subject: amino acids

Milk Casein Proteins: Ancient, Diverse, and Essential

Milk Casein Proteins: Ancient, Diverse, and Essential

Grab your nearest carton of milk. Find the nutrition label. Under total fat, you’ll likely find information about how much of that fat is saturated, unsaturated, and even trans fatty acids. Under carbohydrates, you’ll learn how much fiber and sugar your milk contains. But there is just one row of information when it comes to protein, giving the false impression that milk protein is not nearly as complex as milk fat or sugar. However, cow milk is made up of two different types of proteins, whey and casein, the majority of which is are caseins. There are four different subtypes of casein proteins, and for each of the four subtypes, there are dozens of different genetic variants. How’s that for complex? Read More...

Dairy Protein Digestion: Life in the Slow Lane

Dairy Protein Digestion: Life in the Slow Lane

Foods traveling from the mouth to the intestines are a bit like drivers off to work on a four-lane interstate. Some foods get in the fast lane and are quickly digested, whereas others stay in the slow lane, taking longer to reach their final destination. Why some foods are speed demons and others Sunday drivers depends on the particular properties of the nutrients in the foods. For example, proteins take longer to break down in the stomach than do carbohydrates, and milk contains some of the slowest digesting proteins of all. What makes milk proteins such slow pokes? Read More...

De-stressing with Dairy

De-stressing with Dairy

When, a few years ago, researchers analyzed fecal samples from volunteer undergraduates at Swinburne University of Technology, in Victoria, Australia, they didn’t necessarily expect to find evidence of the students’ examination stress. Yet the fecal lactic acid levels—reflecting the amount of “good bacteria” of the genus Lactobacillus in the students’ guts—took a dive during the exam period. In other words, exam stress had caused the volunteers’ intestines to become more favorable environments to pathogenic organisms. As the exams went on, things only got worse: the researchers observed day-by-day reductions in the undergraduates’ fecal lactic acid levels. This couldn’t have been because exam-period diets were messing with the students’ health—the only significant dietary change was an increase in coffee consumption. Read More...

Medicating the Elderly with Night Milk

Medicating the Elderly with Night Milk

Elderly people often have trouble sleeping. For those afflicted, it’s more than mere annoyance: insomnia in old age is associated with a range of health difficulties. What’s worse, many medications that are commonly prescribed to elderly people only add to the problem—including beta blockers, which treat hypertension. This is because they lower the levels of a hormone called melatonin. Yet, melatonin levels can be increased by consuming foodstuffs that are rich in them. One key source is milk collected from cows in the middle of the night. Read More...