Now more than ever, the general public exhibits a considerable interest in “health food” products and other consumable items that claim to support the development of a healthier body. In today’s climate, many consumers also search for products that may have “immune-boosting” attributes, which they believe may contribute to avoiding illnesses such as the common cold.
This sector continues to grow in value year over year. For food formulators and manufacturers, how can you take advantage of milk proteins to tap into new markets and to create new and innovative products? First, we must consider how the addition of proteins from dairy-based sources may have an impact on the healthiness of a given product.
How Do Milk Proteins Support a Healthy Immune System?
Scientists continue to explore the effects of protein and amino acid intake on disease. Essential amino acids and consistent protein availability are critical for many bodily processes, including supporting the immune system. When the body experiences protein deficiency, immunity declines, and the body loses some of its effectiveness in fighting infections, particularly through viral vectors.
Milk proteins also feature a wide range of natural vitamins and minerals that may further contribute to a more robust immune system. Some of the essential nutrients that attach to milk proteins include calcium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and B12. The additional presence of “good” bacteria may promote more harmony among the body’s natural gut flora. Research into intestinal health continues to showcase that the body’s microbiome has an intensive effect on overall health.
What Does the Science Say About Milk Proteins and the Body?
Scientific research into the interaction between proteins and the body’s immune systems is an ongoing effort. Investigative efforts, trials, and studies continue as scientists seek to better understand how these proteins and the minerals that they carry might impact the body.
Recent research has also revealed the wide-ranging impact that proteins and their constituent amino acids have on the body. These findings indicate that sufficient amino acid intake may have an anti-inflammatory effect that supports natural immune function.1
This anti-inflammatory aspect may prove to be especially critical in the treatment plans for patients suffering from COVID-19 symptoms that are severe enough to require hospitalization. Some research indicates that protein supplementation keeps the release of immune cytokines in check, possibly reducing the severity of illnesses and preventing some of their worst effects on the body. Because milk proteins are complete and contain all essential amino acids, they may be a good source for supplementation during severe illness.
Though these studies are limited in scope, their results are highly promising. More research is still necessary to fully understand the interaction between proteins and amino acids and the immune system. Dairy has broad recognition as an essential nutrient source and as a regular part of the diet. As such, there is already a high level of public acceptance for products fortified with additional proteins.
Creating Immunity-Supporting Dairy Products
How can food manufacturers take advantage of these properties and develop products that may support immune health? What options are there?
Some potential applications include fortified yogurt products, in both traditional and drinkable formats, for example. Enhanced milk-based drinks could also be an important source for additional proteins and the minerals they provide. Protein bars based on milk proteins and other similar supplements could also capture a portion of the market looking for opportunities to build a healthier lifestyle. This market segment is still young and growing, and new product formulations may still be on the horizon. As research continues, now may be the time to investigate and invest in the manufacture of these products.
To create such products, however, requires a pure and wholesome source of natural dairy proteins that can not only nutritionally fortify a product but also act as a critical functional ingredient. At Idaho Milk Products, our extensive range of milk protein concentrates and isolates are the ideal resource for such efforts. What makes our protein powders the perfect choice for developing immune-supporting products?
Our unique farm-to-factory pipeline guarantees that we use only the freshest milk of the highest quality each day. There is a mere 24-hour turnaround time from when milk leaves the parlor floor to when it becomes one of our finished protein concentrates. Using the milk we receive, we use a gentle ultrafiltration methodology to capture milk proteins in their natural form and ratio. This product preserves the critical minerals discussed above, so you can conveniently fortify products with the nutrients the immune system needs for robust support. As a bonus, MPC/MPI has excellent properties as a functional ingredient, including supporting thorough emulsification, enhanced whipping and foaming properties, and many other attributes beneficial to food formulators.
Explore More with Idaho Milk Products Today
With an increased focus on health and wellness among the general public, food product manufacturers must look for ways to respond to shifting demands and changing priorities. Because of the wholesome nature of milk proteins, providing not only essential amino acids but also fundamental minerals, they could be one of the most valuable avenues of exploration for your operations. With a protein source of proven purity and reliability, cost-effective and innovative product development is within reach.
At Idaho Milk Products, we’re always excited to share our knowledge and understanding with our clients and prospective customers. To learn more about the products we supply, or to start a conversation about how you might blend MPCs into your upcoming new formulations, please contact us online or by phone today for help.
1 “How Protein Bolsters COVID-19 Recovery” Food Technology Magazine, December 1, 2020