PLT Health Solutions will debut a new vegetarian source of vitamin D with a whole food mushroom powder at the Institute of Food Technologists trade show later in June in New Orleans. The new ingredient brings together several developing skeins in the market, said Barbara Davis, PLT’s director of medical & scientific affairs.
“This is about whole food nutrition,” Davis told NutraIngredients-USA. “That seems to the be culmination of the natural trend, to get your nutrition directly from your food.”
The new ingredient, called Earthlight Whole Food Vitamin D, is made by Oakshire Naturals, LP. The patented mushroom powder ingredient delivers 40,000 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D per gram – from a non-GMO, clean-label, natural source. Earthlight’s high concentration of Vitamin D will allow food, beverage and supplement producers to offer ‘Good’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘High Potency’ source label claims with only a few milligrams of the ingredient. The ingredient is said to be minimally processed, which will aid in clean label positioning, Davis said.
That potency will help in the ingredient’s uptake, Davis said. Mushroom ingredients bear the prejudice of potenitally imparting a charactistic fungi taste, she said. This is not always unwelcome, especially in savory applicaitons. But according to PLT the new Earthlight powder is so concentrated that there won’t be enough of the ingredient to affect the ultimate taste one way or the other. To prove their point, PLT will be offering a poppy seed lemon muffin prototype at their booth at IFT.
“The logic was that breakfast time is often when poeple want to make sure that they are getting a good porition of their nutrient needs out of the way,” Davis said. “Any time you tell someone you are putting mushroom powder into a sweet product there can be a disconnect, but this mushroom powder doesn’t add anything in terms of taste.”
Need for vitamin D
Davis said PLT goes through a multi step process in deciding whether to take on a new ingredient. One of those considerations is need in the market, and in the case of vitamin D, that need is clear.
“It is definitely a shortfall ingredient. Data show that 94% of the population between 2004 and 2008 was not getting enough vitmain D, and that was when the recommended intake level was 400 IU. That level has since been put up to 600 IU/day and a lot of scientists thought it should have been put up to 1000 IU,” she said.
As far as the form is concerned, there is a debate in the scientific community about the relative merits of vitamin D2, available from vegetable sources, and D3, availble from animal sources and the form the vitamin manufactured in skin cells exposed to ultraviolet light. Considering those differences was also part of PLT’s ingredient evaluation process, Davis said.
“From my review of the literature, I couldn’t really see a difference in D2 versus D3 in terms of bioavailality,” Davis said. “The vitamin D receptors in the body recognize both forms of the vitamin.”