Alpha-lactalbumin, AKA LALBA is a major protein found in mammalian milk. It is found in greater quantities in human breast milk versus cow's etc.. milk. Which means human breast milk is much better for feeding infants versus cow's milk.

Human breast milk has a high concentration of Whey protein, approximately 70% of the total protein content versus the 20% found in cow's milk. Of this percentage, Alpha-lactalbumin, accounts for 41% of the whey and 28% of the total protein.

Needless to say, it is very difficult for commercial manufacturers to reliably produce formulas that come close to the benefits that "Mother's Milk" has. Which is one of the many reasons that breast feeding is highly recommended whenever possible.

Lactose, a combination of glucose and galactose (sugars), is the primary carbohydrate found in milk. The Alpha lactalbumin molecules regulate the enzyme that synthesizes lactose by combining glucose and galactose.

One of the problems associated with feeding infants, cow's milk, is a protein, not found in "Mother's Milk" called beta lactoglobulin, this protein can cause allergic reactions in some infants.

Alpha lactalbumin has high quantities of several types of amino acids, (The term "amino acids" dates to the middle of the 19th century. The idea that amino acids are "Bausteine" (building stones) came from the Nobel Prize winning German biochemist Albrecht Kossel (1853-1927), that make it a particularly good protein to take.

It has a large amount of tryptophan, which can induce sleep. If you have ever been to a Thanksgiving Day dinner, complete with Turkey, then you have seen the effects of tryptophan, it's what causes some of your family members to fall asleep on the couch after eating said Turkey Dinner.

After ingesting tryptophan, your body then converts it to serotonin, which can boost moods and lower stress levels. This is why a class of antidepressant drugs acts by increasing serotonin in people suffering from mood disorders.

Also present in Alpha lactalbumin, is an amino acid called cysteine. Researchers believe this compound helps boost the immune system. In humans, the gene for alpha lactalbumin is known as the LALBA gene. The sequence of this gene shows a strong similarity to that of lysozyme. This is an antibacterial protein that is found in saliva and tears. Its evolution is thought to predate that for LALBA, which is also thought to have antibacterial properties.

(c) 2010

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