Proteins are one of the most biologically important macro-nutrients available. They play an essential role in providing the necessary makeup of your muscular tissues. An average person gets their dose of protein from daily food sources such as meat, eggs and fish. However, this isn’t an adequate enough source for body builders and high performance athletes alike. Protein powders provide the necessary isolated protein content while keeping additional carbohydrate and sugar levels low, which makes them one of the best dietary supplements to aid you in whatever goals you may have for your bodily performance.
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Our analysis of the top proteins on the market today takes into account expert opinions crafted carefully from proper research and product evaluation. All of these powders below are great choices for any person who is seeking the very best protein available (at a relatively consistent and fair pricing). Certain powders will be more highly regarded than others, but choosing any of the brands and products listed below can lead to dietary success when paired with other proper nutritional intake. Without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into our picks for the best protein powders of 2018.
|Product Name||Contains||Unique Feature|
|Gold Standard Whey||Whey||5.5 grams BCAAS per serving|
|Pump Chasers GAF||Whey||Peach Cobbler flavor|
|Cor Performance||Whey||5 grams BCAAs per serving|
|MTS Machine||Whey||100% ingredients backed by NSF|
|BSN Syntha-6||Blended||Matrix of proteins for unique benefit|
|Dymatize Elite 100%||Whey||Contains 100mg caffeine per serving|
|Gold Standard Casein||Casein||60% daily recommendation of calcium|
|JYM Protein||Blended||Promotes higher rate of protein synthesis|
|Dymatize ISO100||Whey||Lactose free|
|Zero Carb Isopure||Whey||Tons of micronutrients|
Gold Standard Whey is the flagship product of Optimum Nutrition, a company well known and critically acclaimed for its brand of protein powders and nutritional supplements. Chances are if you’ve bought or used protein powders in the past, you’ve probably heard of Optimum Nutrition. The company is known for its signature formula that has been perfected and maintained for several years. Even after multiple different iterations and flavors, the original Optimum Nutrition formula remains unchanged. The level of consistency and constant commitment to the brand is why Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey is hailed as the industry’s top dog.
As soon as you rip open your packet of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey you’re immediately greeted with its signature golden scoop. Not only does it add an appealing aesthetic to the product but it also shows the company’s dedication towards appreciating the golden choice among the fitness community.
The Gold Standard Whey blend is a mixture of protein isolate and whey that is suitable for any occasion. Whether you use it for a pre-workout, post-workout or even a long inactive period, Gold Standard Whey accommodates any purpose. Gold Standard also incorporates all of the essential BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) into its formula, making it a great choice for building muscle mass.
The Gold Standard Whey mixes extremely well with water or milk. It manages to maintain a perfect consistency that is neither too thick nor too thin. The blending time for Gold Standard is much shorter than other powders. You won’t have to wait long for the powder to fully dissolve before you can start using it.
Gold Standard Whey maintains a great value for the money spent. The protein powder jars are available in four main volumes: 10 lbs, 5 lbs, 2 lbs, and 1 lb. Each jar is sold at the highly competitive price point of around $12 per pound. Each pound of Gold Standard Whey contains about 14 servings. That nets us an average of about 80 cents a pound, practically a steal for this level of quality!
The Gold Standard range of products features up to 15-20 different products based off flavors and protein type. Surprisingly, all of the flavors taste great no matter how unconventional. You can pick up any of Optimum Nutrition’s protein powders without the fear of picking up an inferior product.
Optimum Nutrition has been in the industry for over 15 years. The company manufactures its products on a very large scale to meet a consistent level of quality. It ensures that the demands of professional athletes, bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts are well met accordingly. It is this combination of quality, consistency, and commitment that makes Gold standard the well known and sought after brand that is has been built up to be over the years.
Pump Chasers is the brainchild of American footballer and fitness instructor, Chris Jones. Chris formed Pump Chasers as an outlet for his fans and followers. Chris offers his customers a new alternative to all the big brand corporations they might’ve dealt with in the past. Pump Chasers keeps its prices low and its quality high ensuring that their products are always accessible to their avid user base.
