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Nutracon: inside track to the future

This year's Nutracon conference offers the perfect deal for tough economic times: more conference for the money. It consists of five tracks, each featuring numerous presenters — 70 in all — including world-class researchers and other experts in basic and applied science as well as marketing and trends. Beyond the top-notch educational topics, the conference provides multiple opportunities to connect one-on-one with other category experts through programmes such as a progressive cocktail party, speed data sessions with industry thought leaders, and a first-ever Slim Slam Pitch session for newly developed weight-loss ingredients.

Keynote speaker Julien MellentinKeynote: Julian Mellentin, Executive Director of New Nutrition Business
Nutracon veteran Julian Mellentin presents his unique perspectives and predictions for the future of the health and nutrition industry in a keynote address focusing on Nutracon's 'Five for the Future' tracks. Mellentin, a truly global specialist, will 'set the table' for the provocative presentations and discussions to follow.

Highlights of the five tracks:

Weight management and the obesity epidemic
Wednesday, March 4-5, 8:30am-5:30pm
This two-day 'double-helping' track will explore current events, activities, and basic and applied science, and will dispel myths and reveal real market opportunities and the challenges on the immediate horizon. New science has tied effective weight-management strategies to supporting healthy brain chemistry, and given rise to strategies for altering body composition, increasing satiety and triggering thermogenesis and behaviour modification. With huge commercial potential at stake, big pharma is aggressively weighing in both in the market and in its call for fundamental regulatory change, with a huge potential impact for food and supplements stakeholders. The track is sponsored by ChemiNutra.

Wednesday, March 4, 9:45-10:45am
Title: Globesity: who is to blame?
Mary SchmidlSpeaker: Mary K Schmidl, PhD
There is no shortage of finger pointing as the obesity crisis spreads to global proportions, stemming a new term among public health experts — globesity. Schmidl will discuss some of the reasons and rationale behind the alarming rise in obesity. She is the former president of the Institute of Food Technologists, and is currently the adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, and principal of National Food and Nutrition Consultants.

Superfruits & berries
Cited as a 2007 and 2008 dominant trend in Functional Ingredients, Nutrition Business Journal and New Nutrition Business, the explosion of this category and proliferation of products has supercharged food, beverages and supplements marketplaces. From blueberries to cranberries, pomegranate to mangosteen, companies worldwide have sought to capitalize on the inherent health benefits, wondrous flavors, vibrant colours and huge potential of fruits and berries. What is the state of the science? Is the bubble ready to burst? What have we learned through this explosion? Where are the real opportunities now? This track is sponsored by Ocean Spray,

Thursday, March 5, 10:45-11:15am
Title: Controversy: non-antioxidant functions of dietary polyphenols
Speaker: Balz Frei, PhD, director and professor, Linus Pauling Institute
The superfruits industry has been established on a belief that polyphenols with antioxidant properties in vitro serve the same functions in vivo. Recent evidence, however, shows that 1) most polyphenols ingested are poorly absorbed, rapidly metabolized or excreted, and do not reach concentrations in the human body high enough to significantly enhance endogenous antioxidant defenses and 2), polyphenols may have more subtle physiological roles such as modifying cell signaling, receptor activity and gene regulation by non-antioxidant mechanisms. While these mechanisms may underlie the purported health benefits of polyphenols, they indicate actual antioxidant roles for polyphenols in vivo are not significant.

Applications and impacts of fermentation technology
Wednesday, March 4, 8:30am-5:30pm
Fermentation technology is increasingly being used as the source for bioactive ingredients as an affordable, scalable technology for ingredients in foods, beverages and supplements. From amino acids to speciality ingredients such as DHA, the platform is changing economics and triggering regulatory, analytical, and product development challenges and opportunities. Track presenters will discuss the basic research currently being conducted, potential applications for industry business, new or changing product concepts, and what the future may hold and some of the policy decisions that may be encountered. This track is sponsored by Kiowa USA.

Wednesday, March 4, 9:45-10:45am
Title: Protein expression and fermentation is not 'equal opportunity'
Speaker: Mani Subramanian, PhD
When it comes to fermentation technology the applications are limitless, but a one-size-fits-all approach won't gel, so to speak. Subramanian will discuss the unique properties of fermentation and how to apply them to your business. He oversees the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB). Funded by the state of Iowa, this state-of-the-art, pilot-scale fermentation and bioprocessing laboratory is unsurpassed. The CBB laboratory brings together the University of Iowa core fermentation facility with laboratory space for conducting industry- and university-related research and a first-rate facility for delivering short courses and training associated with the CBB. More than 300 funded projects from academia, industry and federal agencies have been conducted at the CBB laboratory since 1996.

