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What is Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone (NHDC)?

November 14,2023

The NHDC was discovered in the 1960s as part of the USDA research program to find ways to minimize the bitter flavor in citrus juice. When treated with potassium hydroxide or another strong base, catalyzing hydrogenation, it becomes NHDC. NHDC is a flavonoid (naringin or hesperidin) derived from citrus plants. As a powerful sweetener and flavor enhancer,  NHDC is widely used in food, medicine, dietary supplements, cosmetics and feed products. NHDC is more sweet, 1500-1800 times sweeter than sugar, while sucralose is 400-800 times sweeter than sugar, and ace-k is 200 times sweeter than sugar.

The NHDC is sweet like the licorice root.

It has strong synergy with other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, cyclamate and xylitol, requiring small amounts of other sweeteners and reducing costs.

1. The 5 major effects of NHDC

1.1 Antioxidant properties

NHDC has strong antioxidant activity (stronger than hesperidin). One study showed that NHDC had a significant effect on scavenging stable free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) (93.5% and 73.5%, respectively), and was the most effective inhibitor of hydrogen peroxide and hypochlorite. The antioxidant activity of NHDC is also reflected in its ability to partially inhibit the brown pigmentation caused by polyphenol oxidase, and also significantly inhibit the upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-1) caused by infrared radiation, thus protecting human skin from premature aging due to exposure to infrared radiation. So it is an anti-browning agent and skin brightening agent.

1.2 Lower cholesterol and blood sugar

NHDC inhibits reductase (HMG-COA and ACAT) activities, significantly reduces plasma cholesterol and neutral lipid content in the body, and prevents arteriosclerosis and blood circulatory diseases. At the same time, NHDC can increase the plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDI) content in animals, thus promoting cholesterol metabolism. Recent studies have shown that NHDC can inhibit α -amylase in mammals to varying degrees, and then reduce the absorption of sugar in the body, thus reducing the body's blood sugar, which is very important in medicine, especially for diabetic patients.


NHDC can be used as a sugar-free, non-calorie sweetener. When used properly, it can replace sucrose and reduce sucrose intake in humans. It is applicable to both obese and non-obese populations
Furthermore, NHDC inhibits mammalian α -amylase, implying that NHDC can reduce sugar absorption in the body, thereby reducing blood glucose levels. So it's a good tonic for diabetics.

1.3 Prevent gastric ulcers

As the commonly used gastric acid-lowering drug ranitidine, NHDC is expected to be a new ingredient in digestion, because it can inhibit the activity of histamine and significantly reduce the secretion of gastric acid and pepsin. It can be used as an antacid agent mixed with aluminum hydroxide gel or other commonly used acid- making agent to improve the gastric acid resistance of the latter. NHDC can significantly reduce the ulcer index induced by cold inhibition stress (CRS).

1.4 Protect the liver

NHDC can reduce the levels of ALT, AST and liver tissue hydroxyproline in the serum of mice with liver fibrosis caused by CCI, and can also slow down the process of cell degeneration and necrosis and liver fibrosis to varying degrees. Moreover, decreased ALT and AST in serum could improve lipid metabolism and liver function and inhibit fatty liver and major arterial endothelial plaque formation.

1.5 Regulate immunity

NHDC is added to the feed as a sweetener, not only because of its pleasant taste and for animal appetite, but with probiotic effects. After adding NHDC to the pig feed, lactobacillus increased significantly at the caecal entrance. It can affect the intestinal symbiotic flora, regulate the body's immunity, and reduce intestinal diseases.

Moreover, NHDC can effectively alleviate oxidative damage induced by CC1, reduce inflammatory response and promote apoptosis.

NHDC is a highly efficient, non-toxic, low-calorie sweetener that meets people's demand for sweet taste, thus reducing sugar intake.

2. Application of NHDC

2.1 Eat flavor

The flavor of NHDC resembles maltol and ethyl maltol, producing significant synergy with other flavor components. Widely used in frozen dairy products, candy, pudding, fruit juice, non-alcoholic beverages, condiments, jam, chewing gum, etc.

2.2 Bitter taste masking of the drug

New hesperidin DC is refreshing with a long finish. Thus, NHDC can bind to bitter taste receptors even below its sweetness threshold, reducing the bitter taste of tablet or syrup-based drugs. For example, both Viagra contain NHDC as a tastemaker.

2.3 The sweetener

New hesperidin DC is rich and pure in sweet taste, widely used in water base, milk base, fruit juice drinks, ice cream, wine, dessert, cake, baked goods, candy and so on.
NHDC is expected to be used as a liver protector

2.4 Feed

Neohesperidin DC can be used as a feed additive, and NHDC can improve the palatability of feed, increase animal appetite, improve the intestinal flora, and promote its growth.

3. NHDC for comparing and advantages with other sweeteners

Sweeteners such as sucrose, aspartame, saccharin, and cyclamate act on the extracellular structural regions of T1R2. NHDC and cyclamate act on the transmembrane portion of T1R3 to produce sweetness. Nehesperidin DC interacts with specific amino acid residues in the transmembrane region of T1R3 to induce its own sweetness while inducing synergistic sweetness of dimeric T1R2-T1R3. NHDC works as a sweetener, especially when mixed with other sweeteners with a small ingredient.

NHDC is refreshing with a long finish. Like other high glycosides (such as licorice in stevia and licorice in licorice root), NHDC sweetness starts more slowly than sucrose and stays longer in the mouth.

NHDC has good stability and high safety under high temperature, acidic or alkaline conditions, and thus can be used for applications requiring a longer shelf life. The NHDC can keep food safely under optimal conditions for up to five years.

4. Regulatory Status

Enlisted as a food flavoring substance  in China GB2760-2014 (# S0269);

Enlisted in the cosmetic raw material catalog, number 07222;

Listed in the catalog of the varieties of feed additives by China Ministry of Agriculture Notice No. 2045, As the sweet substance(2013);

Included in the EU list of food flavoring agents (# E959);

Listed in the US USP42-NF37 (the second edition);

Granted GRAS by FEMA  (3811);

Listed in the USA Pharmacopoeia Commission  US-FCC8;

Included in "European Pharmacopoeia" (EP-8) ;

Approved as a "flavoring substance" by the Australian National Food Administration;

Argentina has included it in its national food catalog;

European feed additives included (No 1831/2003).

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