Valensa International announced that it will begin to offer ZanthinNEX® Astaxanthin commercially in late 2014. ZanthinNEX is a form of the carotenoid astaxanthin produced via a proprietary process using natural enzymatic conversions that delivers a safe finished product that is ‘nature equivalent’ to conventional astaxanthin produced via extraction from Haematococcus pluvialis. In this instance, the nature equivalence of ZanthinNEX means that it has the same exact composition and isomeric structure (e.g. S, S’ Astaxanthin) as the astaxanthin found in natural algae and wild salmon—and will function in the human body exactly as an algae-derived product would.
Safety and bioequivalence testing for ZanthinNEX have been conducted. Valensa expects to complete regulatory approvals and anticipates no issues for GRAS approvals prior to commercial launch. This new source will help meet market demand for astaxanthin, which is currently exceeding industry supply. The availability of ZanthinNEX will not be impacted by seasonal variances of quality and quantity such as is encountered with algae-derived astaxanthin.
According to Dr. Rudi E. Moerck, CEO and president, Valensa’s commitments to better health through natural products and to the science of astaxanthin were the driving forces behind the development of this nature equivalent ingredient. “Valensa has more than a decade of experience with astaxanthin for the support human health,” he said. “We led the use of supercritical CO2 as a nature-friendly extraction technology for Astaxanthin. We were the first to achieve Novel Foods approvals in Europe with our Zanthin® brand, which requires a commitment to purity and safety. We have been at the forefront of safe and economical dosage recommendations for this ingredient—where we’ve actually suggested that lower doses are sufficient and highly effective. And we have developed a novel, natural stabilization system that significantly extends the storage stability of astaxanthin. In all of these areas, our goal remains to offer the most natural, stable and efficacious astaxanthin ingredient to the market. ZanthinNEX is the result of our commitment to a scientifically superior, safe and truly nature-equivalent astaxanthin offering.”
Moerck continued: “When we talk about a ‘nature equivalent’ ingredient, it means we employ natural enzyme-based conversion to create the critical raw material necessary to manufacture ZanthinNEX. By analogy, in traditional astaxanthin manufacture, Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae starts with in situ synthesized beta carotene as the initial building block, which is then converted in many complex enzymatic steps to yield S, S’-Astaxanthin. We use a related process to make ZanthinNEX by employing advanced enzyme-based technology to create the final correct optical centers in ZanthinNEX, totally matching the astaxanthin made with algae, but without some of the unwanted byproducts found in algae-derived astaxanthin. The final product is actually of higher assay and purity than astaxanthin produced in open ponds or even closed photo bioreactor systems, without the taste and odor issues encountered in some natural astaxanthin extracts,” he said.
New technology, equivalent product form and great formulation potential
Testing has shown that ZanthinNEX is significantly more bioavailable than astaxanthin made from algae because of several factors, including much higher purity levels. This enhanced bioavailability could lead to lower supplementation levels in finished products, with potentially lower costs for consumers. Like Valensa’s flagship astaxanthin product—Zanthin Natural Astaxanthin—ZanthinNEX will be stabilized using the proprietary O2B® Peroxidation Blocker stabilization system to provide long-term product stability and higher efficacy for the consumer. Valensa will continue to expand its Zanthin Natural Astaxanthin Complex business alongside ZanthinNEX. Zanthin Natural Astaxanthin has become a key ingredient in a wide range of condition-specific products that Valensa sells, and which have become highly successful in the marketplace.
According to Moerck, the natural products industry is frustrated by the inability of suppliers to ramp up production to meet demand that has grown from high profile endorsements by industry thought leaders and fast-selling products based on the ingredient. “One of the drawbacks in being in this wonderful industry we call ‘natural products’ is that we rely on nature for our raw materials. Nature doesn’t always cooperate with us the way we’d like, and when you get a difficult-to-manufacture ingredient like astaxanthin becoming hot at the consumer level, the temptation is to cut corners,” he said. “We need to resist that temptation and hold the line against substituting synthetic products. For this reason, the products that we offer our customers should be based on optically active materials just like in nature. They should be studied for safety, efficacy, and bioequivalence and supported by sound science. To do anything less than this goes against our customer’s expectations.