17th annual NutrAward honors innovation in ingredients and finished products

Award given to the most innovative ingredient and finished product featuring a functional ingredient.   

The winners of this year’s 17th annual NutrAward featured “the forgotten vitamin” that boasts a new study showing actual reversal of the No. 1 cause of deaths in America, as well as an on-trend beverage featuring the No. 1 nutritional ingredient in the land.

The best ingredient of the year is NattoPharma’s MenaQ7 Pure, a crystal long-chain menaquinone-7 vitamin K2. In a study to be published in May, and announced in February, patients with hardening of the arteries actually experienced a reversion of the condition, known as atherosclerosis. This suggests the cardiovascular condition may be due to a deficiency of the vitamin.

“We believe vitamin K2 will be the next vitamin D3,” said Frode Bohan, chairman of the board of NattoPharma, based in Norway. “For first time we have actually showed reversal of arterial stiffening. Vitamin K2 not only protects against cardiovascular disease but we have shown in a three-year clinical study of pharma quality that a supplemental dose can lead to a reversal of arterial stiffening, which is linked to one out of every four American’s deaths.

“We are a pharma company with a supplement ingredient,” said Bohan. “This is the last vitamin with a deficiency disease.”

Vitamin K2 works by activating two critical proteins – osteocalcin, which brings calcium to bones, and matrix GLA, which takes calcium out of arteries.

This latest study builds on the observational data in a study conducted in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which followed 4,800 subjects and found a 50 percent cut in cardiovascular deaths from those with the highest quintile of vitamin K2 levels compared with the lowest quintile.

“Nobody wanted to believe that. We repeated that in a Dutch study with 16,000 patients,” said lead researcher Leon Schurgers, Ph.D., at Maastricht University in the Netherlands with more than 130 published studies under his belt. “Vitamin K2 deficiency induces calcification. If you give K2 you can inhibit that and even reverse arterial calcification and therefore cardiovascular mortality.”

Schurgers called the reversal of arterial stiffening “quite unusual. K2 is really interesting.”

The NutrAward given to the best finished product featuring a functional ingredient went to Garden of Flavor, which has a line of HPP beverages featuring a probiotic – Ganeden Biotech’s BC30 strain. HPP is a high-pressure processing that is all the rage these days, led by Evolution Fresh in Starbucks, which paid $30 million to acquire the brand in late 2011. Garden of Flavor upped the ante by adding Ganeden’s probiotic strain into the beverage.

 “What a great honor- thank you Engredea! We love helping people get healthy with our cold-pressed juices,” Tweeted Garden of Flavor. “Thank you Ganeden for helping us provide the most beneficial raw, organic, cold-pressed juice.”

This year's NutrAward finalists were culled from scores of ingredient nominations and more than 100 finished-product entrants by a juried panel of industry experts, scientists and nutritionists.

The NutrAward is the nutrition industry’s longest-running award. Now in its 17th year, the NutrAward recognizes and rewards ingredient suppliers that have ingredients with scientific merit, efficacy, market potential, safety, innovation and the ability to increase market credibility. On the finished products side, the 4th annual NutrAward taps companies that are playing in an emerging category with a creative product concept, a distinct health application, unique packaging and matchless marketing. It was awarded in Anaheim at Natural Products Expo West / Engredea on March 5.


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