Hydrowhey – Whey protein hydrolysate

Hydrowhey is a hydrolyzed whey protein product.

Different references are  appropriate for sports nutrition, senior, clinical or infant nutrition.

Owing to its extensively hydrolyzed whey protein, Hydrowhey enjoys a rapid absorption rate and high digestibility.

This product is manufactured from a cascade of strictly controlled enzymatic hydrolysis reactions.

Hydrolyzed whey proteins have lower allergenic potential than intact proteins.

Hydrowhey is available in France and in Benelux countries.



The hydrowhey hydrolyzed whey protein product contains up to 80% proteins on a dry matter basis.

Whey protein is one of the two protein fractions in cow’s milk; casein makes up the other fraction. Protein hydrolysates are peptide fragments or free amino acids produced by enzymes that breakdown (or hydrolyze) intact proteins. Hydrolysis modifies the properties of proteins.

The characteristics of hydrolyzed whey protein confers several advantages over intact proteins.Intact proteins are naturally hydrolyzed during digestion with help from the body’s enzymes.The consumption of hydrolyzed whey protein increases the absorption rate and facilitates the digestion of protein.

Hydrowhey has real nutritional benefits because it contains all the essential amino acids.


Nutrition and Health Benefits

Whey protein hydrolysate Hydrowhey is above all a source of quality protein.

Animal proteins are reputedly more “complete” because they contain all the essential amino acids.

Hydrowhey contains all the necessary essential amino acids necessary for human growth and maintenance needs and none of its amino acids are limiting.It contains roughly 30% branched chain amino acids and 16% glutamine.

Owing to its amino acid profile and specific properties, hydrolyzed whey protein is beneficial for various populations: seniors, infants and athletes.

Hydrowhey for infant nutrition

In 2007, ANSES published recommendations regarding protein intake for infants and toddlers. Recommended levels of intake, based on experimental data, cover the needs of the vast majority of infants and toddlers.The recommended intake starts from 10 g/day for newborns up to 1 month of age and reaches 11.7 g/day for children between 24 and 36 months.

Intact whey proteins (lactoglobulin, lactalbumin) are a valuable source of protein for infant nutrition, but some children are allergic to these proteins.


Allergies to cow whey proteins

However, today, allergies are becoming more and more of an issue, particularly in children. Food allergies have become increasingly frequent. According to ANSES (2003), roughly 3% of the French population has a worsening food allergy and 8% of children suffer from a food allergy, including atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Allergy to proteins in cow’s milk is currently the leading food allergy in children and frequently begins in the first months of life. From 2 to 3% of infants are affected. Food allergies can bring on symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, colic, rashes, asthma or eczema.

Therefore, alternatives must be found for infants who are allergic and also for infants who are at risk of developing an allergy.

Infants and toddlers with a family history of allergies are more likely to develop a food allergy, suffer from eczema, rash or asthma or to already have another allergy. These are infants and toddlers are considered to be at risk.


Protein allergenicity

The allergenicity of a given protein involves limited sequences of the protein called epitopes, or antigenic determinants, that are recognized by the immune system and can cause an allergic reaction. During protein hydrolysis, epitopes can be reduced or destroyed.

Extensively hydrolyzed whey protein —thus lacking epitopes —can be used in formulas for allergic or at-risk infants.In addition, Hydrowhey is a partial whey protein hydrolysate and thus contains a reduced number of epitopes.It has a lower allergenic potential and is perfect for the composition of formulas for at-risk infants.

Proteins are exposed to gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), which is the main component of the immune system in the digestive tract. GALT allows tolerance to various food antigens and distinguishes non-pathogenic from pathogenic organisms. According to Cabana et al. (2017), the exposure to small-sized whey peptides leads to oral tolerance. Low molecular weight molecules are correlated with low protein allergenicity.

Preventive effects against allergies

According to ANSES, several studies have shown that hypoallergenic formulas containing partially hydrolyzed proteins have a preventive effect on the development of allergies, particularly on eczema in at-risk children. Some studies also indicate that a decrease in the risk of eczema with consumption of partially hydrolyzed whey protein in children with significant family history of atopic dermatitis could be observed (Cabana, 2017).

