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Marine protein hydrolysates for stress management.

It is widely recognized that, although certain foods and drinks act as powerful stimulants to the body, a well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in health maintenance and stress reduction. In addition to a balanced diet, consumers are now seeking both pleasure and well-being in their food products. With 50 years of experience in developing marine bioactives, the Copalis R&D team has developed a marine protein hydrolysate--Protizen--that meets the end-user need to manage stress in a convenient manner.

What is Stress?

Stress is a reaction to psychological pressure and is experienced on a daily basis by most people. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress is at the origin of 75-90% of new medical consultations and 60-80% of work accidents. Stress is a state of chronic tension (physical and psychological) that stems from the inappropriate long-term management of psychological pressure. Several factors contribute to the stress response, which manifest themselves in how we react to a dangerous or frightening situation. During an emergency, our body undergoes intense metabolic changes so that we can react and take action quickly. The secretion of adrenalin makes our physical resources immediately available. It increases the acuteness of our senses and our perceptions, the speed of our reflexes and the strength of our muscles.

If the situation becomes overwhelming, the body will exhaust its defence mechanisms, leading to anxiety and depression. With time, this 'distress' can lead to poor health and/or illness. To avoid this, stress must not be eliminated ... but needs to be managed, to reduce its negative health effects and to prevent the development of harmful habits such as smoking and the habitual use of prescription medication (sleeping aids and antidepressants). The symptoms of stress are numerous: snacking, weight gain, sleeplessness, fatigue, smoking, mood swings, decreased libido, impaired memory and concentration, headaches, back pain, stomach upset, diarrhoea, constipation and chronic infection (because of a weakened immune system).


What is Protizen?

Protizen is a natural marine bioactive extracted from the Pollack (Pollachius virens). The extraction process is based on enzymatic hydrolysis followed by refining steps to concentrate the active polypeptides. The average molecular mass of Protizen is 2200 Da. It's quite a small molecule that is easily assimilated. And, although it has been shown that protein-rich food helps to increase alertness and concentration, Protizen's low molecular weight can boost the overall bioavailability compared with whole protein. Indeed, the absorption of short-chain peptides (mainly, di- and tripeptides) is considered to be a more efficient method of amino acid absorption compared with an equivalent amount of free amino acids. This is because of the availability of peptide-specific transport systems and subsequent terminal peptide digestion into amino acids--by the action of cytoplasmic peptidases within the enterocytes--before entering the circulation. Having a high bioavailability, peptides are also active at low concentrations.

Scientific Evidence

The anxiolytic effects of Protizen were evaluated in Wistar male rats following oral administration. The study was done by researchers in applied ethology according to the ethical rules laid down by ASAB and the Canadian Council for the Protection of Animals. The Conditioned Defensive Burying test evaluated the following parameters: duration of hiding; number of stretching actions; and percentage of approaches followed by retreats. Figure 1 shows that a per os administration of 6 mg/kg of Protizen has a significant anxiolytic effect on rats, equivalent to a 3 mg/kg dose of diazepam.


Anxiety reduction was also observed in open-field and Irwin tests. The open-field test evaluates the locomotive and exploratory activity of rats. The number of divisions crossed, the corrections, the interest taken in presented objects and defecations were recorded and indicated that Protizen, particularly when administered in doses of 25 and 400 mg/kg, appeared to stimulate the locomotive and exploratory activity of rats and induced a state of relaxation. The Irwin's test evaluates the neurological, physiological and behavioural effects of a situation. Researchers noted lower scores in the groups of rats treated with Protizen. The variables relating to anxiety inducing situations result from the stress-reducing action of the product. These tests also demonstrated that Protizen has no side-effects: it does not induce amnesia, sedation, tolerance, addiction or uninhibited behaviour. Thus, in vivo studies show that Protizen is a safe and efficient marine-based ingredient to combat stress and its symptoms (work pressure, sleeplessness, weight disorders, lack of concentration, mood swings, etc.).

RELATED ARTICLE: Pet Anxiety Management

Although a number of definitions of pets' anxiety disorder have been suggested, veterinary behaviourists all agree that anxiety related conditions are a significant issue. Indeed, pet behavioural problems are numerous, and can include destructive behaviour in cats, barking, chewing, car sickness and separation anxiety. In addition to behavioural therapy, several drugs are available (anxiolytics, antidepressants); yet, many owners are reluctant to administer psychotropic drugs in case the pet becomes addicted. There is a clear need for natural compounds to overcome these obstacles. Based on preclinical results, Copalis has developed a marine protein hydrolysate, Procalm, that addresses pet anxiety disorders. The putative effect of Procalm on anxiety disorders in dogs was evaluated against a placebo: 41 dogs were orally dosed with 6 mg/kg of either Procalm or a placebo every 24 hours; 34 dogs completed the study. ETEC, 4A scores and the owners' assessments were analysed. Although preclinical studies had demonstrated an anxiolytic-like effect, the dog trial helped to establish a less tangible factor: the owners' positive assessments of improvement--criteria that ETEC and 4A scores can't measure. The positive feedback was based on perceptions of the dogs' happiness and well-being. Overall, the trial showed that Procalm helps to manage canine anxiety disorders and improve dogs' well-being.


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Title Annotation:mood health
Publication:Nutraceutical Business & Technology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2010
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