Fermedics: Enhancing botanical bioavailability with fermentation

By Olivia Brown

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Fermedics: Enhancing botanical bioavailability with fermentation

Related tags Fermentation botanical Herbal Herbal dietary supplements botanical extracts

The startup Fermedics has emphasised the potential “breakthrough opportunities” of targeted fermentation to improve the bioavailability and digestibility of botanicals, heightening the effectiveness of dietary supplements.

From highly digestible polyphenols and microfibres contained within their Berriotics berry mix, to their monocoline-free Ankascin red yeast rice, the company argues its predigested ingredients overcome barriers to digesting the beneficial compounds contained within plant products.

Benoit Daems, CEO of Fermedics tells NutraIngredients: “Many of the health-promoting plant constituents require biotransformation by gut microbiota for intestinal absorption or to become biologically active. Hence, composition of the gut microbiome is a key factor for the efficiency of medicinal plants.

“By applying fermentation to medicinal plants, one can bypass imbalances in the gut microbiome, since microorganisms participating in the fermentation process take charge of the biotransformation job by predigesting the plant.”

He emphasizes that such microbiome imbalances are a common occurrence in the modern day, due to unfavorable lifestyles and dietary patterns reducing the abilities of many to digest beneficial compounds from food.

“To counter this, Fermedics developed targeted fermentation, a pre-digestion of botanicals to improve the absorption of nutrients and secondary metabolites, the main condition for the effectiveness of a dietary supplement and to circumvent imbalances in the microbiome,” he stresses.

He explains that the fermentation process converts various secondary plant metabolites into their biologically active form, whilst also removing anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and lectins which can reduce nutrient absorption.

Fermented portfolio

“We have an innovative portfolio of fermented botanicals and nutrients for nutraceutical and superfood formulations,” he explains, regarding the 15 fermented ingredients provided by the company which target gut health, healthy aging and longevity, cardiovascular health and neuroprotection.

He notes the black garlic ingredient ‘FBG22’, in which the unstable allicin compound has been converted through fermentation into high levels of bioavailable S-allyl cysteine (SAC).

Daems describes the ingredient’s subsequent cardiovascular health benefits​: “SAC protect against oxidative stress, reduces inflammatory parameters, may help lowering LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and increasing HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), prevents the oxidation of LDL-C and the formation of plaques in blood vessels and thus improving endothelial function of blood vessels.”

“FBG22 contains 10x more S-allyl-L-cystein (1% SAC) compared to conventional fermented aged black garlic extracts,” he emphasizes.

Another ingredient ‘Fermodiola’, contains fermented Rhodiola rosea​ which the firm suggest may enhance mental performance through its protective properties against oxidative stress​ and fatigue, whilst enhancing mental performance and well-being.

The resultant fermentation product of p-tyrosol from the Rhodiola rosea​ ingredient was shown​ to easily pass the blood-brain-barrier to achieve the neuroprotective properties.

Further ingredients include ‘Fibriotics’, a prebiotic supplement containing macro- and microfibers from 36 different fruit and vegetables obtained by a four-step fermentation process, reducing​ the commonly experienced gastrointestinal symptoms associated with fibre intake.

Describing the array of evidence on the many health benefits associated​ with fibre intakes, from improved metabolic health to improved gut flora diversity, Daems explains: “Current intake is insufficient and most of us should increase dietary fibre intake by around 50%.

“Traditional fibre supplements are usually based on one type of fibre with impact on a limited number of gut flora species. In addition, these kind of macrofibres are often linked to gastro-intestinal bloating and gas formation,” he adds.

Active market

Daems says there is increasing interest in fermentation, and the associated products, thanks to a growing interest in gut health, which he predicts will enable for further company growth and the potential to scale on an international scale.

Yet, he points out the significant challenges in the space: “The possibilities, but therefore also the complexities, are very high. It goes from the identification of competitive processes to the selection of the right and permitted micro-organisms. Not all micro-organisms are suitable for all substrates. We avoid fermentations in which different micro-organisms compete with each other, which can cause unpredictable imbalances.”

He highlights categories of interest for future innovation at Fermedics include anti-ageing with jiaogulan, stress reduction with rhodiola, and rebalancing gut flora through complex microfibres.

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