The line, offered for sale only online on the company’s website for the moment, is based on a proprietary delivery technology that uses a phospholipid carrier, comprised primarily of phosphatidylcholine, to construct particles in the 50 to 150 nm range. This size and chemical signature allows the particles to more efficiently cross from the gut into the blood, said Dr Richard Kaufman, NanoSphere’s chief science officer.
“These are different from liposomes, from mycells,” Kaufman told NutraIngredients-USA. “We are nanosizing, solubilizing and encapsulating these materials in the same material that makes up cell membranes.”
Breaking out of the poor absorption box
Kaufman said his history in working in drug delivery technologies led him to the idea behind NanoSphere. The dietary supplement industry has been talking a good game about efficacy, but where the rubber meets the road, at the interface with the bloodstream, many of the popular dietary supplement ingredients can’t effectively get to the areas in the body where they are supposed to have their effects, Kaufman said.
“In order for something to work it has to get into the body and go into the cells. The drug industry has understood this very well, but it is something that has been ignored for the most part in the dietary supplement business. There has been an increase in the use of nutrients that are very hard to absorb, like botanical extracts and the fat soluble nutrients,” Kaufman said.
“In order for something to be absorbed it first has to go into solution. It has to be broken down within about 30 minutes to be absorbed, and even when they are broken down, a lot of these ingredients don’t go into solution well,” he said.
Kaufman said NanoSphere’s data shows the technology, depending on the nutrient category, can boost uptake of hard-to-absorb nutrients by as much as sixfold over traditionally-formulated tablets and pills. The technology yields a gel delivered as a spray into the mouth, which is the basis of the new product line.
Five products to start
The Evolve Nutrients line has five products to start: formulas specific for men and women, a multivitamin, an energy product and a product aimed at healthy aging. The products all feature proprietary blends for their bioactive nutrients, blends that don’t specify individual amounts for each ingredient. While this is sometimes a way for manufacturers to hide substandard ingredients or ingredients that are present in only trace amounts, Kaufman said the reason the company chose this approach was to prevent competitors from back-engineering its formulas. The company claims to be using the highest quality ingredients, and some of the suppliers Kaufman said he has sourced ingredients from are among the major players in the industry.
“I’m not trying to hide an inferior product. I am going to the best vendors available,” Kaufman said.
Delivery in the mouth
The spray delivery system raises another question. Dietary supplements by regulatory definition are supposed to be absorbed in the gut. Systems that promote rapid absorption and are sprayed into the mouth would seem to occupy something of a gray area (admittedly one that FDA does not seem especially concerned about at the moment). Will some of the bioactives in the products be absorbed directly into the bloodstream via mucous membranes in the mouth?
“We have had a lot of conversations with our regulatory attorneys,” Kaufman said. “We have looked at how FDA looks at sublingual products. The drug companies know the sublingual area is the best way to get something into the body by the simplest way. This not something the FDA allows us to talk about (to consumers) but we do tell them to wait before they swallow the product.”