Chicken cartilage and crab shells may play roles in helping Americans improve their joint health. Extracts from those sources are finding their way into products marketed for decreasing joint pain.
Statistics from the Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta, reveal why consumers may worry about joint health. The number of Americans diagnosed with arthritis or chronic joint systems rose to 46 million in 2006 from 43 million in 1998. Arthritis is the cause of 39 million physician visits and more than a half million hospitalizations annually, according to the foundation.
The ingredient sourced from chicken cartilage has yet to enter U.S. foods and beverages. UC-II, a novel under-natured type II collagen derived from chicken sternum cartilage, decreased arthritis pain scores by 33%, which compared with 14% in groups treated with glucosamine and chondroitin, in study results presented by Interhealth Nutraceuticals, Benicia, Calif., at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition held earlier this month in Anaheim, Calif.
The UC-II ingredient may be used in dietary supplements. Interhealth Nutraceuticals is in the process of publishing studies on the safety of UC-II in foods and beverages, said Dr. Debasis Bagchi, Ph.D., of Interhealth. Later this year the company may gain self-affirmed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for the use of UC-II in such applications as bars, cereals and beverages.
Type II collagen is the principal structural protein in cartilage responsible for its tensile strength, according to Interhealth Nutraceuticals. UC-II works with the immune system to control inflammation and support joint health. The recommended daily dosage is 40 mg.
Oligosan, a proprietary extract from Alaskan crab shells, is the active ingredient in OligoFlex, according to Diversified Natural Products (DNP), Inc., a biotechnology company based in New York that manufactures OligoFlex. The normal daily dosage is 1,500 mg.
At its I.F.T. booth, Wild Flavors, Inc., Erlanger, Ky., offered a juice beverage with OligoFlex. Last year Wild Flavors became the exclusive distributor of OligoFlex for North America, South America, Mexico, China and Japan for all food and beverage applications.
At its I.F.T. booth, TandemRain Innovations, Vancouver, Wash., promoted its ActivMSM, a proprietary formulation of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) that is GRAS for use in foods and beverages. Yogurts, nutrition bars and sports drinks are some of the potential applications for ActivMSM, which is stable at high temperatures. Slightly bitter, it needs a masking agent, according to TandemRain Innovations.
Laboratory and clinical research over the past 20 years has shown MSM to protect against the development and progression of inflammatory arthritis. The company recommends 500 mg to 2,000 mg of ActivMSM per serving. MSM serves as a source of biologically available sulfur. When in cartilage, sulfur helps create a smooth surface for joints to reduce the friction that leads to damage.
TandemRain showcased ActivMSM in such sports drinks as Vuel, which combines ActivMSM with glucosamine, and HydraFlex at the I.F.T. event. The company earlier this year introduced Deep Knee Beans, a confectionery jelly bean item with 500 mg of ActivMSM in each bag.
For one other joint health ingredient, Minneapolis-based Cargill offers Regenasure glucosamine, a nonshellfish, vegetarian ingredient that is GRAS when used as an ingredient in food and beverage applications.