Bioactive Peptides as Potential Nutraceuticals for Diabetes Therapy: A Comprehensive Review

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 22;22(16):9059. doi: 10.3390/ijms22169059.


Diabetes mellitus is a major public health concern associated with high mortality and reduced life expectancy. The alarming rise in the prevalence of diabetes is linked to several factors including sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Nutritional intervention and increased physical activity could significantly contribute to bringing this under control. Food-derived bioactive peptides and protein hydrolysates have been associated with a number health benefits. Several peptides with antidiabetic potential have been identified that could decrease blood glucose level, improve insulin uptake and inhibit key enzymes involved in the development and progression of diabetes. Dietary proteins, from a wide range of food, are rich sources of antidiabetic peptides. Thus, there are a number of benefits in studying peptides obtained from food sources to develop nutraceuticals. A deeper understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of these peptides will assist in the development of new peptide-based therapeutics. Despite this, a comprehensive analysis of the antidiabetic properties of bioactive peptides derived from various food sources is still lacking. Here, we review the recent literature on food-derived bioactive peptides possessing antidiabetic activity. The focus is on the effectiveness of these peptides as evidenced by in vitro and in vivo studies. Finally, we discuss future prospects of peptide-based drugs for the treatment of diabetes.

Keywords: bioactive peptides; diabetes; dipeptidyl peptidase IV; food peptides; α-amylase; α-glucosidase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / analysis*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Peptides