Bioactive Peptides Derived from Edible Insects: Effects on Human Health and Possible Applications in Dentistry

Nutrients. 2023 Oct 30;15(21):4611. doi: 10.3390/nu15214611.


Novel foods, including edible insects, are emerging because of their nutritional characteristics and low environmental impacts and could represent a valid alternative source of food in a more sustainable way. Edible insects have been shown to have beneficial effects on human health. Insect-derived bioactive peptides exert antihypertensive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties and have protective effects against common metabolic conditions. In this review, the roles of edible insects in human health are reported, and the possible applications of these peptides in clinical practice are discussed. A special mention is given to the role of antimicrobial peptides and their potential applications in controlling infections in orthodontic procedures. In this context, insects' antimicrobial peptides might represent a potential tool to face the onset of infective endocarditis, with a low chance to develop resistances, and could be manipulated and optimized to replace common antibiotics used in clinical practice so far. Although some safety concerns must be taken into consideration, and the isolation and production of insect-derived proteins are far from easy, edible insects represent an interesting source of peptides, with beneficial effects that may be, in the future, integrated into clinical and orthodontic practice.

Keywords: anti-inflammatory; antibiotic resistance; antihypertensive; antimicrobial; antioxidant; bioactive peptides; dentistry; edible insects; metabolic conditions; nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Animals
  • Antimicrobial Peptides
  • Dentistry
  • Edible Insects*
  • Food Safety
  • Humans
  • Insecta / chemistry
  • Peptides / pharmacology


  • Allergens
  • Peptides
  • Antimicrobial Peptides

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.