We had the great pleasure of sitting down with Cristina Gabetti of Occhio al Futuro to discuss how Nuritas™ is mining through the billions of peptides in food to uncover and unlock disease-beating ingredients.
Check out our interview and many other great interviews by Cristina Gabetti here!
Cristina: Nora Khaldi is a mathematician. For her this fruit represents a lot more than just an apple and now she’ll tell us why.
Nora: When I first started working on food I never saw this as an apple. I saw it as data. Trillions and trillions and trillions of molecules interacting together, and also with the human body.
Cristina: Now you’re developing products, peptides, that extract the deepest intelligence from apples and other foods. How did you get to that?
Nora: Peptides are known to be extremely active, very specific. And not toxic. So the goal for us was to extract the best peptides, among those that are in any food, and understand how these actually bind to the human body and modulate diseases. By identifying the peptide, so the segment of the protein that has an activity, and releasing it from the backbone of the protein, it turns into an active ingredient, presenting a huge health benefit.
Cristina: So I wouldn’t be getting the benefits of the peptides by simply eating that apple?
Nora: No, you wouldn’t. You can eat as many apples as you want, but you’ll get very little benefit from that specific peptide.
Cristina: How are you measuring the state of inflammation or the needs of the human body?
Nora: At the moment there is no automatic way to measure inflammation, which is a pity. But you know through skin problems, high blood pressure, headaches… So you can take, like I was saying, an aspirin or two but it won’t solve it. You need something that specifically targets inflammation and we are allowing for that.
What’s good about a peptide is that it’s very flexible. Proteins you can break down, peptides you can’t. They bind very specifically to their targets and the good thing as well is that your body can get rid of them.
Not every peptide is active, some of them are active, and they happen to have a sequence of amino acids. That allows them to bind to a receptor that maybe causes inflammation. And by doing so, for those few seconds or few minutes when it binds, inflammation is reduced. The overall response is reduced inflammation. Very clear even after a few days.
Cristina: And why hasn’t the food industry tapped into this opportunity?
Nora: Food companies cannot afford the science. It’s very expensive to find these actives within food. And this is where new technologies allow us to speed up the process, but also make it a little cheaper.
Cristina: And how are you applying technology in this process?
Nora: We’re data mining lots of foods around the world. So we get samples from all over, and we data mine, tie in, to find novel peptides within. We then choose the best ones for a certain condition, we’re now focusing on four conditions. One is inflammation, two diabetes, three muscle recovery and maintenance. You know, health is really tied up to our health in terms of skeletal muscle. So we have invented peptides that actually can help muscle recover and stay muscly. And the fourth area is anti-aging, especially skin aging. More specifically we are interested in collagen, elasticity, and cellular regeneration. The foods that we are focused on at the moment are certain vegetables, cereals, grains, and the extraction of the yield is very high.