2nd Edition of Food Science and Technology Virtual (V-Food 2022) (15-16 April 2022, Online),
The 22nd Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Society of Anti-Aging Medicine (17-19 June 2022, Osaka, Japan),
The 30th Annual Meeting of International Congress on Nutrition and Integrative Medicine (ICNIM 2022) (9-10 July 2022 Sapporo, Japan)
The 3rd International Electronic Conference on Foods: Food, Microbiome, and Health (Foods 2022) (1-15 October 2022, Online)
Motivation for Development
Recently, I often receive inquiries about “My blood glucose level is out of range”. Blood glucose is the concentration of glucose in the blood. During digestion in the small intestine, polysaccharides in food are broken down into disaccharides by the enzyme pancreatic α-amylase, which is secreted by the pancreas, and these disaccharides are further broken down into glucose by the enzyme α-glucosidase, absorbed into the blood vessels (Fig. 1) . When an elevated blood glucose level is detected, the hormone insulin is secreted by the pancreas, which transports glucose from the blood to the cells . In the liver and muscles, glucose is converted into glycogen, which is energy, and in adipose tissue, it is stored as fat. Diabetes is caused by insufficient or ineffective secretion of insulin [3, 4].
Since diabetes can cause blindness, dialysis, amputation of legs, and even cancer, we decided to develop the product solving this [3, 4].
Fig. １ Mechanism of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a persistent high blood glucose level. This produces large amounts of reactive oxygen species in the blood, which damage blood vessels, causing them to narrow, making it difficult for sufficient blood to flow to the body [2-5]. Oxygen and nutrients are then not distributed throughout the body. This causes pain and numbness in the feet and hands, and dry and itchy skin. In addition, the body tries to remove glucose from the blood, resulting in frequent urination, polyuria, perspiration, and thirst. This leads to complications such as retinopathy, renal failure, and end-stage neuropathy. Ultimately, it is known to cause blindness, dialysis, amputation of legs, and myocardial infarction, stroke, and even cancer.
Causes of diabetes include obesity, improper diet (excessive consumption of red and processed meats, lack of fiber), and lifestyle disturbances such as excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, stress, lack of sleep, and smoking [2-5].
In diabetes, in addition to obese people, the proportion of people with visceral fatty obesity, in which fat accumulates around the internal organs, has been increasing recently [2-5]. Asians have lower insulin secretion capacity than Westerners, and even mild obesity can lead to diabetes . When visceral fat accumulates due to overeating and lack of exercise, the secretion of good adipocytokines (adiponectin, leptin, etc.), which improve insulin function and suppress appetite, decreases, and make insulin less effective (insulin resistance), and the secretion of bad ones (TNF-α, PAI-1, etc.), which cause blood clots, increases . When insulin resistance develops, the pancreas still secretes more insulin to keep blood glucose levels constant. However, it eventually becomes exhausted and secretes less insulin. As a result, blood glucose levels do not drop and remain high, a negative spiral that leads to the onset of diabetes.
Recently, there is also hidden hyperglycemia (diabetes mellitus), in which the blood glucose level is high for 2-3 hours after a meal and drops to normal levels . You should be suspicious if you have symptoms such as thirst, cold hands and feet, or drowsiness after eating.
How to prevent obesity and diabetes?
The first step in preventing obesity and diabetes is to eat less food . Excessive energy intake leads to obesity. It is essential to maintain a good nutritional balance and eat three regular meals with foods high in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is also important to avoid snacking, eat from vegetables and seaweed, eat slowly, and use alcohol in moderation .
Of course, moderate exercise is also probably necessary.
But there are many people who say that sugar tastes good and they can’t stop (myself included…). There is a reason for this. Scientifically, it has been believed that the taste of carbohydrates is sweetness caused by sugar (molecules). However, it was recently discovered that even when receptors in the taste buds that perceive sweetness are blocked, the taste of starch can still be perceived as tasting like white rice, bread or pasta [11, 12]. This has attracted attention as a sixth taste, following sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. This means that some people like the taste of sugar, and of course it is hard to stop.
So, what to do?
I looked to see if there were any foods that, when eaten, do not break down or absorb carbohydrates and improve insulin secretion, making insulin work more effectively. Then, Jerusalem artichoke came up first . It has been reported that inulin, which is abundant in Jerusalem artichoke, suppresses the absorption of sugar, and furthermore, good bacteria in the large intestine feed on inulin and multiply, producing short-chain fatty acids through active fermentation, thereby improving insulin secretion (Fig. 2). Unfortunately, it does not seem to have the function of suppressing carbohydrate-degrading enzymes and making insulin work effectively. The same is true for natto (fermented soybeans), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), and other sticky soluble fibers [14, 15]. Salacia is next on the list. Salacia suppresses the action of α-amylase and α-glucosidase, enzymes that break down carbohydrates, thereby inhibiting their breakdown and absorption . However, it does not seem to have any other functions. I would like to have all the functions if possible. And it would be even better if it tasted good and had other effects, such as boosting immunity, for example. This is where jumbo leek (French garlic) emerged.
Fig. ２ Effect of inulin on blood glucose levels
What is jumbo leek (French garlic)?
Jumbo leek, also called French garlic, Russian garlic, elephant garlic, jumbo garlic, wild leek, and odorless garlic, is a member of the leek genus [17-24]. It is a different species from garlic and is a different variant of the same species of leek . It is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used as a traditional remedy since 3,000 BC. Its medicinal effects are much higher than those of ordinary garlic, and it has been reported to prevent obesity, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis (inhibits the breakdown and absorption of sugar after meals and lowers cholesterol), improve liver function (inhibits the absorption of alcohol and strengthens the liver), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, inhibit gene mutation, boost immunity, neutralize toxins, tonic, and anti-cancer. From these, it has been called the “magic herb”.
