Rice proteins

Rice proteins

Infant, sports and vegan nutrition

Elementa distributes rice proteins and rice protein hydrolysates intended for high-protein products used in sports nutrition, weight management and infant food.
Rice proteins and their hydrolysates are non-allergenic and their amino acid profile is similar to that of milk.
Rigorous selection of raw ingredients and a new patented decontamination technique allow the manufacturer to sell rice protein hydrolysates with very low heavy metal content and therefore suitable for infant formulae.
Organic certified rice proteins and rice protein hydrolysates are also available. 
Rice proteins and rice protein hydrolysates are available in France and Benelux.

Rice protein is a co-product of the rice starch industry. Rice protein powder generally contains up to 80% proteins in dry matter.

Rice protein contains no gluten and is non-allergenic. Its amino acid profile is similar to that of milk. These are the main reasons that rice protein is used in sports nutrition and in high-protein products designed for weight loss.

The enzymatic hydrolysates of rice protein are easy to digest, have good solubility in water and little bitter taste. The manufacturer rigorously selects its raw ingredients and holds a patented decontamination technique, thereby providing infant formulae manufacturers with a source of rice protein hydrolysates that contain less than 0.05 ppm cadmium.


Hydrolysates suitable for infant food

A randomised study was carried out in 2010 on the effects of rice protein hydrolysates in infants allergic to cow’s milk proteins (46 boys and 46 girls, with a mean age of 4.3 months).

This study compared the clinical tolerance of the infants to rice protein hydrolysates. The study demonstrated that 90% of the patients allergic to cow’s milk tolerated rice protein hydrolysates (Reche, 2010).

Another study carried out on the palatability of various formulae designed for infants with allergies showed that rice protein hydrolysates had better taste scores compared with other hydrolysates (Pedrosa, 2006).

hydrolysates for infant food

Rice proteins help reinforce the immune system in athletes

Intense and prolonged physical exercise has temporary, but significant effects on the immune system: it favors infections in the upper respiratory tract brought on due to exposure to unfavorable weather conditions, breathing through the mouth (thereby bypassing the nose’s natural filtering function), stress due to competitive situations, etc. (Gleeson, 2007; Nieman, 1994).

Glutamine is a nutrient that has a direct effect on the immune response by increasing the proliferation of lymphocytes. Glutamine is stored in muscle and released during physical effort or stress. This amino acid decreases during prolonged intense physical effort because immune cells use it as an energy source. The availability of this amino acid in the blood is therefore essential.

Many studies have shown that food supplementation with glutamic acid induces increases the amount of glutamine in the blood, leading to a decrease in respiratory tract infections via its effect on the immune system (Bassit et al., 2000).

Rice proteins improve vasodilation

Nitric oxide is the main vasodilator produced in the vascular endothelium. It has vasomoteur properties. It is synthesized from L-arginine via a reaction with nitric oxide synthase (eNOS).

Arginine deficiency causes NOS to preferentially form superoxide anions, which are reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROSs are instable molecules that can react immediately with cellular components, such as DNA, lipids, carbohydrates, etc. A deficit in arginine thus favors oxidative stress.

An increase in the production of nitric oxide can improve some body functions such as vasodilation (blood flow). Thus, arginine supplementation is recommended (Clarkson et al., 1996). “In healthy, ill or at-risk individuals, a massive dose of arginine increases the production of nitric oxide and improves functions such as artery dilation, resistance, etc.” (Preli et al., 1999).

Arginine is beneficial for athletes, because it promotes the synthesis of nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator.

L-arginine can improve wound healing through its action on collagen synthesis.

Rice proteins help detoxify ammonia

The urea cycle is the only metabolic pathway that can eliminate excess nitrogen from the body. The urea cycle takes place primarily in the liver and converts ammonia (from exogenous and endogenous proteins) into urea; its reactions occur in the cytosol and mitochondria of liver cells. (Deignan, 2007).

After a protein-rich meal or following protein degradation, it is necessary to eliminate the excess ammonium. Glutamine facilitates the transfer of ammoniac in a neutral state from various organs to the liver. Ammonium (NH4+) is transformed into carbamoyl phosphate in a reaction with carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (CPS-I). To function, CPS-I must be activated by N-acetylglutamate synthase, which is activated by arginine. “Thus, following an increase in the cellular content of N-acetylglutamate, CPS-I activity increases, allowing an increase in the efficiency of the conversion of ammonium into urea”, reports AFSSA in its 2007 report on “Protein supplementation: consumption, quality, needs and recommendations”.

In the cytosol of enterocytes, arginine is converted into ornithine and urea via arginase. It is thus important to consume sufficient amount of arginine and glutamine, because these non-essential amino acids play a major role in the urea cycle.

To meet new regulations issued in 2014 that reduce maximum tolerable levels of cadmium to 0.01 ppm in food for infants (Commission Regulation (EU) No 488/2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels of cadmium in foodstuffs), Pevesa has taken the following measures:

  1. implementation of a policy for the rigorous selection of raw ingredients;
  2. implementation of decontamination technique for which a patent has been filed.

A new Regulation in preparation (amending Regulation No. 1881/2006) will limit the maximum tolerable levels of arsenic to 0.1 ppm for rice-based products intended for infants and young children.

Pevesa ingredients are also certified kosher.


Functional properties

Rice proteins and rice protein hydrolysates have many properties:

  • Solubility: peptides are particularly soluble in acidic conditions (fruit juice). They play an essential role in the protein enrichment of non-alcoholic beverages or juice-based beverages.
  • Heat stability: enzymatic hydrolysis leads to a peptide solution that is highly stable at high temperatures (no precipitation).
  • Organoleptic properties: they may retain some bitterness.

Nutrition and Health Claims

Several health claims can be used for proteins:

  • “Protein contributes to the increase in muscle mass”
  • “Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass”
  • “Protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones”

Regulation No. 432/2012 on health claims stipulates that “The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of protein as referred to in the claim SOURCE OF PROTEINS as listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006”.

A food is called

  • “High in protein” if at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.