Vice president Scott Smith told NutraIngredients-USA.com that Sunphenon EGCG was born out of market-driven demand for green tea extracts with a high purity of EGCG, the predominant catechin on which most of the research into the health benefits of green tea has focused.
He said that the introduction does not represent a technical advancement for the company, as it was previously able to produce pure EGCG extracts, and indeed has produced 100 percent EGCG extracts on a custom basis.
Until now, Taiyo's off-the-shelf product with the highest EGCG purity was its standard 90 percent polyphenol ingredient, with more than 45 percent EGCG. The company will continue to offer this, and Smith said he expects it to remain more popular than the new Sunphenon EGCG since it contains the full spectrum of other antioxidants, which are also important.
Demand for high EGCG extracts is coming particularly from the supplements market, and added benefits of the new offering are that it does not have the color or bitterness of other, less pure extracts. It is available in caffeinated, decaffeinated and reduced astringency variants.
Taiyo International's introduction of Sunphenon EGCG comes 15 months after DSM launched Teavigo green tea extract, which boasts 94 percent purity. Teavigo was used in a study presented at Experimental Biology 2004 that showed EGCG significantly inhibits the process that promotes fat cell formation in mice.
Other studies have pointed to EGCG's ability to protect against certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, esophageal, bladder, oral and leukemia. A study published in the 5 April issue of Biochemistry attributed the benefits to its effect on a protein known as HSP90, putting a stop to a chain of events that would lead to the activation of harmful genes.
Evidence also exists of its ability to help fight allergies, heal skin, fight HIV infection, prevent autoimmune disease and act as an anti-inflammatory. Taiyo is also introducing four green tea base and green tea beverage ingredients: Sunphenon 30S, Sunphenon 30LB, Sunphenon 30R and Sunphenon MK-1.
These are intended to add flavor and polyphenols to beverage products, and the company says they do away with the color and astringency issues that have dogged such extracts in the past.
In Sunphenon 30S, the leaves are steamed prior to extraction, and in the 30R version they are roasted - processes that change the flavor, bitterness and amino acid profile. Sunphenon LB stands for 'low bitterness', and MK-1 is intended for use in instant products.
Finally, Taiyo's new Green Tea Caffeine, available in 20 and 40 percent caffeine, is aimed at the energy and weight loss markets.