British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Acute effects of ingestion of a novel whey-derived extract on vascular endothelial function in overweight, middle-aged men and women

Kevin D. Ballarda1a2 c1, Brian R. Kupchaka1, Brittanie M. Volka1, Eunice Maha2, Aida Shkretaa3, Cary Liptaka3, Adam S. Ptolemya3, Mark S. Kellogga3, Richard S. Brunoa2, Richard L. Seipa4, Carl M. Maresha1, William J. Kraemera1 and Jeff S. Voleka1

a1 Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, 2095 Hillside Road, Unit 1110, Storrs, CT 06269, USA

a2 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Road Extension, Roy E. Jones Building, Unit 4017, Storrs, CT 06269, USA

a3 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA

a4 Genetics Research Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT 06102, USA


Whey protein intake reduces CVD risk, but little is known whether whey-derived bioactive peptides regulate vascular endothelial function (VEF). We determined the impact of a whey-derived extract (NOP-47) on VEF in individuals with an increased cardiovascular risk profile. Men and women with impaired brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) (n 21, age 55 (sem 1·3) years, BMI 27·8 (sem 0·6) kg/m2, FMD 3·7 (sem 0·4) %) completed a randomised, cross-over study to examine whether ingestion of NOP-47 (5 g) improves postprandial VEF. Brachial artery FMD, plasma amino acids, insulin, and endothelium-derived vasodilators and vasoconstrictors were measured for 2 h after ingestion of NOP-47 or placebo. Acute NOP-47 ingestion increased FMD at 30 min (4·6 (sem 0·5) %) and 120 min (5·1 (sem 0·5) %) post-ingestion (P< 0·05, time × trial interaction), and FMD responses at 120 min were significantly greater in the NOP-47 trial compared with placebo (4·3 (sem 0·5) %). Plasma amino acids increased at 30 min following NOP-47 ingestion (P< 0·05). Serum insulin increased at 15, 30 and 60 min (P< 0·001) following NOP-47 ingestion. No changes were observed between the trials for plasma NO and prostacyclin metabolites or endothelin-1. Ingestion of a rapidly absorbed extract derived from whey protein improved endothelium-dependent dilation in older adults by a mechanism independent of changes in circulating vasoactive compounds. Future investigation is warranted in individuals at an increased CVD risk to further elucidate potential health benefits and the underlying mechanisms of extracts derived from whey.

(Received November 01 2011)

(Revised April 16 2012)

(Accepted April 24 2012)

(Online publication June 13 2012)

Key Words:

  • Vascular endothelial function;
  • Flow-mediated dilation;
  • Nitric oxide;
  • Amino acids;
  • Whey protein


c1 Corresponding author: Dr K. D. Ballard, fax +1 860 486 3674, E-mail:


  Abbreviations: %FMD, percentage of flow-mediated dilation; ACE, angiotensin-converting enzyme; ET-1, endothelin-1; FMD, flow-mediated dilation; PRE, pre-ingestion; SRAUC, area under the shear rate curve; UPLC, ultra-performance liquid chromatography