Traditional opioids, mainly alkaloids, have been used in the clinical management
of pain for a number of years but are often associated with numerous side-effects including
sedation, dizziness, physical dependence, tolerance, addiction, nausea, vomiting, constipation
and respiratory depression which prevent their effective use. Opioid peptides derived
from food provide significant advantages as safe and natural alternative due to the possibility
of their production using animal and plant proteins as well as comparatively less side-effects.
This review aims to discuss the current literature on food-derived opioid peptides focusing on their production,
methods of detection, isolation and purification. The need for screening more dietary proteins as a source
of novel opioid peptides is emphasized in order to fully understand their potential in pain management either
as a drug or as part of diet complementing therapeutic prescription.