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Table 1 Milk composition and percent contribution to the daily dietary reference intakes of some nutrients in 0.5 l whole milk, and their main health effects

From: Bovine milk in human nutrition – a review

Milk component Concentration in 1 l whole milka Percent contribution of 0.5 l whole milk to reference intakeb Health effects
Fat 33 g/l   Energy rich
Saturated fatty acids 19 g/l   Increase HDL, small dense LDL, and total cholesterol. Inhibition of bacteria, virus
Oleic acid 8 g/l   Prevent CHD, gives stable membranes
Lauric acid 0,8 g/l   Antiviral and antibacterial
Myrisitc acid 3,0 g/l   Increase LDL and HDL
Palmitic acid 8 g/l   Increase LDL and HDL
Linoleic acid 1,2 g/l   Omega-6 fatty acid
Alpha linolenic a 0,75 g/l   Omega-3 fatty acid
Protein 32 g/l 30–40% Essential amino acids, bioactive proteins, peptides. Enhanced bioavailability
Lactose 53 g/l   Lactosylation products
Calcium 1,1 g/l 40–50% Bones, teeth, blood pressure, weight control
Magnesium 100 mg/l 12–16% For elderly, asthma treatment
Zinc 4 mg/l 18–25% Immune function. Gene expression
Selenium 37 ug/l 30% Cancer, allergy, CHD
Vitamin E 0,6 mg/l 2 % Antoixidant
Vitamin A 280 ug/l 15–20% Vision, cell differentiation
Folate 50 ug/l 6 % DNA synthesis, cell division, amino acid metabolism
Riboflavin 1,83 mg/l 60–80% Prevent ariboflavinosis
Vitamin B12 4,4 ug/l 90% Key role in folate metabolism
  1. a data from USDA Food Composition Data [9].
  2. b Dietary reference intake (DRI) for men and women [4].