Lactium is made from cow's milk proteins and was developed by French firm Ingredia for use in dietary supplements as well as functional foods and beverages.
The ingredient could be of interest to formulators looking to capitalize on the issue of stress in current Western lifestyles.
"Millions of people are Type-A and have difficulty getting a good night's sleep," said Mitch Skop, director of new product development for Pharmachem. "…Research has shown that excessive amounts of stress can have numerous negative emotional and physical consequences."
Lactium is a hydrolysate of milk proteins that Pharmachem says contains a bioactive deca-peptide with relaxing properties.
Classified as GRAS, Lactium has been the subject of several clinical studies showing it to be safe, without side effects. In addition, research has shown it to be effective at regulating the major symptoms of stress on the digestive and cardiovascular systems.
A double-blind clinical study on 42 human subjects, published in the 2004 European Journal of Nutrition, evaluated the anti-stress effects of Lactium based on hemodynamic parameters such as blood pressure and heart rate, as well as plasma cortisol concentration. The study found that Lactium significantly reduced the blood pressure and blood cortisol responses to stress.
"As a supplement, Lactium can be incorporated into a daily multi-vitamin, within an anti-stress formulation, or as a stand-alone product," said Skop. "As a functional food ingredient, Lactium is versatile enough for use in ready-to-drink beverages, drink mixes, bars, chocolates - there are any number of possibilities."