Fuji bags astaxanthin inflammation patent

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Obesity Hypertension Ultraviolet

Fuji Chemical Industry has been granted a US patent for the use of
astaxanthin to reduce inflammation, enabling the manufacturer to
further strengthen its position in the market.

The US division of the company, New Jersey-based Fuji Health Science, announced its latest astaxanthin use patent is for regulating the expression of molecular signals that mediate inflammation - cytokines and chemokines.

The astaxanthin market is carved up among those who hold usage patents, with Fuji holding the most; it now has five, while Fuji competitors Cyanotech and Valensa have three and one respectively.

"[The patent] adds to the inventory of uses and strengthens the picture surrounding astaxanthin,"​ Fuji Health Science president Charles DePrince told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

Astaxanthin is produced by the microalgae haematacoccus pluvialis​ when water supplies in its habitat dry up to protect itself against the effects of UV radiation. Fuji produces astaxanthin through its two subsidiaries, BioReal in Hawaii, and AstaReal AB in Sweden, in fully enclosed cultivation systems.

And the more patents Fuji receives, the more it is motivated to continue with research and development into new uses for astaxanthin. "This support continues aggressively with our newest research involving the areas contributing to metabolic syndrome,"​ said DePrince.

Metabolic syndrome is used to describe a cluster of metabolic risk factors that occur together, including: high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess body fat around the waist or high cholesterol. This condition can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

Fuji's four other astaxanthin usage patents are for: reduced muscle damage, immunomodulation, gastric health and fertility. And there may well be more to come for the company which says it has applications pending in the areas of eye fatigue, wrinkle reduction, weight loss, diabetic nephropathy and dyspepsia.

Hawaii's Cyanotech holds astaxanthin usage patents for carpal tunnel syndrome, cold and canker sores, as well as for internal and topical sun block in protecting against ultraviolet radiation. Florida's Valensa holds an astaxanthin patent for eye heatlh.

Annual growth of the global market for astaxanthin for human use is thought to be at least 15 per cent, with current estimates valuing the market at $15-20m per year.

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