Health-promoting properties of selected milk components

Wydanie: 1 / 2013


  • Miciński J., Zwierzchowski G., Kowalski I.M., Szarek J.

Kategorie: Food science , Medicine and veterinary , Review paper

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2013.18.1.14


The human diet should be a rich source of nutrients, energy and tissue-building materials. Bovine milk is one of the few food products of animal origin that meet the above requirements. It contains proteins rich in readily available amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, micronutrients and macronutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iodine, potassium, chlorine and small quantities of iron. This study discusses the positive effects of bovine milk on human health, resulting from its composition and high nutritive value. We have reviewed numerous publications and reports indicating that milk contains readily available amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids which are vital components of the human diet, as well as macronutrients and micronutrients that regulate biochemical processes in the body. Particular attention has been paid to the anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, anti-sclerotic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of milk, which is also known to lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. The health benefits delivered by selected minerals contained in milk are also described. Calcium content largely determines the nutritional value and heat stability of milk, as well as its suitability for cheese production. Milk calcium is easily absorbed, and it is characterized by a high level of physiological activity due to a favorable calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.2:1. Milk contains 0.75 g-1.10 g dm–3 of phosphorus, and phosphorus concentrations are generally stable and independent of the nutritional regime of cows. The magnesium content of milk is determined in the range of 100 to 150 mg dm–3. In milk, magnesium is found in the form of soluble compounds (75% of total Mg) as well as colloidal compounds (phosphates, citrates). Magnesium concentrations are correlated with the calcium content of milk. The magnesium to calcium ratio determine milk’s heat stability. Milk contains 1.35 to 1.55 g dm–3 of fully ionized potassium. The sodium content of milk is determined at 350-600 mg dm–3, and chlorine levels are noted in the range of 0.80-1.40 g dm–3. Sodium chloride stabilizes the osmotic pressure of milk (including lactose). Milk contains trace quantities of iron (0.42 to 0.45 mg kg–1).


Miciński J., Zwierzchowski G., Kowalski I.M., Szarek J. 2013. Health-promoting properties of selected milk components. J. Elem. 18(1): 165-186, DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2013.18.1.14.

Słowa kluczowe:

milk, proteins, fatty acids, macronutrients, micronutrients, amino acids, human diet

O wydaniu:


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