When choosing the best protein powder for your workout, there a number of ways to go. Your first choice is whether you want a protein powder with added vitamins and/or minerals. Whey protein powders have little micro-nutritional value and contain mostly protein, fats and carbohydrates. For this reason, some manufacturers create fortified protein powders [ プロテイン強化 ]. These may often appear under more descriptive names such as Weight Up, Weight Down, Muscle, or Diet Protein. If you think this may be your way to go, read more in detail and what the best fortified whey protein deals are in Japan.
Why Add Vitamins and Minerals to a Protein Powder?
The main purpose of adding minerals and especially B-complex vitamins to a protein powder is to help with protein synthesis and to aid muscle repair and recovery. There is insufficient evidence that B-complex vitamins, however, can give an immediate or fast energy boost.
Although essential minerals and vitamins have numerous functions throughout the body, here is a brief summary of vitamins and minerals in metabolism:
- B1 (Thiamine) – coenzyme in glucose metabolism
- B2 (Riboflavin) – ‘flavin’ proteins open metabolic pathways of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism.
- B3 (Niacin) – coenzyme for catabolism and/or anabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
- B5 (Pantothenic acid) – formation of coenzyme A to transport carbon and the synthesis of lipids and cholesterol.
- B6 (Pyroxidine) – coenzyme for amino acid synthesis and catabolism.
- B7 (Biotin) – carries CO2 and helps in synthesis of glucose, fatty acids, and some nonessential amino acids.
- Folate – coenzyme for the synthesizing amino acid methionine, and for making RNA and DNA.
- B12 – coenzyme for fat and protein catabolism, supports folate function, and hemoglobin synthesis.
- Vit C – vitamin C is important for anti-oxidant stress support and coenzyme for collagen production.
Additionally, you may often find these specific minerals added to a protein powder:
- Magnesium (mg) – regulates metabolism of fats and protein – sweating and sports activity can rapidly deplete magnesium – low magnesium results in a heavier reliance on oxygen supply.
- Calcium (ca) – often found in protein powders for women, but in general helps with muscles contraction, heart rhythm, bone formation, and nerve function.
Two General Types of Fortified Whey Protein Powders
If you take a good looks at your choices for a fortified protein, you will notice there are two general types. One is a whey protein powder with a B-vitamin complex plus vitamin-C and sometimes calcium. There are few exceptions that may have a smaller selection of B-vitamins.
The other is type has a more or less full spectrum of 11 multi-vitamins and 4 to 5 minerals, but sometimes more. Technically, these are not a Meal Replacement unless they contain a third of all daily micro and macro nutritional requirements.
Types of Whey and Sweeteners
Fortified or enriched whey proteins, if not otherwise stated, are likely to be just WPC, or whey protein concentrate. Some Weight Down proteins will often use WPI or a combination of WPI / WPC since WPI has close to zero fat and cholesterol content.
In Japan, most fortified whey protein powers will use artificial or synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners unless it’s a natural or plain flavor with no flavoring including sweetness. There is less choice for a fortified flavored protein using a natural sweetener, or typically stevia.
Advice on Choosing the Best Fortified Whey Protein
First of all, if you have any medical condition, are taking medication, or are a pregnant woman, you should always consult a health care expert before taking any protein supplement.
Know your nutritional needs. Some fortified whey protein powders have notable levels of added calcium and iron if intended for women. Multi-vitamin and mineral enriched protein powders are best for daily nutrient supplementation on top of nutrients for protein synthesis.
If you’re uncertain of the level of supplementation that’s best for you, choose a protein shake that has lower values of added nutrients – enough for a more efficient synthesis of the protein rather than for additional daily supplementation.
4 Best B-Complex Whey Protein Shakes
Many protein brands have tend to have a range of Vitamin B-complex enriched shakes. Here are our best 4 picks with values based on the most calorie rich flavor namely cocoa or chocolate.
VA 269μg, VD 1.76μg, VE 1.83mg, Folic acid 76.6μg
Ultora Whey Diet Protein – Best for Health and Diet
Ultora is a small Tokyo-based brand. Their focus is synthetic additive-free protein products. The addition of at least 50% WPI helps to reduce fat content, calories, and aids in easier synthesis of the protein. The main vitamin content is Niacin and Pantothenic acid – important coenzymes for protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and cholesterol. There are four to choose from and they’re a big hit for their flavorful natural taste.