Pump Chasers GAF Whey contains no artificial colors and no added sugar. It is a pure blend of whey isolate and whey concentrate. This makes it a great no-frills protein source for any workout condition.
The Pump Chasers GAF Whey taste is unlike other conventional whey flavors, such as chocolate and vanilla. That’s because the Pump Chasers GAF Whey boasts its own unique peach cobbler flavor. As soon as you open the jar you’re greeted to sweet and succulent smells of fresh peaches. The distinctive GAF peach flavor is very reminiscent of peaches and cream.
Pump Chasers has taken a big risk by providing their product in only one flavor, but it’s a risk that has paid off well. Pump Chasers unabashedly proves that it can stay away from the conventional norms of Chocolate and Vanilla and still produce a superior product.
GAF tastes well enough on its own but works even better when paired with milkshakes, pancakes or even Greek yogurt. In fact, the standard taste is so good that you won’t need to spend time looking up recipes like you would with other powders.
GAF Whey excels at blending well with anything you throw at it. When mixed with just water, it has a subtle yet creamy texture to it. But milk based mediums is where GAF Whey truly shows its potential. It is highly recommended to mix GAF into milkshakes and fruit smoothies. The milk not only enhances the creamy textures but also makes the peach flavor pop out even more.
GAF offers the best value for money over any other similarly priced protein powders. The 5 lb jar of GAF Whey can be had for about $60. With a total of roughly 65-67 servings per jar, you can expect to pay less than a dollar per serving. The jar even comes filled all the way to the top meaning you get more bang for your buck.
Customers rated the peach cobbler flavor of Pump Chasers GAF highly, making the highly regarded flavor the most sought after characteristic for this product. However, some customers have taken issue with the fact that GAF Whey does not contain the BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) essential for lean muscle bodybuilding.
That said, GAF is still a solid all around contender. Pump Chasers has taken the protein supplement market and turned it on its head. The Pump Chasers GAF Whey offers price, taste, and nutritional value all in a neat little package. Never again will you be forced to choose between different powders because now you can get the one to rule them all!
Cor Performance Whey Protein Powder is developed and sold by the Cellucor branch of Texas based sports nutrition company, Nutrabolt. Cellucor started its operations as early as 2002 with their product line consisting of the famous Cellucor Pre Workout C4 Extreme. Since then, the company has been producing quality products over a span of 15 years. Cellucor has been gaining the attention of some of the industry’s top tier professional athletes.
The Cellucor Cor Performance Whey Protein Powder is a solid blend of protein whey, protein isolates and protein whey peptides. The Cor Performance Whey Powder narrows its composition to the core ingredients without including unnecessary additives. This results in a protein powder with a high protein whey purity.
Cellucor Cor Performance has its own subtle flavor without any of the overpowering aftertaste usually found in most protein supplements. Cor Performance contains a very low fat content making it the perfect addition to milkshakes. It has the perfect blending consistency and does not chalk up even when added to chilled water.
Cellucor is known mainly for its wide variety of delicious and exciting new flavors. You can experience everything from the rich aromatic cinnamon flavor to seemingly odd combinations like the peanut butter marshmallow flavor.
But the Cor Performance Whey Protein powder doesn’t just stop at taste alone. Cellucor goes the extra mile to make sure each flavor gets its unique feel. The Red Velvet flavored powder is actually colored a deep velvety red, the S’more flavor contains tiny marshmallow chunks inside the powder; the Chocolate flavor has the buttery consistency of high grade chocolate.
Cor Performance is fast acting thanks to the three digestive enzymes: lactase, protease, and protease A-S included in it. This makes it the perfect protein supplement for those short workout routines. Cor Performance is also completely gluten free, making it one of the few vegan friendly powders.
One thing to note is that the Cor Performance Whey Protein is high in cholesterol content. This may not make it the best powder for muscle bulking activities. But for those simply looking to shed some pounds off, Cor Performance makes for an ideal meal supplement.
All in all Cellucor Cor Performance Protein Powder is a solid whey protein that offers nutritional value without sacrificing flavor. Cor Performance is not only great for athletes and weight lifters but also those that want to lose weight or just about anyone looking to add a healthy protein source to their diet.
