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Lallemand: new Vitamin D ingredient addresses worldwide deficiency

December 10th, 2010

Lallemand Health Ingredients has launched a new yeast-based ingredient with “elevated” levels of vitamin D, referencing claiming that up to 75 per cent of the European population receive insufficient amounts.

Citing studies such as the prominent UK National Diet & Nutrition Survey’s 2003 findings on vitamin D, Lallemand claims that up to 75 per cent of the European population could receive insufficient levels, where one of the vitamin’s principal roles is regulating calcium and phosphorus metabolism in the intestines and bones.

A dried, inactivated whole yeast cell of the saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, Lalmin Vita D contains 8,000 IU of vitamin D per gram in a “natural, non-synthetic” form that can be used as a food ingredient and in supplement tablets, soft gels and capsules.

Yeast is a natural source of ergosterol, which reacts naturally with sunlight to form the fat-soluble ecosteroid vitamin D, where yeast cells respond in the same way as human skin by transforming ergosterol into the vitamin.

Patented production process

Business development manager Julie Rosenborg told NutraIngredients.com that the yeast contains elevated and standardised [consistent] levels of vitamin D2, where it differs from an existing Vita D product in its baker’s division, due to its status as an “inactivated and much more concentrated form” when used in a dose of 50mg per day containing 400IU.

Rosenborg added that although vitamin D deficiency was associated with low sunlight levels in Northern European countries – anticipated as major markets for Lalmin Vita D – Lallemand expected worldwide demand for the yeast, given that “populations worldwide have deficiencies”.

Subjecting S.cerevisiae to UV light under controlled conditions, Lallemand is able to catalyse the conversion of endogenous (native) ergosterol into the vitamin to produce a yeast cream that is then inactivated by pasteurisation and roller-dried; the firm stresses that no reblending is then necessary before the adding the ingredient to the final formula.

Claimed health benefits

Rosenborg said Lallemand expected to see principal interest for its new yeast in supplements and especially softgels (vitamin D being fat-soluble and suitable for delivery in oil), adding that although vitamin D is used to fortify US foods it is not a massive market in Europe.

That said, she did note that “fortified foods and beverages aimed at elderly people” could provide potential markets, where Lalmin Vita D could be used in meal replacers and to fortify meals or products such as cakes and bread.

Lalleland said it had performed several bioavailability studies showing equivalent effects for yeast rich in vitamin D2, compared with its synthetic form and crystalline D3, with all showing a “similar increase in 25-OH-D concentration” over 4 weeks.

The firm also cites “growing evidence” that Vitamin D boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation and maintains muscle strength, and also helps to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and even heart disease.

To date EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority), has published positive opinions on article 13.1 health claims relating to beneficial effects of vitamin D supplements on bones, teeth, muscles, immunity and reproduction.

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