Buckwheat benefits linked to d-fagomine content

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum). Photo by K.G.Kirailla
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum). Photo by K.G.Kirailla
A diet rich in buckwheat products would provide a daily dose of the sugar d-fagomine linked to benefits in the range of the active dose seen in supplemental studies, says a new study.

The new study, published in the Food Chemistry​, indicates that d-fagomine may in part explain the beneficial properties traditionally attributed to buckwheat consumption.

In 2011, data published in the British Journal of Nutrition​ indicated that the sugar was associated with a blunting of the blood sugar spike when ingested with sucrose or starch, without stimulating the secretion of insulin.

In addition, data from animal studies revealed a reduction in levels of potentially pathogenic bacteria in the gut, as well as a promotion of potentially beneficial Lactobacilli​.

“Based on all this evidence,” ​wrote the scientists, “d-fagomine may be used as a dietary ingredient or functional food component to reduce the health risks associated with an excessive intake of fast-digestible carbohydrates, or an excess of potentially pathogenic bacteria”.

The new data indicated that a diet that includes buckwheat as a source of carbohydrates and proteins would provide as much as 17 mg of d-fagomine per day.

The data also indicated that the sugar is stable during different food elaboration processes, including boiling, baking and frying.

“The daily intake of d-fagomine from buckwheat-based foodstuffs is of the same order of magnitude as its active dose and may be partly responsible for the alleged health promoting properties of buckwheat-based foodstuffs,” ​concluded researchers led by Josep Lluís Torres from the Institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) in Barcelona.

Commercial development

The ingredient is being developed by Barcelona-based Bioglane, a spin-off from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC). Bioglane funded the new study.

The company has reportedly developed enzymatic, large scale processes to competitively produce natural iminosugars and other unusual sugars.

To date, the company has focused on D-fagomine and has scaled up the industrial production of this active under FDA-GMP.

According to Bioglane, D-fagomine is a natural iminosugar present in buckwheat grain and buckwheat based traditional foods. It was first isolated in 1974 and may be considered as a simple glucose analog.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent IFT Annual Meeting and Expo in Las Vegas, Sergio Pumarola, managing director for Bioglane said the company is actively looking for partners in the US to further develop the ingredient.

Source: Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.09.038
“The presence of d-fagomine in the human diet from buckwheat-based foodstuffs”
Authors: S. Amézqueta, E. Galan, I. Vila, et al. 

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