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Peptides. 2007 Oct;28(10):1982-6. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

Changes of beta-casomorphin content in human milk during lactation.

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  • 1University of Warmia and Mazury, Oczapowskiego 1A, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland.


Milk is the best, complete food important for the development and nourishment of a neonate. Except for nutrients, milk contains biologically active opioid peptides derived from beta-casein, named beta-casomorphins (BCMs), which can exert effects in the gastrointestinal tract as well as in the whole body of neonates. The content of beta-casomorphins in human milk during maturation phases has not been studied so far. The aim of this study was to determine the content of beta-casomorphin-5 and -7 in human milk in different phases of lactation. A significantly higher concentration of both beta-casomorphins was found in colostrum than in mature milk. The concentration of beta-casomorphin in milk collected in the second month of lactation was similar to the level obtained in the fourth month of lactation. The content of beta-casomorphins in human milk was observed with the period of lactation. The level of opioid peptides may depend on the function of these peptides in neonate's body and may be associated with the maturation process.

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