New ingredients highlight soy’s lunasin potential

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Soy Labs has launched two soy ingredients aimed at the dietary supplements and functional food markets that have for the first time commercialized the soy protein component, lunasin.

The supplement version, Lunasin XP, bares similarities to a product the Californian company released two years ago, but has been reformulated in the light of subsequent research pointing to the peptide’s ability to moderate cholesterol levels.

The offering aimed at functional food and drink manufacturers, LunaSoy, is new.

Soy Labs president Ryan Schmidt said while soy proteins were best known for their heart health properties, there was a growing body of evidence backing its cholesterol-lowering potential.

Fresh research

Several studies relating cholesterol control and lunasin were in the “submission stage”,​ Schmidt told NutraIngredients-USA.com. At least one was due for publication by year’s end.

“The Lunasin peptide has been researched for a number of years, but no ingredients have been commercialized until now,”​ Schmidt said.

Research indicates Lunasin selectively disrupts a necessary step in the production of a key enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase. When levels of that enzyme are constricted, the liver produces less cholesterol.

It is also thought Lunasin up-regulates the expression of the LDL-receptor gene, thus increasing the number of receptors available to clear LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Building the brand

Soy Labs, founded in 2005, was seeking to establish, “key co-branding partnerships with a select group of nutraceutical, functional food and soyfood manufacturers both in the US and abroad.”

To this end logos for​LunaSoy or Lunasin XP had been developed to indicate the “heart healthy benefit”.

The company has established a website, www.Lunasin.com​, to disseminate information about the peptide for both business users and consumers.

The food version, LunaSoy, was suited to soy protein powders, weight loss shake mixes, healthy baked goods and snacks, bars, soyfoods and beverages.

He countered the suggestion that soy had received a bad press in recent years over some less-than-positive trial results, a situation that had lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring the soy-coronary heart disease health claim approved in 1999 under review.

“We consider that the press has been the recipient of mixed messages that make it difficult to fully assess the benefit of soy,”​ Schmidt observed, adding some studies had “clouded the waters”​ over soy’s ability to lower cholesterol levels.

“With the discovery of the Lunasin peptide and its mechanism of action, we believe it is a vital bioactive component within soy protein contributing to soy’s overall cholesterol-lowering properties,”​ he said.

“With certain soy protein preparations, the lunasin peptide can be lost before it is consumed or degraded quickly once ingested. Thus, the success or failure of various studies to prove soy’s heart-healthy benefits is directly linked to the soy preparation under study.”

He said research into the lunasin peptide would help validate the FDA soy heart health claim.

He said the company was prospecting “select national and international partnerships for formulation of LunaSoy and Lunasin XP within functional food products and nutraceuticals.”

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