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The Science behind Saberry® :
 

The fruits of Emblica officinalis have been reported to contain low molecular weight hydrolysable tannins-emblicanin A and emblicanin B, along with pedunculagin and punigluconin. Low levels of β-glucogallin and other mucic acid gallates have also been reported in aqueous extracts of Emblica officinalis fruits. The fruits of Amla have also been considered rich in vitamin C content.

In 2006, Scartezzini et al proposed a reliable HPLC-DAD (High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Diode Array Detection) for identification and quantification of ascorbic acid, and further indicated that high antioxidant activity is due to a large percentage of presence of ascorbic acid.

In recent years Raghu et al (2007) compared ascorbic acid content of the fruits by conventional colorimetric estimation, specific enzymatic method and derivative of dehydroascorbic acid and concluded that 100 g of fresh fruit contain 34-38 mg vitamin C.

The presence and quantity of ascorbic acid in Amla has however, remained a debated issue for a long time.

 
Revisiting Amla Chemistry:

To elucidate the bioactives responsible for the beneficial effects of Amla, and their contribution towards its antioxidant activity, scientists at Sabinsa Corporation chose to revisit the chemistry of the Indian Gooseberry.

   
 
Tannin Chemistry
 

The research team at Sabinsa Corporation developed a new HPLC method for the characterization and analysis of the various constituents of Amla extract.

The aqueous extract of the fresh fruits of Amla was separated using preparative reverse phase column chromatography, and the different fractions obtained were individually lyophilized and analyzed using various spectroscopic methods.

  HPLC
 
From the various spectral investigations conducted it was concluded that, the molecule previously reported as emblicanin A is actually β-glucogallin Glucogallin
ß-Glucogallin
   

Similarly, the previously reported 2, 3, 4, 6-bis-(S)-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-2-keto-glucono-lactone (emblicannin B) is in fact mucic acid 1,4-lactone 5-O-gallate

Other molecules identified include gallic acid and mucic acid methyl ester 2-O-gallates and ellagic acid.

Mucic acid
Mucic acid 1,4-lactone 5-O-gallate
 

The studies summarized above, led the research team at Sabinsa Corporation to believe that β-glucogallin and mucic acid gallates are the predominant active molecules in Amla, and that these molecules are significant contributors to the healthy effects of Amla.

 
Investigating the ascorbic acid content in Amla fruit extracts:
 

The fraction corresponding to ascorbic acid peak was isolated by preparative HPLC and evaluated by mass and NMR spectra. It was found that this fraction contained more than one compound which was different from ascorbic acid. It was resolved into four peaks using a modified LC-MS method. In addtion to ascorbic acid the fraction was found to mainly contain mucic acid gallates.

   
Ascorbic acid content in Amla extracts:
 

In order to ensure that there was no chemical degradation of any ascorbic acid, the fresh juice of Amla fruits was obtained and processed with optimum care. Various batches of fruits were processed under similar conditions and their ascorbic acid content evaluated.

A variety of Amla extract samples were studied and it showed either complete absence of ascorbic acid or trace amounts to a maximum of 4.0% w/w.

Even though ascorbic acid was not detected, Saberry® did show potential antioxidant activity. This indicated that ascorbic acid is not the most optimal biomarker that reflects the biological potential of Amla. Thus β-glucogallin is a more optimal and relevant biomarker, and reflects the antioxidant potential of Amla, more accurately than ascorbic acid.

   
  For more information :
Muhammed Majeed, Beena Bhat, Atul N. Jadhav, Jyotish S. Srivastava and Kalyanam Nagabhushanam. Ascorbic Acid and Tannins from Emblica officinalis Gaertn. Fruits ‐A Revisit. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2009, 57, 220‐225
 
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