Does casein protein pose a real health risk?

November 12, 2012

Does casein protein pose a real health risk?

Some people can be allergic to casein while others believe it is an excellent source of protein, but should you exclude it from your diet?

Casein protein forms most of the protein content found in cow’s milk and dairy products. Some recent research has led consumers to believe that this type of protein has hidden dangers; however, it is unwise to exclude casein from your diet without first consulting your medical practitioner.

Effects on the respiratory system

Casein protein is a thick, glutinous substance often used in glue production. The vast quantities of casein in cow’s milk are known to be mucus forming and may cause congestion and irritation of the respiratory system.


Casein protein is a known allergen for a number of people – it may exacerbate the symptoms of hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, and of dairy allergy.

Carcinogenic properties

One recent study appears to show a link between animal protein consumption and incidence of cancer; this study pointed to casein protein being responsible for the development of cancer across all its various stages. The conclusion of this study is that only protein derived from plant matter is safe to eat and that eliminating animal protein, specifically casein protein, from the diet will significantly reduce the likelihood of cancer developing. Evidence supporting control of cancer symptoms by controlling the amount of casein in the diet was found in the laboratory animals used in this study.

It should be noted that the author of this study which concludes by promoting a plant based diet, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, is a recognised campaigner for a vegan lifestyle, this may well indicate some bias in the study; especially since, to date, no other studies support the claims of this animal based research and there is, as yet, no concrete evidence to show that consumption of casein protein is linked to the development of cancer in humans.

The resulting information from this study is, in fact, quite broad and non-specific, indicating a lack of strength in the supposed evidence for casein protein as a carcinogenic. It is also important to note that casein promotes growth of all cells – including, probably, cancerous cells, leading us to the ironic conclusion that a healthy body is an ideal medium for cancer to develop.

Health benefits

In fact good quality protein, such as that found in casein, is proven to improve weight management, immunity, muscle growth and recovery from physical activity. Casein is a slow digesting protein and provides a number of the essential amino acids required by the human body. The slow digestive nature of casein means that it takes up to four hours to reach peak levels in the gut and the body can continue to absorb the protein for as long as seven hours. An additional benefit of this characteristic is that an individual will feel fuller for longer after consuming products containing casein.

Casein is an excellent source of calcium which has proven benefits for weight loss, using a casein shake as a meal replacement is an excellent way of providing great nutrition with fewer calories. Casein also helps to reduce body fat rather than lean muscle mass which is another great reason to choose it as part of your weight loss program.

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