The influence of dietary whey protein on tissue glutathione and the diseases of aging

Clin Invest Med. 1989 Dec;12(6):343-9.


This study compared the effects of a whey-rich diet (20 g/100 g diet), with that of Purina mouse chow or casein-rich diet (20 g/100 g diet), on the liver and heart glutathione content and on the survival of old male C57BL/6NIA mice. The study was performed during a limited observation period of 6.3 months. In mice fed the whey protein-rich diet between 17 months and 20 months of age, the heart tissue and liver tissue glutathione content were enhanced significantly above the corresponding values of the casein diet-fed and Purina-fed mice. Mice fed the whey protein diet at the onset of senescence at 84 weeks, exhibited increased longevity as compared to mice fed Purina mouse chow over the 6.3 month observation period extending from the age of 21 months (corresponding to a human age of 55 years) to 26-27 months of age (corresponding to a human age of 80 years), during which time 55% mortality was observed. The corresponding mean survival time of mice fed the defined casein diet is almost identical to that of Purina-fed controls. Body weight curves were similar in all three dietary groups. Hence a whey protein diet appears to enhance the liver and heart glutathione concentration in aging mice and to increase longevity over a 6.3 month observation period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Hemolytic Plaque Technique
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Whey Proteins


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins
  • Glutathione