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Bovine β-casomorphin 7, a casomorphin, has seven amino acids in its peptide sequence.
Bovine β-casomorphin 7, a casomorphin, has seven amino acids in its peptide sequence.

Casomorphin is an opioid peptide (protein fragment) derived from the digestion of the milk protein casein.[1]


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.[1]

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 there was a lack of evidence that these diets had any effect.[2]

If opioid peptides breach the intestinal barrier, typically linked to permeability and constrained biosynthesis of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), they can attach to opioid receptors. Elucidation requires a systemic framework that acknowledges that public-health effects of food-derived opioids are complex with varying genetic susceptibility and confounding factors, together with system-wide interactions and feedbacks.[3]

List of known casomorphins (non-exhaustive)

β-Casomorphins 1–3

Bovine β-casomorphins 1–4

Bovine β-casomorphin 1–4, amide

Also known as morphiceptin

Bovine β-casomorphin 5

Bovine β-casomorphin 7

Bovine β-casomorphin 8

(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.)


  1. ^ a b European Food Safety Authority. 1 February 2009 Review of the potential health impact of β-casomorphins and related peptides
  2. ^ Millward, C; Ferriter, M; Calver, S; Connell-Jones, G (2008). "Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD003498. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003498.pub3. PMC 4164915. PMID 18425890.
  3. ^ Keith, Bernard Woodford (2021). "Casomorphins and Gliadorphins Have Diverse Systemic Effects Spanning Gut, Brain and Internal Organs". Int J Environ Res Public Health. 18 (15): 7911. doi:10.3390/ijerph18157911. PMC 8345738. PMID 34360205.