Fermented milk peptides have diverse biological functions and potential applications. Kefir fermented milk is called the "king of fermented milk" for its superb nutritional value. However, for the past century, scientific research into kefir fermented milk has rarely touched on the use of a kefir fermentation system to produce functional peptides. Is this because kefir-fermented milk lacks in functional peptides, or is this due to a technological bottleneck? In 2015, a German research team carried out a trace peptide analysis on fermented milk produced via the traditional process. The results showed that kefir-fermented milk produced under the traditional fermentation process contains more than 200 small-molecule peptides. In fact, it contains a large array of functional peptides. However, the quantities of the peptides produced in the traditional process are small, making it difficult to obtain effective doses just by drinking fermented milk. These results explain why functional peptides in kefir fermented milk were not widely studied by the scientific community earlier on.
Therefore, elevation of the amount of peptides in kefir-fermented milk became the key for unlocking the benefits of bioactive kefir peptides. 10 years ago, an industry-academia research alliance made up of China Chemical & Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (CCPC), National Chung Hsing University, and Dayeh University set its objective on optimizing the development of peptides derived from kefir-fermented milk. Increasing the richness of peptides in fermented milk was the top priority. Alliance members devoted themselves to improving the fermentation process. After many years of effort, they developed a fermentation process that produces large quantities of derived peptides. The team successfully increased the effective peptide amounts, which made commercial applications viable. Subsequently, alliance members confirmed the effectiveness of these derived peptides in regulating blood pressure, promoting cardiovascular health, ameliorating bone mineral loss, and preventing fatty liver disease, using a functional analysis platform. This group of derived peptides was named KEFPEP®.
Currently, the key ingredients have been patented as antihypertensive peptides in Taiwan, the US, Mainland China, and the EU. In addition, the application of KEFPEP® for increasing Bone Mineral Density (BMD) has been patented in the US. In Taiwan and Mainland China, relevant patents are in progress. Moreover, we have obtained other patents in metabolic syndrome prevention and vascular protection applications in Taiwan. These patents allow KEFPEP® to have multiple applications and increase its global competitiveness. Compared with other peptide materials, KEFPEP® tastes better and provides a better extendibility in the commercialization process. It is a readily accepted material over the world. With solid research and clinical trial results, KEFPEP® is poised to take the international market by storm.