A natural wheat germ fermented from baker's yeast that benefits cellular metabolism with provocative downstream effects on immunity, ageing and cancer is the winner of the eighth annual NutrAward for the best new product of the year.
The ingredient is Avemar, which was introduced in May 2005 as the bioactive in the finished product Avé. It has been shown to provide health benefits by supporting mechanisms of healthy cell metabolism and immune-system regulation that are altered by injury or physical stress.
"The inherent value of dietary supplements is proven by research. To the degree that the industry is rewarding the best of the best with this award, we want to let the world know that the dietary-supplements field is not a bunch of people faking it," said David Wales, president of American BioSciences in New York, which markets the ingredient and finished product. "There's real research, and people in the industry are concerned with real research. That's why they have this careful process of trying to identify the best new product according to the criteria established."
Awarded at SupplyExpo in California in March, the NutrAward is decided after consideration by an independent panel of industry experts and scientific researchers, who narrowed the field to three semi-finalists. The contestants were judged on six criteria: scientific merit, efficacy, safety, innovation, market potential and ability to increase industry credibility. The final NutrAward winner was determined by the vote of Nutracon and SupplyExpo attendees.
The other two finalists were Ocean Nutrition Canada's Powder-Loc microencapsulation technology for integrating omega-3 fish oils into foods and beverages with no taste or odour, and OatWell Oat Bran's high-soluble (beta-glucan) and dietary-fibre ingredients.
Show us the science
The Avemar science reviewed by the expert panel included results of more than 100 experiments in cell lines, and animal and human subjects, described in more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals.
Studies conducted in the US, Hungary, Israel, Russia and other countries show the compound works to optimise metabolism and immune-system function in conditions in which either or both are challenged. The use of Avemar in a dietary supplement has been shown to support mechanisms of cell metabolic regulation, so that cells in our bodies use glucose, their basic fuel source, at a steady rate through healthy oxidative pathways.
Healthy metabolic rate and pathways can be altered by injury and stress, resulting in a variety of health conditions. Injury and stress can also alter immune response, and Avemar has been shown to support mechanisms of innate and acquired immune-system regulation. Avemar use improves the balance of cellular and humoral immune activity, and the ratio of Th1 and Th2 cytokines, promotes optimal NK (Natural Killer) cell recognition, and the coordinated response of macrophages, B-cell and T-cells.
"In response to injury or stress, cells are prompted to states of abnormal metabolism," explained Wales. "From time to time cells get stuck in that hypermetabolic state, and that's where you have problems with ill health. It's a problem that occurs primarily with age, maybe as a result of increasing stress as you get older, but also the mechanisms that help your body to respond to stressors are exhausted. So if you can provide this naturally occurring compound in supplemental quantities whose purpose is to help dampen down hypermetabolic activity, that's a good thing. It's particularly important in patients with cancer."
Avemar is currently available only in the Avé finished product. But Wales said the company is working on making the GRAS ingredient available as a supplied raw material for integration into either supplements or foods. The challenge at this point is to produce a biological assay so that when the raw material is sold, it can be shown to have a consistent effect on inhibiting nonoxidative glucose metabolism, regardless of the delivery system and different processing systems involved.
"It is our hope that the publicity of winning the NutrAward will bring Avé and the research behind Avemar to the attention of a broader spectrum of the public and medical community and provide new health-care opportunities," added Rick Jahnke, vice-president and co-founder of American BioSciences.