April 19, 2010
BERNE, SWITZERLANDCheese might help fight high blood pressure, if the manufacture of cheeses with the right levels naturally occurring ACE-inhibitory peptides can be achieved, says a recent Swiss study published in the journal Dairy Science Technology.
During ripening, cheese protein undergoes enzymatic breakdown from the lactic acid bacterial cultures that produce the characteristic flavor of each variety, as well as breakdown of the casein proteins by coagulants and the milks proteinases in milk. This causes the formation of a large number of peptides of variable chain length some of which have been shown to exert an ACE-inhibitory activity in vitro. The smaller ACE-inhibitory cheese peptides (tripeptides VPP and IPP) are absorbed into blood circulation and exert an antihypertensive effect in vivo. In fermented milks, proteolytic action of certain strains of Lactobacillus helveticus enhances the formation of these peptides. But it can also be influenced by, other factors, such as pretreatment of cheese milk, scalding and ripening time, and current production of semi-hard and hard cheese does not necessarily yield high concentrations of the two lactopeptides during ripening.
The researchers looked at extra-hard, hard and semi-hard cheeses of Swiss origin and found that levels of up to 30 mg of VPP and IPP can be achieved in a daily portion of cheese. However, they said further studies are needed to determine whether consumption of cheeses with high concentrations of the orally active ACE-inhibitory peptides can actually lower blood pressure. More research is also needed to find if the cheese matrix affects the absorption of ACE-inhibitory peptides, and whether the cheeses composition, particularly the salt or biogenic amines, may cause adverse effects on blood pressure.
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