Topical Area: Nutritional Immunology and Inflammation/Immunometabolism
(P23-018-20) A Unique Enzymatically Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Positively Impacts Measures of Immunity
Objectives: Milk proteins appear to have little direct impact on the immune system when consumed directly. The digestive system breaks them down into absorbable size and they provide nutritive value. However, it has been discovered that enzymatically hydrolyzed peptides can more directly influence the immune system, presumably before digestion completes their hydrolysis during gut immune system exposure. The term ‘bioactive centers’ will be used to describe these unique peptides.
Methods: After screening several different versions of enzyme hydrolyzed whey, a new bioactive center-containing product was found that had promise for further immunological research. It was compared against transfer factors, 4Life Research’s colostrum filtrate, which have previously been studied for their immune activity.
Results: In a natural killer cell activity assay, the bioactive centers product was significantly (70%) more effective than IL-2, the standard stimulant, and equally as effective as transfer factors. A second experiment confirmed that this effect was consistent across different production batches of the product. A third experiment found that a combination of the bioactive centers and transfer factors enhanced the activity by 10% on average. In a second study, the bioactive centers were evaluated in a mouse model. They were as effective as transfer factors in stimulating NK cell activity, antibody production, TNF-alpha and IL-2 production, and in stimulating phagocytosis. In most cases, results were higher, though not statistically significantly so, for the transfer factor/bioactive centers combination.
Conclusions: Since the discovery of transfer factors, work both in and outside of 4Life Research has continued to try to identify new approaches to positively impacting the immune system. These results show that bioactive centers from whey can have such activity. Further work is needed to fully understand their impact in human health.