A mainstay of functional food science in Japan
- history, present status, and future outlook

Arai S, Osawa T, Ohigashi H, Yoshikawa M, Kaminogawa S, Watanabe M,
Ogawa T, Okubo K, Watanabe S, Nishino H, Shinohara K, Esashi T, Hirahara T.
Department of Nutritional Science,
Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan.
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Jan;65(1):1-13


The development of food science in the near future probably depends on the advance in functional food science, the concept of which was proposed first in Japan nearly 15 years ago. The new science has been internationally distributed and accepted as conceptually being beyond nutrition. In Japan, however, it traced a unique path of progress in the form of a product-driven rather than concept-driven science. Actually, a number of substances and products with potential for disease risk reduction rather than simply for health maintenance have been investigated for their body-modulating functions. Some of them have been applied in practice to the industrialization of functional foods in terms of "foods for specified health uses" legally defined by new legislation. A variety of sophisticated methods have been introduced as well, including the so-called "XYZ" evaluation system, database construction for assessment of the function, and even the DNA microarray technique. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) also commenced their scientific as well as political activity, with its spread to industries which almost simultaneously began to vigorously investigate functional food products for enlargement of the food market. With all of this as a background, the Japan Liaison of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) hold a function food science symposium on behalf of related scientific bodies including the Japan Section of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI). This paper is an overview compiled from 12 presentations made in the symposium, with the aim of internationally publicizing the activity of functional food science in Japan.
Iron deficiency
Calcium and mood
Vitamins and mood
Docosahexaenoic acid
Catecholamine depletion
Bad moods and sick hearts
Ascorbic acid, mood, and sex
Functional foods and the GI tract
Functional foods as slimming aids

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