Called Lyc-O-Lutein, the line is based around a stable gelatine- and allergen-free beadlet that contains 20 per cent lutein, with variants include oil suspensions for soft-gel formulations and beadlets for tablets and hard-shell capsules. It is the fourth product in LycoRed's natural carotenoid portfolio, sitting alongside its flagship Lyc-O-Mato lycopene and its zeaxanthin and beta-carotene offerings.
According to marketing director Udi Alroy, LycoRed's proprietory beadlet technology was key to overcoming stability problems, which it says has been a major obstacle. Lyc-O-Lutein beadlets are said to contain between 200 and 400 per cent more of the ingredient than other products on the market with only five per cent lutein.
Alroy said that the company developed the line in response to requests from manufacturers for "high quality lutein with excellent stability". Recognised as a playing an important role in eye health, and in particular the prevention of age related macular degeneration (AMD), lutein is increasingly used in both specialist and multivitamin products.
In products where a number of different nutrients are jostling for space, formulators are always on the look-out for those that pack the most beneficial punch in the smallest measures.
The global lutein market is currently estimated to be worth in the region of US$100m and $130m.
LycoRed says that its patent does not infringe on any other intellectual property in the marketplace; and that Lyc-O-Lutein meets regulatory requirements in Europe, the US and Asia. In the US, it will be marketed by Pharmachem.
The Israeli company has been positioning as a leader in carotenoids for the last year. In 2005 it acquired US-based Buckton Scott, which bolstered its activities in this area.
In addition to natural lycopene extracted from tomatoes, LycoRed has also started producing beta-carotene derived from fungi and zeaxanthin from berries that it imports to its extraction plant in Israel.
The company has flagged possibilities for combining its carotenoids; when it announced its co-beadlet technology allowing for 20 per cent total carotenoid combinations of lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.
Since lycopene has also shown promise in supporting eye heath, the company said that research is planned to investigate the synergistic effects of "a unique combination of natural lutein and Lyc-O-Mato tomato lycopene complex".
Zeaxanthin has been shown to play a role in AMD risk reduction in combination with lutein, too, but a number of supplement products are already on the market that combine these two.