Functional food innovation: Amorepacific to expand healthy ageing portfolio with threonine-rich products

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are examples of nuts that are rich in threonine. ©Getty Images
Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are examples of nuts that are rich in threonine. ©Getty Images

Related tags Amorepacific vital beautie threonine

South Korean beauty and skincare conglomerate Amorepacific has revealed its ambitions in expanding its healthy ageing supplement portfolio, and is developing threonine-rich new products, following positive findings on the amino acid.

Amorepacific is planning to launch these threonine-rich new products through its health supplements brand Vital Beautie in the first half of 2023. 

The firm, together with researchers from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, had concluded a research on how the essential amino acid L-threonine, could improve healthspan in the roundworms Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) ​undergoing dietary restriction.

Dietary restriction is defined as the coordinated reduction of intake of all dietary ingredients except vitamins and minerals.

Published on the scientific journal Nature Communications​ on November 2, the findings suggest that L-threonine could be an effective intervention for preventing senescence progression and age-induced ferroptosis.

Senescence is a process by which a cell ages and permanently stops dividing but does not die. When such cells accumulate in the body, they could release harmful substances that may cause inflammation and even play a role in the development of cancer.

Ferroptosis, on the other hand, is a new type of cell death that was discovered in recent years​. This is usually accompanied by large amount of iron accumulation and lipid peroxidation during the cell death process.

Studies have found that ferroptosis is closely related to the pathophysiological processes of diseases such as tumours and nervous system diseases.

Following the findings, Amorepacific hopes to expand its healthy ageing supplement portfolio using threonine.

As threonine is an essential amino acid that cannot be synthesised by the body, it must be supplemented through ingestion. As such, there is value in developing this into a functional food.  

“We plan to develop functional foods that support ‘healthy longevity’ by improving immunity through the use of our ginseng berry ingredient or supplement as a base and incorporating natural ingredients that are rich in threonine,”​ Dr. Juewon Kim, principle researcher at the Amorepacific R&I Center said in response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia.

Ageing and its opportunities

The firm is seeing market opportunities in the area of active ageing. 

We are seeing a growing market demand in the field of active ageing, which targets active seniors who lead active, healthy lives regardless of age. They are interested in more than simply extending their lifespan.

“Amorepacific has always pursued the belief that ‘outer beauty’ comes from ‘inner beauty – meaning wellbeing and health and has thus developed functional foods and health supplements.

“The area of longevity has come to focus on more than just living longer, but living longer and well,”​ said Dr. Kim.

He also said that the next step of the firm’s research was to look into ferroptosis, which he said could affect organ disorders.

More on threonine research

The research found that a number of metabolites had increased in the C. elegans​ when they were under dietary restriction. 

Aside from the amino acid threonine, the metabolites that increased in number included ribose 5-phosphate, creatinine, glutathione, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+​) – which was already known for its impact on cellular health​.

Of which, threonine was shown to delay the ageing process and had extended the lifespan of C. elegans​ by 18 per cent, as well as improved health-related parameters and coordinated body movement.

“The study confirmed that activating a particular stress response factor in cells can lead to longevity and activating this response with a specific amino acid can slowdown cellular aging.

“Through this study, we have also established a scientific basis for threonine, which prolongs a healthy life span,” ​said Kim.

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