Late last year, Brightseed launched Bio 01, a novel, bioactive-enhanced dietary fibre sourced from hemp hulls that it claimed adds a gut health benefit to extruded snacks, cereals, granolas, nutrition bars and functional beverages, among other applications.
The Californian foodTech company debuted the ingredient in a protein crisp inclusion for cereals, bars and baked goods – developed in conjunction with plant-based food pioneer Puris – at SupplySide West 2022, and is again showcasing sampling concepts at Natural Products Expo West.
The claim is now backed by preclinical data confirming that two bioactive compounds found in hemp hulls – namely, N-trans caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans feruloyltyramine (NFT) – have the potential to support gut barrier function.
The dark matter of nutrition
Brightseed’s Forager AI specifically focuses on discovering bioactives in nature and mapping them to human health outcomes at a rate and accuracy that was previously impossible.
Bioactives are small molecule compounds produced by plants, fungi and microbes that grow in and adapt to environments that present a wide range of challenges to their survival.
They also benefit humans – being the enlivening caffeine in tea, the powerful antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes and curcumin in turmeric. Science has long known that bioactives are critical to human health, yet the vast majority remain unknown and uncharted – often referred to as the ‘dark matter’ of nutrition.
Gut health has been shown to be central to the body’s overall health, impacting the immune system and the gut-brain axis. The gut barrier plays a key role in maintaining overall gut health, as it enables nutrient absorption and acts as a barrier against pathogens and toxins.
The latest study in the peer-reviewed publication adds to the growing body of research on the potential health benefits of bioactives, naturally occurring compounds that can have powerful effects on supporting human health.
“This publication is the latest validation of Brightseed’s approach to discover solutions in nature to restore human health,”” said Jim Flatt, CEO and co-founder of Brightseed.
“These insights into how NCT and NFT can support gut function – and specifically gut barrier strength by restoring a healthy epithelium barrier – provide a strong foundation for the clinical research that is underway to substantiate the benefits of natural ingredients for personalised and proactive health solutions.”
Rigorous research insights
Brightseed's Forager identified NCT and NFT’s activity as agonists – causing the same action as the substance that normally binds to the receptor – for the HNF4ɑ protein, whose decreased expression in the gut is linked to a high fat diet and has been shown to be associated with poor intestinal health and decreased gut barrier integrity.
In scouring the plant kingdom for novel sources of NCT and NFT, Forager pinpointed hemp hulls as one of the richest sources of these compounds.
The company then formulated Bio 01, to optimise bioactive content while retaining the hemp hull’s fibre and nutrient profile.
“We’re excited to continue applying these rigorous research insights to develop a portfolio of bioactive ingredients to meet important consumer health areas,” said Sofia Elizondo, COO and co-founder of Brightseed.
“Brightseed’s focus on computational bioactive discovery paired with advanced metabolomics is enabling the functional food, beverage and dietary supplements industries to unlock the full potential of bioactives for human health.”
Authors: D Bolsterm, L Chae, J-W Klinken and S. Kalgaonkar
Journal of Food Bioactives, 20