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Functional features of the ingredients

The functional features of an ingredient are defined as being all the processes that need to occur to ensure that the ingredient is functional and thus effective.

The assimilation and the bioavailability of the various micronutrients 

PiLeJe’s Centres of Excellence for Ingredients and Design have been tasked with optimising the assimilation and the bioavailability of the various micronutrients used in PiLeJe health products. 
In order to be effective, the ingredient must reach its target, i.e. the zone in which it will act and/or be absorbed by the body, at the right dose and at the right time.

The most important step when tailoring an ingredient to its action is simply to choose the right one! 

For example, if the target is the central nervous system, then clearly the properties of the ingredient must be such that it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier (a physiological barrier which prevents certain compounds from reaching the brain). An ingredient with these properties must therefore be chosen. If this is not possible, a precursor of the ingredient of interest may exist which can cross this barrier.

The next consideration is the so-called “assimilation” of the ingredient.

If the absorption of the micronutrient has to occur in the small intestine or the colon, then the ingredient must be able to resist not only the acid environment of the stomach but also the action of the gastric enzymes and bile acids. This can be achieved either by adapting the pharmaceutical formulation or by protecting the ingredient from enzymatic degradation, so that the active ingredients are released in optimal quantities at the right location. 

The correct timing of the absorption into the body is also important. 

A good example of this is melatonin. The sublingual pharmaceutical form ensures rapid absorption of the melatonin, which means that it provides an effective remedy when taken spontaneously by someone having problems getting to sleep. Alternatively, when provided in sustained-release form, the melatonin is released over a much longer period, which allows it to act on other types of sleeping problem.

A final key functionality of the ingredient is that the finished formulation must offer perfect homogeneity and reproducibility of the delivered dose.