Japanese firm Riken Vitamin has developed a seaweed jelly with an ingredient that helps to control high blood pressure, according to an Asia Pulse report.
The jelly contains a peptide derived from wakame seaweed protein, said to act as an ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor, like commonly used blood pressure lowering drugs.
The new jelly has been approved by the Ministry of Health as a food for specified health use (FOSHU), according to the report, and is planned to launch in January 2005.
Japan already has some established blood pressure-lowering foods on the market, including the fermented drink Calpis. Yakult is also reported to be introducing a milk drink containing the amino acid GABA to lower blood pressure in coming months.
Europe is further behind but the category is set to grow. About two thirds of strokes and half the incidence of heart disease are attributable to raised blood pressure, according to the World Health Organisation, making it a potential source of profits for functional food makers.