Food & Flavour
Highly bioavailable natural lemon extract extends the potential reach of flavanones’ health benefits 19th July 2021
With Wellemon™, Euromed will officially launch a new lemon-based botanical ingredient in its line of Mediterranean fruit and vegetable extracts™ at Vitafoods Europe (Geneva, Switzerland, 5-7 October). Lemons are a rich source of eriocitrin – a secondary plant substance with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties commonly found in the Mediterranean-style diet. A recently published acute clinical study of the CEBAS-CSIC – a research centre within the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) – compared the eriocitrin-rich Wellemon™ extract with an hesperidin-rich orange extract. The results showed that Euromed’s lemon extract yielded more bioavailable metabolites than hesperidin and may therefore provide more effective health benefits.
The researchers compared the bioavailability and metabolism of flavanones from lemon as well as orange extracts (main endpoint), and analysed changes in metabolic markers after a high-fat-high-sugar meal. The overall excretion of metabolites was substantially higher after consuming lemon extract, as indicated by blood and urine samples of the participants. In particular, the pharmacokinetic study showed for the first time in humans, that intake of eriocitrin from lemon extract yields both lemon and orange metabolites, thanks to hesperetin-eriodictyol interconversion, exclusive to the eriocitrin metabolite. By doing so, Wellemon™ can provide a higher total concentration of bioactive metabolites, not achievable with the intake of hesperidin alone. Hesperidin has a low bioavailability due to poor water-solubility. Moreover, there is high interindividual variability in the production of derived bioactive intestinal metabolites. Wellemon™ intake may be sufficient to exert health benefits even in so-called low-producer individuals, reducing interindividual variability and overcoming poor hesperidin bioavailability. It is also worth noting, that the systolic blood pressure remained stable in subjects consuming Wellemon™, but increased slightly in those supplementing orange extract. Besides cardiovascular and metabolic health, possible applications include vascular health, immunity, healthy ageing and nutricosmetics.
Andrea Zangara, Head of Scientific Communications & Marketing, says: “The Mediterranean diet, with a high intake of fruits and vegetables, stands out as particularly heart-friendly and health-promoting. Citrus fruits play an important role in that eating pattern, especially in the winter months due to their rich source of flavanones such as eriocitrin. Our eriocitrin-standardised compound is obtained from sustainably sourced Spanish whole lemons, processed with our proprietary, water-only extraction technology, the Pure-Hydro Process™. We’re looking forward to the official launch of Wellemon™ at Vitafoods, when we will be making it available for new and existing customers.”
 Avila-Galvez M. et al. (2021): New Insights into the Metabolism of the Flavanones Eriocitrin and Hesperidin: A Comparative Human Pharmacokinetic Study. Antioxidants 2021, 10, 435. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10030435