JAPAN – Kirin Holdings has introduced a new functional ingredient to support “support the maintenance of memory, which declines with age.”

Called Beta-Lactolin, the new ingredient reportedly targets those who are healthy but have started to become forgetful or slower in making decisions due to the natural aging process.

To ensure market success, Kirin is partnering with a number of local food companies to launch the product in various forms including a beverage, yogurt, and supplements.

New products to be released throughout Japan include beta-lactolin by Kyowa Hakko Bio on April 20 and a Kirin beta-lactolin beverage by Kirin Beverage Company on May 11.

Koiwai Beta-lactolin Milk, a dairy-based drink from Koiwai Dairy Products Company will be released in select areas on May 18.

Lastly, Megmilk Snow Brand is collaborating with Kirin to release a Kiokukea Yogurt βlactolin in Japan on June 8.

A new ingredient Japan’s large aging population.

Japan’s average life expectancy continues to increase, and the country has entered a “super-aged” society in which one in four people is elderly, notes the company.

Given that an estimated one in five elderly people will suffer from dementia in 2025, healthy aging is a social issue.

The milk-derived bioactive peptide beta-lactolin is positioned to address this issue in Japan’s large aging population.

 “Beta-lactolin is distinct compared to other ingredients in that it works directly on cognitive function by increasing the neurotransmitter dopamine,” Kozue Takayoshi, assistant manager of corporate communication at Kirin Holdings, explains.

“The increase in dopamine stimulates neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, the brain regions responsible for memory.

Through this mechanism, beta-lactolin helps people retain their capacity for memory,” she adds.

The whey protein-derived peptide is “a world first” for its specific mechanism of action, which increases the neurotransmitter dopamine, explains Takayoshi.

Bioactive peptides from dairy-derived ingredients have gained interest as research supports their ability to reduce stress and improve brain function.

Last November, Fonterra released a milk phospholipids ingredient from whey to reduce stress while Ingredia’s Lacitum decapeptide from milk has also enjoyed success as an ingredient targeting brain health through its capacity to help users adapt to stress.

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