MTS Nutrition Machine Whey is a newcomer to the nutritional supplement industry. Machine Whey is a protein powder that includes dairy based proteins as well as essential amino acids for promoting lean muscle growth and losing excess fat.
Machine Whey is one of the few protein powders that provides the most accurate tasting flavored whey in the market. The chocolate flavor actually smells, tastes, and feels like the real thing. It even melts and swirls in your mouth just like actual milk chocolate.
The consistency of MTS Nutrition Machine Whey is much thicker than its competitors. But unfortunately this also means that it is a bit harder to mix. Improperly mixing it can often result in a huge mass of sludge. It is recommended to try Machine Whey in lukewarm water for best results. Make sure you use a blender for this as a shaker will only mix the top part of the powder, leaving a thick sediment surprise in the bottom.
One of the recent concerns raised with protein supplements is a company’s lack of transparency in the actual contents of their product. Many supplements have been proven to include harmful contaminants and side-effect causing additives. Pro athletes often have to know every kind of substance in their body to pass their drug analysis profile. This raises a whole bunch of trust issues because certain brands are only willing to tell half-truths about their ingredient profile.
Thankfully, MTS Nutrition Machine Whey is one of the few protein powders that is completely certified by the NSF (National Science Foundation). What that means is that each and every component of the powder was tested under strict laboratory conditions to ascertain that there are no hidden surprises. Only the select few powders pass this certification under normal conditions to meet NSF’s regimented public safety and health standards.
If that wasn’t enough on its own, MTS Nutrition Machine Whey is also accredited with CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) certification. Adhering to the CGMP regulations requires the strength, identity, purity, and quality of products to be up to the mark. We as consumers cannot tell whether a product is safe to use by touch, sight or smell alone. But rest assured, you don’t need to any homework with the MTS Nutrition Machine Whey other than looking at the blue NSF certified logo. MTS Nutrition Machine Whey is exactly what is says it is, pure no-filler dietary protein.
MTS Nutrition has proven above and beyond that it is a trustable name in this industry. It may not be one the most popular powders but it is certainly one of the most reliable. The MTS Nutrition Machine Whey is the perfect solution for new comers that are unsure about what they want in a supplement. You can pick one up without having to do lengthy comparisons and know you’re getting a top quality product.
Syntha-6 is manufactured and distributed by Illinois based company BSN (Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition). The company is known for sponsoring professional athletes, the most notorious and infamous of which is UFC lightweight champion Connor McGregor. BSN has been around since 2001 and focuses primarily on dietary supplements. Over the short span of just six years, BSN has amassed over 35 different sports nutrition awards.
True to its name, BSN-Syntha-6 is a protein matrix made up of six different kinds of major component proteins including egg albumen, glutamine peptides, mi-cellar casein, whey concentrate, milk protein isolate, and calcium casein-ate. These vast varieties of proteins found in BSN Syntha-6 contribute to multiple different effects to the overall formula. This makes the BSN Syntha-6 a very broad spectrum protein supplement.
BSN Syntha-6 has very high rate of mix-ability, you can easily blend it into your favorite juices, smoothies, or even use it in a pudding based recipe. BSN Syntha-6 is great for replacing a small meal as it has very little added carbohydrates and fillers.
BSN Syntha-6 is ideal for any day to day purpose, it is a sustain release protein that can last a very long workout routine. It’s hard to accurately gauge the effectiveness of BSN Syntha-6 as it depends on several factors such as a proper diet. Syntha-6 contains many essential ingredients such as calcium, iron, fiber, magnesium, and digestive enzymes.
Despite its high protein content, BSN Syntha-6 contains an above average amount of fat content. This may be a problem for those wanting to use this product as a meal replacement to promote weight loss.
One of BSN Syntha-6’s is downfall is its low protein content. In a single serving scoop, BSN Syntha-6 contains about 200 calories but only 22 grams of protein compared to the 24-26 grams you can get form other powders. It is advisable to stay away from this product if you’re looking for a pure protein source for muscle growth purposes. Instead, BSN Syntha-6 is better suited for overall nutrition and workout recovery purposes.
