Bioactive milk peptides: a prospectus.
Bioactive peptides have been identified within the amino acid sequences of native milk proteins. Hydrolytic reactions, such as those catalyzed by digestive enzymes, result in their release. These peptides directly influence numerous biological processes evoking behavioral, gastrointestinal, hormonal, immunological, neurological, and nutritional responses. The specific bioreactions associated with each physiological class have been well characterized. Herein, we review the scientific literature and attempt to stimulate consideration of the continued use of bioactive peptides and their expanded development as a commercial product. Several applications have already evolved. For example, phosphopeptides derived from casein fractions are currently used as both dietary and pharmaceutical supplements. Potentially, the addition of bioactive peptides to food products could improve consumer safety as a result of their antimicrobial properties. Lastly, bioactive peptides may function as health care products, providing therapeutic value for either treatment of infection or prevention of disease.