Bioactive peptides derived from human milk proteins - mechanisms of action

Yasuaki Wada, Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Human milk contains a multitude of bioactive proteins with very diverse functions, which are beneficial for the rapidly growing neonate. The large variety of bioactivities is accomplished by the combination of bioactive proteins per se and gastrointestinal release of bioactive peptides derived from them. The bioactivities exerted by these peptides include enhancement of mineral absorption, immunomodulation, opioid, antihypertensive and antimicrobial activities. Notably, several of the activities are not attributed to the parental proteins, but exclusively to released bioactive peptides. This article reviews studies on bioactive peptides derived from major human milk proteins, such as caseins, α-lactalbumin and lactoferrin, during gastrointestinal digestion. Studies of bovine milk counterparts are also cited as a comparison.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-514
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Bioactive peptide
  • Casein
  • Gastrointestinal digestion
  • Human milk
  • Lactoferrin
  • α-Lactalbumin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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