Owing to its slightly higher than average price point and low protein content, BSN Syntha-6 may not be ideal choice for anyone’s first choice of protein supplements. But as dietary supplement, it ticks all the right boxes. Don’t get us wrong though, you still can’t really go wrong with this product if you need protein powders for more general purposes.
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein is one of the best post workout protein powders currently available on the market. It contains about 2.7 grams of L-Leucine, the muscle protein synthesis activator, and 5.5 grams of BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) to promote lean muscle growth.
One of the key ingredients you’ll notice is a somewhat high amount of caffeine. Caffeinated protein powders are nothing new but they are rarely seen in store shelves these days. What’s more, the Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein has a rich, dark, and deep cocoa flavor. It’s a protein supplement and a cup of coffee all rolled into one. Studies have shown that a small dose of caffeine can act as a great pick-me-up (in case you’ve been living under a rock for your entire life). The Dymatize Elite’s 100% Whey Protein’s 100 mg caffeine per scoop dosage provides all the essential benefits of a cup of coffee without all the adverse side-effects from other caffeine supplements.
Dymatize provides its assurance for only using the top grade major component proteins without adding inferior forms of protein or amino spiking their products. But you don’t have to take their word for it; Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein has been tested by some the industry’s best testing protocols. It completely follows FDA guidelines and does not contain anything from the Informed Choice’s list of banned substances. Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein has also been tested and approved by the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) facility.
One of the interesting features about Dymatize Elite Whey Protein is its digestive enzyme matrix which contains a blend of different digestive enzymes that help break down just about any bio molecule. This is especially noteworthy since whey based powders are the hardest to digest. Any similar whey containing protein powders can often be the cause of an upset stomach. But the Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein will never leave you feeling bloated and heavy.
The Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein comes in a large selection of flavors, from fan favorite classics like Vanilla and Chocolate to exciting combinations like Strawberry Blast, Vanilla Cup Cake, and Café Mocha. With a low enough price tag, you’re encouraged to try out all of these flavors for yourself.
When it comes down to protein powders, it’s not all about the raw protein content or the calorie count. Sometimes you just want a protein powder that tastes great and goes well with your favorite drinks. While the Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein powder meets just about the standard specifications found in most supplements, it tastes a whole lot better doing it, which makes it one of our top picks on this list.
Optimum Nutrition is known for its innovative products such as the Gold Standard Whey and the Cake Bites Protein Bars. Optimum Nutrition started out its life as Costello’s Health Distributors back in the 1980’s. The company has branched itself off into Optimum Nutrition and American Body Building (A.B.B.) after nearly four decades of hard work and dedication.
Previously mentioned on this list was the ON Whey Gold Standard product. This is very much a similar product, except with a casein blend being the featured protein. Scroll down to the bottom of the article to get more details on the benefits of casein protein.
Gold Standard Casein is an original casein based protein powder. Casein is quite similar to whey in so far as that it is derived from a milk source. The one key factor where it varies from whey is that casein stays in the digestive tract for longer periods of time. This in turn allows the gut an adequate amount of time to breakdown and absorb the amino acids. For this reason casein is often used after exhaustive periods of workouts to facilitate muscle repair and recovery. Casein based protein powders are also suitable for building lean muscle mass in low calorie dieting conditions.
Gold Standard Casein is a slow digesting protein that works over a period of time (usually about 48 hours). It is ideal for post workout bulking for round the clock recovery. Optimum Nutrition recommends using the protein supplement just before bed to ensure overnight absorption of amino acids. Its slow reaction time also makes it perfect for use in between meals.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein comes in a range of nine unique flavors such as Banana Cream, Chocolate Cake Batter, Cookies and Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Creamy Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry, and Chocolate Supreme.
But if you’re not into artificial flavorings, Optimum Nutrition has the perfect solution for you. The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Natural Casein is a naturally flavored alternative to the Gold Standard Casein. It comes in three main flavors, naturally flavored Chocolate Crème, naturally flavored French Vanilla, and naturally flavored Strawberry.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein is one of the best casein based protein powder you can pick up off the shelf. It promotes great muscle gains, increased muscle retention, greater fat loss and provides an overall higher grade of protein. You will not only accomplish a higher protein intake but also work towards losing excess fat along the way!
