Milk is known as a safe food and contains easily absorbable minerals and proteins, including whey protein, which has demonstrated antiosteoporotic effects on ovariectomized rats. This study evaluated the antiosteoporotic effect of whey protein concentrate hydrolysate (WPCH) digested with fungal protease and whey protein concentrate (WPC). Two experiments were conducted to determine (1) efficacy of WPCH and WPC and (2) dose-dependent impact of WPCH in ovariectomized rats (10 weeks old). In Experiment I, ovariectomized rats (n=45) were allotted into three dietary treatments of 10 g/kg diet of WPC, 10 g/kg diet of WPCH, and a control diet. In Experiment II, ovariectomized rats (n=60) were fed four different diets (0, 10, 20, and 40 g/kg of WPCH). In both experiments, sham-operated rats (n=15) were also fed a control diet containing the same amount of amino acids and minerals as dietary treatments. After 6 weeks, dietary WPCH prevented loss of bone, physical properties, mineral density, and mineral content, and improved breaking strength of femurs, with similar effect to WPC. The bone resorption enzyme activity (tartrate resistance acid phosphatase) in tibia epiphysis decreased in response to WPCH supplementation, while bone formation enzyme activity (alkaline phosphatase) was unaffected by ovariectomy and dietary treatment. Bone properties and strength increased as the dietary WPCH level increased (10 and 20 g/kg), but there was no difference between the 20 and 40 g/kg treatment. WPCH and WPC supplementation ameliorated bone loss induced by ovariectomy in rats.
Keywords: bone physical properties; bone strength; osteoporosis; ovariectomy; whey protein hydrolysate.