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Healthy and safe for stressed and tired – antioxidant drinks

Na zdjęciu prof. Agnieszka Włodyka-Bergier w laboratorium chemicznym.

photo by Marianna Cielecka

Healthy and safe for stressed and tired – antioxidant drinks

Technology for the production of antioxidant drinks that improve human psychophysical condition with a broad spectrum of regenerative properties for the body – this is a task that Dr hab. Eng. Agnieszka Włodyka-Bergier, associate professor at the AGH University from the Faculty of Geo-Data Science, Geodesy, and Environmental Engineering, has been working on for years. Due to the cooperation of the AGH University scientists with the Maspex Group, one of the largest companies in Central and Eastern Europe in the segment of food products, such beverages should be soon easily available to consumers. For years, the Maspex Group has successfully introduced products meeting the dynamically changing needs of consumers and the newest trends appearing on the market. Innovations constitute one of the backbones of the Maspex sustainable growth strategy which determines the ESG priorities by 2030.

The technology proposed by the AGH University scientist, which will be developed as part of the grant with Tymbark-MWS, a company belonging to the Maspex Group, allows to produce water-based beverages of high quality chemical composition and microbiological purity in a short time.

For the implementation of this task, the Tymbark-MWS Consortium and the AGH University of Krakow were funded with PLN 5.5 million as part of the NUTRITECH competition organised by the National Centre for Research and Development.

What are in fact those antioxidant drinks? Antioxidants are compounds which inhibit oxidation, i.e. substances that successfully slow down ageing processes of the body and protect it from numerous dangerous diseases. 

“Our goal is to put antioxidant drinks, the main ingredient of which is hydrogen, on the market,” Prof. Agnieszka Włodyka-Bergier explains.

The effect of the AGH University team’s current efforts is a technology which allows to process hydrogen-saturated water with reduced redox potential in a quick and scalable way. The active ingredient in this water is hydrogen, which is a powerful antioxidant.

Multiple studies have proven that the health-promoting properties of hydrogen-saturated water seem to be endless. Regeneration of lungs damaged by air pollution, regeneration of internal organs damaged by chemotherapy, increased endurance of the body, faster regeneration of damaged tissue, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of stress symptoms – these are just some of the documented benefits resulting from the intake of antioxidant beverages. Scientific publications on biological and medical advantages arising from the influence of hydrogen on the body demonstrated, among others, that it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and stimulates energy metabolism. Drinking such a beverage makes the body feel relaxed and, with regular use, it promotes organ regeneration and the improvement of the psychophysical condition of the human body.

“The technology for the production of antioxidant drinks proposed by us is based on an innovative method for obtaining hydrogen in the filtration process with the use of a special filter bed. This method allows for the production of flavoured and carbonated drinks, which is a complete novelty both on the Polish and international markets,” the scientist says.

The research conducted as part of the grant will mainly focus on the analysis of the technology under laboratory and full-scale conditions. In addition, various types of packaging will be studied during the project, including PET and glass bottles, as well as metal cans, for the possibility of storing drinks saturated with hydrogen, which, as a small molecule, can migrate and leak. A crucial element of the research will also be to develop flavour formulas of antioxidant drinks, thus increasing their attractiveness to consumers.

“Our objective is for the project to result in the production of an innovative product that will, most importantly, improve our psychophysical fitness,” the creator adds.

The demand on the food market for such a type of products is enormous. Consumers seek products that can support our organism by bringing regeneration and relaxation without any side effects. Antioxidant waters that are currently on the market are created with the use of different mechanisms, making them more niche and hardly available. The cooperation of the AGH University scientists with Tymbark-MSW will primarily lead to the popularisation of such products.

“The ease and speed of production of such beverages are the main advantages of the technology introduced by us,” Prof. Włodyka-Bergier claims. “It is our intention that the easily available and affordable product will come into the hands of consumers.”   

For the AGH University scientist, such cooperation with a tycoon on the food products market is a culmination of years of work and research on antioxidant water.

“Together, we have a chance to introduce a product that young people, white- and blue-collar workers, athletes, but also elderly people will reach for. The health-promoting properties of the active ingredient, namely hydrogen, occur in all age groups.”

The main goal of the NUTRITECH competition organised by the National Centre for Research and Development is to increase the availability of products and solutions in the field of proper nutrition by 2030.