German firm Vital Solutions has debuted an “IP protected” mint family extract that in-vitro and ex-vivo testing has shown to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort.
Vital Solutions co-founder and managing director Dr Sybille Buchwald-Werner told NutraIngredients the proprietary extract called Benegut had a unique mechanism of action.
“The key novelty is that it does not function like a probiotic,” Dr Buchwald-Werner said. “In fact it works by triggering a neurological response.”
The company has just published a white paper and human, clinical testing to back the in-vitro and ex-vivo work mostly on rats is expected to begin by the end of the year.
A European Union gut health claim submission is set for 2013.
Extracts from Perilla frutescens (L.) leaves are offered by other companies like PL Thomas, but the health associations are typically based around immunity and imflammation.
“...antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory...”
Dr Buchwald-Werner said her company is the first to isolate the active ingredient, Vicenin 2, from the plant, saying it, “combines prokinetic as well as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory efficacy leading to an immediately, perceptible balancing effect on bowel function.”
Vital Solutions is targeting the European and US food supplement markets; markets where the ingredient has grandfathered approval due to the existence of other mint extracts.
But it will require EU Novel Foods and US Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) approval if it seeks to take the nutrient into food matrices, something Buchwald-Werner said was likely to happen at some point in the future.
She said the US market was potentially the fastest starter particularly with the proliferance of multi-level-marketing (MLM) companies; Europe represented a more “step-by-step” proposition.
The extract was recommended at 100-300mg per day.
In a statement Dr Buchwald-Werner added: “Not all consumers who are looking for gut health support find an effective product, which works for them. This may be related to the fact that even people with a healthy gut micro flora and no food intolerance suffer from digestive discomfort.”
“We are proud to announce the launch of Benegut, our IP protected gut health ingredient, which is able to balance bowel movement by interacting with the neurological system.”