Pro Jym protein powder is made by Jym Supplement Science pioneered by world renowned exercise physiologist, Dr. Jim Stoppani. Jim has been working at Flex and Muscle & Fitness for over a decade. His Company, Jym Supplement Science, is dedicated to making substantial products backed up by the latest scientific research and hands on expertise in sports nutrition. Jym is mainly known for making pre-workout products but also includes weight loss pills and multivitamins in its lineup of health and fitness products.
Jym Supplement Science’s Pro Jym is a blend of three different types of proteins i.e. whey protein, casein, and egg protein. This blend of functionally different proteins provides a vast range of purposes. The whey isolate protein absorbs in the body instantly, while the egg protein and casein digest slowly over a couple of hours. This makes Pro Jym an excellent slow acting protein powder for most general purpose uses.
The Pro Jym mixes well with water and does not cause excess froth to build up. The real magic happens when it is mixed with milk. One of the key components of Pro Jym is its Clean Cream formula. The Clean Cream additive is a vegan blend of powdered fats such as sunflower oil and brown rice syrup. When mixed with milk, it helps provide the taste of actual cream without any of the side effects of having a fatty cream in the mix.
Pro Jym contains a series of natural and artificial flavors, thickeners, stabilizers, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, and salt. Pro Jym also contains artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame potassium and sucralose.
It’s not all good though, Pro Jym comes with its set of cons worth considering. For one, Pro Jym contains over 150 calories in a singular serving which is a bit on the higher side. Another thing to note is that it may not taste as great as similar ranged protein powders. Price is another big concern. The 4 lb jar is available for 56 dollars with about 46 servings, averaging the cost to about $1.22 per serving which is a little higher than what you would normally expect (when compared to other products on this list).
After all has been said and done, Pro Jym is a high quality protein that adapts to any routine. It promotes a higher rate of protein synthesis but comes priced accordingly too. Jym Supplement Science’s Pro Jym is an exceptional anytime protein supplement for professionals and amateurs alike.
Dymatize is a Dallas based brand of health and fitness products ranging from mass gainers, protein bars, creatine supplements, glutamine supplements, and of course, protein powders. Dymatize’s products such as the ISO 100 Whey has been featured in countless health and fitness magazines and has won a myriad of awards.
Dymatize ISO 100 Whey is a 100% hydrolyzed whey isolate. What that means is that it contains the highest amount of pure protein than any other type of protein supplement on this list. This is achieved by running the whey through certain enzymes that break down the components of the formula making it easy to isolate the pure whey. Hydrolyzed whey also contains the lowest fat and calorie content of any form of whey.
Whey isolate is especially great for digestion as it is already broken down to a purified form. Your body won’t require much in the way of additional resources to absorb the hydrolyzed whey. This makes it ideal for post workout scenarios where you need a quick dose of protein to reach your muscles. Dymatize ISO Whey 100 contains next to none of the harmful fillers like carbohydrates, fat sugars, and lactose. It’s protein in its most purest of forms.
Dymatize ISO 100 Whey is best served with water. It has a mild flavor that doesn’t assault the senses. If anything, it tastes a tad sweeter than any actual chocolate flavor. It’s one of the few protein powders that actually tastes good with just water. However, there is a strong hint of saltiness in the Dymatize ISO 100 owing to its 160 milligrams of sodium per serving, just over 7% of the daily recommended limit.
Pricewise, you get about $1.15 to $1.20 per serving, making Dymatize ISO 100 Whey one of the cheapest hydrolyzed whey isolates on the market.
The Dymatize ISO 100 Whey is a reasonably priced, low calorie, low carb dietary supplement perfect for fitness models and athletes. Pricewise you get about $1.15 to $1.20 per serving, making Dymatize ISO 100 Whey one of the cheapest hydrolyzed whey isolates on the market. But unless you need to strictly monitor your diet, a hydrolyzed whey isolate is complete overkill. There are much cheaper alternatives available for everyday uses such as basic whey protein.
