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Plant sterol’s ‘reliable dispersibility’ makes it ideal fit for functional beverages

By Maggie Hennessy , 26-Feb-2014
Last updated on 26-Feb-2014 at 14:43 GMT2014-02-26T14:43:23Z

Plant sterol’s ‘reliable dispersibility’ makes it ideal fit for functional beverages

As consumers increasingly gravitate toward functional foods and beverages, HyPhyto Inc. has rolled out a phytosterol product differentiated by its effective dispersibility in liquids, making it ideal for functional beverages like juices, flavored waters and smoothies, though it also has pharmaceutical applications. 

Indeed, Richard Staack, PhD, CEO of HyPhyto, says there is growing demand from manufacturers for cost-effective phytosterols that won’t impact the flavor, color or viscosity of functional beverages, which was the impetus for creating the uniquely dispersible phytosterol, branded CardioCare.

“There are a few beverages on the market containing sterols but these have problems with the sterols falling out of solution and sensory concerns,” he told NutraIngredients-USA. “HyPhyto’s team of expert sterol chemists has developed a novel method of producing high-performance, dispersible phytosterols through direct emulsification of crystalline sterols. Our system's use of direct emulsification properties allows for easy dispersion in functional beverages and efficient utilization of the sterol substrate to increase fermentor capacity.

CardioCare also can be used in manufacturing pharmaceutical intermediates—including steroid hormone-medical products including androgens, estrogens, gluco-corticoids and mineral-corticoids. The ingredient’s ability to boost the bio-availability of the plant sterols mixture results in a more cost-efficient process and better efficiency during fermentation, Dr. Staack noted.

Phytosterols are natural compounds found in cereals, seeds and vegetable oils, have a similar structure to cholesterol. Their ability to displace cholesterol in the intestine helps reduce cholesterol absorption.

The US Food and Drug Administration allows health claims for functional foods containing at least 0.65 g vegetable sterol esters, eaten twice per day for a daily total intake of 1.3 g. The European Food Safety Authority also approved a health claim to say plant sterols reduce cholesterol levels, albeit only for yellow fat spreads, dairy products, mayonnaise and salad dressings containing phytosterols.

US consumers migrating to functional food & beverages, away from taking several pills per day

The ingredient will be marketed internationally in both its functional food & beverage and pharma forms, though HyPhyto will keep an eye on the growing demand for functional foods and beverages in the US, which shows promise though it’s still trailing the European market.

“The migration in the US is to functional foods and beverages, away from taking several pills per day,” Dr. Staack said. “All the current data show the trends of consumers looking to consume healthier products containing functional actives and not in the form of a pill or supplement.”


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