February 19, 2018©
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Milk Whey Protein Combats Iron Overload Oxidative Stress And DNA Damage
Whey protein comprises 20 % of total milk protein and it is rich in branched and essential amino acids, functional peptides, antioxidants and immunoglobulins. It provides benefits against a wide range of metabolic diseases.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and protein-rich diets are known to exert beneficial effects on body composition and metabolism. Increasing numbers of studies are reporting that the protein fraction in diet is insufficient, creating widespread PEM (Protein Energy Malnutrition). Protein deficiency is a major public health concern.
Whey protein is globular protein its main components are β-lactoglobulins (35–65 %) and α-lactalbulins (12–25 %). The minor ingredients include immunoglobulins (8 %), serum albumins (5 %) and lactoferrin (1 %). Whey protein is a rich source of branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), essential amino acids (cysteine) and peptides as well. Leucine is abundant (50–75 % higher than other protein sources) and it plays key role in the regulation of skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein is rich in sulfhydryl amino acid cysteine, a precursor of glutathione, the non-enzymatic thiol antioxidant.
Glutathione plays key role in reducing oxidative stress, regulating cellular processes, an imbalance of which can trigger diseases.
Lactoperoxidase enzymes, glycomacropeptides (12 %) and lactose are other important components of whey.
A broad range of functional properties have been attributed to whey protein and its derivatives, such as:
- reduction of oxidative stress
- promotion of muscle growth and lean body mass
- appetite suppression
- cardiovascular risk mitigation
- phenylketonuria management (cheese whey)
- protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation
Inflammatory or oxidative stress begets cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, diabetes, cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, aging and a host of other degenerative diseases.
As precursor of the antioxidant glutathione, whey protein is superior in nullifying the adverse effects of oxidative stressors.
- Whey protein increased lymphocyte glutathione (GSH) in humans.
- Oral administration of substantive amounts of bovine whey protein enhances the glutathione content in the liver, heart and spleen. This change is moderate but sustained over time and biologically significant.
This property is restricted to the undenatured conformation of whey protein (bovine colostrum).
Whey protein reversed iron overload-induced DNA damage in leukocytes and colonocytes
The effect of whey protein on oxidative stress was studied. Test subjects with iron overload were given placebo or whey protein. After 6 weeks, the iron overload group showed a reduction in radical scavenging capacity with an increase in lipid peroxidation. The concentration of blood glutathione level was significantly higher in the iron overload supplemented with whey group compared to only iron overload group. Iron is a known genotoxic agent, capable of DNA aberration and consequent carcinogenesis. Whey protein reversed the iron overload-induced DNA damage in leukocytes and colonocytes. As the detrimental effect of iron is ROS-mediated, whey protein combatted ROS.
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