New selenium-enriched garlic product reaches US market

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

A new selenium-enriched garlic product from Sabinsa is now available for inclusion in dietary supplement formulations in the United States after the Food and Drug Administration filed New Dietary Ingredient notification for the company’s latest offering.

The company uses a patent-pending soilless culture process to naturally enrich garlic bulbs with organic selenium compounds for nutritional supplementation.

Produced using a proprietary hydroponics method, SelenoForce contains 1000 ppm selenium, in bioavailable organic form, in a base of natural garlic powder.

Dr. Lakshmi Prakash, Sabinsa vice president of innovation and business development told NutraIngredientsUSA.com that the new product offered benefits compared with selenium obtained from yeast.

Body proteins

“Selenium yeast contains predominantly selenomethionine which is non-specifically incorporated into the body proteins​,” said Prakash.

SelenoForce contains methylselenocysteine, and the dipeptide gamma glutamyl methylselenocysteine which is not directly incorporated directly into the body proteins and therefore available for various other health benefits of selenium​.”

According to Sabinsa, in literature reports, selenium enriched garlic was found to be twice as biologically active as selenium yeast. “Garlic bulbs are enriched through hydroponics cultivation with a specific composition of organic selenium compounds. The selenium enriched bulbs are dried, powdered and standardized to contain 1 microgram (mcg, μg) elemental selenium per milligram (mg) of garlic powder​,” said Prakash.

A naturally occurring trace element, selenium is absorbed by plants and crops, from where it enters the human food chain - either directly or through consumption of meat and other products from grazing animals.

It is included in up to 100 proteins in the body, with various roles including building heart muscles and healthy sperm. But its major health benefit is cancer prevention and it is the only mineral that qualifies for an FDA-approved qualified health claim for general cancer reduction incidence.

The claim reads: “Selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some scientific evidence suggests that consumption of selenium may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. However, FDA has determined that this evidence is limited and not conclusive.”

Observational studies suggest that death from cancer, including lung, colorectal and prostate cancers is lower among people with higher blood levels or intake of selenium, according to the National Office of Dietary Supplements.

Skin cancer

In addition, the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer is significantly higher in areas of the US with low soil selenium content.

Low selenium status is also associated with the occurrence of the pregnancy disease preeclampsia in women from the United Kingdom, according to a study (Rayman, Bode and Redman) published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Preliminary work on the ingredient started in 2000, and a US patent was granted in 2006.

SelenoForce will be used in dietary supplements, including capsules, tablets, granules or other delivery systems, to provide 50-200 microgram of selenium supplementation per day.

This story has been amended to reflect the fact the NDI notification has been filed not approved by the FDA.

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