The Protein Guru
To The Supplement Industry! - Part 1
The Man Behind "Complete Milk Protein" And A Behind The Scenes Look Into WHEY PROTEIN!
This interview was such a humbling interview for me because I felt like I was back in high school, struggling through College Prep Chemistry. I really learned how much I still have to learn after speaking with Philip Connolly.
Here is a rundown of credentials and bio information on Philip Connolly and one of his companies - Commercial Proteins Corporation - that he owns 100%:
- Educated in Biochemistry at University of California at Berkeley
- More than 30 years experience in Development and Application of proteins
- More than 20 U.S. and Worldwide Patents covering Protein Applications
- 5+ years R&D for the U.S. milk protein pioneer, Western Dairy Products
- 3 years as Senior Research Scientist, New Zealand Dairy Board
- 4+ years V.P. R&D for world's largest wheat processor
- Invented TMP, milk protein isolate, for New Zealand
- Invented world's first wheat protein isolate
- First company in U.S. to sell a milk protein concentrate
- First company in U.S. to sell a whey protein isolate
- First company in U.S. to sell micellar casein
- Expertise in protein consumption/metabolism
- Extensive experience in weight loss, health, and sports nutrition products
- Guest Lecturer at Fitness Expos, etc.
- Author of magazine articles as well as subject of magazine articles
- Assisted in the original formulation of Met-Rx
- Supplied the protein base of Met-Rx for the first 8 years
- Assists in formulating products for numerous sports nutrition companies
- Supplies raw material proteins to major sports nutrition companies
- Developed products that have won nationwide industry awards
- Experience in protein applications in bars and RTD products also
As you will read, Philip Connolly has the knowledge and experience to back-up what he says. He is the major "Protein" player in the nutritional supplement industry and what he believes will work best for the consumer is what he puts in his products.
Philip is also co-owner of CNP Professional in the USA and cooperates with CNP USA's sister company in the U.K. , and guess what products they are leading the way with? Yes, protein supplementation. CNP Professional was formerly Dorian Yates Approved.
Some of the CNP - USA athletes are:
- Evander Holyfield Heavyweight Champion
- Ricky Hatton IBF / WBA Champion 43-1, 31 KOs!
- Frankie "El Gato" Figueroa Jr. Welterweight N.A.B.F Champion
- Andy Bolton World Record 1003 lb Deadlift
- Victor Konovalov IFBB Pro 5 Time NPC National Overall Bodybuilding Champion
- And many more!
Some of the CNP - U.K. athletes are:
Read on to see the first part of my interview with Philip Connolly.
The Interview, Part 1
[ DG ] Philip are you related to Dr. Scott Connelly of Met-Rx?
[ PC ] There are manufacturing factories across the country known as co-packers. Co-packers manufacture products for other companies. In the sports nutrition industry, the largest majority of brands have their products formulated and manufactured by co-packers.
These factories generally have a few technical people in the lab that can make some simple formulations, that sort of thing; and they're spread out across the country. So you can go just about anywhere and find a co-packer, and, uh, if you want to sell protein by the truckload, like me, a co-packer's a good place to go, because they'll have say ten customers who each use ten percent of the truckload.
So, you sell the co-packer a whole truckload for the month, and then he splits it up between his customers, so that's generally the way people who sell bulk proteins, that's how they do it.... through Co-packers.
So I had a co-packer customer in L.A., who, uh, I dealt with for years, and he always called me Dr. Connolly. Every time I'd go in to see him or call him, Dr. Connolly. So one day he called me, and he said, "Dr. Connolly, I just had lunch with another guy named Dr. Connelly, and I need to introduce the two of you," (chuckles). I asked him, "Why?" He said, "Because I don't understand anything he said." (Laughter).
[ DG ] (Laughter).
[ PC ] So he wanted me to act as his interpreter, so that's how I met Dr. A. Scott Connelly.
[ DG ] Got you!
[ PC ] He was a practicing doctor with an idea for a product that he wanted the co-packer to make. But the co-packer didn't understand everything that he was saying, so I went and had lunch with them about a week later, and interpreted for the co-packer. And, you know, Scott had an interesting idea.
He wanted to make a protein shake, but he wanted a specific amino acid profile. 'Cause up until that point, people had just said, you know, I'll use Caseinate, or I'll use soy protein. Nobody was using whey protein at the time. There weren't enough studies out on it, widely publicized studies to show, you know, any great benefit.
So, Scott wanted a specific amino acid profile. And my co-packer customer was completely confused, as to how to do that, so that's how I got involved. I sat down and figured out how to put together a blend of proteins to come up with the amino acid profile that Scott wanted. This would become the METAMYOSYN® blend of the original Met-Rx, and give him the amino acid profile that he wanted.
