Mineral Milk – Milk protein and uptake of zinc, iron and magnesium

Magnesium, zinc and iron are vital minerals for normal growth and development, and insufficient uptake of these has serious health consequences. The aim of the project is to investigate how milk protein in the form of whey protein concentrates, specific purified milk protein ingredients such as osteopontin and alphalactalbumin, as well as protein in a complex milk matrix can increase bioavailability and uptake of these minerals.

By: Grith Mortensen

The purpose of this project is not to investigate the uptake of milk's own content of minerals, but how milk protein can increase bioavailability and uptake of minerals ingested alongside milk protein, either in the form of fortified products, supplements, or in other dietary items where the minerals are naturally occurring.

The project includes simulated gastrointestinal tract digestion of the milk protein in connection with measuring uptake of the minerals in the intestinal cells and through the cell membrane. In addition, the project investigates how expression of important factors for binding, uptake and storage of the specific minerals in intestinal cells is affected by milk protein. Likewise, the project includes a comparison of the contribution of milk protein and vegetable protein to the intestinal uptake of the minerals. This will provide measures of the ability of milk protein to increase the uptake of important minerals compared to e.g. plant-based beverages.

Understanding how known as well as new milk protein components can increase the bioavailability of essential minerals in the diet is important for the entire dairy industry in developing new products and documenting the role of dairy in a healthy diet.

Project period: January 2022 - December 2023 

Budget: 3,888,ooo DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund and Aarhus University

Project manager: Esben Skipper Sørensen

Institution: Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Aarhus University

Participants: Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Aarhus University


Publications and presentations

Initial article published in Mælkeritidende:

Mælkeritidende 2023 no. 7


The results originating from the project will be published on this page when they become publicly available.

Grith Mælk 1

Grith Mortensen

Chefkonsulent, Branchesekretariat mejeri, Landbrug & Fødevarer/Skejby

Mobil: 40964114

E-mail: gmo@lf.dk