The milk is a food known for its high nutritional value; Among all the nutrients it provides, proteins are one of the main and very important for being of high biological value; In other words, it provides all the essential amino acids that the body needs.
In order to study milk proteins, they are separated through different chemical processes and classified into two large groups:
· Casein proteins: they represent 80% of the total, these are alpha casein, beta casein, kappa casein and gamma casein. This protein fraction is used in the industry to make cheese.
· Whey proteins or seroproteins: these represent 20% of the total milk proteins and among them are alpha lactalbumin, serum albumin, beta globulin and immunoglobulin. These proteins are very rich in essential amino acids.
Uses of whey proteins
These proteins are found in milk whey, they have unique functional and nutritional properties that have increased their demand in the food industry for the production and enrichment of different foods.
The whey is a source of proteins of high biological value and affordable. 50% of the whey produced worldwide is treated and transformed into food products. Of this value, 45% is used directly in liquid form, 30% is dehydrated for use as powder, 15% is industrialized to extract lactose and with the rest, powdered whey protein concentrate is made.
One of the most common uses is as an ingredient for making beverages that provide energy, regulate body temperature, prevent dehydration, and quench thirst. In some countries it is also used for the production of milk formulas, nutraceutical foods, also dairy products, meat, bakery, pastry, pharmaceutical products and diet foods.
Studies have been done and it has been proven that the consumption of foods enriched with whey proteins can modify or positively influence the health of consumers.
Among the main benefits are:
The alpha - lactalbumin bovine plays a central role in lactose synthesis, during the rapid growth of infants; Although it is not identical to the human one, they present a similarity of 72% in their sequence, which is why it is used for infant formulas.
Positive effects have also been reported in varying degrees of ulcerative colitis. It was also proven that, together with its hydrolysates, it helps to control food intake, improves insulin sensitivity and favors blood sugar levels, both in people with type 2 diabetes and in healthy people.
These proteins positively impact bone density and the growth and differentiation of bone cells.
It favors the absorption of iron at the intestinal level, preventing anaemia.
Beta globulin stimulates synthesis of anticancer substances at the intestinal level. It also modulates the response to certain infections and the spread of tumors.
Alpha lactalbumin improves the quality of sleep, as it is a good source of tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin. By being able to rest better, stress is reduced and as a consequence improves mood and cognitive function.
Currently the concentration of lipids in the blood, obesity, hypertension and type 2 diabetes are risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases.
The whey protein cooperates indirectly preventing these diseases since it was found that lower blood levels of triglycerides, improve tolerance to the intake of glucose, increase the release of cholecystokinin, which causes increased feeling of satiety, reduces the artery pressure l, the inflammation and oxidative stress.
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