Novel ingredients provide vision, skin and weight control benefits

As baby boomers near retirement, they may want to avoid, or at least delay, such aging issues as an increasing number of skin wrinkles, bodies becoming flabby, or even blindness. The term "beauty from within" may apply to how they may delay aging through food consumption. Novel ingredients, some known more for their use in the cosmetic industry, may come into play.

Grain-based foods may require these ingredients, as with all ingredients, to withstand heat applications. Formulators should analyze other factors as well when deciding whether such ingredients as lutein, collagen and resveratrol fit into their applications.

"The bottom line is when you add it, it has to taste good and it has to make some sense," said Ram Chaudhari, senior executive vice-president and chief scientific officer for Fortitech, Inc., Schenectady, N.Y.

Manufacturers will need to add enough of an ingredient in a product for it to have a health effect, although with some of the ingredients such a minimum dosage may be debatable, he said. Stability, taste impact, bioavailability, shelf life and interaction with other ingredients are other considerations, said Dr. Chaudhari, who has doctoral degrees in nutrition and food science.

Lutein offers both scientific studies backing up its claims for eyesight benefits and the ability to withstand the heat applications of grain-based foods. When asked whether foods and beverages may provide health benefits, 73% of respondents said they may improve eye health, according to the 2009 International Food Information Council’s Functional Foods/Foods for Health Consumer Trending Survey.

The survey did not break out the answers into age divisions, but baby boomers have reasons for being concerned about eyesight. As baby boomers get older, the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is expected to triple, according to the AMD Alliance International, a global nonprofit coalition of vision and seniors’ organizations working to raise awareness of AMD.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that accumulate in the retina and may help prevent AMD.

The newly created Zeaxanthin Trade Association, Basel, Switzerland, will adopt common quality standards for dietary zeaxanthin. The standards will be designed to help food and dietary supplement manufacturers make certain their source of zeaxanthin complies with good manufacturing practices (GMPs.)

DSM Nutritional Products, Chrysantis, Inc. and Kalsec Inc. are initial members of the association, which is open to manufacturers, formulators, distributors and marketers of zeaxanthin as well as health care professionals, educators and researchers.

"There is a tremendous need to bridge the information gap between consumers, manufacturers and the regulatory bodies," said Kristina Cselovszky, global business manager for DSM Nutritional Products. "The Zeaxanthin Association membership provides companies with an unprecedented opportunity to join resources and build its understanding through education, research and quality assurance."

DSM Nutritional Products, which has a U.S. office in Parsippany, N.J., also is in an alliance with

Kemin Industries, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa, under which Kemin supplies

FloraGlo brand lutein through DSM.

Cognis is the largest manufacturer of natural lutein esters, said Sharrann Simmons, senior marketing manager for Cognis. The company offers Xangold brand lutein sourced naturally from marigold flowers. The lutein comes in two forms: beadlets or water-dispersible powder, Ms. Simmons said. The ingredient is heat stable and thus may work in a variety of baked foods.

The beadlet form costs less and may work better for smaller baking companies, Ms. Simmons said. Larger companies may opt for the water-dispersible powder since it works better in automated batching systems.

Research also is showing lutein is great for skin health, Ms.

Simmons said.

"Lutein is one of those nutrients people recognize for eye health," she said. "We are trying to educate consumers not only about eye health but also about skin health."

Dr. Chaudhari is another proponent of lutein.

"There is good science behind it," he said. "It’s great for eyesight."

Lutein’s antioxidants fight free radicals, which may damage the skin, he said.

"It is helping us in our overall skin tightness," he said. "It reduces the appearances of premature aging."

Dr. Chaudhari this year presented a technical paper titled "Defy: Age-defying Nutrients." The paper addressed the idea of "beauty from within," or consuming foods and beverages that will improve a person’s physical outward appearance. The estimated current value of this nutricosmetics market is $1 billion to $2 billion, a fraction of the estimated $66 billion skin care market, according to the technical paper.

"Products that have been developed to aid skin health, but are ingested, are called ‘nutricosmetics’ or ‘skingestibles,’ which aim to createradiant beauty from the inside out," the technical paper said.

