, Volume 10, Issue 2–3, pp 29–42 | Cite as

Whey proteins and peptides

Emerging properties to promote health
  • Anne PihlantoEmail author


The high nutritive value and diverse functional properties of milk proteins are well known. In recent years, intense scientific research has been focused on the identification of factors within bovine milk that may be relevant to improving human health. The best characterized wheybased bioactive proteins include α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and growth factors. These proteins exhibit a wide range of biological activities that may influence the digestive function, metabolic responses to absorbed nutrients, growth and development of organs and disease resistance. Some whey proteins may reduce the risks of chronic human diseases reflected by the metabolic syndrome. Whey proteins are a good source of various bioactive peptides which are encrypted within the proteins and can be released during gastric digestion or food processing by enzymes or microbes. Whey proteinderived peptides have been shown to exert a wide range of bioactivities affecting the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems. The efficacy of a few peptides has been established in animal and human studies. A number of commercial whey-based protein products with potentital health benefits are on the market and this is envisaged to increase on a global scale.

Key words

α-Lactalbumin β-Lactoglobulin Immunoglobulins Lactoferrin Lactoperoxidase Growth factors Glycomacropeptide 


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© Springer and CEC Editore 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biotechnology and Food ResearchMTT Agrifood Research FinlandJokioinenFinland

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