[ DG ] Got you. So that was the first one for Met-Rx, the METAMYOSYN®, I remember that.
[ PC ] Yeah.
Whey Protein - A Brief History
[ PC ] When I got out of school, really the only protein that had any sort of use in the United States food system was casein.
[ DG ] Wow!
[ PC ] Wow you said? Yeah, I'm older than dirt (laughter). It really was the only protein.
[ DG ] What year do you think?
[ PC ] 1973.
[ DG ] 1973?
[ PC ] Whey proteins didn't even exist as a product. At that point in time, whey - whey was a garbage product, and everybody around the world just dumped it into streams, rivers, irrigated on pastures. They did not even want to fool around with it, 'cause it's a sickly green looking liquid, smells terrible, and it's very low in solids.
It's 94 percent water and only slightly more than 0.5% protein. So, who'd want to do anything with it anyway? So they just dumped it. And casein had found a use in the late 1950s in foods. Not huge uses that everybody'd say wow, but in 1975 there were over 2,000 items in the grocery stores that contained casein.
[ DG ] Goodness, man!
[ PC ] Because proteins are very functional ingredients. They can do a lot. Adding casein to bread flour can give bread an extra two or three day shelf life in a store. Which is a huge consideration, and that sort of thing.
So casein was about the only one in use in food. I went to work in a research and development lab for the pioneering company in the United States for putting casein into food products. It was a company that no longer exists, called Western Dairy Products. They were eventually purchased by New Zealand.
I worked in the research and development lab, and I made caseinates do what our customers wanted them to do. Customers would come up and say, "I need a protein that will do this for me." So we'd modify casein, making a caseinate that could do that. And, you know, people over the years always wanted a caseinate that would spoon stir into water. They always wanted a caseinate that would taste good, because acid casein tastes terrible.
[ DG ] Right.
[ PC ] So you've got the caseinate made out of acid casein, and you've got to really work to clean the flavor up, which we did. I was trying to make it as bland as possible, you know, the blander the flavor the better, those sorts of things. That's what I did, and then about the early to mid-70s, maybe 1974, '75, the governments around the world said no more dumping whey, you've got to do something with it. So they started making whey protein concentrate.
The French had come up with this method of filtering whey to filter out the proteins, called ultrafiltration. So the rest of the world kind of adopted that; and still, nobody knew what the heck to do with whey protein. So I used to have to do some work with whey proteins too, and, you know, the industry evolves.
It went on like that into the '80s. The whey proteins gained strength, as far as marketing strength. People found uses for them. And the caseinates were still selling quite well; actually, much better than whey proteins and at higher prices too.
Everything was going along hunky dory and one day a friend of mine, whose primary business was currency exchange forecasting, showed me a new protein from milk. And it had been made in a communist country and thought it was pretty good, but he didn't know for sure, so he showed it to me, to ask my opinion. I thought it was great.
It was the best protein I'd ever seen. And so I made a B-line to that country, and they'll still tell you today, that they were the first people in the world to make milk protein concentrate, which is just basically ultra-filtered skim milk.
[ DG ] Wow!
[ PC ] I was one of their first customers. I was their first American customer.
[ DG ] So you say ultra-filtered skim milk, which was...?
[ PC ] It had no name at the time. No identity. So I had to bring it back. I had to go to the FDA here, and say, "What do I call this? What can I call it?" And they said, "What do you want to call it?" And I told them I wanted to call it "Complete Milk Protein". Because by that time, the first company I worked for, Western Dairy Products had a number of problems; and had been, at one point in time, prior to my employment, the exclusive agent in the U.S. for the New Zealand Dairy Board.
At one time, Western Dairy Products sold all of New Zealand's products in the U.S. for New Zealand. And somehow got into a fight with them before I went to work for them, and lost the agency. So New Zealand opened up a rivaling office in the U.S. against my first employers. And over the time I worked at Western Dairy Products, New Zealand discovered that Western Dairy Products purchased about ten percent of their production, and made five times more off of that ten percent than they did off of their 90 percent.
And they decided they wanted to do something like Western Dairy Products, and waited till the right moment, when they knew that the morale of the employees and the company at Western Products was at an all time low, and people were leaving. And I, myself, was leaving.
I had been offered a job back on the east coast, and I was considering taking it, so I told my boss, "I'm going to take a job on the east coast." And he told me "Don't do anything yet, wait two days." And in those two days New Zealand Dairy Board offered myself and five other people that worked for the company these tremendous employment contracts that were out of this world; they were outlandish employment contracts, as outlandish as professional athletes get...
