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The impact of milk proteins and peptides on blood pressure and vascular function: a review of evidence from human intervention studies

  • Ágnes A. Fekete (a1) (a2), D. Ian Givens (a2) and Julie A. Lovegrove (a1)

CVD are the leading cause of death worldwide. Hypertension, a major controllable risk factor of CVD, is intimately associated with vascular dysfunction, a defect which is also now recognised to be a major, modifiable risk factor for the development of CVD. The purpose of the present review was to critically evaluate the evidence for the effects of milk proteins and their associated peptides on blood pressure (BP) and vascular dysfunction. After a detailed literature search, the number of human trials evaluating the antihypertensive effects of casein-derived peptides (excluding isoleucine-proline-proline and valine-proline-proline) was found to be limited; the studies were preliminary with substantial methodological limitations. Likewise, the data from human trials that examined the effects of whey protein and peptides were also scarce and inconsistent. To date, only one study has conducted a comparative investigation on the relative effects of the two main intact milk proteins on BP and vascular function. While both milk proteins were shown to reduce BP, only whey protein improved measures of arterial stiffness. In contrast, a growing number of human trials have produced evidence to support beneficial effects of both milk proteins and peptides on vascular health. However, comparison of the relative outcomes from these trials is difficult owing to variation in the forms of assessment and measures of vascular function. In conclusion, there is an accumulating body of evidence to support positive effects of milk proteins in improving and/or maintaining cardiovascular health. However, the variable quality of the studies that produced this evidence, and the lack of robust, randomised controlled intervention trials, undermines the formulation of firm conclusions on the potential benefits of milk proteins and peptides on vascular health.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Ágnes A. Fekete, email
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