Japanese low-purine trend inspires Meiji PA-3 yogurt development

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Japanese low-purine trend inspires Meiji PA-3 yogurt development
Greater awareness about gout and low-purine diets has not only inspired innovation by Japan's major breweries, but the country's largest dairy, Meiji. 

In April, the Tokyo-based dairy giant launched PA-3 - a yogurt range containing a probiotic that has been shown to that metabolise purines - in Japan.

PA-3 yogurt, which is available in drinkable and spoonable variations, contains Lactobacillus gasseri PA-3 - a probiotic lactic acid bacteria strain that studies have shown is able to break down purines.

"The probiotic strain we studied, which happens to be in this product, metabolize purine bodies," ​Richard Walton, R&D manager at Japanese dairy, Meiji, said at the Zenith International Global Dairy Congress in Amsterdam in June.

"The probiotic concept is not only free of purines, but can actually reduce the amount of purines taken in by the body." 

Purines, nucleic acids found in high concentration in meat, fatty foods and beer, are a precursor to uric acid. 

A build-up of uric acid in the body can cause gout - a type of arthritis where swelling and severe pain develops in the joints, particularly the big toe.

“That’s why a doctor will tell you to modify your diet if you’re prone to that,"​ said Walton. "Beer is one thing that they tell you to stop drinking, as well as red meats, many types of fish and sometimes even fill-fat dairy products."

Zero purine beer

Gout is most prevalent among the elderly - those aged 65 and over - who currently account for around a quarter of Japan's population of 125m. 

With Japan's elderly expected to account for around 40% of the country's population by 2055, it is no surprise a purine-free trend has emerged in the country.

In recent years, Japan's largest breweries, including Asahi, Suntory, Kirin, and Sapporo, have begun producing beers free of purine.

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Asahi, for example, offers a purine-free option called Super Zero.

Meanwhile, Suntory developed a purine-free beer it calls Delicious Zero, and Sapporo a product labelled Delicious Zero.

"The beer companies have all jumped on this and have introduced zero purine beer,"​ said Walton. 

"Our researchers were on this trend very early,"​ said Walton. 

PA-3 is the latest yogurt product developed by Meiji to contain an ingredient or probiotic shown to reduce risk markets for conditions or diseases.

It is available on shelves alongside Meiji's Probio LG-21 and R-1 yogurts.

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