Lutein, an antioxidant carotenoid found particularly in green leafy veg and some colorful foods like corn and egg yolk, is increasingly used in eye health supplements and supplements aimed at the over-50s, since it has been shown to play a role in preventing age related macular degeneration (AMD). Recent studies have also linked it to skin health.
The introduction of Biolut Lutein WS 5 percent could give formulators a new tool with which to develop innovative and appealing products to help bridge the gap between lutein consumption and optimum healthy intake.
Blue California's new offering was made possible by the company's proprietary, patent-pending microencapsulation technology, which it says can make an oil-soluble ingredient into a stable free-flowing powder that is also soluble in cold water.
Executive vice president Cecilia McCollum said that the company has spent the last three years developing extraction and process technologies with the intention of helping its customers find solutions to R&D quandaries.
"We are finding amazing new applications for this advanced technology, not only in the dietary supplement industry, but also in the food, cosmetics and beverage industries," she said.
As well as taking Biolut Lutein WS 5 percent into these arenas, the company says its technology may also be used for taste and odor-masking, time release formulas, and for maximizing bioavailability.
Indeed microencapsulation is one of the main ways in which omega-3 suppliers facilitate the use of fish oils in food, beverage and supplements without the end product being tainted by a fishy taste and smell resulting from oxidation.
According to Frost and Sullivan, the encapsulation market is growing at a rate of 10 percent per year. Analyst Kathy Brownlie said earlier this year that it is "fast becoming the most successful delivery systems that is enabling food ingredient companies to tap into consumer health trends."
Despite using a propriety technology, Blue California's innovation is not the first time water soluble lutein has been offered to the market through other means. For instance, in 2003 Kemin introduced a water soluble form of FloraGLO, which uses its ClearTec technology to make the antioxidant applicable for use in beverages, syrups and ophthalmic solutions.
AquaNova has also said that its NovaSol nanotechnology could be applied to lutein, containing active substances in product micelles just 30nm in diameter