Scientific paper by NutriLeads shows that its plant-based RG-I food ingredients support immune function and modulate the microbiota

25 March 2021

  • First scientific data showing immune supportive properties of plant-based RG-I derived from bell pepper and carrot
  • Study published in the “Nutrition, Immunity and Viral infection” special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients
  • Immune health is a top priority for today’s consumers with six in ten people looking for functional foods and beverages to support their immunity [1]

Dutch health ingredients innovator, NutriLeads, announces the first peer-reviewed publication of data proving the immune modulating properties of its proprietary pectin-derived rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I) polysaccharides in the journal Nutrients.[2]

RG-I are natural, plant-derived compounds (polysaccharides), that interact with the gut bacteria (microbiota) and the host innate immune system. In selected traditional plant extracts, such pectic polysaccharides have previously been shown to have immunostimulatory effects. However, these traditional remedies are often expensive, derived from non-renewable sources, and could face regulatory challenges.

In this recent publication, NutriLeads shows that RG-I can be extracted from affordable and renewable crops, namely carrots and bell peppers, and even obtained from side streams of crop processing, allowing for sustainable and scalable production. RG-I from both carrot and bell pepper showed immune stimulating and microbiota modulating activity in vitro. Furthermore, bell pepper RG-I was shown to enhance innate immune responsiveness in a proof-of-concept trial in humans.

Commenting on the publication and the expected impact of the findings, Ruud Albers, PhD, CEO of NutriLeads, said: “We are delighted to share these new data, demonstrating the immunomodulatory effects of plant-based RG-I, which have the potential to bring health benefits to us all. We are particularly pleased that we can successfully derive RG-I from sustainable and widely available sources.

Due to the pandemic, immune health is even higher on the agenda than ever before, and we believe that this research shows that dietary supplementation with RG-I from specific food crops is ideally suited to support immune function and modulate the microbiota. We are well advanced with generating additional evidence showing the immune benefits of carrot-derived RG-I and are working together with Food and Food Supplement companies to deliver these benefits to consumers in the second half of 2021.”

Demand for food supplements and food and beverage products with immune health properties has been growing sharply in recent years. The global immune health supplements market alone was estimated to be worth USD 16.32 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 29.40 billion by 2027.[3] In addition, recent research shows that 64% of respondents will aim to improve their immunity in the next 12 months.[4]

NutriLeads’ lead ingredient, Benicaros, extracted from carrot pomace (a side stream from carrot juice production), has been developed to support immune function. This ingredient is expected to be available in the US for the formulation of dietary supplements and functional foods in the second half of 2021.

1. Innova Consumer Survey 2020 –

2. Early access article available at:


4.  FMCG Gurus, Top Ten Trends for 2021, Dec 2020.