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.