Green light for L-ergothioneine: Healthy aging micronutrient gets EU Novel Foods nod
07 Mar 2019 --- Tetrahedron, which specializes in developing ingredients for the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and personal care industries, has received Novel Food status from the European Commission (EC) for its Ergoneine brand, which is a pure, synthetic source of the micronutrient L-ergothioneine. Clinical studies have demonstrated the protective effects of Ergoneine against oxidative stress. This is notable as oxidative stress in combination with micronutrient deficiency can result in the loss of functional and structural integrity of cells. From this regard, balancing the diet with L-ergothioneine may contribute to cell protection against oxidative stress for healthy aging.
Jean-Claude Yadan, Ph.D., President of Tetrahedron, tells NutritionInsight that the company began the novel foods process back in July 2013.
“We are excited to bring this new source of L-ergothioneine to the market,” says Yadan. “Over 100 years of research has shown the potential health benefits of L-ergothioneine and until now, that potential has gone unrealized due to the unavailability of L-ergothioneine at a cost and quality that make it fully marketable. Our new Ergoneine ingredient, now authorized as a Novel Food, will fulfill the unmet need for this unique antioxidant L-ergothioneine in human health nutrition,” he adds.
Tetrahedron is now reportedly the only company authorized to sell a pure and safe source of GMP-level synthetic L-ergothioneine for incorporation into a wide range of nutritional products on the European market. The company has already started to market the ingredient to the functional food and nutraceutical industries. It is now looking for industrial customers to include this unique micronutrient in their dietary supplements.
Numerous studies have shown that L-ergothioneine can protect human cells and tissues from pro-inflammatory conditions that lead to oxidative damage, notes the company.
L-ergothioneine is produced in nature only by microorganisms and fungi and naturally absorbed by humans through their diet. The main sources are mushrooms, black and red beans, oat bran, garlic and certain meat products, such as liver and kidney. The human genome includes a genetic code for a specific transporter of L-ergothioneine, allowing the absorption of this nutrient into all essential tissues (liver, kidney, heart, skin, lung, intestine, central nervous system, etc.). For several reasons, including the depleted soil in ergothioneine-producing microorganisms, or certain cooking conditions, the human diet can potentially lack in this micronutrient. In such cases, as a supplement, L-ergothioneine can contribute to a more balanced diet.
Age-related disorders that may follow micronutrient deficiencies and oxidative stress include immune dysfunction, cognitive decline, skin photo-aging and vision deterioration. The development of these disorders is correlated with a mild pro-inflammatory state, which is induced by chronic exposure to stress factors such as UV radiation, pathogens and pollutants and in which oxidative stress plays a major role.
Oxidative stress in combination with micronutrient deficiency results in the loss of functional and structural integrity of cells, so, balancing the diet with L-ergothioneine may contribute to cell protection against oxidative stress for healthy aging.
The Novel Food designation refers to food that before May 15, 1997, had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU, when the first regulation for novel food came into force. Novel Food can be newly developed food, food produced using new technologies and production processes, as well as food which is or has been traditionally eaten outside of the EU. Novel Food status is mandatory for the product to be put on the European Market.
In January 2015 Ergoneine also gained GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) designation in the US.
By Laxmi Haigh
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