EU nanotechnology group: Nano can beat microemulsion bioavailability “threefold”

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

EU nanotechnology group: Nano can beat microemulsion bioavailability “threefold”

Related tags Fatty acids Nutrition

A position paper published this month by the EU-funded European Nanotechnology Gateway backs the role of nanotechnology to improve nutrient bioavailability for a range of lipiphilic nutrients like omega-3s and CoQ10.

“Nanoemulsions fabricated from food‐grade ingredients are being increasingly utilized in the food industry to encapsulate, protect, and deliver lipophilic functional components, such as biologically‐active lipids (omega‐3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)) and oil‐soluble flavors, vitamins, preservatives, and nutraceuticals,”​ the body wrote.

For example dibenzoylmethane nanoemulsions (derived from liquorice) have shown the potential to enhance oral bioavailability threefold compared to microemulsions. Critical to this is the control of interfacial properties which control the stability of droplets (either water or oil) within the emulsion and food matrices.”

It said nanotechnology had an increasingly important role to play as food fortification increased in importance in battles against health issues like obesity.

“The challenge is to find solutions to provide the necessary nutrients for a healthy lifestyle, while providing a sufficient and sustainable food source,”​ it said.

“Reduction of fats, sugars, cholesterol, and salt is one driver. The provision of essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids) is another. Indeed, an additional related driver relates to the increasing interest in the development of fortified and functional foods (nutraceuticals) that can fight diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and a variety of cancers.”

Lipiphilic potential

Nanotechnology had the greatest potential for nutrients that were not typically water soluble.

“Nutrients for which nanoencapsulation will provide added value are those which are poorly soluble in water (the medium in which nutrients are passed through the digestive system) include vitamins, antioxidants, carotenoids, omega‐3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, curcumin, green tea polyphenols, and quercetin.

The report acknowledged concerns about the technology from groups like Friends of the Earth.

“They call for a moratorium on the further commercial release of food products that contain manufactured nanomaterials until nano‐specific safety laws are established and the public is involved in decision making.”

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