Isopure is a sub branch of Nature’s Best line of health supplements. The company was started by its two founding members, Hal and Ernie. Nature’s Best is an internationally recognized brand in the health and wellness industry for over 30 years. The company is well known for making clean, pure and quality products and has gained a sizable fan following over the years.
Zero Carb Isopure is a high quality whey protein isolate. True to its name, Zero Carb Isopure contains almost negligible amounts of carbohydrates. One 65 gram serving of Zero Carb has around 50 grams of protein, making it one of the highest protein content powders out there. Isopure is completely free from side effect causing artificial sweeteners such as the controversial acesulfame potassium. Zero Carb Isopure doesn’t contain any digestive enzymes which may make it a little hard to digest despite the absence of lactose.
Isopure mixes perfectly even after being left unshaken for long periods of time thanks to its active soy lecithin additive. It is less creamy than a lot of other flavored powders. The Dutch Chocolate flavor tastes like a darker chocolate flavor. The dark bitter flavor complements the sweet, wholesome texture of a milk based medium quite well. You might want to consider mixing it with water to further tone down the sweetness of the flavor.
Aside from being a run of the mill source of protein, Zero Carb Isopure is the first protein powder to double as a great multivitamin supplement. The Isopure formula contains a substantial amount of multivitamins such as Vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, B12, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, biotin, zinc, and other additional minerals. Along with that, Zero Carb Isopure provides you with about 50% of your daily requirement of calcium. Wowzers, that’s quite the list of vitamins and minerals!
In terms of price, a 3 lb jar of Zero Carb Isopure is available for $40.50 providing you with 21 servings for roughly $1.93 per serving. This is a great price for a protein supplement with so many added micro nutrients, but definitely more costly than other protein powders on this list. However, Zero Carb Isopure has the some of the best protein per dollar figures you can expect out of a consumer grade protein powder.
Overall, the Zero Carb Isopure is an industry defining supplement that’s something more than just a protein powder. If you’re not really keen on the extras Isopure provides, you could go towards cheaper options. But for a solid all round health and protein supplement, the Isopure Zero Carb leaves its competition in the dust.
So in case you were wondering what the various types of proteins you’ll find in the products above do for the body, we’ve done a quick breakdown of the individual types so you can make a better informed purchase decision!
Whey Protein is the most common, cost-effective and easily available type of protein. Whey concentrate is a basic protein source that is well suited for beginners.
Casein is a milk based protein that has a slower rate of digestion than whey. It’s suitable for post workouts and long periods of inactivity.
Whey Isolates are some of the quickest absorbing proteins found in nutritional supplements. They’re usually preferred by people on a low carbohydrate diet. However, they can be a bit costly compared to other protein powders.
Hydrolyzed protein has the quickest absorption rate of any other type of protein powders. They can be used for post or pre workouts and are generally preferred by people with sensitive stomachs. But this also makes them the most expensive out of all the protein powders.
One the main factors to consider is that protein powders are only as effective as the diet they’re taken on. Under no circumstances should you ever consider protein powders to be a complete meal replacement.
On the subject of best powder, there’s no clear winner. Different supplements are suited for different scenarios. Products like Zero Carb Isopure and Dymatize ISO 100 whey are great if you’re looking for the most amount of protein you can get per gram. Likewise, BSN Syntha-6 and Cellucor Cor Performance Whey Protein are very low cost powders for those on a budget. While Pump Chasers GAF Whey, Pro Jym, and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein work best for those looking for the best tasting supplement they can find.
What works for one person may not work best for the other. It’s always advisable to try out different products and see which ones match up to your needs. But for most general purposes, powders like the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey will leave you more than satisfied. That is why it is our number one recommendation on this list, and is such a heavy favorite among many other fitness enthusiasts!
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Liam is a 23-year old student. He has dedicated his time to compile these product reviews and product guides on DB Strength to help consumers determine their best purchasing options. Avidly involved with fitness, Liam spends much of his time working out and testing top health products to provide expert opinions available on this website.