It must have a reduced risk of eczema with partial whey protein hydrolysates for children with family history of serious atopic dermatitis (Cabana, 2017)

In a cohort study (Kuo et al., 2011), the prevalence of allergic rhinitis is lower in children who consume partially hydrolyzed whey protein than those who consume in standard non-hydrolyzed formulas (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.47-0.95).


  • AFSSA « Apport en protéines : consommation, qualité,
    besoins et recommandations ». Disponible sur <
  • Cabana. The Role of Hydrolyzed formula in Allergy prevention. Ann Nutr Metab 2017; 70 (suppl 2):38-45.
  • Host et al. 2002 Ann Allergy immunol. 89 ;33-37
  • Kua et al. Partial protein-hydrolyzed infant formula decreased food sensitization but not allergic disease in a prospective birth cohort study. Int. Arch Allergy Immunol 2011; 154:310-317.

Hydrolyzed whey protein for sports nutrition

Whey protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass and its increase.

Hydrowhey can thus be an ideal protein source for exercise performance and muscle recovery.

Sports, particularly those that demand strength, and muscle-building exercises solicit muscles heavily. These high mechanical stresses can lead to microlesions and increase the permeability of muscle cells (Hausswirth, INSEP, 2012). Microlesions can cause muscle pain and decrease exercise performance. 



Protein is broken down during muscle-building exercises. To maintain a positive nitrogen balance, protein synthesis must occur continuously.

Protein intake is thus essential and it stimulates muscle anabolism. Because the nitrogen balance can become negative after intense physical exercise, it is important to consume appropriate protein sources to attain a positive nitrogen balance and thus favor muscle recovery.

BCAA for muscle synthesis and recovery

Hydrowhey contains roughly 30% branched chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are involved in the stimulation of protein synthesis pathways. According to Kreider et al. (2010), supplementation with BCAAs can help decrease protein degradation during intense physical exercise.

Hydrowhey helps reinforce the immune system in athletes

Hydrowhey also contains a high quantity of glutamine which is involved in the regulation of the immune system and in supplying energy to cells.

Intense and prolonged physical exercise has temporary, but significant, effects on the immune system: it favors infections in the upper respiratory tract brought on due to exposure to unfavorable weather conditions, breathing through the mouth (thereby bypassing the nose’s natural filtering function), stress due to competitive situations, etc.(Gleeson, 2007; Nieman, 1994).

Glutamine is a nutrient that has a direct effect on the immune response by increasing the proliferation of lymphocytes.This amino acid decreases during prolonged intense physical effort because immune cells use glutamine as an energy source. The availability of this amino acid in the blood is therefore essential for a health immune system.

Glutamine is stored in muscle and released during physical effort or stress.Many studies have shown that an increase in glutamic acid induces its increase in the plasma, leading to a decrease in respiratory tract infections via its effect on the immune system(Bassit et al., 2000).

In conclusion, Hydrowhey is a valuable protein source that is rapidly assimilated and easily digested, making it ideal for athletes, particularly for exercise recovery.


  • Christophe Hausswirth. 2012 .Nutrition et performance en sport. Institut National du sport et de l’éducation physique (INSEP).
  • Kreider et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:7

Hydrolyzed whey protein for senior nutrition

The ageing of the population has led to an increase in the number of people affected by age-related disorders. In 2016, one out of every five Europeans was affected by sarcopenia, i.e. muscle atrophy or age-related degenerative muscle loss.

With age, many people show protein deficiency. Protein consumption decreases with age due to a decrease in appetite and to decreased intake due to eating difficulties (chewing, illnesses, etc.).

The body’s digestive capacity also decreases with age due to a decline in the amount of digestive enzymes. A significant increase in the quantity of amino acids in the plasma is required to stimulate the synthesis of muscle proteins and inhibit proteolysis.