[ DG ] No kidding!
[ PC ] ... if we would go to work for them and set up a company in the U.S. like Western Dairy Products, which we did. So I - we had to - I had to guarantee them three years employment, and I gave them three years employment.
I was Senior Research Scientist for New Zealand and had to register here in the USA as an agent of a foreign government because my employment contract was with the government of New Zealand. And for them I developed a product that was outside of the range of caseinate or whey protein; it was a combination of both, and it was patented. They still today sell it; they call it Total Milk Protein.
[ DG ] Total Milk Protein.
[ PC ] That was a big breakthrough back then. It was combining whey protein with casein and precipitating them both out of milk, and you could make anything out of it, a caseinate type thing; but you had all the whey protein and the casein from milk in the Total Milk Protein.
So when I saw this product, the ultra-filtered skim milk, I thought, well, I'll call this one "Complete Milk Protein". And I went to the FDA and asked permission. I had to provide them samples, with a complete description of the process everything. And it took them about a year and a half, but they finally gave me permission to call it "Complete Milk Protein".
[ DG ] Wow!
[ PC ] They also said that we also would prefer you call it Milk Protein Concentrate, you know, your choice. So, most of the customers then chose Milk Protein Concentrate. And I made a B-line for my co-packer customers in the health food industry because it is a much higher quality protein than caseinate or just the standard whey protein.
And one of them, being the co-packer that eventually made Met-Rx, had liked the idea, but they didn't know what the heck to do with it, 'cause it was a brand new protein, not the same as whey protein or caseinate. So they asked me to help his research staff use it. We made some products out of it, and I sold it to them for a while, before Met-Rx came along.
[ DG ] Right.
[ PC ] And so when Met-Rx came along, I told Scott Connelly it's not just protein, it's not a caseinate, it's not a whey protein, it's a stand-alone on its own. It's got really good nutritional benefits, I believe, especially for sports nutrition. So Scott said, "Fine, put it in there." And so when I figured out the METAMYOSYN® blend, I put that in there.
I was the first person, and my company was the first company in the U.S., and for probably three or four years the only company in the U.S. to sell a milk protein concentrate type product. And from there it just keeps graduating, depending on how you filter skim milk, you come up with "native" whey proteins, whey proteins that haven't been touched chemically... or by heat, so they're undenatured, and you can filter those out. And you filter out micellar casein.
That cropped up, when Scott Connolly kept asking me, why did the Met-Rx METAMYOSYN® protein blend worked so well? And he kept wanting - he said, "I need things that I can talk to people about, and I don't completely understand this."
So I thought, he wanted to know what the difference is between this milk protein and caseinate. And I told him it was the form of the casein. "What do you mean?" So that's where micellar casein came in, it's not a made-up word. It is actually a chemical term, and it denotes the structure that a very large molecule will assume when the molecule is fabricated in water.
Since casein is a milk molecule, it is fabricated in water. So, micellar casein is casein in its natural structure, as you'd find it in milk untouched by chemicals or pH changes. It forms a micelle. And Scott just loved that, so he started pushing that to no end. And, as it turns out, that is a valid reason for why the METAMYOSYN® worked better than those protein shakes that were made from caseinates.
[ DG ] Got you. So the METAMYOSYN®, what did that include? Was that just his brand name? Is that where that came from?
[ PC ] Yeah, that was his brand name. It was a blend of the proteins.
[ DG ] Got you.
[ PC ] It was the milk protein concentrate, the whey protein concentrate, a little bit of caseinate, some egg whites and L-glutamine, that was his products blend. It's all just nomenclature. All the nomenclature comes from chemistry actually.
Here Come The Protein Myths!
[ PC ] And it amazes me how many people in sports nutrition can get that screwed up (laughter).
[ DG ] Oh, yeah. Well, you know, somebody like me, as a fitness trainer - I got into this business from losing 100 pounds about 12 years ago, and that's where I got into the fitness business. And I've been a writer for about eight years, mainly on the topics of weight loss, nutrition, and bodybuilding so I have a pretty good understanding of casein.
But from what most people read from many supplement companies' ads, a casein protein would be slower absorbing by the muscles. That would be something that you would take at night; is that true or false?
[ PC ] That's false. It is not that at all.
[ DG ] Because, normally, that's what you would read, and obviously...
- Fight The Fat - The Opponent? A Calorie! - By Cristina Lianchic
- All About Calories!
- The Truth About Calories! - By Bryan Locke
- Other Calories Articles...
[ PC ] It is not that at all. Here's the deal on casein - you have to start differentiating, because there are different forms of casein out there, and there are different forms of whey proteins out there.
