New ingredients are appearing in foods daily. Many of these new ingredients may provide an added health benefit, thus they serve as functional ingredients. Sometimes these new ingredients come from unexpected places. Take for example, potassium glucarate, a new ingredient manufactured and marketed by Applied Food Sciences. The glucaraandte is sold under the brand name PreventiumTM has applications in foods such as fruit and vegetable juices, energy and sport drinks, cereal, nutrition bars and jams. Potassium glucarate is added to food to serve as a potassium source and a pH control agent.
Glucarate possess a wide range of properties such as detoxification and hypocholestermic properties, as well as the ability to regulate hormone levels and increase overall immune health. Research has demonstrated potential health benefits associated with potassium glucarate intake in rats that include: cholesterol lowering (Nutr.Res. 16:673, 1996) and possible cancer prevention (Cancer Det. & Prev. 12:178,1997). Scientists have found that potassium glucarate reduces total serum cholesterol by up to 14%, and LDL cholesterol by up to 35%, without significantly affecting HDL cholesterol levels. The mechanism of action is by decreasing the basal rate of cholesterol synthesis. Glucarate is naturally found in nature, having been identified in various fruits (apples, apricots, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit) and vegetables (alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and tomatoes). Interestingly, glucarate is also produced endogenously in mammals as a waste product of the D-glucuronic acid pathway. It is estimated that humans excrete approximately ten mg glucarate each day. In summary, potassium glucarate is an interesting substance that serves multiple uses in new foods, has promising health benefits, is derived naturally from unprocessed foods and, strangely enough, is a biological waste product.