Milk Protein

Macronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

Milk protein can be found in a wide variety of nutritional products, such as MRP’s, nutrition bars, and protein drink mixes. With good reason: as a combination of casein and whey protein, milk protein includes the best properties of each, including high amino acid profiles for increased muscle repair, recovery, and growth, as well as improved immune function. Plus, it’s fat free, low in calories, and easy to digest.

Other names for Milk Protein

total milk protein (TMP), milk protein concentrate (MPC), milk protein isolate (MPI)

Where to find Milk Protein

Milk protein is derived from cow’s milk, which is three to five percent protein and consists of two basic types: casein and whey. Milk protein consists of about 80% casein and 20% whey protein.

Tip Look for milk proteins that are manufactured under low temperature conditions, which avoid denaturing the protein and reducing its activity within the body.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Milk Protein

It has been clearly established that athletes and fitness enthusiasts (of all types) under the stress of intense training have an increased need for protein — put simply, protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery. Considering milk protein contains both casein and whey protein, it is an excellent source of the quality protein active folks require.

Milk protein’s high quality and value make it a popular addition to many protein powders, meal-replacement drinks, and nutrition bars. Thus, you rarely have to go looking for it — pick up a supplemental protein, and it will be staring back at you from the label.

Ways that Milk Protein can enhance Muscle Gain & Recovery:


  • Increase muscle mass by providing an optimal source of amino acids (which are the major building blocks of muscle) needed for the repair and growth of muscle tissue
  • Increase the anabolic environment and prevent muscle breakdown, assisting the muscle-building effects of intense weight training
Ways that Milk Protein can enhance Longevity:


  • Boost immune functioning by increasing levels of potent antioxidants in the body such as glutathione and immunoglobulins (peptides that stimulate immunity)

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Milk Protein deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

DISCUSSION

More about Milk Protein

In case you haven’t already heard the news, you can’t support, maintain, repair, or grow muscle tissue without protein (which the body breaks down into the all-important amino acids). Which means, you can’t build muscle unless you consume protein. Period. Need it put another way? Regardless of you overall goal, protein should be the foundation of all nutrition and supplementation programs for athletes, weight trainers, and fitness enthusiasts alike simply because studies have shown exercising, dieting (restricting calories), or being physically active places greater demands on the body, thereby increasing needs for rich sources of high-quality protein.

What is milk protein?

Milk protein is usually not found by itself like its counterparts whey and casein. In fact, it’s usually part of a protein blend found in meal-replacements, nutrition bars, or protein drink mixes. Check out the Nutrition Facts on the labels of just about any of these products, and you’ll find that milk protein is added to other high-quality proteins (such as soy, albumin, etc.) to create a “proprietary protein blend.”

A combination of both whey and casein, milk protein is actually used more as a labeling cosmetic than anything else. And, the benefits of milk protein are literally the same as those of whey and casein. Which is logically since milk protein is 80% casein and 20% whey.

Here is brief synopsis of whey and casein:

Whey protein, one of the two forms of protein derived from milk protein, is quite possibly the highest quality protein available. Considered by many experts as the foundation for building and maintaining lean mass, whey has gained a solid reputation as the “supreme” protein supplement because of five key qualities:

  • High bioavailablity (BV factor), which allows for faster uptake of amino acids into muscle cells than other forms of protein;
  • A rich amino acid content, including the two vitally important aminos glutamine and cysteine (direct precursors to the most powerful free-radical fighting amino, glutathione);
  • Enhanced immune-function-promoting levels of glutathione;
  • Impressive amounts of immunoglobulins and lactoferrin (big words for protein peptides that positively trigger the immune system); and
  • Low levels of lactose (milk sugar), calories, and fat.

What these elements add up to is that whey protein is the “must-have” for all active individuals.

The “other” protein derived from milk, casein, has been found in recent studies to not only supply the most critical amino acids our bodies need to spare muscle mass during intense training sessions but to even help increase muscle mass.

