Description and Uses of Sodium Caseinate

29 September, 2020
Sodium caseinate is a compound derived from milk protein. Do you know what it is and what it's for? Continue reading to find out.

You may have already heard about sodium caseinate. In case you haven’t, it’s a compound derived from dairy protein. Today’s article will discuss what it is and what it’s for. Continue reading to find out more.

This substance comes from casein, so it has a high biological value. In this respect, its use as a nutritional supplement is rather popular in the food industry. This is because it can modify and add texture to several products.

What’s sodium caseinate?

Casein is the main protein in cow’s milk, accounting for 80% of the total. So you must chemically extract the sodium caseinate.

Generally, people do this through the use of specialized enzymes or through the addition of an acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar. The purpose of this is to lower the acidity and form rennet. Thus, you can obtain sodium hydroxide salt from the separation of the liquid.

Properties

Sodium caseinate contains almost 90% of its weight in protein. This product has all the essential amino acids and its high biological value and nutritional qualities derive from it. Likewise, it stands out due to its functional properties because it has the ability to retain water, form gels, emulsify fats, and stabilize substances.

A bottle of milk.
Sodium caseinate is derived from casein, which is the protein in milk.

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Uses of sodium caseinate

The food industry uses it to make products that require fats, such as desserts. This is due to its characteristics, especially the potential to form stable emulsions. Thus, this salt is an interesting alternative in the production of healthy food. At least, this is what’s stated in the study, Gelificación de Emulsiones de Caseinato de Sodio como Alternativa a las Grasas Trans.

This substance has applications in a variety of foods such as cheese-flavored snacks, margarine, cereal bars, processed meats, chocolate, coffee creamer, ice cream, bread, and protein powder.

Additionally, salt is an anticatabolic product — it prevents muscle breakdown. Thus, it’s great during periods of fasting and during the nightly rest as it helps retain muscle mass when following a restricted diet.

In this respect, its contribution to physically active people who follow a diet or seek muscle definition is outstanding. Not only because it helps regenerate muscle fibers, but because it’s sating.

This substance is usually found in processed food and it’s also used for modifying the texture and chemical stability of a variety of products, such as pharmaceuticals, makeup, hygiene, and personal care products.

Contraindications

Sodium caseinate is usually safe for most people but some are allergic to it. In fact, various studies suggest that casein can lead to intolerance due to its significant inflammatory potential.

Casein allergies

There are times when the immune system identifies sodium caseinate as a harmful component and thus it releases the histamine in order to neutralize it. The exact allergic response varies between people but can include symptoms such as:

  • Nasal congestion and increased mucus
  • Itchy eyes
  • Stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea

Check out what are The Main Sources of Protein in a Vegan Diet

Kidney damage

Casein decreases kidney function, which in turn increases metabolic acidity. According to a study carried out in rats, those who followed a diet high in this protein and its derivatives developed a progressive decrease in renal filtration.

However, let’s be clear that moderate consumption of casein in people with healthy organs doesn’t usually lead to health problems.

A woman making a salad.
Vegans should avoid using sodium caseinate as it’s an animal milk byproduct.

Vegans

Sodium caseinate is derived from cow’s milk, so it isn’t suitable for people on dairy-free or vegan diets. The processed food that usually has it as an ingredient is bottled coffee products, non-dairy cheese, and cereal bars. Read the nutritional label to clear up any doubts.

Final notes on sodium caseinate

As you can see, this kind of salt has applications in many industrially processed products due to its many properties. In addition, given it’s a compound of high biological value, it can be a good supplement for those seeking to improve their body mass. Of course, you must consult a professional to make sure there are no contraindications before adding it to your regular diet.

  • Domínguez-Meléndez, V., Aguiñiga-Sánchez, I., Moreno-Fierros, L., Torres, B., & Osorio, E. S. (2017). Sodium caseinate increases the number of B lymphocytes in mouse. Biomédica37(4), 571-576.
  • Phisitkul, S., Hacker, C., Simoni, J., Tran, R. M., & Wesson, D. E. (2008). Dietary protein causes a decline in the glomerular filtration rate of the remnant kidney mediated by metabolic acidosis and endothelin receptors. Kidney international73(2), 192-199.
  • Weiss-Steider, B., Córdova, Y., Aguiñiga-Sánchez, I., Ledesma-Martínez, E., Domínguez-Melendez, V., & Santiago-Osorio, E. (2019). El caseinato de sodio y la caseína α inhiben la proliferación de la línea celular mieloide de ratón 32D clone 3 (32Dcl3) mediante el TNF-α. Biomédica39(2), 291-299.
  • What Is Sodium Caseinate? Everything You Need to Know. Disponible en Healthline.com
  • Huck Iriart, C., Rincón Cardona, J. A., Montes de Oca Avalos, J. M., & Candal, R. J. (2014). Gelificación de Emulsiones de Caseinato de Sodio como Alternativa a las Grasas Trans.
  • Bagés, María Catalina M., et al. “Recomendaciones sobre el diagnóstico y el tratamiento de la alergia a la proteína de la leche de vaca en población pediátrica colombiana-Posición de expertos.” (2019).