Milk-based proteins can curb cardiovascular ailments: Prof Matt Lucy says study demonstrates potential for milk proteins found in naturally fermented foods to improve cardiovascular health.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Dairy Science, certain compounds formed as a result of chemical reactions between substances found in milk-based products can help protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Milk Proteins Can Curb Cardiovascular Ailments

Scientists at the R&D Center, Seoul Dairy Cooperative, the College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Korea University, and the BK21 Plus Graduate Program, Department of Animal Science and Institute Agricultural Science and Technology, Chonbuk National University in South Korea, have reported that certain dietary compounds produced in milk-based foodstuffs can help lower levels of total blood serum cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipid) cholesterol and triglycerides in mice models. The compounds also help protect against acute pulmonary thromboembolism without the adverse bleeding complications associated with aspirin therapy.

Matt Lucy, PhD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Dairy Science, who is also professor of Animal Science at the University of Missouri, said, “We are beginning to understand that dairy products provide benefits to human health beyond the traditional nutrients. This study performed in laboratory animals demonstrates the potential for milk proteins found in naturally fermented foods to improve human cardiovascular health.”

The primary reaction involved is the Maillard reaction. It occurs between reducing sugars and amino acids, producing browned foods such as toasted bread and seared steaks.

In this study, sodium caseinate and whey protein concentrate were heated in the presence of lactose to produce whey-protein Maillard reaction products (wMRPs). These wMRPs were then fermented using lactic acid bacteria resulting in fermented MRPs (f-MRPs). Apart from these reactions, sodium caseinate was also made to react with lactic acid bacteria separately, forming Maillard-reacted sodium caseinate (cMRP), which was then fermented to f-cMRP.

To determine whether these compounds showed any antithrombotic effects, 60 mice were divided into four treatment groups of 15 mice each. Group 1 (negative control) phosphate buffered saline (PBS), Group 2 (positive control) received aspirin, Group 3 was given wMRP and Group 4 was given f-MRP along with regular diet. To determine the effects of f-cMRP on cholesterol reduction and antioxidant activity, another group of 60 mice was used which were given varied diets (with and without f-cMRP).

“This is the first report describing the verification for the impacts of MRPs and their fermented product in cardiovascular risk using animal model,” stated lead investigator Younghoon Kim, PhD, from the Department of Animal Science, Chonbuk National University, Republic of Korea. “In addition, our findings represent a real advance in the area of milk proteins and indicate that f-cMRP and cMRP could be recommended for use as potential antioxidants and cardioprotective ingredients for various functional, pharmaceutical, and dairy applications.