CASEIN PROTEIN Overview Information
Casein protein is a protein found in milk that gives milk its white color. Cow's milk consists of around 80% casein protein. In addition to milk, casein protein is found in yogurt, cheese, and infant formulas, as well as in a variety of dietary supplements.
Casein protein is taken by mouth to prevent itchy and inflamed skin (eczema), cow's milk allergy, high levels of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood of newborns (neonatal jaundice), muscle soreness after exercise, and allergies (atopic disease). It is also used to improve athletic performance, colic in infants, diabetes, exercise performance, liver disease due to alcohol consumption, cirrhosis, diarrhea, hepatitis C, acid reflux, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, infant development, weight loss, asthma, and the lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
How does it work?
Feeding infants casein protein formula instead of cow's milk formula seems to reduce allergies, diarrhea, and colic. This may be explained by the lack of lactose, allergens, and other milk-based proteins in casein protein.
Casein protein seems to increase the amount of insulin in the body. Casein protein also provides the body with all of the amino acids necessary to help build muscle. Additionally, casein protein is digested more slowly than other proteins, so it might be better at reducing appetite and increasing feelings of fullness.
Likely Effective for:
- Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). Feeding infants a specific formula containing hydrolyzed casein protein (Nutramigen or Progestimil) with or without breastmilk for 4-6 months reduces the chances of getting eczema. This effect appears to last until at least 6 years of age.
- Allergies (atopic disease). Some research shows that feeding infants a specific formula containing casein protein (Nutramigen) instead of cow's milk reduces the risk for allergies in infants whose parents have allergic conditions. This benefit appears to last until at least 6 years of age.
- Cow's milk allergy. Specific formulas containing casein protein are safe and do not cause allergic reactions in children who have an allergic reaction to cow's milk. These formulas include Alimentum, Damira 2000, Frisolac Allergycare, and Nutramigen.
Possibly Effective for:
- Diabetes. Some research in adults with type 2 diabetes shows that eating hydrolyzed casein protein improves insulin and glucose levels after a meal. However, it's not clear if taking casein protein for a long time can improve blood sugar control. Some research in infants shows that using a specific formula containing casein protein (Nutramigen) decreases certain risk markers for type 1 diabetes. But it isn't clear if this will reduce the number of children that develop type 1 diabetes.
- Colic in infants. Some evidence shows that feeding a specific formula containing casein protein (Alimentum or Nutramigen) to infants with colic for 7 days reduces how often and how much the infant cries. In infants taking cow's milk formula who have colic, switching to a casein protein formula (Nutramigen) reduces crying and colic for the first few days.
- High levels of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood of newborns (neonatal jaundice). Some evidence shows that feeding infants a formula containing casein protein (Nutramigen) instead of a formula containing whey protein (Enfamil) or breastmilk reduces the chance of getting jaundice.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Asthma. Most research shows that feeding infants a formula containing casein protein, with or without breastmilk, for 4 months does not reduce the chance of developing asthma. However, early research shows that this formula might decrease the amount of wheezing in some infants.
- Infant development. Most research shows that feeding premature, low-birth weight, and healthy infants a formula containing casein protein does not increase or decrease growth compared to breast milk, whey protein-based formula, rice hydrolysate formula, cow's milk formula, or amino acid-based formula. However, some early research in infants with cow's milk allergy shows that casein protein increases growth from 6-12 months of age better than soy.
- Liver disease due to alcohol consumption. Early research shows that administering a casein protein supplement through a feeding tube for 28 days improves mental status in patients who have liver disease from alcohol consumption. Other early research shows that taking a casein-based formula daily for one year lowers the risk for hospitalization and infection in these patients. However, casein protein does not seem to reduce the risk of death.
- Athletic performance. Some early research shows that casein protein improves strength and athletic performance, while other research shows that it does not. Some research also shows that casein protein works just as well as whey protein or creatine for improving athletic performance. However, other research shows that whey protein is better than casein protein. It does not seem to matter whether casein protein is taken before or after exercise. But more research is needed to understand if casein protein works better in certain patients or with certain exercise regimens.
