Australian scientists have made a discovery which has been termed 'remarkable'
The scientists from the Department of Primary Industries in Victoria have discovered that milk improves the building of muscle with or without an increase in the level of exercise performed.
The Victorian researchers along with researchers at MG Nutritionals have found from studies with mice that a compound in milk might hold the key to beating a combination of disorders that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of high blood pressure, high glucose and obesity that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, conditions suffered by 30% of Australians which place an extreme burden on medical systems.
The researchers found that the compound, known as Regeneration Inducing Peptide for Tissues and Cells (RIPTAC), when given daily to mice caused them not only to build more muscle but also to want to exercise - but the muscle increase was also seen in mice not given exercise.
Having a good muscle to fat ratio is an important factor in reducing the incidence of metabolic syndrome and greater muscle mass is also a factor in burning fat.
The Minister for Innovation Gavin Jennings has called the discovery 'remarkable' and says a compound in milk which can reduce fat-muscle ratios and thus improve health, is a genuine coup for public health.
Mr Jennings says metabolic syndrome is one of Australia's greatest health challenges and that it is important that discussions were now underway to conduct trials of RIPTAC in people in Victoria.
He says the results in mice so far have shown great promise highlighting once again the medicinal qualities of milk and he says this latest discovery builds on past work by the collaborating Victorian teams that have shown active proteins in milk can promote the health of the human digestive system.
Mr Jennings says there is a growing worldwide trend towards functional food and complementary medicine and this research is of great interest because milk is a natural source of beneficial ingredients and is something most people have access to every day.
Mr Jennings adds that as well as the development of new milk-based health products, the discovery provides a basis for development of new pharmaceuticals.
MG Nutritionals is a division of the Murray Goulburn Cooperative Company.