BioPQQ European progress: Mitsubishi brain health supplement gets Novel Foods nod

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03 May 2018 --- The all-natural brain health supplement BioPQQ, manufactured by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, is to be added to the EU’s Approved List of Novel Foods, enabling the product to be used in food applications. Traditionally associated with brain-boosting capacities among aging consumers, the company notes there are growing opportunities among younger generations, actively seeking for products to give them a mental edge. NutritionInsight spoke with Shoji Matsukawa, General Manager, Organic Chemicals Sales & Marketing for Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America, about the product’s appeal and the studies underscoring its benefits.

The company reports that the inclusion of BioPQQ on the EU list is expected to be formalized this summer and follows a review of the product in accordance with Article 29(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) #178/2002. As part of the review process, the European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority to assess BioPQQ’s safety as a novel food ingredient. The EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) concluded that BioPQQ is safe under the intended conditions of use.

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Shoji Matsukawa, General Manager,
Organic Chemicals Sales & Marketing,
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America

The inclusion of BioPQQ on the EU’s Approved List of Novel Foods will represent a significant opportunity for European food manufacturers to fortify products with a safe and effective brain health supplement. 

“In terms of the product’s popularity, the US and Canada is the largest market at the moment. But Europe and Japan are expected to follow, due to BioPQQ’s regulatory status now. Among aging populations, concerns regarding healthy aging are increasing,” Matsukawa tells NutritionInsight

BioPQQ is sold globally through distributors and vitamin retailers. Studies demonstrate that BioPQQ may stimulate Nerve Growth Factor and help protect neurons from harmful oxidative stress. BioPQQ has been shown to inhibit neurotoxicity and promote “mitochondrial biogenesis” to energize cells, particularly in the brain. Its anti-oxidative effect has been demonstrated to be significantly higher than both vitamin C and vitamin E.

“In 2003, a research group in Japan suggested that this ingredient could be seen as a new vitamin. And although this is not common understanding, and maybe even controversial, it does have certain vitamin-like qualities,” he says. 

Consumer interest in brain health has risen dramatically in recent years. While older consumers are considered to be the dominant buyers of brain health supplements, surveys indicate that younger consumers are increasingly interested in supporting brain health to promote greater mental focus and acuity.

“BioPQQ’s main application is for supplements for those with healthy aging concerns. Especially BioPQQ’s brain health functions and its benefits on mitochondrial activation are the aspects that consumers are interested in,” he notes. “The main target of BioPQQ was originally senior citizens. However, recently, younger generations are finding that BioPQQ is also effective as an energizing ingredient.”

“BioPQQ’s forthcoming appearance on the EU’s Approved List of Novel Foods opens up new possibilities for developing European food products that might improve cognitive functioning. Examples could include nutrition bars, snack foods, beverage mixes and other products,” says Matsukawa.

In the US, BioPQQ has received GRAS (“generally regarded as safe”) designation, enabling it to be used as a food ingredient. BioPQQ is also the only supplement of its kind to have successfully negotiated the New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) notification process with the US Food & Drug Administration, the company reports. 

“We want to help consumers get the correct active ingredients. There are many ingredients claiming similar benefits in the market, but not all have the rigorous scientific trials, including human trials, behind them. Not only for safety but also for efficacy. BioPQQ is by far the most trustworthy ingredient,” he says.

“It has been a tough negotiation with the agency, but after strict assessment, we are the first ingredient of this kind in the European market,” he concludes.

By Lucy Gunn

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