Multipurpose usage: How companies are using blood sugar management ingredient for weight loss, PCOS and more

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

One of the key ingredients used is white mulberry leaf extract.
One of the key ingredients used is white mulberry leaf extract.

Related tags Phynova Blood sugar management Diabetes Insulin Obesity Metabolic syndrome Prebiotics

Supplement firms are increasingly launching products for dual blood sugar and weight management purposes, with a recent example being Eimele Wellness from Australia.

Calibrate Reds, the company’s latest launch, is positioned around promoting body fat loss, providing antioxidant support, maintaining healthy blood glucose, and body mass index (BMI).

One of the key ingredients used is white mulberry leaf extract marketed as Reducose from British life science company Phynova.

The ingredient is said to inhibit the breakdown of carbohydrates and sucrose. The other key ingredient used in the powder sachet product is Morosil Moro Red Sweet Orange extract for supporting abdominal weight loss.

doTERRA is another company that is linking up the management of post meal blood glucose level and fat metabolism together through its capsule supplement MetaPWR Assist.

It similarly features Reducose and ingredients including eriocitrin, cinnamon bark powder, and its proprietary MetaPWR Metabolic Blend.

Andrew Gallagher, global head of science at Phynova, tells NutraIngredients-Asia, ​that the company has identified seven other areas in which Reducose could play a role in.

Prior to this, the ingredient is mainly known for its blood sugar management benefit and is used for this purpose in products such as Nestle Health Science’s Nutren GlucoSmart​.

The seven areas are weight / bariatric, healthy ageing, women’s health, sports performance, keto diet, cognitive function, and healthy microbiome.

This is because the ingredient could trigger a cascade of benefits, he said.

First, the active compound in Reducose, 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) resembles the structure of glucose, allowing it to partially occupy or inhibit the alpha-glucosidase enzymes that break down sucrose and carbohydrates into glucose.

This helps to inhibit the breakdown of sucrose and carbohydrates by up to 40 per cent.

In other words, the spike in glucose levels after a meal could be reduced by more than 40 per cent.

Controlling post-meal glucose spike and keeping it within a healthy level is the main goal of Reducose as a blood glucose management ingredient.

Controlling the appetite and promoting fat loss

The undigested carbohydrates then arrive in the small intestine, where they are turned into resistance starch. One of the noticeable effects produced, is the satiety effect.

“As carbohydrates move through the second and third part of the smaller intestine, they're going to trigger peptide hormones such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY), cholecystokinin (CCK), which will make you feel full.

“This is one of the benefits which companies are positioning for weight management are leveraging,” ​Gallagher explained.

With a lower amount of glucose getting into the body, a lower amount of insulin is produced and vice versa.

When there is a lower insulin spike, the body would burn fats instead of glucose for energy, in turn, promoting fat loss.

“When you have a big insulin spike, your body will preferentially burn carbohydrates for energy. With a low insulin spike, your body will rather burn fatty acids, because our preferred energy molecule is glucose.

“That's important for weight management, because you're going to be preferentially burning fats for energy rather than glycogen. This can help you if you're dieting to target fat loss rather than just general weight loss.”

He added that some weight management products promote satiety through insoluble fibre that “swells” in the intestine, but this could make the users uncomfortable.

In contrast, Reducose does so by controlling the appetite.

“The feeling you get with Reducose is rather a lack of desire to eat, which is quite an important differentiation, especially we start thinking about other applications beyond just weight management.”

One of these other areas is cognitive performance.

“You don't have that sugar crash, so you don't feel the need to snack but also you don't feel hungry or getting distracted by feeling of hunger.”

Women’s health

Insulin spikes, or hyperinsulinemia, is one of the causes of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

“The driving factor for PCOS is hyperinsulinemia. With PCOS, you get these big insulin spikes, and these spikes could drive a lot of problems associated with PCOS.”

One of the issues is the higher production of the androgen hormone and higher fat accumulation.

As such, changing of the diet, such as taking foods low in glycaemic index (GI) is one of the advices that doctors would give to PCOS patients.

“Reducose turns foods into low GI. We have done three clinical trials, looking at a range of different carbohydrates to demonstrate that,” ​he said.  

Women going through menopause are also facing the same situation of increased androgenic hormones, fat accumulation, and higher risk of metabolic diseases.


Reducose could also play a role in the microbiome health.

By inhibiting the breakdown of sucrose and carbohydrates, the undigested carbohydrates could be used as prebiotics in the colon.

“We've seen in some of our studies that those undigested carbohydrates do reach the colon and are getting into the short chain fatty acids.

“If you think about prebiotics, in general, what are they? They're normally oligosaccharides, which are relatively short polymers of fructose, glucose, and galactose.

“Those are the carbohydrates which the beneficial bacteria prefer to eat. And that's exactly what we’re doing by sending the undigested carbohydrates to the microbiome to feed on.”

Source of inspiration

Acarbose, a medicine for Type II diabetes management, is one of the inspirations that led the company to study Reducose’s effects in weight management.

This is because both are alpha-glucosidase inhibitor that lowers glucose spike, but Reducose is different in that it is a food ingredient.

“In the clinical trials looking at Acarbose for diabetes and glucose management, there were strong benefits for weight management.

“Like Reducose, it prevents carbohydrates from being absorbed by the body, it is stimulating GLP-1 and satiety and so, weight management was an obvious area for us to look into.”

Phynova will be running its first long-term clinical trial, a 12-week study, looking at 250mg of Reducose twice per day and its effects on weight management, metabolic health, and the microbiome in the UK next year. The trial will be funded by Innovate UK.

The company has already conducted six studies, with brand partners conducting and publishing the findings of four other studies. These add up to a total of 10 clinical trials supporting the ingredient's efficacy at this point. 

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