YolkPro, a protein ingredient extracted from egg yolks, was unveiled by Rembrandt Nutrition last week at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas. Rembrandt, based in Spirit Lake, IA, has a long history of egg ingredients for the bakery and food service industry. YolkPro represents a departure for the company toward a protein-based dietary ingredient offering. Thomas Demoras, director of business development, said the recent recommendations from health authorities on choline, a key nutrient found in egg yolks, led Rembrandt to conclude that there was an opportunity for an ingredient that combined protein with choline in a natural way. Choline is important in brain health, particularly for the proper development of the central nervous systems in fetuses, and has a role in liver health as well.
Recently the American Medical Association recommended an increase of choline in all prenatal vitamins to 450 mg/day, according to a resolution passed by delegates at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Despite the admonitions of health professionals dating back to 1998, a recent study published in the journal Nutrients showed that choline continues to be a shortfall nutrient. That study showed that while regular egg consumers score better on their choline intake, overall very few Americans get enough of this important nutrient.
“We think this ingredient could be a cognition play, or it could also go into the anti-aging market. It could also be positioned for general wellness, depending on your consumer,” Demoras said.
Unique chemical profile
The key to the new ingredient’s potential is its unique chemical profile, Demoras said. The company extracts yolks using supercritical CO2, and the resulting ingredient has high levels of protein and choline in the form of phosphatidylcholine. In addition, egg yolks contain significant amounts of the macular carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. According to the company, the resulting ingredient has 50% to 75% more protein than standard dried egg yolk and roughly double the amount of phosphatidylcholine.
Demoras said that egg protein has some inherent advantages. For one, egg protein, which contains all of the essential amino acids, is the standard against which all other proteins are judged in terms of their completeness. In the protein digestibility—corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), a common measure of relative amino acid content among proteins, egg protein scores a ‘1,’ the highest level, with a few proteins matching that score with the others being a fraction thereof. And, he said, eggs are a highly familiar food source.
“Eggs are the gold standard,” he said. “Eggs are a lot easier to understand than any theoretical ingredient out there.”