Soft Gel offers more bioavailable CoQ10 softgels

Related tags Soft gel Coenzyme q10

US-based Soft Gel Technologies has developed a completely
solubilized form of coenzyme Q10, shown to be more bioavailable
than traditional CoQ10 softgels in a small trial, reports
Dominique Patton.

Enhanced bioavailability allows supplement makers to use less of the ingredient that is currently priced at record levels of between $3,000-$4,000 per kg due to severe shortages of supply and strong growth in demand.

Soft Gel's technology, which is patent-pending and therefore not yet disclosed, dissolves the crystals that are formed when CoQ10 is produced commercially and prevents the solution from recrystallizing.

"With traditional CoQ10 softgels, the heat used during manufacturing crystallizes the CoQ10, reducing the surface area and therefore the solubility,"​ explained Kenn Israel, marketing director at the company.

"Our technology, which requires no synthetic surfactants, makes the product completely soluble at room temperature."

Soft Gel​ sister firm OptiPure is the largest importer and distributor of CoQ10 to the US, supplying Japanese-produced material to a marketplace that accounts for about a third of all global demand.

A small trial analyzing blood plasma levels in six people found its new product CoQsol-CF to be more than 2.5 times bioavailable than standard softgels.

Soft Gel says it will soon have further data from an animal model looking at CoQ10 tissue concentrations and total bioavailability, which may be ready to present at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim in March.

The product, called, will be introduced to European customers at Vitafoods in May.

CoQ10 is a naturally occurring vitamin-like compound that helps cells get their energy from oxygen. Research in 2002 showing that it could help slow Parkinson's disease triggered a surge in demand that continues to rise, outstripping supplies largely produced in Japan.

A change in regulatory status for the ingredient in Japan from drug to food has placed further pressure on supplies, alongside the trend for consumers to take higher doses.

In the face of soaring prices, suppliers have looked at increasing bioavailability of the material to reduce costs for supplement manufacturers.

A small Israeli firm Herbamed has developed a technology, said to be quite distinct from that designed by Soft Gel, to increase the dispersion rate of CoQ10 powder and therefore its bioavailability.

Herbamed says 30mg of its product is equal to a 80-100mg dose of generic CoQ10.

Higher bioavailability will continue to be important for some time, with new manufacturing capacity for the ingredient not expected until 2006. But proof of the efficacy of new forms is also necessary.

"We are planning to start a much larger human trial in the next few months that will not only measure bioavailability but also other therapeutic outcomes,"​ Israel told

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