Therefore, older people must consume a sufficient amount of proteins to remain in good health.

In France, ANSES recommends a higher protein intake in seniors than for healthy adults: 1.0 g protein/kg body weight/day for people older than 75 years of age.

A comparative study (Pennings et al., 2011) conducted on 48 men of an average age of 74 shows that whey protein stimulates protein synthesis better than caseins.

Hydrowhey is thus an valuable source of protein for seniors.

Moreover, Hydrowhey is highly soluble, making it amenable to beverage formulations. In the elderly, liquid-based forms can be a good alternative to solid matrices such as meat, which can be difficult to chew.In addition, hydrolyzed whey protein provides a “pre-digested” source of protein that may also facilitate digestion.

Hydrowhey can also be used in clinical nutrition for patients with chronic diseases which induce protein maldigestion or malabsorption.  Hydrowhey  allows an easier and faster protein intake.

Sources :

  • AFSSA « Apport en protéines : consommation, qualité,
    besoins et recommandations ». Disponible sur <
  • Citrage – Tout sur la sarcopènie. Disponible sur <>
  • Pennings B. Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate in older men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 93, Issue 5, 1 May 2011, Pages 997–1005

Regulatory Information

Hydrolyzed whey protein is authorized as a source of protein in preparations intended for infants and follow-up formula by Commission Directive 2006/141/EC of 22 December 2006 regarding infant and follow-up formulas and amending Directive 1999/21/CE.

Infant formula based on protein hydrolysates must contain between 0.45 and 0.7 g protein/100 kJ of infant formula.

Follow-up formula must contain between 0.56 and 0.8 g protein/100 kJ of follow-up formula.

In the case of infant formulae manufactured from protein hydrolysates defined in point 2.2 of Annex I with a protein content between the minimum and 0,56 g/100 kJ (2,25 g/100 kcal), the suitability of the infant formula for the particular nutritional use by infants shall be demonstrated through appropriate studies, performed following generally accepted expert guidance on the design and conduct of such studies and shall be in accordance with the appropriate specifications set out in Annex VI.

Annex VI defines the characteristics of authorized whey protein.

Regulation (EU) no. 2016/127 provides for changes applicable as of February 2021.


Technological Properties and Formulation

Whey protein hydrolysates have very interesting properties and are characterized by its degree of hydrolysis and its molecular weight distribution.

This characteristic confers interesting properties:

  • Solubility: hydrolyzed peptides are much more soluble than intact peptides, making the hydrolysates amenable for use in beverage formulations such as high protein drinks. Their high solubility also makes them suitable for infant and follow-up formulas.
  • Digestibility: hydrolysates have high digestibility, thereby facilitating protein intake. This property is particularly useful for athletes or the elderly. Seniors generally have poor digestion due to the decrease in the number of digestive enzymes secreted by the digestive system. Whey protein hydrolysates are more rapidly absorbed than intact proteins.

Two different products are available into Hydrowhey range: they have different hydrolysis degrees.

  • Hydrowhey WHS 80+ has a high degree of hydrolysis (roughly 20%). Moreover, they have a characteristic molecular weight distribution with around 40% of its proteins having weights under 1 kDa. It is suitable for infant formula. Hydrowhey WPS 80 reduces the allergenic potential of proteins. Protein hydrolysates can be used in the formulation of products for people with milk allergies or who are intolerant to milk proteins. Hydrowhey WPS 80 can be particularly suitable for infants who are at risk for milk allergies. It is also suitable for sportsmen.
  • Hydrowhey WPS E5 has a degree of hydrolysis of 5%. This hydrolysate is less bitter, suitable for sportsmen products and it is highly soluble

Nutrition and Health Claims

Several health claims can be used for proteins:

  • “Protein contributes to the increase in muscle mass”
  • “Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass”
  • “Protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones”

Regulation No. 432/2012 on health claims stipulates that “The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of protein as referred to in the claim SOURCE OF PROTEINS as listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006”.

A food is called

  • “High in protein” if at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.
  • “Source of protein ” : if at least 12% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.