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Scientist develops most potent superfood on the planet

Australian scientists have developed the most potent dietary antioxidant available anywhere in the world, following a remarkable breakthrough in antioxidant extraction technology.

university-newcastle-australia

Australian scientists have developed the most potent dietary antioxidant available anywhere in the world, following a remarkable breakthrough in antioxidant extraction technology.

Dr Vincent Candrawinata from the University of Newcastle (UON), Australia developed the revolutionary new process, involving only apples and water, which is a first in the eighty-year history of supplement development.

The discovery enables the exploration of a possible new frontier in the prevention of cancer and other inflammation related diseases.

The antioxidant targets inflammation – a factor in many cancers including lung, colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer.

Dr Candrawinata is now investigating opportunities to export the technology to other apple growing regions of the world.

Chemical and synthetic free

The unprecedented potency of the antioxidant is achieved through new natural extraction technology.

“The extraction technology results in a highly water soluble antioxidant, which is 100% natural and entirely compatible with the human body. In this way it is closer to being a ‘more super’ superfood than a supplement as we traditionally know them.”

“The breakthrough is that no chemicals are used at any stage of the process. This makes the end product so safe, safer and far more useful to the body than other dietary antioxidants.”

Water soluble VS Chemical/Synthetic

Until now, supplements have been created one of two ways – synthetically in a lab or extracted from natural foods using chemicals, both of which are very difficult for the body to break down and absorb.

“Antioxidants made synthetically or extracted from natural food using chemicals such as methanol or ethanol require these same chemicals to break them down, however our bodies don’t produce those chemicals.”

“Something our bodies have in large quantities is water, which is why this new water soluble antioxidant is such a breakthrough. We’ve finally been able to create something natural and compatible with the human body.”

What are phenolics?

Vincent-Candrawinata

Dr Vincent Candrawinata

The antioxidant is the first to harness the power of activated phenolics, a new breed of ‘ultra’ antioxidants that surpass others in their ability to mop up and safely transport free radicals out of the body.

Found in apples in high concentration, activated phenolics are a powerful natural preservative.

“In apples, phenolics are responsible for protecting the fruit from degradation from UV light and disease. They perform a similar role in humans, protecting our cells against damage which can lead to ageing, inflammation and cell mutations,” said Dr Candrawinata.

“Apples were selected because they contain the broadest spectrum and highest concentrations of phenolic antioxidants across the 1,755 edible fruits.”

Dr Candrawinata said the discovery comes at a time when humans need it most.

“Environmental pollution, prevalence of fast and processed foods and fast-paced contemporary lifestyles are exposing us to the highest ever levels of free radicals.”

“The profound health benefits of phenolics have long been a holy grail for scientists, however until now we couldn’t figure out how to extract them from food sources in a way that was compatible with the human body.”

No risk of pro-oxidation

Unlike other antioxidants, activated phenolics pose no risk of pro-oxidation – a scenario where antioxidants, once they have seized free radicals, can themselves become harmfully unstable under certain conditions.

“Phenolics are powerful free radical ‘scavengers’ that cause no harm or negative side-effects. Their level of safety means they are a great option for children.”

“Phenolics have three arms free to catch free radicals and importantly, don’t ever become unstable or unsafe in the human body after doing so. Other antioxidants, for example vitamin C, have only one free arm and after collecting a free radical, can become unstable – this is known as pro-oxidation and can do more harm than good.”

Targeted delivery

The antioxidant uses the natural conditions of the body to deliver to the upper small intestine, which is where phenolics are absorbed.

“The antioxidant must pass through the stomach undigested and onto the small intestine as this is where it is absorbed by the body.”

“The acidic conditions of the stomach signal the antioxidant to activate a protective coating so that it stays intact until it reaches the small intestine. The alkaline environment of the small intestine then signals the antioxidant to release into the body.”

A fruitful innovation journey

As an international student, Dr Candrawinata declined an opportunity to study at Cornell University in New York, favouring UON’s Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition a decision that has proven ‘fruitful’.

“I don’t think this opportunity would have presented itself at another institution. The University of Newcastle was just the right size to make something like this achievable and its strong links with industry were invaluable to me on the path to commercialisation.”

“While an Angel investor helped fund our journey from discovery to retail sales, their level of investment was significantly lower than most startups require and this was because the University supported us through every step.”

You shouldn’t have to be wealthy to be healthy

Vincent founded his company – Renovatio Bioscience on the premise of people not having to be wealthy to be healthy.

Dr Candrawinata hopes his phenolic antioxidant may one day help to lift minimum health levels in developing countries where fresh fruit and vegetables are not prevalent or affordable.

“In countries where nutrition is poor due to factors such as drought or poverty, activated phenolics could have a transformational impact. Often, these communities also have limited access to healthcare so prevention and recovery is key.”

Dr Candrawinata’s activated phenolics supplement makes a strong case for the highly recognisable English language proverb – ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. In fact, Dr Candrawinata has already trademarked ‘An Apple a Day’.

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