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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 146840, 16 pages
Review Article

Milk Proteins, Peptides, and Oligosaccharides: Effects against the 21st Century Disorders

1Department of Human Development and Family Studies (Nutritional Science & Education), National Taiwan Normal University, No.162, Section 1, Heping East Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan
2Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CIAL, CSIC-UAM, CEI UAM+CSIC), Nicolás Cabrera 9, 28049 Madrid, Spain
3Food Science Department, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
4Foods for Health Institute, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Received 21 October 2014; Accepted 21 December 2014

Academic Editor: Jinsong Ren

Copyright © 2015 Chia-Chien Hsieh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Milk is the most complete food for mammals, as it supplies all the energy and nutrients needed for the proper growth and development of the neonate. Milk is a source of many bioactive components, which not only help meeting the nutritional requirements of the consumers, but also play a relevant role in preventing various disorders. Milk-derived proteins and peptides have the potential to act as coadjuvants in conventional therapies, addressing cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, intestinal health, and chemopreventive properties. In addition to being a source of proteins and peptides, milk contains complex oligosaccharides that possess important functions related to the newborn’s development and health. Some of the health benefits attributed to milk oligosaccharides include prebiotic probifidogenic effects, antiadherence of pathogenic bacteria, and immunomodulation. This review focuses on recent findings demonstrating the biological activities of milk peptides, proteins, and oligosaccharides towards the prevention of diseases of the 21st century. Processing challenges hindering large-scale production and commercialization of those bioactive compounds have been also addressed.