Maple, a sustainable North American agricultural crop, has a unique chemical composition which imparts positive biological effects to its products.
Navindra Seeram, PhD, joined the NutraCast to discuss the science of the maple. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. He did his doctoral and post-doctoral studies at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and at Michigan State.
Seeram is a world-renowned expert on maple research, and his research group, the Bioactive Botanical Research Laboratory, investigates medicinal plants and their derived natural products for preventive and therapeutic effects against chronic human diseases. Seeram has spent over a decade researching the chemical composition of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) as well as other maple species. Seeram explained that Sugar Maples contain minerals, vitamins, amino acids as well as more than 67 bioactive natural plant compounds.
“It’s clear based on a growing body of animal studies...that maple syrup may have some potential anti-inflammatory effects against certain diseases such as metabolic syndrome. There is also a couple of human clinical studies that have just been published in the area of sports nutrition,” said Seeram, who explained that maple sap extract is added to beverages that athletes drink for energy.
The scientist said he is currently working on a supplement called MSX (Maple Syrup Extract) that uses maple byproduct. MSX performed well in animal toxicity studies and Seeram said he is hoping to advance to human clinical studies.
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NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.