Before entering fully to determine the meaning of the term casein, we must proceed to discover its etymological origin. In this case, it is a word that derives from Latin and is the result of the sum of two clearly delimited parts:
-The noun “caseus”, which can be translated as “cheese”.
-The suffix “-ina”, which is used to indicate “substance”.
The casein is a protein that is present in the milk. It is the substance in charge of producing the curd that is used in the production of cheeses.
In particular, casein is a heteroprotein: that is, a conjugated protein. This is the name given to those molecules that have a protein part and another that is not protein. In the case of casein, it is a phosphoprotein as it contains phosphoric acid (an acidic chemical compound).
If we compare the chemical structure of different types of milk, we will notice that sheep milk is the one with the highest amount of casein. The human milk, however, has a reduced level compared to casein ovine, caprine or bovine milk.
When milk is heated, various processes that involve casein are started. This protein is denatured: it loses its native structure and undergoes modifications in its functionality. Another consequence is the precipitation of casein.
Notably, casein has multiple uses. Thanks to its adherent properties, it is used in the creation of different food products, such as doughs and breads. It is also used in making wine. With casein, on the other hand, special protein foods are produced for athletes.
In addition to all the above, we have to ignore that this protein is considered to bring a long list of benefits, among which we can highlight the following:
-Thanks to the fact that it is very rich in calcium, it helps whoever takes it to be able to strengthen what is your bone system and also what is your dental health.
-Not less relevant is that it helps to improve muscle mass.
-In the same way, it should be noted that it helps to regenerate what the muscle fibers are.
However, one should not overlook the fact that casein is also considered to have various disadvantages in terms of consumption. We are referring to aspects such as these:
-It can bring with it a weakening of the immune system, so it can increase the risks that the person taking it may suffer an infection.
-In the same way, it generates an increase in mucus and this, in turn, can cause conditions such as pneumonia, sinusitis, otitis and rhinitis.
-Allergies of various types.
It is important to mention that, although most people do not have problems when ingesting casein, there are cases where the body has difficulties digesting and breaking it down.
Beyond the food sector, casein is used in the production of glues, paints and detergents.