AI-Discovered Functional Food Ingredient PeptiForce™, Able to Maintain Healthy Blood Glucose Levels Over Time

by Sweeny Chauhan

 

What is PeptiForce™ and what are its main benefits?

PeptiForce™ is a functional ingredient, discovered through Artificial Intelligence (AI, also known as machine learning).  Using this technology, Nuritas scientists identified pieces of protein, called peptides, within the common pea that help the body regulate glucose metabolism [1].

Trials have shown that PeptiForce™ significantly reduces blood glucose levels in people considered to be prediabetic, providing scientific evidence that it can be used to maintain healthy glucose regulation.

Why is it so important to maintain healthy blood glucose Levels?

Raised glucose levels in blood is a clinical indicator of diabetes, a chronic condition that affects how glucose is processed within the body. The prevalence of diabetes is currently increasing rapidly worldwide [2] (Figure 1), and is associated with age, poor diet, and physical inactivity. Which is why, now more than ever, it’s important to keep blood glucose levels within a safe range to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c) is a well-established and reliable measure of glucose control and represents the average blood glucose level in an individual. HbA1c levels of >6.5% are considered as diabetic and HbA1c levels between 5.6%-6.4% are considered elevated and are characterised as a prediabetic state, an intermediate state to diabetes.

What is the “prediabetic state” and why does it pose such a high risk on health?

Despite being largely preventable, type 2 diabetes currently accounts for the vast majority of diabetes cases. It is a condition that usually does not appear overnight, there is a long, slow, and mostly invisible process behind it, a lead-in state which is called prediabetes [2].

In this prediabetic state, blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, yet not high enough to be classified as diabetes. This state signifies a risk of future development of type 2 diabetes and related complications.

Unfortunately, many people are not even aware of being prediabetic, as they do not get their blood sugar levels tested routinely.

Can I do anything if I have prediabetes?

It is possible to prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes, which creates an opportunity to intervene without medication.

Type 2 diabetes not only poses an elevated risk for developing cardiovascular disease [2], but also carries massive health implications for patients, as well as high costs for healthcare systems [3].

Therefore, prediabetes should be seen as a warning and action is critical in order to prevent the progression to diabetes.

How do functional ingredients aide in this scenario?

Functional ingredients, including those containing bioactive peptides, represent exciting opportunity for reducing the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes.  Whereas traditional nutrients, such as chromium and zinc have been shown to benefit glucose metabolism, supplementation beyond basic requirements doesn’t help.  So, if you are deficient in these minerals, correcting the deficiency is definitely a good idea.  Bioactive peptides are a novel approach to managing blood glucose levels, because they don’t replace what is missing, but rather provide your body with instructions on how to function.

How does Nuritas’s AI approach play a role in the discovery of functional ingredients?

Artificial Intelligence can look within a complex food source and identify key health benefitting bioactive peptides. Once the bioactive peptides hidden in food are identified, they can be unlocked to create effective functional ingredients. Nuritas’ artificial intelligence platform can pivot into any number of health areas. By adopting a top-down approach, a health benefit can be targeted, the relevant bioactive peptides are identified, and functional ingredients are created. When a functional ingredient is characterised in this way, the targeted health benefit can be validated more readily, creating an opportunity to enhance the adoption of functional ingredients as both prevention and intervention nutritional strategies.

Using this AI approach, Nuritas was able to discover key glucose regulating bioactive peptides within Pisum sativum (the common Pea) and produce a safe and natural functional ingredient, PeptiForce™.

 

References
[1] S. Chauhan, A. Kerr, B. Keogh, S. Nolan, R. Casey, A. Adelfio, N. Murphy, A. Doherty, H. Davis, A. M. Wall And N. Khaldi, “An Artificial-Intelligence-Discovered Functional Ingredient, Nrt_N0g5ij, Derived From Pisum Sativum, Decreases Hba1c In A Prediabetic Population” Nutrients, Vol. 13(5), P. 1635, 2021
[2] International Diabetes Federation, “IDF Diabetes Atlas 8th edition,” 2017.
[3] L. J. Andes, Y. J. Cheng, D. B. Rolka, E. W. Gregg, and G. Imperatore, “Prevalence of Prediabetes Among Adolescents and Young Adults in the United States,  2005-2016.,” JAMA Pediatr., vol. 174, no. 2, p. e194498, Feb. 2020.
Figure 1: Number of people with diabetes worldwide and per region in 2017 and 2045 (20-79 years) (International Diabetes Federation, “IDF Diabetes Atlas 8th edition,” 2017)