It is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, minerals, folic acid, and dietary fiber, and has more amino acids and polyphenols than ordinary garlic. Allicin, the source of the garlic smell, is only 1/60 that of regular garlic, so it does not leave a lingering odor and does not seem to cause stomach or abdominal pain. Of particular interest is a soluble fiber called “inulin” (Fig. 2) [25, 26]. Inulin and its breakdown product, fructooligosaccharide, are known to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Furthermore, they slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, moderate absorption, and lower cholesterol, and are therefore used as a weight-loss solution. This ingredient became famous in Jerusalem artichoke, but to our surprise, French garlic contains this inulin in the same proportions [13, 25]. This makes it ideal for those who are concerned about their body shape. It also contains a high amount of an herbal ingredient called “saponin,” which is not found in regular garlic [20, 27]. These are the reasons why it is called the “magic herb”.
How to maximize the ability of jumbo Leek (French Garlic) to break down and inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates after a meal?
Jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs (scale) are babies. In early summer, the bulb goes to sleep, wakes up in the fall, germinates, and goes back to sleep . After winter, they wake up again from sleep in spring, sprout, and the bulbs enlarge and grow. For this reason, the components of Jumbo leek (French garlic) are insoluble in water when they are asleep, so that they do not run off when it rains. When it awakens from sleep, it transforms itself into a water-soluble form and uses it for its own growth . In this process, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are broken down to make sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, growth hormones, repair hormones, and immune-supporting components to prevent disease in preparation for sprouting.
The same is true in humans, and those that are difficult to dissolve in water must be converted to water-soluble components in the body, which can be less efficient and more toxic .
Extractives and extracts are not bad, but we still wanted to consume them in food form if possible.
How do we get jumbo leek (French garlic) to wake up?
If the awakening does not occur at the same time, the ingredients will be uneven… Therefore, we had Jumbo leek (French garlic) awakened rapidly and synchronously in two days using our proprietary Grandir recipe™ to create the ingredients for the baby’s life force. The whole clove was then heated and freeze-dried (Fig. 3).
By waking them up, we succeeded in increasing their nutritional components and umami flavor. Furthermore, allicin becomes scordinine by heating , which has been reported to dilate capillaries and promote cell proliferation [32, 33], and is expected to contribute to health and beauty in addition to being delicious.
Fig. 3 Scheme of rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic)
Rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs inhibit postprandial carbohydrate breakdown and absorption
The postprandial carbohydrate degradation and absorption inhibitory effect of rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs, intended for oral administration (eating), was tested by lowering the activity of two enzyme activities, namely pancreatic α-amylase and α-glucosidase [34, 35].
The results showed that, for pancreatic α-amylase, heating and freeze-drying samples that had not been subjected to rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking (untreated) was effective in inhibiting enzyme activity by 6.5% compared to the control. In contrast, the rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking sample showed an enhanced inhibitory effect of 12.5%, approximately double that of the untreated sample (Fig. 4). Next, the inhibitory effect of α-glucosidase was enhanced in the untreated sample (9.1%) and in the rapidly and synchronized dormancy-breaking plants (14.6%), which was about 1.6 times more effective than the untreated sample (Fig. 5). These results indicate that the rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs have an inhibitory effect on the breakdown and absorption of postprandial carbohydrates (postprandial hyperglycemia-preventive effect).
Furthermore, as noted previously, jumbo leek (French garlic) contains inulin as much as jerusalem artichoke [13, 25]. Therefore, inulin wraps around carbohydrates, increasing their absorption inhibition effect. Furthermore, inulin has been reported to improve the secretion of insulin and appetite suppressant hormones (Fig. 2), leading to weight loss and prevention of hyperglycemia [25, 26].
Furthermore, jumbo leek (French garlic) contains organosulfur compounds such as alliin and S-allyl L-cysteine, which have been reported to promote both the production and effects of insulin, facilitating the elimination of sugar from the blood vessels (Fig. 6) [36, 37, 38]. In addition, similar to garlic, in rapid and dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs, the accumulation of isoalliin in preparation for germination, followed by green discoloration, probably due to the reaction between isoalliin and alliin (Fig. 7) [39, 40, 41]. Therefore, similar effects to other organosulfur compounds are expected from isoalliin [36, 37, 38, 42].
Moreover, it is also high in saponins, which may be speculated to increase the effect of insulin [20, 27, 43].
In summary, it can be concluded that rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs inhibit the action of enzymes that break down carbohydrates, hinder their breakdown and absorption, promote the production and effect of insulin, and stimulate the secretion of appetite suppressing hormones (Fig. 8). It is rare that such a wide range of effects can be obtained in a single food, and we have succeeded in making the “magic herb” highly functional in food form, without extracting or concentrating it. Eating the rapid and dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs is expected to have a preventive effect on obesity through sugar dieting and appetite suppression, as well as a preventive effect on diabetes through its blood sugar lowering action.
Fig. ４ Change in enzymatic activity of α-amylase by rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking (RSDB)
Fig. ５ Change in enzymatic activity of α-glucanase by rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking (RSDB)
Fig. ６ Effects of organosulfur compounds on blood glucose levels
Fig. 7 Rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulb
Fig. ８ Effect of rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs on blood glucose levels
Rapid and synchronized dormancy-breaking jumbo leek (French garlic) bulbs
We have succeeded in creating a safe, secure, and highly functional product without extracting or concentrating it, but rather using it as it is in foods that have a long history of consumption.
Youthfulness and health decline with age. The baby life force of French garlic works with the body’s natural power to help maintain a youthful and healthy life.
We use only French garlic from Kyushu.
We are currently conducting research and will update the data as it becomes available.
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