New data about bear bile and options to make it artificially. Now we have to convince the Chinese that it’s not only better fort he bears, but alsof or themselves!

Hello BSG, I’d like to share a brand new discovery for those interested in UDCA — the bile acid found in high quantities in some species of bears (hence called ursodiol or urso). UDCA has been shown to have many medicinal effects in people (the list is growing), but of course the problem is that the traditional source of this compound was the bile in the gallbladders of bears. All vertebrates produce various kinds of bile acid steroids in their liver or by bacteria in their intestine; these aid in digestion and absorption of fats. UDCA can be chemically converted (synthesized) from some of these other bile acids. A common source was from gall bladders of chickens or pigs that had been slaughtered for food. However, the chemical process for converting other bile acids in these animals to UDCA had several issues, namely poor yield, expense, impurities, possible disease transmission, and also some users being opposed to the use of animals in producing human medicine. The attached paper (from the respected journal Steroids published by Elsevier) explains, for the first time, an efficient way of producing UDCA using an industrial bacteria to convert plant-based sterols. The author told me that the process is patented and that a Chinese pharmaceutical company will begin producing it (current sources of synthetic UDCA in China are mainly from a German company, and so are expensive).

This could be a piece of good news for bear conservation.

Bear news and COVID-19, part 2