Health and Therapeutic Potentials of Proteins and Peptides from Colostrum and Milk

Health and Therapeutic Potentials of Proteins and Peptides from Colostrum and Milk


Colostrum, the initial milk secreted by mammals during late pregnancy and the first few days after birth, is a rich source of bioactive proteins. Alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, and growth factors are among the well-characterized bioactive proteins found in colostrum.

Colostrum and milk, the primary sources of nutrition for newborns, are not only rich in essential nutrients but also contain proteins and peptides that possess remarkable therapeutic properties. Researchers have extensively studied these bioactive compounds and their potential applications in preventing and treating various health conditions. In this article, we will explore the therapeutic properties of proteins and peptides derived from colostrum and milk, shedding light on their diverse benefits and promising applications.

Colostrum and milk are not only known for their high nutritive value but also contain a treasure trove of health-promoting proteins and peptides. These bioactive compounds have garnered significant scientific and commercial interest due to their diverse functional properties. In this article, we will delve into the production and properties of these health-promoting proteins and peptides, shedding light on their potential benefits and applications.

Bioactive Peptides

Intact proteins in milk can give rise to bioactive peptides, which are liberated during gastrointestinal digestion or fermentation by starter cultures. These peptides have been the focus of research, with some demonstrating efficacy in animal and human studies. As a result, the number of commercial products enriched with specific milk peptides is expected to grow on a global scale. Bovine colostrum emerges as a highly promising source of biologically active native proteins and peptide fractions that can be incorporated into various food applications for their health-promoting effects.

Lactoferrin, A Multi-Functional Powerhouse

Lactoferrin, a multifaceted protein found in colostrum and milk, exhibits a wide range of therapeutic properties. It showcases antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antitumoral activities. Additionally, lactoferrin protects the intestinal epithelium, promotes bone growth, and aids in the recovery of immune system function in immunocompromised individuals. Excitingly, lactoferrin has shown promise in the treatment of hepatitis C infection and the intestinal form of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD).

Proline-Rich Polypeptide (PRP), A Regulator of Immune Function

Proline-rich polypeptide (PRP) is a peptide found in colostrum and milk that plays a crucial role in modulating immune function. PRP has demonstrated various immunotropic functions, including promoting T-cell maturation and inhibiting autoimmune disorders. Recent studies have shown that PRP, in the form of chewable tablets called Colostrinin, can improve or stabilize the health status of Alzheimer's disease patients.

Casein and Casein-Derived Peptides, Guardians of Dental Health

Casein and its derived peptides have displayed protective activities in enamel demineralization and act as caries-preventing agents. These proteins have also shown protective effects in diabetic animals, reduced tumor growth, exhibited antihypertensive activity, and alleviated colicky symptoms in infants.

Glycomacropeptide (GMP), A Versatile Peptide

Glycomacropeptide (GMP), derived from kappa-casein, exhibits various antibacterial and antithrombotic activities. Its versatility makes it an excellent candidate for therapeutic applications in different contexts.

Alpha-Lactalbumin (LA), A Versatile Protein

Alpha-lactalbumin (LA), found in colostrum and milk, demonstrates antiviral, antitumoral, and anti-stress properties. LA-enriched diets have shown anxiolytic effects, lowered blood pressure in rats, prevented diarrhea, and promoted weight gain in malnourished children. HAMLET, a complex of LA and oleic acid, has also shown efficacy in patients with cutaneous papillomas.

Lysozyme and Lactoperoxidase, Guardians of Oral Health

Lysozyme and lactoperoxidase, both present in colostrum and milk, have exhibited antibacterial properties. These proteins have found applications in infant formulas, the treatment of periodontitis, and the prevention of tooth decay. In combination with lactoferrin, lysozyme and lactoperoxidase synergistically combat bacterial infections.


The therapeutic properties of proteins and peptides derived from colostrum and milk offer immense potential in preventive and therapeutic applications for both newborns and adults. Lactoferrin, PRP, casein-derived peptides, GMP, alpha-lactalbumin, lysozyme, and lactoperoxidase showcase a wide array of beneficial effects, ranging from immune modulation to dental health.

The production and properties of health-promoting proteins and peptides from colostrum and milk have opened up exciting possibilities in the field of functional foods. The diverse biological activities of these bioactive compounds contribute to various aspects of human health, from digestion to disease resistance. Further research and clinical studies will undoubtedly unveil even more therapeutic applications for these remarkable bioactive compounds. Harnessing the power of colostrum and milk-derived proteins and peptides opens up exciting possibilities for improving human health and well-being.

1. Therapeutic properties of proteins and peptides from colostrum and milk
2. Production and properties of health-promoting proteins and peptides from bovine colostrum and milk
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