I keep telling people all the time, "You've got to be pretty specific in science." Even though it's all gray area, you have to be very specific when you're talking about something, so everybody's on the same page.
For instance, my first chemistry class I took - the first week - was all definitions... just solid definitions. Example: one Calorie (a calorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise one mil of water, one degree centigrade). And definitions like that, they just rattled them off for a week, and the end of the following week we had a test, and basically it was regurgitating these definitions.
Related Calories Articles:
So I had paid attention, I regurgitated the definitions, but in my own words - I flunked that test (laughter). I learned a valuable lesson there. I showed it to my father, who also is a chemical engineer, and I said, "What the heck did I do wrong?" And he looked at it, and he said, "Well, I see what you were trying to do. You thought you had the definitions, but you don't have the words right." The wording has to be very specific.
[ DG ] Right.
[ PC ] Because it had - they all had meaning, especially in chemistry. So when you talk about casein, what casein are you talking about here?
Now, if we're going for the slow release casein that everybody wants to talk about, the only casein that has been shown, scientifically, to be slow release is casein in its micelle form. Micellar casein. That's what the studies have been done on. Not caseinate. Not acid casein.
So you see all these labels with these guys saying we have fast and slow release proteins, and they're using caseinate. They really can't even make that claim from a scientific basis.
It's only micellar casein that can make that claim, and many people don't even use micellar casein. They use micellar casein "substitutes" like alpha and beta caseins and caseinates. That is about the biggest joke of an ingredient name that I have ever heard; that's a caseinate.
It is not micellar casein and it certainly isn't a legal ingredient name. That's just some con man out there trying to convince the public he's paying the extra money for micellar casein, when he's really only using a caseinate.
[ DG ] Geez!
[ PC ] So he's not giving the consumer the benefit they think they're getting. But anyway casein is slow releasing. That does not mean slow absorbing into the muscles. You can't absorb whole proteins into your muscles out of your bloodstream.
You must first digest whole proteins into the component part amino acids. The amino acids are then absorbed into your bloodstream. Casein is digested slowly and, therefore, slowly releases amino acids into the bloodstream.
So if there's amino acids in your bloodstream and insulin goes in your bloodstream, you will get absorption into your muscles. Insulin is the transport hormone of the human body.
Everybody thinks insulin has a different job, but insulin's function is to transport nutrients from the bloodstream into cells. That's why glucose disappears, because insulin carries anything that's in excess in the bloodstream into cells.
So anyway, you can't just have a huge surplus of amino acids in your bloodstream. That's not going to put diddly squat into your muscle tissue. You need the insulin present to transport those amino acids across the blood vein or artery wall and in and across the cell wall and into a muscle cell.
[ DG ] Got you.
[ PC ] Bodybuilders want to be able to transport, while they're exercising. That's actually the timeliest point.
With the slow release; that is not a release into your muscle cells. That's a release of amino acids into your bloodstream from your digestive tract. You have fast digesting proteins and slow digesting proteins. They break them down into those two groups.
Fast digesting proteins generally - typically, the general rule is that they're smaller proteins, and the slow digesting proteins generally are the larger proteins.
[ DG ] Got you.
[ PC ] So smaller proteins are things like whey proteins, they're smaller than casein. Soy proteins. Almost any vegetable based protein is a small protein, and digests pretty fast. Almost any.
There are some slow digesting vegetable based proteins, because they get cross-linked with each other, and it's hard for our bodies to chew them up properly. But, you then get larger proteins, which are generally from animals, you know, proteins, fish protein. Those things are generally larger proteins, and they're slower to digest in the body. It takes longer. And so that's when you start talking fast release and slow release proteins. You're talking about the release of amino acids from the digestion of those proteins into the bloodstream.
Once those amino acids are in the bloodstream, they all behave pretty much the same. So what you want - what you're looking for, especially in sports nutrition, the optimum thing - is to have elevated amino acids in your bloodstream at all times.
Because if you've got sort of baseline, normal levels of amino acids in your bloodstream, your body's not going to pick too many of those amino acids out of the bloodstream and put them into cells - into muscle cells for making - for protein synthesis to make new muscle tissue, because your body wants to maintain that baseline normal level.
So if you've got amino acids in your bloodstream in excess, then your body will pick them out of the bloodstream and put them into your cells to build new muscle tissue.
[ DG ] Got you. Via the insulin.
[ PC ] Yeah. But, you know, you can control insulin, you have to control that too, and you can control it with diet. That's why in CNP Professionals, for our products, we put a lot of thought into trying to not just get amino acids into the bloodstream, but also stimulate some insulin production. To carry those amino acids and other valuable nutrients into the cells.
