The role of casein in the development of hypercholesterolemia

J Physiol Biochem. 2014 Dec;70(4):1021-8. doi: 10.1007/s13105-014-0365-9. Epub 2014 Oct 15.


Atherosclerosis remains the leading cause of severe cardiovascular complications such as cardio- and cerebrovascular events. Given that prevention and early intervention play important roles in the reduction of cardiovascular complications associated with atherosclerosis, it is critical to better understand how to target the modifiable risk factors, such as diet, in order to best minimize their contributions to the development of the disease. Studies have shown that various dietary sources of protein can affect blood lipid levels, a modifiable risk factor for atherosclerosis, either positively or negatively. This clearly highlights that not all proteins are "created equal." For example, consumption of diets high in either animal- or vegetable-based sources of protein have resulted in varied and inconsistent effects on blood cholesterol levels, often depending on the amino acid composition of the protein and the species investigated. Careful consideration of the source of dietary protein may play an important role in the prevention of atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular complications. Given the recent focus on high protein diets, an emphasis on controlled studies in the area is warranted. The goal of this review is to present the current state of the literature that examines the effects of casein, a commonly utilized animal-based protein, on blood cholesterol levels and the varying effects noted in both animals and humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Caseins / adverse effects*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / etiology*


  • Caseins