Monday, May 06, 2024

Commercial production of vitamin C for fortification and dietary supplements

In most mammals, vitamin C is made in the liver from blood sugar using a four-step enzymatic process. Humans and about 20 other mammalian species lack one of these enzymes, requiring us to both obtain vitamin C from our diet and to sustain internal levels of vitamin C using a variety of other food antioxidants.

But rather than extracting vitamin C from foods, the modern way to manufacture it is to start with dextrose, a sugar identical to blood glucose, and manipulate it into ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C; mimicking the biological production technique to some extent. The result is a nature-identical vitamin indistinguishable from the form in foods.

The primary method of biosynthesizing vitamin C starts with the conversion of glucose into sorbitol. Dextrose is converted to sorbitol by adding hydrogen to the molecule; that is typically done with a catalyst (defined as an easily recoverable material that facilitates a chemical reaction but is not used up in the reaction nor added to the molecule). The only added element is hydrogen, which is applied in a pressure tank.

Converting the sorbitol into sorbose and then into an intermediate known as 2-KLG is done using a two-step fermentation process

Then a final lactonization step (reacting 2-KLG with acid and/or dehydration is used to produce the lactone known as l-ascorbic acid/vitamin C; chemical form C6H8O6).

Friday, April 26, 2024

When to take products with enteric coating

The reason why we suggest taking enterically coated supplements on an empty stomach is to avoid the pill (capsule or tablet) being trapped in the stomach with food for an hour or more, which could allow the contents to release prematurely prior to reaching the small intestine.

In a study of 24 subjects, at baseline the median gastric pH was 1, increased to pH 4.5 with ingestion of the meal, and then returned to approximately pH 1 some 3–4 h after the start of the meal.,RESULTS,the%20start%20of%20the%20meal

However, if someone has low stomach acid (aging, antacids, etc.) to start, the pH can increase even more and risk the capsule emptying directly into the stomach. That can cause either degradation of the contents or increased risk of burping up and tasting any oils in the product. 

The esophagus and stomach are especially sensitive to essential oils, as evidenced by people adding drops to water and drinking that, later ending up with mucous lining degradation leading to stomach pain or heartburn, and occasionally emergency room visits.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Kosher for Passover means avoiding fermentation of grains


There are different interpretations of the religious laws, but in general they do not allow wheat or other traditional grains, including grain alcohol, during Passover with one exception:

Wheat flour that is used to make matzos has been specially supervised from harvest through processing to ensure that it has not had an opportunity to start fermenting, so it is continually inspected to ensure that it is not in contact with moisture in order to inhibit fermentation. The water used to make matzos is left out overnight to cool, also in order to inhibit fermentation. Milling, mixing with water, kneading, and baking are done in separate areas to avoid cross-contamination. 

Fermentation is believed to occur about 18 minutes after a grain is mixed with moisture, so after mixing the flour with water, kosher for Passover matzos are put in the oven within that time limit; the ovens are separate from the preparation areas so that the heat is not promoting fermentation of materials being mixed/prepared.

Grain-based fermentation products such as alcohol are also forbidden in kosher for Passover products, since the purpose is to avoid using aged or fermented materials to mimic the plight of fleeing slaves who didn't have time to let (sourdough) bread rise in their hurry to flee Egypt. 

(While it is quite likely that the newly freed slaves would have grabbed already-baked bread, this specific kosher for Passover practice of removing all leavened bread and other forbidden items from a household during the holiday is evidently intended as a ritual to evoke sympathy for their hurried exodus during the Passover Seders practiced by their descendants.)

The traditional grains banned unless following the same rules as the matzo wheat include wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt; all of which were available in Egypt some 3,500 years ago. 

Wine is allowed for Passover when the yeast is the product of the grapes themselves. But the wine must not include added non-kosher yeasts, other non-kosher additives (isinglass), or be produced/stored in a room containing grains or products made from grains. The work must also stop on the Sabbath, so observant Jews must be the winemakers.