If you don't put them into your cells pretty fast - the amino acids in your bloodstream - you've got one other mechanism for cleaning up the blood, the liver. And the blood is always pumping through the body and always flows through the liver, and the liver's function is to filter out anything that's in the blood in excess.
[ DG ] Which could be your aminos, yeah?
[ PC ] Yeah. If we don't get those amino acids into our cells pretty fast, the ones that are there at elevated levels, then the liver will clean them out.
A group of French researchers studied undenatured native whey protein that was directly micro-filtered from skim milk versus micellar casein. And they found that when people consume those two protein sources, whey protein spiked.
There was a huge spike of amino acids about 45 minutes after consumption of whey protein in the bloodstream. And that was a huge spike. At that point, the body says, what the heck do we do with this, it's got all these amino acids. So it actually stimulates protein synthesis. The body turns on protein synthesis, or muscle tissue synthesis to try to use up all these excessive amino acids.
Mauro Di Pasquale
Now, the problem is, the blood keeps pumping through the liver, and the liver's just cleaning them out too, so they also studied the disappearance rate of amino acid through the liver.
They found that because whey protein amino acids go into the bloodstream so fast, the liver's just cleaning them out real fast too, and you get a very poor conversion of amino acids to protein synthesis in the body from whey proteins. More of the amino acids are cleaned out by the liver than go towards muscle synthesis.
[ DG ] Wow!
[ PC ] Because it's just too big a spike. Whereas, micellar casein, you consume micellar casein and 45 minutes later you have elevated amino acids in your bloodstream, but it's not nearly that huge spike of amino acids that you get from native, undenatured whey protein. And then the micellar casein amino acids just kind of level off, and stays elevated for seven hours after you eat micellar casein.
What they found was that you do get some stimulation of protein synthesis from the elevated amino acids. Just that alone is enough to stimulate protein synthesis. Not as strongly as that huge spike from the whey protein.
But because it's only elevated and not hugely in excess, the liver's really not cleaning out as much of the micellar casein amino acids out of the bloodstream. So the amino acids stay in the bloodstream at elevated levels for a much longer period of time and they're available for making protein.
[ DG ] How long would the whey proteins have stayed in?
[ PC ] Whey protein amino acids stay elevated in the bloodstream for two to three hours after consumption. After that time, the whey protein amino acid levels in the bloodstream have returned to baseline or even dropped below baseline. This means the amino acids in your bloodstream are lower than they should be. Because the body does not adjust quick enough to changes in nutrient levels, the body just doesn't turn on and off suddenly, it slowly revs up and slowly rev down.
[ DG ] Right.
[ PC ] I mean the body will find something in excess in the bloodstream. It will do everything in its power to remove that excess, and as it removes the excess, then it actually will pass right through normal, and go down to a deficit before it can stop the process.
[ DG ] Wow! That is not good!
[ PC ] And you never want to be at a deficit with amino acids. So people who read that study, especially the whey protein people, howled and screamed it was wrong, there was something wrong with that study.
It turns out they've done similar studies now about five times, all with the same results. It doesn't mean there's something terrible about whey protein.
It just proves to me that all these people who make blended protein products for sports nutrition are doing the correct thing. Because you want some whey protein to stimulate protein synthesis, strongly stimulate protein synthesis in the body. But then you want the slower release of amino acids into the bloodstream from micellar casein, to keep the amino acids elevated to feed the muscles. And the protein synthesis can go on, as long as you have the elevated amino acids in your bloodstream.
[ DG ] Right. So if it's two to three hours with the whey, you're SOL versus the casein, that will work for seven.
[ PC ] Yeah.
[ DG ] Man, you are opening my eyes, goodness me. Especially with the terminology, like you said. That's probably why I got a D in College Prep chemistry in high school.
[ PC ] Yeah! (Laughter)
[ DG ] (Laughter)
[ PC ] Yes. But see, many people believe those supplement company ads and think slow release means - casein amino acids are slower to get into muscle tissue. That's not true. They're slower to get in the bloodstream, but once in the bloodstream, they go into the muscle tissue just as fast as any other amino acids from any other proteins, even whey proteins.
Click To Enlarge.
Once In The Bloodstream Casein Amino Acids Go Into The Muscle Tissue
Just As Fast As Any Other Amino Acids.
Stay tuned and watch Bodybuilding.com for the second part of this interview with Philip Connolly, "The Protein Guru to the Supplement Industry"! In Part 2 you will read about Protein and its effects on the Kidneys and learn about more protein history and mammals milk!