Healthy ageing
Wednesday, March 4, 8:30am-5:30pm
As much as we would like to ignore it, age happens. This generation is seeing unprecedented change, as a decreasing birth rate and longer life expectancy has reshaped the age structure of the population. This has huge implications for the healthy-ingredients sector. From antioxidants to bioactives for joint support, billions of dollars are being spent by active, enabled consumers looking to maintain quality of life. Correlating the science with ethical marketing is another matter. Just how well does current science (and analytical capabilities) translate into a measurable endpoint? What is in the scientific pipeline? How is it being measured and communicated? What tactics are companies using to capture the demographic? How tangible is the opportunity? Track participants will hear the answers in a thought-provoking series of presentations and interactive sessions. This track is sponsored by Sabinsa.

Wednesday, March 4, 9:45-10:45am
Title: Age-related changes in micronutrient requirements for optimal health
Speaker: Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD
Blumberg will address ageing and nutrients from his ongoing research efforts focusing on the biochemical basis for the role of antioxidant nutrients and their dietary requirements in health promotion and disease prevention during the ageing process via their modulation of oxidative stress status. He has published more than 180 scientific articles; is a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University; and serves on several editorial boards, including the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, and Journal of Environmental Pathology. He also serves on the American College of Nutrition Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists and the scientific advisory boards of the Rosenthal Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine at Columbia University.

New developments in vitamins & minerals
Thursday, March 5, 8:30am-5:30pm
The building blocks of this industry — vitamins D, K and calcium — are no longer ho hum. Compelling research continues to validate these products, often at higher or different recommended amounts than public health policy might state. New variations and new health conditions supported by vitamins and minerals are being regularly identified. From calcium to selenium, vitamin D to vitamin K, these products are in the news weekly, and remain significant growth opportunities for foods, beverages and supplements. Participants will explore breaking science and novel applications, and discuss regulatory and health-policy implications.

Thursday, March 5, 11:00-11:30am
Title: How science drives policy and regulatory decisions
Speaker: Paula Trumbo, PhD, supervisor, Nutrition Science Evaluation, Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements, CFAN, FDA
If you've ever questioned why the FDA gives a thumbs up or a thumbs down to a health-claim petition, don't miss this seminar on regulatory decisions. It's about the science, Trumbo says. She will discuss how regulators and policy makers draw on the existing body of evidence to make informed health-policy decisions that apply broadly to public health. In some cases this involves direct application of the evidence-based systematic review. In this presentation, the FDA will discuss its use of evidence-based research in the evaluation of health-claim petitions, providing the audience with the agency's thought process behind its decision making.

Celebrity whistleblower
Mark WhitacreCo-located with Nutracon and Natural Products Expo West, this year's Supply Expo will feature Mark Whitacre, the man behind the movie, The Informant, starring Matt Damon as Whitacre; and the Discovery Channel TV documentary, Undercover, both to be released this year. Whitacre is an Ivy League PhD, and was the highest-level executive of a Fortune 500 company to become a whistleblower in US history. Whitacre worked undercover with the FBI for three years wearing a wire every day in one of the largest price-fixing cases in history.
March 6, 3:30- 5:00pm, Room 204 A
Title: The informant — the man behind the movie

NutrAward Finalists
NutrAwardNutracon recently announced the three finalists for its annual NutrAward. You can place your vote for one of the three finalists at AHD International's Lura-Lean is a water-soluble, dietary fiber formula to support weight loss. The ingredient is derived from the Amorphophallus Propol konjac root, and has more than 14 safety studies and 60 clinical trials behind the product. LuraLean is available in several grades and has GRAS status.

DSM's TensGuard contains lactotripeptide' Isoleucine-Proline-Proline (IPP), which is proven to help control blood pressure. Lactotripeptides are present, but inactive, in normal dairy products. TensGuard contains enzymes that release these peptides.

Gourmetceuticals' PPL-240 is an antioxidant derived from a South American fern, Polypodium leucotomos. Clinical oral and topical research demonstrated its photoprotective ability to protect cell damage caused by the sun's UV-A and UV-B rays. PPL-240 is organic, kosher and is FDA approved for both human and animal consumption.

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