Japan's Kaneka Corporation is to double its yearly production of the natural supplement CoQ10 to meet the rapidly growing demand for the ingredient.
The firm will spend around $33 million on expansion of its facilities, which are expected to be able to produce 150 metric tons annually. Consumption of CoQ10 in 2002 was estimated at 100 metric tons, with sales of around $250 million in the US, and steady growth is likely, according Kaneka.
Kaneka, which began producing the ingredient in 1977, was promoting its Kaneka Q10 at SupplySide West last week. Kaneka's American president Kazuo Kuruma told NutraIngredientsUSA.com : "Right now demand is higher than supply and has increased much more than expected."
"Studies published last fall showed that CoQ10 had a benefit on Parkinson's disease. It is also good for cardiovascular health and consumers are beginning to recognize the potential of the product. More people are using it and dosages are going up too," added Kuruma.
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble substance found naturally in all animals, making it safe when taken in supplement form. It is vital to the production of energy and is also a potent antioxidant. The chemical is thought to help fight the aging process, and has also been linked to protection against cancer and shown to slow Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.
The product is also found in toothpaste, skincare products and chewing gum. Kaneka is currently developing new technologies to add it to energy bars and health beverages.
The firm introduced its own brand of CoQ10 two years ago and now sells between 60-70 per cent of the product in the US market. Work on its manufacturing plant is scheduled to finish in spring 2004.