Food proteins contain active peptide fragments encrypted within their structure that can exert beneficial effects on human health above and beyond their expected nutritional value. Among many types of food-derived peptides, peptides with antihypertensive activity have received the most significant attention due to the prevalence of hypertension and its associated complications with pharmacological interventions. One strategy for the selection of potential food-derived antihypertensive peptides is to search for in vitro renin inhibitory activity. Thus far, various food protein-derived peptides and protein hydrolysates have shown in vitro renin inhibitory capacity. Many of these peptides have induced antihypertensive effects when orally administered to spontaneously hypertensive rats, and also, antihypertensive effects in hypertensive humans have been reported. Indeed, the results indicate that antihypertensive food protein-derived peptides may be acting at the same time via multiple pathways at the protein level as well as at the gene level modulating the renin-angiotensin system. Important knowledge on structure-function parameters of peptides is increasing constantly, which can greatly enhance the production and processing of peptides with high physiological efficacy. By means of novel nutrigenomic approaches, it is possible and, in future, perhaps essential to investigate the impact of peptides on the expression of genes and hence endeavor to optimize the nutritional and health effects delivered by peptides. Novel technologies are available to standardize and stabilize the concentrations of active peptides in the products in down-stream processing. The existing data provide strong potential for developing new added-value products with scientifically approved health effects for consumers. This review provides an overview of food-derived peptides that may mediate the antihypertensive activities through inhibiting renin, one of the key enzymes in renin-angiotensin system, and reviews also the safety and applicability aspects of the these peptides.
Part of the book: Renin-Angiotensin System