Here’s a rundown of some of casein’s key qualities:

  • It’s an especially rich source of the immune-boosting and muscle-protein-sparing amino acid glutamine. In fact, it has a potent 20.5% glutamine content.
  • It’s also a great source of arginine, the well-known “growth-hormone-releasing” amino acid.
  • And because casein has one of the highest tyrosine-to-tryptophan amino acid ratios of any protein (almost 5 to 1), it’s also considered one of the most stimulating and may even help suppress appetite after consumed. This is because tyrosine is considered the “pick-me-up” amino acid that increases levels of excitatory chemical signals in the brain and therefore creates a sense of overall satisfaction and “fullness.”

*To discover additional benefits and learn more about casein or whey protein, please refer to our complete supplement profile for each.

In conclusion

In sum, considering milk protein is merely a combination of both casein and whey protein, in an 80:20 ratio, it provides many of the benefits of both proteins while giving manufacturers a great resource for upping the protein levels of their products and making them taste better too. Milk protein is sort of like the “best of both worlds” in protein.

NOTES ON USAGE

Research shows that active people, especially hard-training athletes and weight trainers, require greater amounts of protein than sedentary people — this is scientifically documented, regardless of what some of the folks in labcoats try to suggest.

Amount

First, you must determine your daily requirements for protein, for both whole food and protein-containing supplements. Since the requirements for daily protein are much higher for those who are physically active than for “normal,” sedentary persons, protein intake is suggested as follows:

  • For muscle growth (anabolism) in healthy males, the average protein requirement is reportedly between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, divided equally throughout the day (e.g., a 180-lb intensely training athlete would ideally take in about 180 to 270 grams of protein per day, divided between 6 equally portioned meals, resulting in 30 to 45 grams per meal.)
  • For muscle tissue maintenance and for most women, protein intake is reportedly between .75 and 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, divided equally throughout the day (e.g., a 115-lb active women would ideally take in about 90 to 115 grams of protein per day, divided between 6 equally portioned meals, resulting in 15 to 20 grams per meal.)
Timing

Depending on the daily protein requirements (as determined from above), supplemental protein should be consumed throughout the normal course of a day in place of a whole-food meal (in the form of an MRP or simply a protein supplement by itself with some whole food, such as an apple).

Tip

Most importantly, though, make sure adequate amounts are consumed within an hour after a workout and before bedtime. These two times are optimal because after a workout, an “open window” exists that allows for instant protein uptake/use, and consuming protein before bedtime helps keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance, allowing for a constant “muscle-building” state during rest.

Synergists of Milk Protein

No synergists have been noted.

Safety of Milk Protein

If you have milk allergies (such as to lactose or casein), be cautious about consuming milk protein.

Toxicity of Milk Protein

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Boirie, Y., et al., “Slow and Fast Dietary Proteins Differently Modulate Postprandial Protein Accretion,” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 94.26 (1997) : 14930-5.
  • Chin, S.F., et al., “Dietary Sources of Conjugated Dienoic Isomers of Linoleic Acid, a Newly Recognized Class of Anticarcinogens,” J Food Comp Anal 5.3 (1992) : 185-97.
  • Demling, R.H., and DeSanti, L., “Effect of a Hypocaloric Diet, Increased Protein Intake and Resistance Training on Lean Mass Gains and Fat Mass Loss in Overweight Police Officers,” Ann Nutr Metab 44.1 (2000) : 21-9.
  • Demling, R.H., and DeSanti, L., “Increased Protein Intake During the Recovery Phase After Severe Burns Increases Body Weight Gain and Muscle Function,” J Burn Care Rehabil 19.2 (1998) : 161-8.
  • Dionysius, D.A., and Milne, J.M., “Antibacterial Peptides of Bovine Lactoferrin: Purification and Characterization,” J Dairy Sci 80.4 (1997) : 667-74.
  • Fox, P.F. (Ed.), Advanced Dairy Chemistry: Lactose, Water, Salts, and Vitamins, Volume 3, 2nd ed. (Chapman and Hall, New York, 1996).
  • Gaudichon, C., et al., “Net Postprandial Utilization of (15N)-Labeled Milk Protein Nitrogen Is Influenced by Diet Composition in Humans,” J Nutr 129.4 (1999) : 890-5.
  • Jensen, R.G., et al., Handbook of Milk Composition (Academic Press, Orlando, 1995).
  • Parodi, P.W., “Cows’ Milk Fat Components as Potential Anticarcinogenic Agents,” J Nutr 127.6 (1997) : 1055-60.