Nu approach: Egg firm Nuyolk plans clinical study to validate health claims of astaxanthin fortification
Most fortified eggs in the market typically contain single ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids (DHA or ALA), or some are fortified with vitamin E or selenium.
However, Nuyolk created an ambitious blend of nutrients that have been studied extensively on an individual basis for their health benefits.
In particular, it contains astaxanthin, which is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.
There are also studies of it relieving skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, decrease wrinkles and age spots, and increase elasticity.
Its eggs also contains selenium and vitamin E, which are antioxidants to help fight free radicals linked to diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. They are also studied in supporting skin health.
The other nutrients include vitamin D3 which helps maintain immune system, enhances calcium absorption and an energy booster, as well as DHA, key for cognitive and cardiovascular health.
Nuyolk’s director, Ron Koh told FoodNavigator-Asia, “We started off with a vision to assemble the best nutrients which has already been researched and fortified into eggs with proven bioavailability.”
“Egg yolk is the perfect vehicle for fortification due to its unique fat matrix which can hold so many nutrients and yet still taste so good.”
When deciding what nutrients to fortify in eggs, Koh said they narrowed it to fat-soluble nutrients that can be ensembled into the egg yolk.
According him, eggs fortification is relatively new in Singapore and barely adopted in the South East Asia region.
Koh said the company is planning to work with the National University of Singapore on clinical trials to assess the health benefits and expect to complete the study by 2022.
There are plans to recruit about 30 participants who will consume Nuyolk eggs for one to two months, undergo a washout period, and continue intake for the next one to two months.
Blood markers like cholesterol, inflammation, as well as skin analysis will be analysed.
The eggs are produced at its partner farm, N&N Agriculture Pte Ltd in Singapore.
The hens are mostly fed yellow corn and a mixture of flax seed and flax seed oil to boost higher yields of DHA, and contribute to a nutty aroma in the egg.
The feed also contains spirulina and Haematococcus Pluvialis (astaxanthin) which imparts an orange hue to the egg yolks.
Hens are also fed lactobacillus (probiotic) as well as 14 herbs including ginseng, hawthorn, and dong quai to boost the immune system, allowing them to produce quality eggs.
“When a hen immunity is compromised, they will first use up all the beneficial nutrients and not much is left in the yolks,” Koh explained.
Nuyolk also claims its eggs are odourless, without the typical fishy aroma found in ordinary eggs.
The main odour compound, trimethylamine found in normal eggs occurs naturally as a result of diet feed which may consist of fish meals.
Nuyolk’s eggs are not pasteurised. Instead, the company sprays a coating of food-grade coconut oil onto the shells, extending the shelf life by up to two weeks.
“The thin oil coat prevents bacteria and air entering the porous egg shell, and prevent moisture loss from inner egg to evapourate out,” Koh said.
The company is currently furthering improvements to its fortification process.
“We are trying to get in Vitamin K2 (menaquinone, specifically MK-7) into Nuyolk eggs which will be the last piece of puzzle to a complete functional food,” Koh told us.
Nuyolk primarily retails through its online store and major supermarket chains in Singapore.
The company is also planning the launch of an antioxidant-rich honey product fortified with astaxanthin (Haemotococcus Pluvialis), anthocyanin (bilberry extract) and sulforaphane (broccoli sprouts extract).
The honey will be sold on its website this June.