Casein hydrosolate shows sleep promoting properties in rodent study

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock michaeljung
© iStock michaeljung

Related tags Sleep

A new study conducted in rodents shows that a milk protein hydrosolate promotes sleep, with minimal side effects.

The study, which used Ingredia’s patented Lactium ingredient, which is distributed in North America by Pharmachem, set out to assess its capabilities in the sleep arena, something that has not been done up to now, according to Pharmachem (previous studies have focused on the ingredient’s stress-relieving properties). The study, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research​, looked into the ingredient’s effects and mode of action using tests in mice, rats and cultured human neuroblastoma cells. The authors concluded that the protein is “capable of facilitating and promoting sleep, with no or minimal sedative properties.” 

A team of researchers in Korea used a multifaceted study design to assess the ingredients effects. In ICR mice, the protein was orally administered to at various concentrations (75, 150, 300, or 500 mg/kg). An hour after administration, assessment of its sedative (open-field and rota-rod tests) and sleep-potentiating effects (pentobarbital-induced sleeping test and EEG monitoring) were conducted. The results of those tests indicated a sleep-promoting potential for the ingredient, and also hinted at it’s ability to do this without having a sedative effect. This was measured by an open field test, in which the mice explore an open environment, a test that measures how well they can run on a rotating rod, with time to first fall measured, and in a phenobarbital induced sleep measurement, in which the protein was measured for its effect in promoting this drug-induced sleep.

Mode of action investigation

To delve more deeply into the mode of action, researchers implanted electrodes into the brains of lab rats and then measured their EKG activity after being given Lactium, diazepam or a vehicle. The effect of the protein was also measured using a chemical assay in cultured human neuroblastoma cells.

“We have found that CH has sleep-promoting properties as evidenced by an augmented pentobarbital-induced sleep in mice and an increased slow (delta) EEG wave in rats. This sleep-promoting effect is probably mediated through the GABAergic neurotransmitter system,”​ the authors concluded. 

The open field test and rota-rod test evaluated the ingredient’s potential sedative side effects. The authors said that “Consistent with previous studies, diazepam, decreased (after single treatment) the locomotor activity of mice in the open-field test/ A decreased locomotor activity in this test is considered to reflect the sedative effects of a substance. Although a trend can be observed, Lactium did not significantly alter the locomotor activity of mice. This result indicates that this substance has no strong sedative effects. Similar results were observed in the rota-rod test.”

Mitch Skop, senior director, new product development for Pharmachem, the US distributor of Lactium, said, “These results show that Lactium naturally enhances sleep without the groggy side effects that can be attributed to drugs. It positions Lactium has an ideal sleep aid for natural products marketers.”

Source:Behavioural Brain Research
“A tryptic hydrolysate from bovine milk s1-casein enhances pentobarbital-induced sleep in mice via the GABAA receptor”
2016 Jul 9;313:184-190. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.07.013. [Epub ahead of print]
Authors: Dela Peña IJ, Kim HJ, Dela Peña JB, et al

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