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Digestive enzymes can break casein down into peptides that have some biological activity in cells and in laboratory animals though conclusive causal effects on humans have not been established. Although they have not yet been proven to be formed in the human digestive system, there are associations between serum levels of β-casomorphins and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, histamine release, stimulation of food intake, specifically high-fat foods, and lymphocytosis.
Although research has shown high rates of use of complementary and alternative therapies for children with autism, including gluten and/or casein exclusion diets, as of 2008[update] there was a lack of evidence that these diets had any effect.
List of known casomorphins (non-exhaustive)
- Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-OH
- Chemical formula: C23H27N3O5
- Molecular weight: 425.48 g/mo
Bovine β-casomorphins 1–4
- Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-OH
- Chemical formula: C28H35N4O6
- Molecular weight: 522.61 g/mol
Bovine β-casomorphin 1–4, amide
- Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-NH2
- Chemical formula: C28H35N5O5
- Molecular weight: 521.6 g/mol
Also known as morphiceptin
Bovine β-casomorphin 5
- Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-Gly-OH
- Chemical formula: C30H37N5O7
- Molecular weight: 594.66 g/mol
Bovine β-casomorphin 7
- Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-Gly-Pro-Ile-OH
- Chemical formula: C41H55N7O9
- Molecular weight: 789.9 g/mol
Bovine β-casomorphin 8
- Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Phe-Pro-Gly-Pro-Ile-Pro-OH
- Chemical formula: C46H62N8O10
- Molecular weight: 887.00 g/mol
(Note: There is also a form of bovine β-casomorphin 8 that has histidine instead of proline in position 8, depending on whether it is derived from A1 or A2 beta-casein.)
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