Co-ingestion of whey protein hydrolysate with milk minerals rich in calcium potently stimulates glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion: An RCT in healthy adults

Yung-Chih Chen, Harry Smith, Aaron Hengist, Oliver Chrzanowski-Smith, Ulla Ramer Mikkelsen, Harriet Carroll, James Betts, Dylan Thompson, John Saunders, Javier Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: To examine whether calcium type and co-ingestion with protein alter gut hormone availability. Methods: Healthy adults aged 26 ± 7 years (mean ± SD) completed three randomized, double-blind, crossover studies. In all studies, arterialized blood was sampled postprandially over 120 min to determine GLP-1, GIP and PYY responses, alongside appetite ratings, energy expenditure and blood pressure. In study 1 (n = 20), three treatments matched for total calcium content (1058 mg) were compared: calcium citrate (CALCITR); milk minerals rich in calcium (MILK MINERALS); and milk minerals rich in calcium plus co-ingestion of 50 g whey protein hydrolysate (MILK MINERALS + PROTEIN). In study 2 (n = 6), 50 g whey protein hydrolysate (PROTEIN) was compared to MILK MINERALS + PROTEIN. In study 3 (n = 6), MILK MINERALS was compared to the vehicle of ingestion (water plus sucralose; CONTROL). Results: MILK MINERALS + PROTEIN increased GLP-1 incremental area under the curve (iAUC) by ~ ninefold (43.7 ± 11.1 pmol L −1 120 min; p < 0.001) versus both CALCITR and MILK MINERALS, with no difference detected between CALCITR (6.6 ± 3.7 pmol L −1 120 min) and MILK MINERALS (5.3 ± 3.5 pmol L −1 120 min; p > 0.999). MILK MINERALS + PROTEIN produced a GLP-1 iAUC ~ 25% greater than PROTEIN (p = 0.024; mean difference: 9.1 ± 6.9 pmol L −1 120 min), whereas the difference between MILK MINERALS versus CONTROL was small and non-significant (p = 0.098; mean difference: 4.2 ± 5.1 pmol L −1 120 min). Conclusions: When ingested alone, milk minerals rich in calcium do not increase GLP-1 secretion compared to calcium citrate. Co-ingesting high-dose whey protein hydrolysate with milk minerals rich in calcium increases postprandial GLP-1 concentrations to some of the highest physiological levels ever reported. Registered at NCT03232034, NCT03370484, NCT03370497.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Early online date17 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2019


  • incretins
  • calcium
  • protein
  • metabolism
  • peptide tyrosine tyrosine
  • gastric inhibitory peptide
  • postprandial
  • Calcium
  • Postprandial
  • Metabolism
  • Protein
  • Incretins
  • Gastric inhibitory polypeptide
  • Peptide tyrosine tyrosine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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