Collagen, for example, may work in cookies, bars and cereals, Dr.

Chaudhari said.

"How much to add to have a health benefit is always a debatable topic," he said.

A bar prototype premix formulation listed in the technical paper included 200 mg of collagen. Other ingredients were isoflavones (25 mg), lutein (3 mg), lycopene (1 mg), beta carotene (2 mg), vitamin B6 (0.5 mg), vitamin B12 (2 mcg), vitamin C (10 mg), vitamin E (5 International Units or I.U.), aloe vera (50 mg) and selenium (50 mcg).

Collagen, since it’s a protein, will have taste issues, Dr. Chaudhari said. The temperature used when baking and other ingredients involved in the application will have some say in collagen’s effect on taste. Masking flavors may be needed in any application involving collagen,

Dr. Chaudhari said.

According to the technical paper, the magnesium in magnesium phosphate may help restore the skin’s flexibility and moisture while the copper in copper peptides possibly may combat wrinkles.

"The incorporation of nutrient premixes targeting health and beauty in food and beverage fortification is an essential step that manufacturers will need to take if they are to stay competitive in today’s marketplace," the technical paper said.

Reducing calories and thus avoiding weight gain is another way to delay aging. Calorie restriction reduces the incidence of age-related disorders such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, according to DSM Nutritional Products.

Resveratrol, which is found naturally in such foods as blueberries, cranberries, mulberries and peanuts, may have a beneficial effect on calorie reduction. Resveratrol has been shown to extend the lifespan of various species, most recently demonstrated in diets fed a high-calorie diet, according to DSM.

The company offers Resvida resveratrol, which it targets to baby boomers. Resvida may be used in such foods as nutrition bars. A daily dose of 30 mg to 150 mg may be efficacious. Human efficacy trials now are needed for Resvida, according to DSM. The ingredient has exhibited anti-inflammatory effects, neuroprotective effects, an ability to prevent decline of locomotor abilities, cardiovascular protective effects and anti-microbial effects.

Soybean isoflavones may promote healthy aging in a similar manner to how resveratrol does, according to results of a study appearing in the September issue of Nutrition Bulletin. Researchers from New Castle University in the United Kingdom compared the isoflavones to resveratrol found in red grapes. They wrote, "Preliminary observations made in human intestinal cells reveal that isoflavones found in the soybean may share some of these functional properties and so highlight the potential for a diet rich in these compounds to promote healthy aging."

Another way to delay aging is to delay the onset of sarcopenia, which is part of the normal aging process where adults, starting at about age 40, lose lean body mass, muscle strength and function, according to Cognis. In the United States,

45% of adults age 65 and above suffer from the effects of sarcopenia such as difficulty getting up or down, or lifting heavy objects, according to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Scientific evidence has shown Tonalin CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) from Cognis helps consumers reduce body fat up to 9%, increases lean muscle mass to aid in calorie burning, and prevents fat cells from refilling. At least 17 clinical trials published in peer-reviewed journals have confirmed Tonalin’s effectiveness.

Cognis produces Tonalin CLA through a proprietary process that converts linoleic acid from safflowers into CLA. Tonalin CLA is available in oil, water-dispersible powder and emulsions. Consumers may take up to 3 grams a day, which could include 1.5 grams in a serving twice a day.

Tonalin CLA has received Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for use as an ingredient in specific foods and beverages, including meal-replacement nutrition bars, Ms. Simmons said.

"The list could be easily expanded," she said. "We may add on new applications later. If a customer wanted to supplement whole grain bread with Tonalin, we would be glad to go to the F.D.A. and expand."

While the struggling economy over the past year may have slowed down the number of new product launches, Ms. Simmons expects the pace to pick back up soon. A surge of new product launches could hit in the first two quarters of

2010, she said.

"We definitely are seeing, especially in the last month, a real uptick in product development activity," Ms Simmons said.

Dr. Chaudhari added, "Everything is on the back burner, but behind the scenes everything is going on."

New product launches, including those designed to delay aging, may hit the market in the next six to eight months, Dr. Chaudhari said.

"They are in the pipeline," he said.