Berkem's Powergrape to take on sports nutrition, anti-ageing

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Oxidative stress, Nutrition, Antioxidant

Berkem is introducing a new grape extract called Powergrape with
specific ratios of different polyphenol families, which has yielded
positive results in a prospective study on antioxidant status in
sportsmen.

Berkem has specialised in polyphenols since 1964. It has attracted interest in the past year as its coffee-derived Svetol ingredient for weight loss has received industry accolades. Located in the Garonne region of France, it is not far from the source of the raw materials for its new offering - Bordeaux grapes. The ingredient will add to the armoury at the disposal of formulators in the sports nutrition field, but is also suitable for supplements and foods aimed at tackling oxidative stress - a natural part of the ageing process but one which is accelerated by facets of modern living such as stress, smoking, pollution, poor diet, UV exposure, inadequate exercise and over-exertion. A spokesperson for Berkem told NutraIngredients.com that the Powergrape process involves hydroalcoholic extraction, which yields a liquid concentrate. This is then spray dried to obtain a powder. But it is in the specifics - pressure, temperature and ratio of solvents used - that Berkem says it is able to obtain certain ratios between the various polyphenol classes. The company is not discussing the precise ratios prior to the official launch of the ingredient at Vitafoods in May, since further analysis is still in progress. Powergrape's antioxidant potency has been evaluated in a prospective clinical study involving a group of sportsmen during a three-week competition period. The participants received 400mg of Powdergrape per day throughout the competition, and plasma biomarkers of oxidative stress and antioxidant capacity were measured. The researchers noted a 14 per cent increase in lipophile antioxidant capacity, a 60 per cent increase in vitamin C, and a 96 per cent increase in ubiquione, an antioxidant involved in energy production in cells. "Interestingly, we also can note a significant reduction of the oxidized glutathione level,"​ said Sophie Lafay, PhD, Berkem's nutrition and science director. "It results in a significant rise of the GSH/GSSG ratio, undeniably marking the sportsmen's antioxidant status improvement."​ The study, the full results of which have not been seen by NutraIngredients.com, has not been published. A second, more detailed study is currently underway and this will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in due course. The spokesperson said that the initial study was conducted on sportsmen "because this target is, from an ethical point of view, the best model to study oxidative stress.""Of course, the significant improvement of oxidative status observed in sportsmen supplemented with Powergrape (400mg per day) can be extrapolated to other populations subject to oxidative stress,"​ she added. While sport nutrition is a clear target for Powergrape, it is also suitable for use in anti-ageing and antioxidant formulations, in functional foods or beverages as in dietary supplements. Leatherhead International valued the total global market value for performance foods and drinks at US$19.37 billion last year, representing 50 percent growth in the past five years.

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