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Milk casein and its benefits on cardiovascular risk

Vijay R. Prabhakar, Nandini Venkatesan
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehm106 1397 First published online: 5 May 2007

The article by Lorenz et al. on the effects of adding milk on the protective effects of tea is interesting, but results may not translate into clinical benefits. This was a small sample that lacked statistical power and failed to take into account the dietary habits of the participants. Even when milk was not added to tea, participants may have consumed diary products, which may alter consistency in the control group. In a general population, consumption of diary products is prevalent even when not added to tea, and it would be interesting to observe the effect of milk-free tea in a population that is totally devoid of diary products, but which is not practical. The work of Lorenz et al. assumes importance, as milk has been associated with hypercholesteraemia, diabetes, and increased cardiovascular risk. On the contrary, the benefits of milk in reducing blood pressure and cardiovascular risk have also been proved through previous studies.13 A Medline search limited to the past 5 years using keywords milk and blood pressure shows that milk consumption is clinically beneficial and reduces blood pressure. A recent study by Cadee et al.4 and a previous study by Townsend et al.5 have demonstrated that Bovine casein hydrolysate (c12 Peptide) was able to reduce blood pressure. In this context, the results from Lorenz et al. must be viewed with caution. The effect of milk on endothelium appears independent and not as an interaction with tea. Whether increasing the ratio of tea extract to milk will overcome this phenomenon needs to be explored. Many such dietary substances and antioxidants while showing significant benefit on surrogate markers have failed to show any mortality benefit. Nevertheless, this study will hopefully trigger larger mortality studies, but the objective will not be clinically relevant or socially practicable in countries with high consumption of milk.

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