DPP IV, Casomorphin and SIDS

As if new parents didn't have enough to worry about their newborns... A new study published in the journal Neuropeptides appeared to implicate low levels of DPP IV, an enzyme found in the gut and other tissues, with onset of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  DPP IV breaks down certain peptides known as exorphins that have opiate-like properties.  Exorphins are similar to endorphins except that exorphins are derived from food sources.  This latest study found levels of casomorphin, an exorphin derived from casein, to be much higher in the blood of infants who had had near-SIDS episodes.  These same babies also had low levels of DPP IV. This study was very small and very preliminary.  Parents should not be overly concerned about feeding babies formula.  As the study mentions, there are much greater risks that promote SIDS than casomorphin.  I do find it interesting on several points: 1) it indicated that casomorphin could escape from the guts of these children, even though no sign of inflammation or "leaky gut" was present.  2) The study failed to mention the potential sources of other exorphin peptide, such as wheat and soy.  Many parents use soy-based formulas as an alternative to dairy-based, but soy protein can produce soymorphins.  3) The nervous system of infants is not fully developed.  Neither is the blood-brain barrier which is designed to limit the passing of proteins, peptides and other compounds from the blood into the brain.  4) It is further evidence of the power of food in producing bioactive peptides.   Their effect should be seriously considered in other disorders, such as autism and ADHD. Should all parents now rush out and have their children tested for levels of DPP IV? I think not.  Should we examine what is in the formulas given to infants? I would think so.  Should moms consider breast-feeding longer?  Definitely, but that is a personal choice and no undue pressure should be exerted one way or the other.  My advice is to be aware and trust those maternal instincts. Reference: The exogenous opioid peptides and DPPIV serum activity in infants with apnoea expressed as apparent life threatening events (ALTE) -  Jolanta Wasilewska, Edyta Sienkiewicz-Szłapka, Ewa Kuźbida, Beata Jarmołowska, Maciej Kaczmarski and Elżbieta Kostyra