Toyo Sugar produces water-soluble resveratrol to expand use in cosmetic formulations to tap longevity trend

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Toyo Sugar enzymatically modified resveratrol to make it water-soluble and more bioavailable. [Getty Images]
Toyo Sugar enzymatically modified resveratrol to make it water-soluble and more bioavailable. [Getty Images]

Related tags Skin care Japan Resveratrol longevity Skin health

A Japanese ingredient firm has enzymatically modified resveratrol to make it water-soluble and more bioavailable to expand its use in various cosmetic formulas amidst rising interest in longevity.

Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound strongly associated with dark chocolate as well as red grapes and the wine it produces. It is highly regarded for its health benefits, particularly for promoting overall health and longevity.

Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, ultraviolet (UV) protective properties make it one of the most well-known cosmetics ingredients, especially in the anti-ageing category, with brands such as Caudalie and Skinceuticals incorporating it into their products.

Everyone knows resveratrol. When you talk to people about resveratrol, the first thing that comes to mind is longevity,​” said Mahamadou Tandia, general manager and R&D manager of Toyo Sugar Refining, which produces ingredients for food, nutrition, and cosmetics industries.

“It is linked to the Mediterranean area, where people have a longer lifespan than others partly because of the resveratrol they consume from wine and grapes. People have been trying to incorporate resveratrol into cosmetic formulations for a long time.”

The demand for hero ingredients like resveratrol is being driven by the longevity movement within the beauty and wellness sectors, with interest in trends such as pro-ageing, age-reversal, and biohacking surging.

Asia Pacific is at the forefront of this, with markets such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore facing the stark reality of an ageing population.

With the fastest ageing population in the world, Japan in particular has been promoting an ‘ageless society’ which encourages its citizens to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle through their silver years.

While resveratrol is a powerhouse ingredient, it is not easy to work with in cosmetics.

“Everyone knows that the problem with resveratrol is that it is not at all water-soluble. In certain cases, they use cyclodextrin as a carrier, but the issue is that you cannot have a higher concentration of resveratrol,” ​said Tandia.

At in-cosmetics Global 2024, the company debuted Resveralto, an enzymatically modified resveratrol to tackle this issue.

“The enzymatic modification involved transferring glucose molecules to resveratrol. And by doing so, we sharply increased water solubility. And now it's possible to produce in a lotion, in a toner, and of course in a cream. This also translates to higher bioavailability at the end. You have more efficiency for things like anti-ageing, anti-melasma,” ​said Tandia.

The modified Resveratol has was also shown to better stability as well as compared to conventional resveratrol, which is sensitive to light and heat in particular.

Tandia added that the company was able to make the active very price competitive as compared to conventional resveratrol.

The company sees opportunities not just in the cosmetics market but nutraceuticals as well, especially as consumers increasingly approach skin care through both topical and ingestible products.

The firm is optimistic about the potential of the ingredient, having received a lot of interest from customers. This is prompting the firm to further its research into its modified resveratrol, said Tandia.

“We will keep working on new applications, DNA protection being one. We started looking into telomeres which erode over time due to ageing. If you are able to prevent that shortening of telomeres, you can at least slow down the ageing process.”

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