Glucan novel food ingredient looks beyond heart health
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently approved Stratum Nutrition’s chitin-glucan ingredient Artinia under its novel foods legislation (EU regulation No. 258/97).
Artinia (listed by EFSA as KiOnutrime-CG) has been developed as a high-purity, vegetarian, fungal ingredient obtained from aspergillus niger, and is being marketed by Stratum Nutrition in Europe as a food supplement in powder form.
The ingredient is primarily positioned towards Europe's €635m market for heart health ingredients, where Stratum Nutrition holds exclusive worldwide rights for chitin-glucan.
However, the firm is also researching further applications for Artinia in conjunction with its partner, Belgian ingredients firm Kytozyme, which relate to digestive health and weight management benefits.
Weight management potential
Stratum Nutrition business development manager, Europe and Asia, Michael Faber told FoodNavigator.com: “Areas such as digestive health weight management receive a lot of attention. In terms of the latter it is the logical consequence of fibre’s effects as an appetite suppressant.
“We certainly don’t want to limit extensions for Artinia, and these are interesting clinical fields that we’re exploring through longer-term research. However, the bulk of the trials we have undertaken to date concern heart and arterial health.”
Stratum Nutrition claims that Artinia supports the body’s defence against oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, by boosting blood levels of the enzymes super-oxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, which are widely believed to degenerate lipids through oxidation.
“Artinia is unique because it possesses all the known features of functional fibre ingredients with a unique anti-oxidant capacity that tackles lipids,” said Faber.
Interest in the ingredient was high, he added, with Stratum Nutrition currently targeting small to medium-sized companies for sales and developing "strategic sales networks for Artinia".
EFSA health claims
Naturally, the benchmark for functional ingredient marketing in the EU is the ability to pass EFSA’s rigorous health claims assessment process, and Faber hinted that Stratum might consider an application in 2011, although not all the company’s customers, “necessarily need to substantiate health claims.”
He said: “ At this stage we haven’t applied for health claims approval [under article 13.5 or 14] because we are observing recent and current approvals, whilst gathering further evidence for a possible claim next year.
Faber added:“We’re running a large-scale study now [relating to arterial and heart health benefits] with about 100 participants, studying a wide range of biomarkers, and are looking to publish preliminary results at the end of 2010.”
A 13-week animal and a 30-day human pilot study have already been conducted using Artinia, which both reported beneficial consequences for arterial and overall hearth health and no adverse effects.
A recent company statement detailed results of the animal study published recently in the journal Food & Chemical Toxicology, which was considered by EFSA in light of the favourable safety verdict on Artinia:
“At the highest dose administered in a 13-week rat study, i.e. equivalent to 6.6 g/kg body weight per day in males, no adverse effects were observed.”