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The development of specific ingredients

For many years the PiLeJe research teams, with their specialist experience and know-how in Micronutrition, have conducted studies with a view to developing new ingredients as well as to find ways to improve the assimilation of micronutrients. 

« Vectorisation » of ingredients

The term vectorisation is used to describe all the mechanisms used to modify the distribution of an active ingredient. For example, combining the ingredient with another substance or coating it with a fatty matrix so that it more easily crosses the digestive mucous membrane. 

As a function of the ingredients, different “means” of transport are used to allow the various ingredients to enter the body, which has led to the design of a number of “vectors”. These vectors may be considered as carriers of active ingredients.

Consider a mineral such as iron or magnesium.

Unless the iron is consumed via an animal source (meat, fish), it is poorly assimilated by the body, even when it is provided via food supplements or medicinal products.

Consequently, the medicinal products indicated for iron deficiencies contain a large quantity of this mineral to compensate for its low bioavailability. Often, these high iron contents cause adverse reactions such as black stools, constipation or abdominal pain. 

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To optimise the assimilation of iron and enhance the effectiveness of low iron content supplements, PiLeJe’s Centre of Expertise for Ingredients has developed a specific “vector”.
This particular ingredient, when combined with iron, potentiates digestive assimilation while also preventing adverse reactions such as constipation.  

Similarly, to improve tolerance to magnesium, since this mineral can occasionally cause diarrhoea, PiLeJe research teams developed another vector which augments the digestive absorption of magnesium. 
A patent has been filed for this ingredient, which is based on rice protein hydrolysate: it is called Hypro-ri®. 
 

Hypro-ri®, an ingredient patented by PiLeJe

PiLeJe’s Centre of Expertise for Ingredients developed Hypro-ri® as part of its research efforts in the field of mineral vectorisation. This “rice protein hydrolysate” is produced by a controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of rice protein.

The product is comprised of oligopeptides, a type of small protein consisting of 2 to 3 amino acids.  Since these oligopeptides are easily assimilated by the body, complexing these oligopeptides to minerals such as magnesium or zinc improves the digestive absorption of the mineral. 

Complexing “binds” the mineral to the oligopeptide so that in addition to the mineral’s normal pathways for entering the body, it can utilise the entry pathways specific to oligopeptides, which increases its absorption by the body.

Development of new ingredients

PiLeJe also invests in the search for new ingredients. Porphyral HSP® and sulphoraphane are two such examples. 

Porphyral HSP® has been patented by PiLeJe. 

It is extracted from a genus of seaweed, Porphyra, which has been studied in detail by PiLeJe’s research department. This seaweed is unusual in that it has learnt to survive in an extremely hostile environment (exposure to heat, UV radiation, being dried out at low tide and immersed at high tide) by developing specific resistance mechanisms. 

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The in vitro and in vivo studies and analyses performed on this seaweed have shown that it has the ability to secrete “stress proteins” quickly and in large quantities. 

These stress proteins, also known as heat shock proteins (HSP) are secreted naturally by cells in response to exposure to extreme stress: heat (e.g. the sun), infection, trauma (e.g. due to physical exercise...) or to stress caused by environmental factors (pollution, heavy metals...), etc. These proteins perform two key roles: the elimination of waste products and protection & repair, notably due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and their effects on free radicals.

Developing this patented ingredient to the point where it is now included as an important ingredient of several PiLeJe health products, has required many years of research.

The specific extraction process of sulforaphane

Sulphoraphane is a sulphur-containing compound which occurs naturally in broccoli and which has a detoxifying effect on the lungs. However, the extracted product quickly degrades when exposed to air and cannot therefore be used in this form. 

To resolve this problem, the PiLeJe research teams identified and developed a specific extraction process that isolates both the precursor of sulphoraphane - glucoraphane - and the enzyme which converts glucoraphane into sulphoraphane. 

A specific and tailored pharmaceutical form has also had to be developed to protect the ingredients during their transit through the stomach and to activate the enzymatic conversion at the right place and at the right time.