acids that can be oxidized in the muscle for fuel.* They have also been shown to decrease markers of muscle damage in both endurance and resistance-trained athletes.* Because of these unique properties, supplementing before and/or during would be of benefit for any athlete.

Which product should I take after my workouts?

While both Whey Protein Isolate and Aminos are great recovery options due to their ability to stimulate protein synthesis and repair and rebuild lean muscle tissue, a 2006 study published in Experimental Gerontology concluded that although essential amino acids created a greater anabolic effect, whey protein and essential amino acids are both capable sources to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.* Twenty to 30 grams of whey protein will get an athlete to the 15-gram mark of branched-chain amino acids. When combined with some carbohydrates, Whey Protein Isolate is a great recovery option.* This can be accomplished by adding 1-2 scoops of Whey Protein Isolate to a fruit smoothie of your choice.

How do I use these products to meet my nutrition goals?

Both products are going to be key in improving performance and recovery,* but when trying to compare one product to the other, you need to know what your goal is. If you’re looking to add weight (lean muscle mass), then you’ll need to increase your caloric and macronutrient intake. One way to do this would be incorporating a whey protein shake between meals. The extra calories and protein will add to your daily total intake, allowing you to reach your goal more effectively. Maybe you’re looking to reduce some calories and lean out a bit. An effective way to do this would be with the Aminos. Utilizing Aminos post-workout would allow you the benefits of repairing and rebuilding lean muscle tissue without the extra calories of a protein shake.*

How much protein do I need?

Protein intake should be split up over the course of the day, and it should be included in every meal or snack to meet an athletes’ needs of 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of lean body weight per day. If you weigh 160 pounds with a body fat of 20 percent, for instance, you may need upward of roughly 130 grams of protein per day. Dividing that by six meals comes to about 22 grams of protein per meal. A more sedentary person should consume around 0.5 to 0.6 grams per pound of lean body mass. Weighing 160 pounds with a body fat of about 20 percent, this sedentary person should consume around 70-75 grams of protein spread over the day.

Protein helps to stabilize energy, promotes satiety, and also revs up the metabolism.* Your body has to work a little harder to digest protein, so your metabolism gets a bit of a jolt each time you include it in a meal. By including a protein source with each of our meals and your post-workout recovery shake, you’ll easily and effectively satisfy your protein needs.