DNS V-IN Whey – Best for Protein Synthesis
DNS is a quality protein brand that comes with Informed Choice certification. DNS has the highest comparative value for all vitamins especially Niacin B3, Pantothenic acid, and B12 for maximum protein and lipid synthesis plus Vit-C for collagen support. They only come in milk chocolate, strawberry, and Hojicha latte flavors. Sweeteners are aspartame/L-phenylalanine, acesulfame K, and sucralose, and there is no plain flavor.
GronG Whey Protein 100 – Best for Full Spectrum Vitamins
GronG ‘Super G’ protein powders often win people over with their overall good taste. This protein is packed full of 11 vitamins and not just the usual B-complex with Vitamin C. They have a natural plain flavor with no artificial additives including sweetener. More or less the same product comes as a whey protein isolate – WPI Performance Series (buy link). Their unfortified Basic Whey Series (buy link) also comes in a bulk pack of small sachets so you can try all their flavors in an affordable way.
beLegend WPC Protein – Best Tasty Basics
BeLegend is a young, hip, and vibey brand. They’re legendary for their tasty, zippy, and original flavors which have consistently won various international taste awards. Flavors include numbers like passion fruit, tropical pine, cola, or lime, but the natural flavor also has sucralose as a sweetener. You can buy a sachet box set (buy link) with all 13 flavors. Vitamins include around 1g of B6 and 34g of Vitamin-C depending on the flavor. This is a boost for amino acid synthesis, anti-oxidant support, and metabolism.
3 Best Whey Protein Shakes with Vitamins and Minerals
Whey protein shakes with vitamins as well as minerals are your other choice for a fortified protein powder. These protein shakes often fit more into the diet protein category. Most are not meal replacement shakes as such, but are often recommend as a light evening meal replacement.
Tanpaku Mate – Best All Natural Choice
Micronutrients / 26g: VA 235.8ug, VD 2.38ug, VE 3.47mg, B1: 0.48g, B2: 0.48g, Niacin 4.77g, B6: 0.433mg, Folic acid 95.6 ug, B12: 1.04ug, Pantothenic acid 2.86g, VC 38.22mg, Magnesium 75.88mg, Iron 3.567mg, Zinc 2mg.
- 94.9 kcal
- Whey/Soy Protein 15.4g
- Fat 2.19
- Carbs 5.8g
- Salt 0.09g
- Collagen 1000mg
Tanpaku Mate is your best choice for a real tasty additive-free protein shake. It has a lot of added extras like 10 billion lactic acid bacteria, dietary fiber, collagen, psyllium husk, moringa powder, and dried MCT oil. The values of added vitamins and minerals are quite reasonable and there’s no extra calcium. It’s a mixed protein of WPC for slow amino release and non-GMO soy for fast hunger satiation. This shake is ideal to healthily stave off hunger pains, prevent over-eating, or for a light meal substitute.
Clever Weight Down – Best Fortified WPI
Micronutrients 30g: VA 80ug, VD 0.8ug, VE 1.3mg, B1: 0.17mg, B2: 0.18mg, Niacin 1.8g, B6; 0.17mg, Pantothenic acid 0.9mg, Folic acid 33.3ug, B12: 0.33ug, Calcium 98mg, Magnesium 21mg, chromium 130mg.
- 109 kcal
- Protein 24g
- Fat 0.28g
- Carbs 3g
- Salt 0.18g
Clever Whey Weight Down has 11 added vitamins and 10 minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, chromium, molybdenum. It also has additional fiber and lactic acid bacteria. You can read the full profile on their English language page. Flavors are chocolate, mixed berry, yoghurt, and macha – all with synthetic sweeteners. Their Clever Muscle (buy link) sports-focused WPI shake is verified by Informed Choice with 5 000mg of BCCAs and 5 500mg of glutamine.
Winzone Perfect Choice – Best for Calcium Content
Micronutrients / 29g: VA 270ug, VD 1.8ug, VE 2.2mg, B1: 0.5mg, B2: 0.6mg, B6: 0.4mg, B12: 2.4ug, Folic acid 120ug, Pantothenic acid 1.6mg, Niacin 4.5mg, Calcium 277mg, Iron 1.4mg, Zinc 3.5mg, Magnesium 31mg.
- 114 kcal
- Protein 21g
- Fat 2g
- Carbs 3g
- Salt 0.2g
Winzone is another made in Japan protein brand certified by Informed Choice which has also won a couple of international taste awards. All varieties of the Perfect Choice line are enriched with 11 vitamins and 4 minerals and a guaranteed 5 000mg BCCAs per serving. It’s particularly rich in folate and calcium compared to other choices and may suit you if your diet lacks calcium-rich foods.