- Cirrhosis. Early research shows that drinking a casein protein supplement for 4-6 days improves mental status in people with cirrhosis when compared to branched-chain amino acids (BCAA).
- A lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often lose muscle function over time. Some studies show that taking casein protein along with exercise builds muscle. However, early research shows that taking casein protein daily for 8 weeks does not improve lung or muscle function in people with COPD.
- Diarrhea. Early research in infants with the stomach flu shows that using a formula containing casein protein, instead of cow's milk, reduces diarrhea. However, other early research in infants and children with diarrhea shows that eating a diet containing casein protein is less effective than a yogurt-based diet for reducing diarrhea.
- Muscle soreness after exercise. Early research in cyclists shows that drinking a carbohydrate beverage containing casein protein during and after cycling reduces muscle soreness. However, early research in strength training athletes shows that taking a specific protein supplement containing casein protein and other ingredients before and after exercise does not reduce muscle soreness.
- Acid reflux. Early research shows that eating a formula containing casein protein is less effective than whey protein formula for reducing symptoms of acid reflux in children with brain damage. However, casein protein and whey protein seem to have similar effects in infants with acid reflux.
- Worsening of mental function caused by liver disease (encephalopathy). Early research shows that taking casein protein for 3 months does not improve mental function in people with chronic liver disease.
- Hepatitis C. Early research shows that taking casein protein daily for 12 weeks improves quality of life in people with hepatitis C infection.
- High cholesterol. Most research shows that casein protein does not improve "good" or "bad" cholesterol levels in people with normal cholesterol or in people with high cholesterol. However, some small studies show that it might improve these levels in some people. Also, eating casein protein seems to lower the levels of a certain type of cholesterol called lipoprotein(a).
- High blood pressure. The effect of casein protein on blood pressure is unclear. Early research shows that taking casein protein daily along with exercise for 4 weeks reduces systolic blood pressure (the top number), but not diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number), in people with hypertension. Other early research shows that taking casein protein daily for 12 weeks reduces diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number), but not systolic blood pressure (the top number), in people who are overweight.
- Weight loss. Most research shows that taking casein protein does not reduce body weight or appetite in people who are overweight or obese. However, some early research shows that having a liquid snack containing casein protein reduces hunger in overweight patients. Also, early research shows that taking casein protein for 12 weeks prevents weight gain in obese people who have already lost weight. In overweight children, early research shows that drinking a milk drink containing casein protein daily for 12 weeks in place of water increases body weight.
- Other conditions.
CASEIN PROTEIN Side Effects & Safety
Casein protein is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. Most adults do not experience side effects when casein protein is taken for as long as 12 months.
Casein protein is LIKELY SAFE for children and infants when taken by mouth. Most infants receiving casein hydrolysate formulas do not experience side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking casein protein if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
CASEIN PROTEIN Dosing
- For diabetes: 0.3-0.35 grams/kg hydrolyzed casein protein with or without leucine 0.1 gram/kg. 17.6 grams hydrolyzed casein protein with or without leucine 5 grams. 12 grams hydrolyzed casein protein or 21 grams intact casein protein.
- For itchy and inflamed skin (eczema): Specific casein hydrolysate formulas (Nutramigen or Progestimil, Mead Johnson) for 4-6 months.
- For allergies: A specific casein hydrolysate formula (Nutramigen, Mead Johnson) for 4-6 months.
- For cow's milk allergy: A variety of hydrolyzed casein formulas have been used, including Alimentum (Abbot Laboratories), Damira 2000 (Nutrition & Sante S.L.), Frisolac Allergycare (Friesland Nutrition), Nutramigen (Mead Johnson).
- For diabetes: A specific hydrolyzed casein protein-based formula (Nutramigen, Mead Johnson) has been used when breastmilk is not available, starting at birth and lasting up to 6-8 months of age.
- For colic in infants: Specific casein hydrolysate formulas have been used for up to 7 days. These include Alimentum (Abbot Laboratories) and Nutramigen (Mead Johnson).
- For high levels of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood of newborns (jaundice): Casein hydrolysate formulas, including Nutramigen (Mead Johnson), for 1-3 weeks.