New glutathione source hails from Australia

By Jess Halliday and Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Anti-ageing products Antioxidant

A new source of gamma glutamyl cysteine, a precursor of powerful
antioxidant glutathione for anti-ageing supplements and skin care
products, is expected to become available in 2007, after nine years
of research at Australia's University of New South Wales to develop
a cost-effective production method.

Glutathione plays a key role in the breakdown of toxic substances, including alcohol, caffeine, and others associated with cancer, diabetes and ageing.

Details of the process have not been disclosed, but according to the UNSW until now GGC has been available only in diluted doses, since it occurs in natural dietary sources like milk whey protein and garlic only in low concentrations.

"This new, pure GGC product will potentially allow for more efficacious dosages and product formulations,"​ it said. The ingredient is to be commercialised by Biospecialties Australia, which has licensed the technology through the university's technology transfer arm New South Innovations.

The development builds on a trend towards anti-ageing products, and manufacturers are increasingly pushing a two-pronged approach of oral plus topical formulations. The ingredient is also expected to be used in foods and health care products.

However glutathione is not only associated with ageing. For instance, last year DMV launched its Praventin dairy peptide in supplement form, aimed at combating acne. Praventin was born out of DMV's cysteine peptide, which has been on the market for three years and was positioned as an energy ingredient and for liver health.

Bioscpecialities' commercialisation effort was given a boost in May in the form of a Aus$1.1m government Commercial Ready grant. The grant has enabled the company to expand its manufacturing facility in Newcastle, and it is expected to be a positive force for the local economy.

There has been a huge surge in ingredients that target the anti-ageing category in recent years, with an increasing number of these targeting the anti-oxidant properties, which are thought to both reverse many of the signs of skin ageing, as well as providing preventative measures.

The huge growth in the market for anti-ageing treatments has been largely attributed to the baby boomer age group. As this age group has all reached middle aged and older, a combination of increased spending power, better health care and longer life expectancy, together with increasing pressure to maintain youthful looks has resulted in the search for treatments that fight visible signs of ageing.

Anti-ageing products tend to focus on skin care, where anti-wrinkle cosmetics are now taking the market by storm. Euromonitor International estimated that the total market for skincare products was valued at $38.3 billion globally in 2005.

However, breaking this estimate down for products specific to the anti-ageing market, the figures are even more dramatic. For products that target specific age-related conditions, the global market is estimated to top $8 billion in 2007, having maintained double digit growth for the past six years.

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