Triarco Industries has entered the cranberry extracts market with an offering it says can benefit urinary tract infections (UTI) via “three specialized bioactive mechanisms” including the presence of A-linked proanthocyanidins (PACs).
The company said A-linked PACs present in its CranSmart ingredient are the most active in inhibiting the Escherichia coli bacteria that adhere to the urinary tract and usually cause the painful infections that affect many woman.
The other mechanisms are “a comprehensive organic acid profile” and the presence of cranberry flavonols quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol that can battle inflammation.
Spokesperson Amy Anderson said there were other combinations of PACs, those that are B-linked and which can occur in a variety of fruits, that were less effective in combating UTI.
Triarco said the ingredient had its active constituents measured by the DMAC (dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde) testing method recently selected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as its preferred, and which has been backed by many academics and large sections of industry.
In a statement, Triarco director of research and development, Dr Mark Anderson said: “Some cranberry extracts provide a standardized percentage of PACs, but that number does not necessarily tell you whether those PACs are A-linking. And which are the only proanthocyanidins known to inhibit bacterial adhesion. It also does not guarantee that those PACs are bioactive.”
Cranberry, the superfruit
The ingredient joins an increasingly crowded marketplace that has benefited from a strong body of science showing its capacity to benefit UTI as well has being very high in antioxidants.
Ms Anderson said the New Jersey-based company would be focusing on the North American and European markets and targeting dietary supplements manufacturers. She would not reveal the ingredient’s pricing.
It is estimated seven million American suffer from a UTI each year and it is the effectiveness of cranberry in easing, or even preventing this problem that has to a large extent driven its success, along with the pioneering work of category founder and largest player, Ocean Spray.
In some markets, cranberry juice now outsells pineapple juice, making it the third most popular behind orange and apple, and it is seen the first truly, mass-marketed superfruit.
However the category did suffer a minor blow recently when the European Food Safety Authority denied Ocean Spray a UTI-related health claim on what Ocean Spray has stated are highly technical scientific reasons. It is in the process of resubmitting the claim.
In 2004, France became the first country to approve a health claim for the North American cranberry species Vaccinium macrocarpon, which states that it can 'help reduce the adhesion of certain E.coli bacteria to the urinary tract walls' if it contains 36mg of PACs.
The French health claim was based on a version of the DMAC model, but it was proprietary and therefore could not be accessed by most labs.
Recently, three European cranberry extract suppliers formed a new association which seeks to clarify standards governing the manner in which PACs content is communicated to consumers.
Burgundy Botanical Extracts, Diana Naturals, and Tournay Biotechnologies say the European Association for the Valorization of Cranberry (Euracran) will work towards establishing a common standard for determining PAC content based on the European Pharmacopoeia.
“Many methods exist for the determination of PACs: DMAC, vanillin, Bate-Smith, HPLC, European Pharmacopoeia,” Euracran said in a statement.
“All these methods of analysis of PACs were tested, compared, assessed, especially in terms of reproducibility, reliability and ease of implementation avoiding uncertainties related to the protocol. The consolidation of all these results led Euracran to guide its choice to the method of the European Pharmacopoeia.”